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What Happens In A Year (Sinton / Neufeld / Merega): Ceremonie / Musique (FiP recordings)

The 1st release of NY baritone saxophonist & bass clarinetist Josh Sinton's FiP label (Form is Possibility) is the debut of the "What Happens in a Year" trio with Todd Neufeld on electric guitar and Giacomo Merega on electric bass, an album of free collective improvisation fueled by a patiently ethereal and authoritative ethic through subtle dialog of tone, texture and pulse.

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product information:

Label: FiP recordings
Catalog ID: cpcd01
Squidco Product Code: 29515

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2020
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Oktaven Studio, in Mt Vernon, New York, on July 21st, 2018, by Ryan Streber.


Josh Sinton-baritone saxophone, bass clarinet

Todd Neufeld-electric guitar

Giacomo Merega-electric bass

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Artist Biographies:

"Josh Sinton, a native of Southern New Jersey, born in 1971, is a creative musician who specializes in playing the baritone saxophone and bass clarinet. Growing up, his musical inspirations were his father's record collection, his brothers' record collections and watching his father play stride piano at parties. There wasn't anyone else playing music so to this day Sinton remains mystified that the music bug stuck at all.

He studied composition at the University of Chicago and improvisation at the AACM in the 1990's and then proceeded to carve out a niche for himself in Chicago writing and performing music for dance (with Julia Mayer) and theater (at Steppenwolf Studio and Bailiwick Repertory) as well as performing and studying with local musicians such as Fred Anderson, Ken Vandermark, Ari Brown and Cameron Pfiffner. He would leave Chicago during this time for extended backpacking trips around Europe and India and found a lot of useful information for his later work.

Determined to overcome his technical shortcomings, he gave all this up and moved to Boston in 1999 to resume studies at the New England Conservatory. He spent five years in Boston and met, played and studied with a variety of folks including Steve Lacy, Ran Blake, Dominique Eade, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, Jim Hobbs and the Either Orchestra. Despite their encouragement, Sinton was overjoyed when he got to leave Boston in 2004.

Since then, Sinton has lived in Brooklyn, New York. He's been fortunate enough to be a long-standing member of Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, the Nate Wooley Quintet, the Andrew D'Angelo DNA Orchestra and Anthony Braxton's Tricentric Orchestra. With these groups he's travelled to several countries in Europe and South America as well as played many festivals (Moers, Newport, BMW, Bergamo, Tampere Jazz Happening, etc.). Sinton is proud of the collaborators he's been able to work with (Kirk Knuffke, Tomas Fujiwara, Chad Taylor, Mary Halvorson, Ingrid Laubrock, Jeremiah Cymerman, Josh Roseman, Harris Eisenstadt, Roswell Rudd, James Fei, Denman Maroney, Han-Earl Park, Greg Tate, Curtis Hasselbring, Mike Pride, Jon Irabagon) but the list of people he still hopes to play with is vast.

As a long-standing member of the Douglass Street Music Collective, Josh Sinton has hosted hundreds of concerts over the past 7 years Brooklyn. His work has been recognized by Downbeat (Critics' and Readers' Poll), Jazz Times (Critics' Poll) and El Intruso (International Critics' Poll) and has been discussed in The Wire, Signal to Noise, Point of Departure, the New York Times and the New York City Jazz Record.

Sinton defines himself as a "creative musician" rather than a jazz musician and has done so since 2011. His reasons for this are varied and personal, but some of them are outlined here and here. Suffice to say, friendly listeners can label him what they will. Sinton will just continue creating sounds with the goal of wasting nobody's time.

Currently Sinton leads the band Ideal Bread as well playing regularly with the Nate Wooley Quintet and the Tricentric Orchestra. He is busy writing new music for himself and his collaborators as well as contributing essays to the websites of Darcy James Argue, Ethan Iverson's Do The Math, Destination: Out and Sound American."

-Josh Sinton Website (

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"Todd Neufeld is an electric and acoustic guitarist, born August 5th, 1981 in Huntington, NY.

Todd has performed and/or recorded as a member of the Lee Konitz Quartet,Masabumi Kikuchi's TPT Trio, Tyshawn Sorey's Koan, Oblique and other ensembles, Gerald Cleaver's NiMbNl,Dan Weiss Group, Tony Malaby Group, Samuel Blaser Quartet, Michael Adkins Quintet, Aaron Parks Quintet, Richie Barshay's RB3,Alexandra Grimal Quartet, Thomas Morgan Quartet, Rema Hasumi's UTAZATA band, Flin VanHemmen trio, Sergio Krakowski Trio, Vitor Goncavles quartet, Raphael Malfliet Trio and many others. He has performed at various venues, concert halls and festivals across New York, the United States,Canada, Europe and Japan.

In 2015 Todd co-founded, with Rema Hasumi, Ruweh Records. For the label Todd has produced four albums to date.On September 25th, 2017 Todd released his debut album as a leader, "Mu'U" on Ruweh Records. The album featuresa unique and special two-drummer band of Tyshawn Sorey, Billy Mintz, with Thomas Morgan on bass and Rema Hasumu on vocals.The band explores a set of Neufeld originals and improvisations in a highly sensitive and dynamic exploration.

Todd attended New York University in 1999, where he studied both English Literature and Music.It was at NYU that Todd began his study of classical composition and counterpoint.Throughout this and other periods Todd has benefited greatly from the private teachings ofJohn Quara, Joe Giglio, Chris Jentsch, Vanderlei Pereira, Bruce Arnold, Tony Moreno and Jeff Slatnick.

Aside from performing, Todd teaches guitar and music to students in the New York area.Todd currently resides in Brooklyn, NY."

-Todd Neufeld Website (

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Giacomo Merega is an Italian electric bassist known for the groups Dollshot, Noah Kaplan Quartet, Trio (Mit) Marlene.

-Discogs (

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track listing:

1. La Politique Des Auteurs 6:34

2. Algernon 5:52

3. Change Of Scene 6:51

4. Sleepwalk Disgest 5:30

5. Untethered 8:40

6. Netherland 8:13

7. Music From A Locked Room 8:20

sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"I hear the freedom of making a chamber sound-object, something that breathes well in a small, closed space. More than a sculpture, I'm thinking of those early twentieth-century paintings that incorporate three-dimensional collages. Images that look naïve exactly because of their freedom, but they occupy their space so perfectly." - Giacomo Merega describing cérémonie/musique.

cérémonie/musique is the utterly unique expression of idiosyncratic multi-instrumentalist, composer and audio conceptualist Josh Sinton and his collaborative trio What Happens in a Year featuring Sinton on baritone saxophone and bass clarinet, guitarist Todd Neufeld, and electric bassist Giacomo Merega. The band's debut recording represents a seemingly radical but absolutely organic "next-step" in Sinton's artistic development. Due out October 9, 2020 via FiP Recordings, cérémonie/musique is a daringly spacious and crepuscular album filled with coherent improvisations reflective of the trio's longstanding musical relationship. The recording is also the inaugural release of Sinton's new record label FiP, an acronym for "form is possibility."

The conceptual idea behind Sinton's trio involved of making music that was a.) quiet, b.) spacious and c.) executed at fast tempos. "Originally, my thought was to get the three of us together to improvise and record it. Then I'd go home with the field recording and turn it into compositions," says Sinton. After their very first meeting, it was clear that the spontaneous improvisations, with their mysterious, enticing musical expression, made formal, pre-written compositions superfluous. After several years of investigative playing, the trio entered Oktaven Studio and, with the help of engineers Ryan Streber and Luis Bacque, produced a document of lushly alternating textures. Phrases begin and end with musical ellipsis, one player poses an obscure question while the next answers with a terse rhyme, and it all melts away into an enigmatical mist.

In addition to being the debut album of What Happens in a Year, and the inaugural release for FiP Records, cérémonie/musique marks a first for Sinton in other ways. "I've always viewed composition and improvisation as nearly identical creative activities, although the results of each can often be confused. Given the vast quantity of free-form-based recordings, there's no question that it is a musical category with a history, a context and recognizable styles. I just assumed that when I started my musical training, that making a recording of free-form improvisations was as valid and unsurprising as an album of my own compositions, or a recording of Steve Lacy's music, or an interpretation of David Lang's 'press release.'"

Yet, I've never recorded a group that only executed free-form improvisations. The closest I came was my album anomonous with Denman Maroney and Ben Miller, but that was made for a friend's short film, so even that had an extra-musical impetus. Here it's just the three of us getting together and 'starting from zero,' so to speak."

The results are a clear focalization on implications generated by Sinton's earlier work. From the hushed ethereality of 'algernon' to the rapid mumblings of 'sleepwalk digest' to the disturbing lilt of 'untethered,' the music of What Happens in a Year once again displays Sinton's interest in dynamics, pulse and a broad intervallic language.

The title of the album came from guitarist Todd Neufeld when he thought about, "three guys slogging out through these days of teaching, work, fatherhood, marriage and having this kind of musical ceremony when they met each week to make new music." According to bassist Merega, "A ceremony is a ritual and if I didn't have rituals, I'd be like a chihuahua in a jungle, I wouldn't last a day. Among those rituals are making espresso, having breakfast with my daughter, and improvising with Todd and Josh."

Josh Sinton is an award-winning baritone saxophonist, bass clarinetist, flutist and composer. He was named "Rising Star" in the baritone saxophone category of Downbeat's 2020 Critics' Poll. He has been the leader of numerous groups including Predicate Trio, musicianer and Ideal Bread and has been an important voice in the decades-long creative music renaissance of Brooklyn, New York. He has worked with artists including Anthony Braxton, Tom Rainey, Nate Wooley, Ingrid Laubrock, Roswell Rudd, Kip Hanrahan, Darcy James Argue and Andrew D'Angelo.

Todd Neufeld is an electric and acoustic guitarist, born August 5, 1981 in Huntington, NY and based in Brooklyn, NY. He has performed and/or recorded as a member of the Lee Konitz Quartet, Masabumi Kikuchi's TPT Trio, Tyshawn Sorey's Koan, Oblique and other of his ensembles, Gerald Cleaver's NiMbNl, Dan Weiss Group, Tony Malaby Group, Samuel Blaser Quartet, Michael Adkins Quintet, Aaron Parks Quintet, Richie Barshay's RB3, Alexandra Grimal Quartet, Thomas Morgan Quartet, Rema Hasumi's UTAZATA band, Flin van Hemmen trio, Sergio Krakowski Trio, Vitor Goncavles quartet, Raphael Malfliet Trio and many others. He has performed at venues, concert halls and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan.

Italian virtuoso bass guitarist, improviser and composer Giacomo Merega has been an original figure in the New York improv/new music scene for over a decade. Giacomo's recordings as a leader and/or sideman have been written about and aired on radio stations in a dozen countries and have won critical awards in the US, Italy, France and Canada. His work has been released by Hat Hut, Not Two, American Clave, Underwolf and Rudi Records and he has performed with acclaimed musicians such as Joe Morris, Anthony Coleman, Steve Swallow, Kip Hanrahan, Nate Wooley, Tyshawn Sorey, David Tronzo, Brandon Ross, Satoshi Takeishi, Dana Colley, Noah Kaplan and Mat Maneri among many others.

This album marks the first release on Josh Sinton's Form is Possibility Recordings (FiP), an outlet exclusively devoted to recordings of his work. "I'm starting a label in order to sidestep the ever-present challenge of getting someone else interested enough in my work to put their imprimatur on it. I like my records and I would like to give other folks the opportunity to give my voice and my art a listen." Releases will arrive approximately once a year and will come in the form of digital download and limited runs of physical media (for now compact disc) with original cover art by TJ Huff. They will be well-recorded, multi-sectioned, carefully considered works of sonic art that document Sinton's ever-growing body of heterogenous and self-generated-idiomatic work. "These albums will be more like a self-contained book or movie in that they will dictate their own rules of engagement. Their one unifying factor will be my presence."

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Trio Recordings
Collective Free Improvsation
New in Improvised Music

Search for other titles on the label:
FiP recordings.

Other Releases With These Artists:
Recommended & Related Releases:
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