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Threadbare (Jason Stein / Ben Cruz / Emerson Hunton): Silver Dollar (NoBusiness)

The Chicago trio of Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Ben Cruz on guitar, and Emerson Hunton on drums perform compositions from Cruz & Hunton, informed works of free improvisation that blend style and approach from textural beauty to avant aggressive fury, controlled in quick pivots or enticing in brooding atmospheres, a well-balanced and thoroughly engaging album.

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product information:

Label: NoBusiness
Catalog ID: NBCD 127
Squidco Product Code: 29298

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: Lithuania
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at Electrical Audio in Chicago, Illinois, on February 24th, 2019, by Scott Steinman.


Jason Stein-bass clarinet

Ben Cruz-guitar

Emerson Hunton-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Jason Stein was born in 1976 and is originally from Long Island, New York. Stein is one of the few musicians working today to focus entirely on the bass clarinet as a jazz and improvisational instrument. He studied at Bennington College with Charles Gayle and Milford Graves, and at the University of Michigan with Donald Walden and Ed Sarath. In 2005, Stein relocated to Chicago and has since recorded for such labels as Leo, Delmark, Atavistic, 482 Music and Clean Feed. Stein has performed throughout the US and Europe, including performances in festivals in Lisbon, Cracow, Utrecht, Barcelona, Debreccen and Ljubljana. He has had the opportunity to perform with a number of exciting local and international musicians including: Michael Moore, Jeff Parker, Oscar Noriega, Rudi Mahall, Ken Vandermark, Rob Mazurek, Jeb Bishop, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten, Urs Leimgruber, Pandelis Karayorgis, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Tony Buck, Eric Boren, Kent Kessler, Tobias Delius, Michael Zerang, Michael Vatcher, Peter Brotzman, and Wilbert DeJoode."

-Jason Stein Website (

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"Ben Cruz is a guitarist, composer, and educator based in Chicago, IL. His music draws from a variety of traditions, combining forward-thinking composition with an emphasis on improvisation. Ben began playing guitar at the age of twelve, and studied jazz and improvisation from New York City-based guitarist Vic Juris. Ben went on study history and jazz performance at Oberlin College and Conservatory, where he was mentored by Bobby Ferrazza, Dan Wall, Jamey Haddad, Jay Ashby, Paul Samuels, Billy Hart, and Brian Alegant. Ben has performed with Gerald Clayton, Billy Drewes, Phil Markowitz, Billy Childs, Vijay Iyer, Anat Cohen, Dominick Farinacci, and Petros Klampanis, among others."

-Virtu.Academy (

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"Emerson Hunton is a drummer and composer based in Chicago, IL. His musical approach prizes space and texture, while pulling from a wide array of musical traditions. His creative output has been supported by grants and residencies through STEIM, Conservatory van Amsterdam, the CIGSIE board, and Avaloch Farm Music Institute.

Emerson has performed nationally and internationally with collaborative jazz quartet Junior Ranger, an ensemble that challenges its members to rethink the boundaries of orchestration and instrumentation, compositional structures, and free improvisation. Junior Ranger recorded and released their debut recording Monster Masks in 2015.

Emerson grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music. At Oberlin, he studied with master drummer Billy Hart, and made music with Ingrid Jensen, Gerald Clayton, Jonathan Blake, Abraham Laboriel Sr., Billy Drewes, Dave Douglas, Gonzalo Grau, and Jamey Haddad, among others.

Emerson also works as a Modern Dance Accompanist at the Hyde Park School of Dance, Photographer/Digitization Technician at the Newberry Library, and Music Program Manager at Comfort Station Logan Square."

-Emerson Hunton Website (

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track listing:

1. And When Circumstances Arise 6:16

2. Threadbare 02 8:49

3. 70 Degrees And Counting Down 5:03

4. 24 Mesh Veils 4:58

5. Funny Thing Is 3:56

6. Threadbare 7:19

7. Silver Dollar 6:29

8. Untitled 8:00
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Wobbling like a drunk private eye in a thirties who dunnit, "And When the Situation Arises," the opening salutation of the unflinching Threadbare, rapidly transforms into a free jazz car chase where sodden hero and combatant bounce off light pole and guard rail, skidding towards cliffs with no regard for life, limb or the listener's expectations.

It's a brazen launch to an album bristling with an increasingly anxious assurance. Alloying heavy metal with Ornette Coleman's inspired predetermination to see how things fly when untethered from such minutiae as charts and harmonics, inquisitive Chicagoans Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Ben Cruzplaying guitar, and drummer Emerson Hunton pitch from one mind-bending highpoint to another with a barely controlled bash and frenzy. Yet given the unglued, apprehensive times in which we find ourselves listening, the three posit a restive challenge to again venture beyond our four walls. If not in body, then in mind and spirit.

It's sheer fun paying attention to Silver Dollar, (the attribute the trio has christened themselves) as they reach for the sky and pull down whatever we've thrown up there and re-purpose it with wild abandon. A generous cluster of noise and sure direction, Threadbare's eight careening tracks, either composed by Cruz, Hunton, or a combination of the two, pivot and punch, swagger, swell and propel ever forward. It might sound like Stein and Cruz are often at loggerheads (leaving Hunton as referee) and maybe they are and maybe they aren't. That's the undeniable thrill of Threadbare. That's why you're pulled into the trio's stirring, volatile vortex holding on to the riotous, righteous clamor."-Mike Jurkovic, All About Jazz

Get additional information at All About Jazz
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Trio Recordings
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