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Bucher / Tan / Countryman: Empathy (FMR)

Rick Countryman on alto saxophone, Simon Tan on bass, and Christian Bucher on drums cover diverse territory while letting each player stand out in this studio album of collective improvisation, their frequent collaborations allowing them to evoke a strong degree of melodicism among spontaneous interaction, from energetic grooves to ballads to beautiful textural work.

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product information:

UPC: 748079797123

Label: FMR
Catalog ID: 555-1119
Squidco Product Code: 28436

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: UK
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Recorded at Strawberry Jams Studio in Quezon City, Philippines, on July 20th, 2019, by Alvin Cornista.


Rick Countryman-alto saxophone

Simon Tan-bass

Christian Bucher-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Rick Countryman (January 31, 1957) is an American jazz saxophonist and flautist.

After years attracting little attention as a baritone saxophone player, including an extended sabbatical, Rick made a late-life change to alto sax, at the urging of bassist, Simon Tan. His first recorded session with Simon and Christian Bucher, avant garde drummer from Switzerland, attracted the attention of French label "Improvising Beings" and was released as "Acceptance - Resistance". The recordings received many positive reviews, both in the United States and Europe.

Rick currently now has 9 releases on 4 labels across Europe, Asia, and the United States, including multiple CDs with Japanese improvisational drummer, Sabu Toyozumi, who has made several trips to Manila to perform and record. The music continues to receive positive reviews and airplay. Two recordings were listed in "Gold Dolphy 2018".

Since 2011, Rick has been an active member of the Manila jazz scene. He leads and performs in ensembles on baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, alto flute and bass flute; performing original compositions, as well as free jazz/improvisation, in his own jazz quartets and trios. His style is heavily influenced by Eric Dolphy, Sonny Simmons and the 60s Free Jazz movement. He was a student of Bert Wilson, and considers Michael Bisio and Rick Mandyck early mentors."

-Wikipedia (

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"Simon Leonardo P. Tan (born August 13, 1970) is a Filipino bassist. Beginning classical guitar lessons at age 13 at the Yamaha School of Music stimulated his later exposure to electric guitar and, inevitably, his interest in the electric bass. He studied the contrabass at the University of the Philippines College of Music from 1988 until 1992, then embarked on a professional musical career. His ability as a multi-genre bass player readily caught attention, notably in the pioneering Manila-based blues band, Lampano Alley, led by the Filipino blues singer and recording artist, Binky Lampano. This was followed by his tenure as bassist and composer with the award-winning Philippine jazz group, WDOUJI.

Simon Tan's influences range from rock to classical, blues and jazz. His influences as a bass instrumentalist include Roscoe Beck, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Charlie Haden, James Jamerson, Marcus Miller, Jaco Pastorius, and John Pattitucci. Notable (Filipino) musical (non-bass) influences include vocalist Binky Lampano and saxophonist Tots Tolentino."

-WikiVisually (

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"Christian Bucher (* 1969 in Zug ) is a Swiss drummer in the field of jazz and improvisational music .

From 1990 to 1997, Bucher studied musicology , art history and literature at the University of Bern, and from 1992 to 1997 he studied music at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Zurich (jazz music with Kevin Austin, Tony Renold, Peter Preibisch, diploma). He also attended workshops with Paul Lovens and Billy Cobham and studied with Pierre Favre , Willy Kotoun, Marcel Bernasconi and Andreas Hermann at the Lucerne Music College .

He then continued his post-graduate studies in free improvisation with Walter Fähndrich, Peter K. Frey and Christoph Baumann at the Lucerne Music College (2002-2003). Bucher also worked as a drummer teacher at the music school Horw , Emmen and at the teachers' seminar St. Michael Zug from 2000 to 2005.

Guido Egli and he wrote the music for the two documentary films of Stefan Jäger "From the Ground I Were a Man to Life" and "Steps against the Wind", which was shown on television and at film festivals. Bucher was a co-founder of Jazztrios Nevertheless and a member of the group of 9 artists .

Bucher works as a soloist and plays in duo with BUG, ​​in the duo Bucher / Fehlmann, in the duo ZurBucher and in the band Portobello; He is still involved in projects related to other art genres. As drummer and percussionist he gave solo concerts, partly in connection with painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, performance, architecture, literature, theater and dance.

He has played CDs and has recorded radio and TV recordings as well as festival performances, concert tours and performances, which take him to Australia, Bulgaria, China, Germany, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Slovenia, Spain. South Africa, the USA or Turkey."

-Wikipedia (translated by Google) (

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track listing:

1. Empathy 14:22

2. Temperance 5:48

3. Outside The Context 11:45

4. The Snowman 7:57

5. The Struggle For Relevance 10:06

6. Resilience 4:37

7. Gray Inside Blues 7:25
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Empathy is a title that sums up the logic of Rick Countryman , his philosophy of music. It is both the title of the album and its first piece. We find there the gift to the other and the gratitude to receive. It is a striking piece, starting with a song of intense lyricism, then leaving plenty of room for its partners, receiving from them bright, chiseled shards, before finding them with this mixture of osmosis and identity, each bringing its own flavor. The quality of the sound recording underlines this inaugural pleasure.

Temperance seems to me to be antiphrase. After a rather charming theme, the discourse reveals itself to be tortuous, in a stream with almost continuous inspiration, in the most beautiful tradition of free music. We find there the important space left to the infernal duo of bass-drums before the final merger.

It is that for Rick Countryman, his partners, it is essential. With him, you have the choice of drummer: Sabu Toyozumi or Christian Bucher . The first is a real living legend. The second has built a reputation for excellence among avant-garde drummers.

In this album, it is the latter who officiates with the sticks. He brought his bearings, his grapeshot, his gallops, his strikes which evoke memories, renew them and soon move away from them, and others still. He puts them together in real speeches. They double, sometimes mimic, become entangled, shake up that of the instrumentalist with whom he dialogues, or clear spaces. This is how in the third play, "Outside The Context", Christian Bucher immediately takes the line, then deploys with Rick Countryman then with Simon Tan (b) his incisive sentences, his fiery, almost epic tales. On this occasion, the bass player is revealed as a fearsome debater, tireless, expressing himself with strength, spread it out at his fingertips.

This bass-drums dialogue is also found in the next play, "The Snowman", this time on a slow, gently intimate rhythm, the caresses of the cymbals and the secrets of the bass.It is also this same dialogue that opens "The Struggle for the Relevance", dark, sober, joined by a viola with acute desperation. Lacerations to the bow, a chameleon battery melting into the other two speeches or tirelessly hammering the space. A great springboard for sensual, raucous, scratchy and poignant singing on the sax. Perhaps the piece that tickles our neurons the most.

This low-battery tandem is often at work for the opening of the different rooms, as if Rick Countryman wanted to take advantage of the beautiful complementarity of Simon Tan and Christian Bucher, either to install a soundscape in which his song can flourish, either to leave a large place for this "solo dialogue". And this alchemy works remarkably. This is how "Gray Inside Blues" brilliantly closes this particularly successful album.

The quality of the two drummers already mentioned and the numerous recordings with each of them allow Rick Countryman to be located in the profession and with certain columnists (see Wikipedia ). He acquired the reputation of a leading musician, even if he "went into exile" in Manila and is far from the concert circuits. We recognize him as a powerful and fluid lyricism, totally immersed in the adventure of the free he knows how to revive. He also seems to be more and more involved in the complexification of sound matters, of color iridescence. We can observe this trajectory between the first pieces, "Empathy" and "Temperance" with a large and powerful song, pieces that sometimes come close to the bop, its verve, its rhythms, and the last tracks with stratified granulations. Chance of album organization? Maybe, maybe not.

There is a joy to play which is released without hindrance, and an unmixed pleasure to find "brothers in crimes" with whom everything is possible."-Guy Sitruk, Citizen Jazz (translated by Google)

See also Bucher / Tan / Countryman Blue Spontaneity.
Get additional information at Citizen Jazz
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Asian Improvisation & Jazz
Trio Recordings
Collective Free Improvsation
New in Improvised Music

Other Releases With These Artists:
Recommended & Related Releases:
Various Artists: Lao Dan / Rick Countryman / Colin Webster
Saxophone Anatomy
(Armageddon Nova)
Other Recommended Releases:
Countryman, Rick / Christian Bucher
Countryman, Rick
The First Bird
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman
Misaki Castle Tower
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi / Countryman / Tan
Chasing the Sun
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan / Isla Antinero / Stella Ignacio
The Search for the Five Senses
(Sol Disk Records)
Toyozumi / Yandsen / Countryman
Future of Change
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi, Sabu / Simon Tan / Yong Yandsen / Rick Countryman
Bucher / Tan / Countryman
Blue Spontaneity
Toyozumi, Sabu / Simon Tan / Rick Countryman / Yong Yandsen
Voices Of The Spirit
(ChapChap Records)
Artefact Agency (Jeans / Luebber / Susnjar)
Artefact I, II And III
Toyozumi / Tan / Countryman
Turtle Bird
Carrier, Francois / Tomek Gadecki / Marcin Bozek / Michel Lambert
Toyozumi / Countryman / Tan
Chasing The Sun [VINYL]
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi / Countryman / Montes
Blue Incarnation (Improvisations for Kulintang)
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman
Sol Abstraction
(Sol Disk Records)
Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan
Preludes And Prepositions
(ChapChap Records)
Bucher / Countryman (w/ Simon Tan / Isla Antinero)
Extremely Live in Manila
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan
The Center of Contradiction
(ChapChap Records)
Toyozumi, Sabu / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan / Stella Ignacio / Isla Antinero
(Self Released)
Bucher / Countryman
(Self Released)
Bucher / Tan / Countryman
(Self Released)
Dunmall, Paul / Percy Pursglove / Tony Orrell
Nothing in Stone
Gjerstad, Frode Trio (w/ Paal Nilssen-Love / Jon Rune Strom)

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