The third solo saxophone record from Brooklyn improviser Josh Sinton, and his first recorded solely on the baritone saxophone, an instrument for which Sinton explains he has dedicated half his life, heard in this remarkably diverse set on the lower horn that he approaches lyrically, technically, emotionally and with startling singularity.
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Label: FiP recordings
Catalog ID: fpcd2
Squidco Product Code: 31330
Recorded at Octaven Studio, in Mount Vernon, New York, on June 22nd, 2021, by Ryan Streber.
Josh Sinton-baritone saxophone
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• Show Bio for Josh Sinton
"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 (http://joshsinton.com/about/)
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1. b.1.i 4:01
2. b.1.ii 2:58
3. b.1.iiI 9:33
4. b.1.iv 4:50
5. b.2.i 7:02
6. b.2.ii 3:36
7. b.2.iii 4:17
8. b.2.iv 4:10
9. b.2.v 5:36
sample the album:
"This is my first solo saxophone record. I've made two other solo albums, but this is the first that I've played entirely on the baritone saxophone, the instrument I've devoted half of my life to.
There are *a lot* of solo saxophone albums in the world now. Anthony Braxton pioneered the document, but it has been tackled by luminaries like... [N.B. Here I started writing a "short" list of saxophonists who have recorded solo, but once the list reached 15 artists and showed no signs of stopping, I decided it'd be best to just trail off] So, while I've wanted to make this album for about 30 years, I just didn't see a justification for it. I couldn't hear what I could offer to the public square that wasn't already available.
I'm happy to make this gift now. Each of the tracks are quite different and distinct from each other and that was important to me. I can't hear why you'd record something a 2nd time if you said as much as you're going to the 1st. Each track was culled from 3+ hours of constructively improvised playing I did one afternoon at Oktaven Studio. These are the moments, the pieces, the disquisitions that best captured my thought/emotion process as they were made. Just because something felt good in the moment doesn't mean it sounds particularly memorable in the future. So I edited as severely as I could.
It's taken a minute for me to learn how to properly use the baritone saxophone for what it was intended: a tool of creative expression. I had to learn specifically *what* I wanted to articulate as well as learning *how* best to do this. I really hope you find things of value in these musical soundings. Regardless, thank you for giving this album your time. It means a lot to me."-Josh Sinton, Brooklyn
"[...] b. , is remarkable for its soulfulness as well as its intellectual rigor. From the barked gestures of "b.1.i" that open the record to the lyrical crooning of "b.1.iv," it is clear that Sinton does not shy from emotional exposition. At the same time, the crystalline structures of "b.2.iv" and the constructivist architecture of "b.1.ii" speak to the long hours spent closely studying not only music, but also painting, science and literature. "When I was nineteen, I made a very conscious decision to commit myself to a life in music. Even back then I knew this was going to obligate me to try to manifest every part of my life in a musical format. Given that some of my life was very intellectual and some of it very emotional, some of it very angry and some of it very laconic, my music was going to cover a lot of ground. Of course, being nineteen I didn't realize just how long it was going to take me to acquire the technical facility and listening experience this kind of proposition demanded."
On first listening, b. gives the impression of being a known quantity: a series of free-form improvisations executed on the seemingly unsubtle baritone saxophone. That impression quickly dissipates the longer one listens. Although everything is played with enormous intensity, one can't help but notice the unhurried quality of Sinton's playing, the inevitability of each successive gesture and phrase. As well, the broad range of timbres, dynamics and musical subjects is something rarely heard in a solo recital. But the most surprising element of Sinton's solo saxophone music is what he doesn't play, the silence he strategically and frequently employs. "The baritone saxophone has always struck me as the most self-sufficient of all the saxophones. It has the kind of timbral palette that is so complete that I often don't need to hear anything next to it. And while that's wonderful, it means I've also had to wrestle with the fact that it often takes my ear a little longer to register the baritone's activity. If there's too much happening around it, if I'm playing too loudly too constantly, it makes it very hard for me to make sense of what I've heard. I've found that by making a sound and then making a silence, I have time and space to let my brain process the music."
Silence as a fundamental structural unit in Sinton's music shows up throughout the course of b. Most tellingly in "b.2.iii." While the specific technique he's using is an old one (found not only in the music Pharoah Sanders and Dewey Redman, but also Big Jay McNeeley and Ben Webster), he deploys it in a radically different way. Alternating between slabs of sound and dramatically silent moments, Sinton builds to an emotional crescendo that's as much about his love about the blues as it is his commitment to the implications of his opening gestures. "Charles Olson is a favorite poet of mine and he wrote a hugely influential essay called Projective Verse in 1950. He discusses writing poetry as an act of venturing into an 'open field' and the form of a poem being an extension of its content. This immediately struck me as a very practical approach to both improvising and making music generally. It helped me hear the commonalities of artists like Cecil Taylor, John Butcher, Keith Jarrett and Julius Hemphill."
And it is perhaps this aspect of b. that is its most unique feature: a commitment to musical form. Whether that form is the interplay of distinct musical objects in "b.2.ii" or the extended meditation on blues-based phrases in the epic "b.1.iii," Josh Sinton's improvisations are indeed "composed" as he indicates in the album credits. b. represents another sonic manifestation of Sinton's philosophy that the difference between improvisation and composition is one of methods used rather than in sounds heard."-grzech, GPoint-Audio
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