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WeFreeStrings (Burnham / Laster / Waterman / Filiano): Love in the Form of Sacred Outrage (ESP)

Formed in 2011, this 2nd album from WeFreeStrings led by violist and composer Meland Dyer is at its core the trio of Dyer, violinist Gwen Laster and bassist Ken Filiano, expanded on two of the four pieces with cellist Alex Waterman, violinist Charles Burnham and drummer Michael Wimberly, in an impressive collection of exquisite string interactions influenced by social issues.
 

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product information:


UPC: 825481507325

Label: ESP
Catalog ID: ESPDISK 5073CD
Squidco Product Code: 31784

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2022
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Scholes Street Studio, in Brooklyn, New York, on June 22nd and 23rd, 2021, by Rene Pierre Allain.


Personnel:

Melanie Dyer-viola, composer

Charles Burnham-violin

Gwen Laster-violin

Alex Waterman-cello

Ken Filiano-bass

Michael Wimberly-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Melanie Dyer performs and composes in creative, improvised and through-composed music spheres. She trained with William Lincer (Principal Violist, New York Philharmonic), Lee Yeingst (Principal Violist, Colorado Symphony Orchestra), John Jake Kella (NY Metropolitan Opera) and Naomi Fellows (Colorado Symphony Orchestra); and studied viola performance at the LaMont School of Music/University of Denver.

Melanie founded WeFreeStrings, an improvising string/rhythm collective rooted in improvised music in 2011. ​From 2004 - 2013, under her Bb Universe banner and in collaboration with the multi-generational, multi-ethnic Scientific Soul Sessions collective, Melanie's Harlem home became the scene of underground public performances by WeFreeStrings and other large and small music ensembles. Bb Universe hosted open rehearsals and performances, recordings, lectures, one-act plays and films including presentations by recognized indigenous activists Toaksin Ghosthorse, a performance of Robbie McCauley's Sally's Rape and a screening of John Douglas' documentary, Grenada: The Future Coming Towards Us. These monthly and semi-monthly events brought cultural luminaries, emerging artists, social and environmental activists, working and under-employed people together. Open dialogues, emphasizing individuals as agents of change, were central to Bb Universe and Scientific Soul Sessions.​Melanie currently performs with the Sun Ra Arkestra, Heroes Are Gang Leaders, Gwen Laster's New Muse 4tet, William Parker, Tomeka Reid Stringtet, Patricia Nicholson's Women w an Axe to Grind. She's played and/or recorded with Henry Grimes, Nona Hendryx, Joe Bonner, Reggie Workman, Howard Johnson, and a many other notable musicians in Europe, South Africa and across the U.S.

Recordings include WeFreeStrings Fulfillment (Indepstrings, 2018), David Haney's Birth of a City (2019), Come Sunday (T. Cumberbatch, 2015); Fred Ho & Quincy Saul Present the Music of Cal Massey: A Tribute (2011); Live at St Nick's Pub, Salim Washington & Donald Smith Ensemble, Cadence Records (2007); With Strings, Salim Washington & The Harlem Arts Ensemble, CIMP Records (2007); Harlem Homecoming, Salim Washington & The Harlem Arts Ensemble, UJam Records (2005), and others. WeFreeStrings has received project support from New Music USA, Chamber Music America, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, and individual donors."

-Arts for Art (https://www.artsforart.org/blog/melanie-dyer-artist-profile)
8/8/2022

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"Charles Burnham (born 1950; also known as Charlie Burnham) is an American violinist and composer. He has a unique highly imaginative style that crosses genres, including bluegrass, delta punk, free jazz, blues, classical and chamber jazz. He often performs with a wah-wah pedal. He initially became renowned for his work on James "Blood" Ulmer's Odyssey album. The musicians on that album later performed and recorded as Odyssey the Band, sometimes known as The Odyssey Band. He was also a member of the String Trio of New York, and currently plays in the 52nd Street Blues Project, Hidden City, We Free StRings, Improvising Chamber Ensemble and the Kropotkins.

He has played on recordings by Living Colour, Susie Ibarra, Cassandra Wilson, Steven Bernstein, Queen Esther, Peter Apfelbaum, Henry Threadgill, Ted Daniel, Medeski Martin & Wood, The Woes, Hem, Elysian Fields, Adam Rudolph, Jonah Smith, The Heavy Circles, Mario Pavone, Joan As Police Woman, Rick Moranis, Doug Wamble, Steve Swell, John Zorn, Rufus Wainwright, Gabrielle Roth, Robert Musso, Jai Uttal, Soul Syndicate, Bobby Paunetto, Krishna Das, Sasha Dobson, Kenny Wollesen, Kato Hideki, Norah Jones, Billie Joe Armstrong, Emily Coates and Jason Kao Hwang.

He played a musician in the film Junior. He played on the soundtracks for Northfork, Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man; and an episode of the Backyardigans."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Burnham_(musician))
8/8/2022

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"Gwen Laster is a nationally acclaimed musician who has been the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jubilation Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Arts Mid Hudson, Lila Wallace and the Cognac Hennessey 1st place Jazz Search. She's a native Detroiter whose creative influences come from the Motor City's exciting urban and classical music culture. Gwen started improvising and composing because of her parents love of jazz, blues, soul and classical music and her inspiring music teachers from Detroit's public schools.

​Laster relocated to NYC after earning two music degrees from the University of Michigan. She began collaborating, performing and recording with internationally-known creative and commercial artists including Anthony Braxton, Nona Hendryx, Aretha Franklin, Wadada Leo Smith, William Parker, Danny Elfman, Sun Ra Arkestra, Tyler, the Creator, Gladys Knight, Emeline Michel, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster, Alicia Keys, Rhianna, Shaggy, Andrew Baba Lamb, Natalie Cole, Solange, Mark Anthony, J Lo and Shakira at President Obama's Inaugural Neighborhood Ball."

-Gwen Laster Website (https://www.gwenlaster.com/)
8/8/2022

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"Alex Waterman is a composer, performer, producer, and scholar, exploring how social bodies can live and interact with one another in more musical ways. He has created a diverse body of works including sound installations, television operas, film and video works, exhibitions, amateur choral works, radio and film scores, and solo performances as a cellist, electronic musician and storyteller.

His installation works, films and music productions have been exhibited at the ICA London, Stonescape, Vilma Gold, The Kitchen, Miguel Abreu Gallery,Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, the Serpentine London, White Columns, the Swiss Institute, Kunstverein Amsterdam, The Rotterdam Film Festival, The Toronto Film Festival, CAC Bretigny, the Bonnefantenmuseum, the St. Louis Museum, and the Whitney Museum.

Alex Waterman and Robert Ashley were artists in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. He built a television studio and installation space inside the Whitney Museum and produced three operas by Ashley. In November 2017 he presented his first solo opera at the Donaueschingen Musiktage in Germany.

Waterman has taught at Bard College (MFA program), NYU, Bloomfield College, and the Banff Centre for the Arts. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University from 2015-18 and currently teaches at Ramapo College of New Jersey."

-Alex Waterman Website (https://www.alexwaterman.com/info)
8/8/2022

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"Ken Filiano performs throughout the world, playing and recording with leading artists in jazz, spontaneous improvisation, classical, world/ethnic, and interdisciplinary performance, fusing the rich traditions of the double bass with his own seemingly limitless inventiveness. Ken's solo bass CD, subvenire (NineWinds), received widespread critical praise. For this and numerous other recordings, Ken has been called a creative virtuoso, a master of technique ... a paradigm of that type of artist... who can play anything in any context and make it work, simply because he puts the music first and leaves peripheral considerations behind.

Ken composes for his quartet with Michael Attias, Tony Malaby, and Michael T.A. Thomspon; a collective with Attias and Tomas Ulrich; and for his decades-long collaborations with Steve Adams and Vinny Golia. His prolific output also includes performances and/or recordings with artists including Bonnie Barnett, Rob Blakeslee, Bobby Bradford, Taylor Ho Bynum, Roy Campbell, John Carter, Nels Cline, Alex Cline, Connie Crothers, Mark Dresser, Ted Dunbar, Marty Ehrlich, Giora Feidman, Bob Feldman, Eddie Gale, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, Dennis Gonzalez, Lou Grassi, Phil Haynes, Fred Hess, Jason Hwang, Joseph Jarman, Sheila Jordan (with the Aardvark Orchestra), Raul Juarena, Joe Labarbera, Joelle Leandre, Frank London, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Tina Marsh, Warne Marsh, Dom Minasi, Hafez Modirzadeh, Butch Morris, Barre Phillips, Don Preston, Herb Robertson, Bob Rodriguez, Roswell Rudd, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Ursel Schlicht, Paul Smoker, Chris Sullivan, Peeter Uuskyla, Fay Victor, Biggi Vinkeloe, Kenny Wessel, Andrea Wolper, Pablo Ziegler. With Tomas Ulrich, Elliott Sharp, and Carlos Zingaro, he is a member of T.E.C.K. String Quartet.

Ken has been a guest lecturer, performer, and workshop leader at institutions in the United States and Europe. He earned a MM from Rutgers University and is currently on faculty at Mansfield University."- All About Jazz

-Pi Recordings / All About Jazz (https://pirecordings.com/artist/Ken_Filiano)
8/8/2022

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"Michael Wimberly was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio during the civil rights era, surrounded by the toxic fumes of steel mills and buoyed by a sea of blue-collar workers. This is where Wimberly's early beginnings in soul, funk, rock, jazz, and classical music began. Beating rhythms on the hoods of cars and boxes while dancing to the pulsating music of James Brown, Sly Stone, Funkadelic, and Aretha Franklin...the spirit of revolution was in the air.

It was during Wimberly's undergraduate years at Baldwin Wallace University that the rhythms from the streets connected him to the rhythms of West Africa and 20th century contemporary music. During his graduate years at Manhattan School of Music, Wimberly broadened his musical palette studying electronic and improvised music. Music of the African Diaspora and improvisation has become key components of Wimberly's musical excavations and explorations. These explorations connected him with master musicians from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, South America and Europe. He's performed with funk legends George Clinton and the Parliament Funkedelic; The Boys Choir of Harlem; Paul Winter Consort; rock icons: Vernon Reid, Henry Rollins, and Blondie; R&B royalty: Dionne Warwick, Valerie Simpson, D'Angelo, Angie Stone and Alyson Williams. Wimberly has been a featured artist with Berlin's Rundfunk Symphony, Vienna's Tonkuntsler Symphony, Leipzig Symphony, and International Region Symphony Orchestra performing compositions of Daniel Schnyder, as well as his own orchestral compositions performed by Yakima Symphony Orchestra, and Sage City Symphony of Vermont.

As a composer and sound designer, Wimberly's compositions have been performed by dance companies Urban Bush Women, Joffrey Ballet II, Alvin Ailey, Ailey II, Philadanco, Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, Joan Millers Dance Players, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Noir, Alpha Omega, Purelements, and The National Song and Dance Company of Mozambique. Film scores include As An Act of Protest by Dennis Leroy Moore, and Atlantic City Lights by Brent Owens for HBO. Sound design for theatre includes Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream for the Classical Theatre of Harlem, Saint Lucy's Eyes by Bridgette Wimberly for the Women's Project & Cherry Lane Theatre, and Iced Out, Shackled and Chained for the National Black Theatre for which Wimberly received two Audelco nominations."

-Bennington College (https://www.bennington.edu/academics/faculty/michael-wimberly)
8/8/2022

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track listing:


1. Baraka Suite 25:48

2. Love in the Form of Sacred Outrage [for Fannie Lou Hamer] 4:13

3. Pretty Flowers 9:20

4. Propagating the Same Type of Madness, that uh... [for Fred Hampton] 7:25

sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"History does repeat itself, violist Melanie Dyer draws from the same well of inspiration as Max Roach's We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite (Candid, 1961). Maybe better put, history reveals Martin Luther King's arc of the moral universe has only bent a few degrees in the past sixty years. With Love In The Form Of Sacred Outrage, the ensemble WeFreeStrings follows up their debut Fulfillment (self released, 2018).

Dyer, a classically trained violist, found inspiration in the music of Billy Bang, Michael White, and Leroy Jenkins. She has performed with Salim Washington, the Sun Ra Arkestra, Heroes Are Gang Leaders, Tomeka Reid, and William Parker.

WeFreeStrings (a play on Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "We Free Kings") is an improvising string/rhythm collective. Besides three compositions penned by Dyer, the pared down ensemble (Dyer, violinist Gwen Laster, and bassist Ken Filiano) perform Andrew Lamb's "Pretty Flowers," which is brimming with a delicate evanescent beauty. The same trio performs the title track, Dedicated to the civil rights and women's rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, the performance churns with friction and agitation. Bowed viola and violin streaking across Filiano's plucked bass.

Even more perturbation pervades "Propagating the Same Type of Madness, that uh... (for Fred Hampton)," where the full cast fuels the dynamo with percussion and soaring strings. It is a chamber ensemble that has broken down doors to hit the streets. The lengthiest piece at 25+ minutes, "Baraka Suite" is a fully composed suite in six movements. The music passes through multiple emotive states from sadness to clipped optimism as the full ensemble traverse Dyer's score. The final destination is one of communal love and cooperation. This music has an undeniable beauty."-Mark Corroto, All About Jazz


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


ESP
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
Chamber Jazz
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Quintet Recordings
Stringed Instruments
New in Improvised Music
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Heroes Are Gang Leaders
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Parker, William / Patricia Nicholson
No Joke!
(ESP Disk)
Sharp's, Elliott Terraplane
Century
(zOaR Records)
Nagano, Sana (w/ Apflebaum / Matsuno / Filiano / Herternstein)
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