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Black, Jim Trio (w/ Elias Stemseder / Thomas Morgan): Reckon (Intakt)

Making complex rhythms comprehendible, drummer Jim Black and his trio with Thomas Morgan on bass and pianist Elias Stemeseder, present their 4th album, with 11 original compositions by the leader recorded in the studio in Switzerland, reckoning unusual pulses with swinging rhythms over which all three improvise with free and lyrical mastery for brilliant results.

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product information:

UPC: 7640120193348

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: INT334
Squidco Product Code: 28488

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Hardstudios, in Winterthur, Switzerland, on January 15th and 16th, 2019, by Michael Brandli.


Jim Black-drums

Thomas Morgan-bass

Elias Stemeseder-piano

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Artist Biographies:

Jim Black is at the forefront of a new generation of musicians bringing jazz into the 21st century. In addition to being one of the most influential drummers of our time, he is also the leader of one of the world's most forward-thinking bands, AlasNoAxis, featuring his longtime collaborators Chris Speed, Hilmar Jensson and Skúli Sverrisson. Based on the foundation of his virtuosic but highly personal approach to jazz drumming, Black's aesthetic has expanded to include Balkan rhythms, rock songcraft and laptop soundscapes. Though he is revered worldwide for his limitless technique and futuristic concepts, what many listeners treasure in most Jim Black's work is the relentless feeling of joy and invention he brings to his performances. Jim Black's smiling, kinetic, unpredictable presence has enthralled and inspired audiences worldwide for over twenty-five years.

Since the mid-90's, Black has played a major role in the incorporation of new sounds and techniques into the jazz/creative music context. As a member of the collective group Pachora (with Speed, Sverrisson, and guitarist Brad Shepik) Black was one of the leaders in the study and adaptation of Balkan music into jazz-based music. His advanced techniques abstracted the odd time signatures of the Balkans into a new polyrhythmic language equally informed by modern jazz, drum&bass and the dumbeks of the Balkans. Black has also been an innovator in the use of electronics in improvisation, bridging the gap between electro-acoustic improv and more jazz-based traditions. Today, Black's performances are just as likely to feature his laptop-based electronic textures as his drumming.

Born in 1967, Jim Black grew up in Seattle alongside future colleagues Chris Speed, Andrew D'Angelo and Cuong Vu. After cementing their personal and artistic relationships in Seattle's various youth jazz ensembles, in 1985 they moved to Boston, where Black entered the Berklee School of Music. In Boston, Black, Speed and D'Angelo formed Human Feel with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, which rapidly attracted the attention of the jazz cognoscenti in Boston, New York and beyond.

By 1991, Black and the other members of Human Feel had moved to New York City, where they electrified the Downtown music scene then centered around the Knitting Factory and rapidly became among the city's busiest sidemen. Black's early years in New York saw him take featured roles in some of the most critically acclaimed bands of the time, like Tim Berne's Bloodcount, Ellery Eskelin's trio, and Dave Douglas's Tiny Bell Trio. Thus began fifteen years of near-constant touring and recording, with the above bands as well as artists like Uri Caine, Dave Liebman, Nels Cline, Steve Coleman, Tomasz Stanko, and Laurie Anderson.

-Jim Black Website (

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"Thomas Morgan (born 14 August 1981 in Hayward, California) is an American jazz musician (upright bass, cello) in contemporary jazz.

Morgan began playing the cello 7 years of age, before switching to upright-bass at 14. In 2003 he received his bachelor's degree in Music from the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Harvie Swartz and Garry Diall. He also took lessons with Ray Brown and Peter Herbert. Morgan worked with David Binney, Steve Coleman, Joey Baron, Josh Roseman, Brad Shepik, Steve Cardenas, Timućin ahin, Kenny Wollesen, Gerald Cleaver, Adam Rogers and Kenny Werner throughout his career. He is also cooperating with Jakob Bro, Dan Tepfer, Jim Black, John Abercrombie, Masabumi Kikuchi and the Sylvie Courvoisier-Mark Feldman Quartet. Morgan lead his own trio."

-Wikipedia (

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"Elias Stemeseder: Born in Salzburg, Austria in 1990, Elias lived in Berlin from 2010 and moved to New York in 2015. Besides his main instrument, the acoustic piano, he also plays synthesizers. He performs in a variety of musical idioms ranging from the song-oriented music of Jim Black's trio to contemporary classical pieces by John Zorn to the electric music of Eyebone.

Current projects include collaborations with John Zorn (John Zorn's Bagatelles), the Greg Cohen Quintet, Philipp Gropper's "Philm", Jim Black's "Malamute" Anna Webber's "Percussive Mechanics", Robert Landfermann Quintet and "OTIS+WEDDING".

Elias Stemeseder has performed solo concerts at the Nuoro Jazz Festival (IT), Haus Der Berliner Festspiele (DE), 12points Festival Dublin (IRL) and Südtirol Jazzfestival (IT). He leads a Berlin - based quartet with Eldar Tsalikov, Igor Spallati and Ugo Alunni and co-leads the bands Jagged Spheres (with Anna Webber and Devin Gray) and Eyebone (with Nels Cline and Jim Black).

Since 2008 Elias has been working extensively with the American drummer Jim Black. The Jim Black trio (with Thomas Morgan on double bass) has released the critically acclaimed recordings Somatic and Actuality on the German label Winter&Winter Recordings and The Constant on the Swiss label Intakt Records. In 2013, Elias formed the collective trio "Eyebone" with Jim Black and guitarist Nels Cline, in which he plays the Wurlitzer piano and bass synthesizers.

Elias has received scholarships and grants from SKE/austro mechana and BKA Österreich Kunst und Kultur."

-Elias Stemeseder Website (

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track listing:

1. Astrono Said So 5:42

2. Tripped Overhue 5:22

3. Tighter Whined 2:10

4. Spooty And Snofer 5:19

5. Very Query 4:27

6. Focus On Tomorrow 2:39

7. Next Razor World 3:43

8. Neural Holiday 3:37

9. Dancy Clear Ends 5:03

10. What You Are Made From 2:57

11. This One And This Too 6:13
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The Chicago Reader describes the Jim Black Trio with Thomas Morgan and Elias Stemeseder "one of the best bands in Jim Black's busy career". In the HardStudios Winterthur the trio recorded this new album over two days. It is their fourth album as a trio and their second release on Intakt Records. Drummer Jim Black has one of the most immediately recognizable styles in Jazz -- his wonderful unhinged playing bears the mark of the rock backbeat, but he adds a clanking disruptive quality that forces his collaborators to sharpen their reflexes.

"They find their own space", writes Kevin Whitehead in the liner notes. "Stemeseder is an original. It's not that he never backstops a right-hand melody with left-hand chords - he just does it less than most jazz pianists. He can feather the pedals or get stabby percussive, but never over-plays. The space he leaves around the piano's sound is an invitation: he creates room. Like Stemeseder, Thomas Morgan has the confidence to do nothing where another accompanist might fill all the holes. His bass tone is ringing and clear, his attack has propulsive bite, and his lines sing. He provides a through-line when the other guys fracture."-Intakt

"This was an album that takes the standard piano trio format and really runs with it. With Jim Black on drums, Thomas Morgan on bass and Elias Stemeseder on piano, their imagination is really the limit. Recorded quickly over the course of two days, it's clear that the band was inspired by the company and the content and it shows in the results. "Astrono Said So" features nimble, intricate bass and drums, where the piano enters gradually, building a close knit three way conversation, and develops a ever faster flow. The music becomes quite open and free sounding with thick elastic bass yoking the propulsive drumming and piano playing, becoming slightly frayed at the end, and returning to the original opening. Spare and subdued, "Tripped Overhue" offers music that floats with a gentle melodic sensibility, becoming gradually more forceful as the performance develops, waxing and waning with snappy bass playing, drumming and fluid keyboard playing. "Tighter Whined" has expressive drumming and bass playing in a very forceful manner with piano chords adding to the urgency of the piece. The sound builds from darkness into differing shades, flashing fast and exciting like an experimental black and white film. Gliding gracefully at midtempo, "Spooty And Snofer" works interesting tones with bass and piano notes falling like droplets from the sky, and an industrial, motorik beat underneath. This has the feel of a Bad Plus performance from when Ethan Iverson was in the band, eventually moving to a fine bass feature leading to a graceful conclusion. "Next Razor World" guides a crisp slapping beat against playing from inside the piano. Large bass notes frame this unusual and strange sound, very free and experimental, with strumming inside the piano building an almost West African sound then moving back to the traditional keyboard. Space, bass and inside playing are hallmarks of "Dancy Clear Ends" which suddenly flashes into light with a fast paced trio improvisation, where short cymbal crashes accent the fluid piano playing and bass pulses. The music becomes freer but still hurtles ahead leading to another excellent bass solo, and finale. "This One And This Too" uses slow motion sounds, picking and playing the piano dexterously, giving the music a much wider sonic palette, then darting around excitedly over a backdrop of solid bass and encouraging drums. There is a wildly exciting group improvisation takes them into the outer limits and back just as quickly, bringing them to the end of an album that was both engagingly accessible and courageous in its atmospheric experimentation."-Tim Niland, Jazz and Blues Blogspot

Get additional information at Jazz and Blues Blogspot
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