The Squid's Ear Magazine


Houle, Francois Genera Sextet: In Memoriam (Clean Feed)

Canadian clarinetist François Houle in an international project dedicated to the late co-founder of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Ken Pickering, performed with Canadian expatriates, plus colleagues from New York City, Paris, Basel and Berlin: Marco von Orelli on cornet & trumpet, Samuel Blaser on trombone, Benoit Delbecq on piano, Michael Bates on bass and Harris Eisenstadt on drums.
 

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Personnel:



Francois Houle-clarinet

Marco von Orelli-cornet, trumpet

Samuel Blaser-trombone

Benoit Delbecq-piano

Michael Bates-bass

Harris Eisenstadt-drums


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UPC: 5609063006247

Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF624CD
Squidco Product Code: 33146

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Studio 2 RSI, in Lugano-Besso, Switzerland, on March 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2022, by Lara Persia.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"In Memoriam of the late Ken Pickering, not only the co-founder of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival but also a supporter of the music and beautiful soul that left us way too soon. This outstanding band features Francois Houle on clarinet, Marco von Orelli cornet/trumpet, Samuel Blaser trombone, Benoit Delbecq piano, Michael Bates bass, Harris Eisenstadt drums and it's like a dream come true to me as I been a Francois fan for decades. Welcome aboard my friend, hope more to come."-Clean Feed



"This album pays tribute to and celebrates the memory of Ken Pickering, my best friend, mentor, and supporter of my work from the moment we met back when I first moved to Vancouver in 1990. The compositions were not intended as a suite but as the pieces emerged it became evident to me that there was a hidden narrative binding them together as a whole, such as a Requiem (an act or token of remembrance, the Latin accusative of requies, 'rest'). As I composed the music, echoes of brass band marches, motets, masses, and the Blues wove their way into the sound fabric.

To quote Christine Fedina "Ken's untimely death was devastating and felt especially tragic for the members of Genera. This act of gratitude and love is a lasting tribute to a beautiful soul by this extraordinarily talented group of his dear friends. You may hear a tinge of nostalgia woven through these compositions here and there, but mostly you will hear the joy, humour and boundless love of the human spirit!"

"-François Houle



"For this band and body of tunes, Houle cites late, great figures and bandleaders John Carter and Steve Lacy as influences in his thinking and compositional/improvisational plotting. Material-wise, Houle's writing works across boundaries and embraces ideas about voicing and structure from classical to jazz and back. On the jazz tip, he plots spiky-dissonant courses and Thelonious Monk-ish lines,..."-Josef Woodard, Downbeat

"The sextet...has immediately established itself as one of the most exciting new bands on the international jazz scene. In addition to its carefully constructed compositions, virtuosic soloists, and huge ensemble sound, the group brings surprising warmth to the stage, and its Ironworks set was among the most impressive of the entire festival."-Alex Varty, The Georgia Straight


Artist Biographies

Francois Houle (born August 17, 1961, Lachine): "I am a Canadian clarinetist who embraces pretty much any music where the clarinet is present, or has a bit of profile or history. Although I am classically trained, I have not followed the traditional career path associated with the kind of classical training I came out of.

I studied at McGill University with Emilio Iacurto (the legendary, long-time principal clarinetist of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra) and at Yale University with Keith Wilson (whose contribution to the clarinet world is unparalleled). I've had the privilege of participating in masterclasses with some of the world's finest clarinet players, including David Shifrin, Richard Stoltzman and Alan Hacker.

It was Alan Hacker who actually opened the door for me to explore new technical and musical possibilities on the clarinet. Having been part of Fires of London and a close collaborator with composers such as Peter Maxwell-Davies, Alan's insatiable curiosity and deep scholarship inspired me to look for my own personal approach. Following a brief visit to his home in the UK in the late 80's I spent some time in Paris practicing and researching clarinet new music repertoire. At that time I still didn't know what I was going to do with my life, except that I had a deep desire to "make it" in the music scene. It was during this period that I discovered the music of Steve Lacy.

Steve Lacy's career actually began as a dixieland clarinetist, eventually shifting to the soprano saxophone, an instrument very few jazz musicians had investigated since the great Sydney Bechet due to its range, smaller embouchure and faulty intonation. Steve dedicated his life to bringing this instrument at the forefront of creative music (legend has it that he turned John Coltrane on to the soprano's expressive qualities).

At the time I had one occasion of hearing him play live at the New Morning jazz club, and bought a newly released duo recording called "Paris Blues" (Owl Records, 1987) with the great Gil Evans on piano. Heading back to Canada, that was the only music I could listen to for quite a while, being transfixed by Lacy's and Evan's telepathic playing. It was the first time that I had found a jazz performance that rivalled with the finest chamber music making I was then more familiar with. It was a game changer as far as I was concerned. It opened the door for further exploration and discoveries; Anthony Braxton, John Carter, Jimmy Giuffre, all important figures in the development of creative music on the clarinet. It is interesting and deplorable to note that not once were these names ever mentioned in all my years of university clarinet seminars and lessons. It was only a few years later that he agreed to meet with me for one on one lessons at his Paris apartment. His main advice to me was to stick with the clarinet, and forge ahead with my musical thoughts and ideas, no matter how difficult the road ahead may be.

After a stint at the Banff Centre, where I worked on my technique and practiced improvisation (the centre has a great library with an extensive jazz and creative music collection), I relocated to Vancouver in the winter of 1989, where I began playing on the creative music scene and met many musicians who eventually became fantastic collaborators; Claude Ranger, Roger Baird, Tony Wilson, amongst many others. At the time, the New Orchestra Workshop Society was approaching its golden years, with the founding of the legendary Glass Slipper, the "go to" venue for creative music on the West Coast. The Vancouver Jazz Festival was well on its way to establishing itself as one of the most innovative international music happening, not only programming some of the biggest names in the business, such as Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis, but also the most creative musicians on the planet; Cecil Taylor, Evan Parker, John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Anthony Braxton, William Parker, and a whole sleuth of European 1st generation of improvisors such as Misha Mengelberg, Han Benning, ICP, AMM, and the Italian Instabile Orchestra. It was at the 1992 Jazz Festival that I had my first high profile gig, my first band "Et Cetera" sharing the bill with the Steve Lacy Sextet!

As I was making my first steps in the improvised community, I also became involved with the contemporary music scene, collaborating with composers such as John Oliver and Paul Dolden, as well as freelancing with established organizations; Vancouver New Music, Vancouver Pro Musica. In 1992 I became a founding member of the Standing Wave ensemble. My activities in both creative music and new music allowed me to forge a strong profile, eventually expanding to collaborations with international musicians, and getting international touring opportunities. Some long standing collaborations were forged during that fruitful period, with luminaries such as Benoît Delbecq and Joëlle Léandre among others.

I have since been constantly involved in the advancement of creative music, pursuing collaborative projects with composers and musicians of all persuasions. My work continues to test the boundaries, looking for new vistas and connections with listeners everywhere."

-Francois Houle Website (https://www.francoishoule.ca/about)
7/10/2024

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"Marco von Orelli was born and raised in Basel, Switzerland. He completed his musical studies at the University of Music and Theatre Winterthur Zürich (HMT) and the University of Music Basel, where he majored in trumpet and improvisation. Additional study programmes: Jazz, New Music (Neue Musik) and free improvised music. Furthermore he took study trips to Den Haag (NL) in 1997 and two years later to Vienna (A). Since 1997 Marco von Orelli occupies himself with composition. He has given Solo concerts (e.g. for the 20-year anniversary of the cultural magazine "Programmzeitung", for the "Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative" in Bern or for Basel's celebrations for being a part of Switzerland for 500 years in 2001).

Marco von Orelli has enjoyed success on stage with the street scene musical by Kurt Weill under the direction of André Bellmont, Werner Düggelin and Heinz Spoerli, as well as with acts such as the George Gruntz Workshop Big Band or with various orchestras like the basel sinfonietta, the Swiss Improvisers Orchestra, TOMMY MEIER - ROOT DOWN, musique brute or Marco von Orelli 5. He is playing in different styles and has been seen giving concerts at such established events as the Jazzfestival Willisau (CH), Jazz à Mulhouse - météo (F) or music unlimited 22 in Wels (A). In 2002 Marco von Orelli toured with the swiss Circus Monti (Music composed by Ben Jeger) and from January 2003 right to the end of 2004 he acted as live musician for the Theatre Puravida in Basel. Marco von Orelli is also known for his collaborations with artists like Flavia Ghisalberti (Butoh-Dancer), Sheldon Suter, Daniel Ott, Jan Schlegel, Christoph Baumann, Co Streiff, Frances Marie Uitti, Johan van Kreij, Béatrice Götz (miR Company), Peter Schärli, Tommy Meier, Omri Ziegele, Michel Wintsch, Christian Weber, Irène Schweizer, Paul Hubweber, Luìs Lopes, Marc Unternährer, Isa Wiss, Luca Sisera, Travassos, Carles Peris, Alex Huber, Frantz Loriot and many more!"

-Marco von Orelli Website (http://marcovonorelli.ch/about/biography/)
7/10/2024

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"[...] Born and raised in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland - a lesser-known but no less significant jazz metropolis which was, for a time, home to expatriate Americans Sidney Bechet and Kenny Clarke, as well as Swiss jazz trombonist Raymond Droz - Blaser has also spent considerable time living in New York City and currently resides in Berlin; truly an international musician, then, in clear defiance of boundaries cultural, musical and stylistic. Beginning trombone lessons at the age of 9, he "couldn't go past third position and had to have a trolley to carry trombone because it was too heavy," says Blaser. Still, with plenty of music in the Blaser household, where he was the middle of three children - ranging from Swiss folk music to American R&B and jazz - Blaser progressed quickly, entering the local conservatory at 14 and graduating seven years later in 2002 after receiving a number of awards in both the jazz and classical spheres, including the 2000 Benny Golson Prize.

Continuing private studies, Blaser began a number of significant associations, including the heralded Vienna Art Orchestra and European Radio Big Band, leading to a Fulbright scholarship which enabled him to study in the United States at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, going on to win the J.J. Johnson Prize, as well as both the Public Prize and Jury's Favorite Player awards at the 2006 Fribourg Jazz Festival.

All of these diverse accomplishments have ultimately - and inevitably - led to Blaser finding a personal nexus where disparate elements like Indian Tihi and Wagnerian opera meet. Blaser's impressive improvisational élan is predicated on instrumental mastery that is nothing more than the means to very musical ends. Together with his equally unfettered quartet, Blaser continues to expand the purview of jazz, redefining it in the new millennium as it enters its second century of existence.

Beyond Blaser's ability to combine knotty compositional form with incendiary improvisational prowess in the context of his own music, his unfettered yet ever-collaborative approach has resulted in a number of significant associations, among them his ongoing work with Swiss percussion legend Pierre Favre; a much-lauded duo with pianist Malcolm Braff; touring in 2012 as a member of François Houle's recent 5+1 group, and heard on the French Canadian clarinetist's Genera (Songlines, 2012); and recording/performing with Berlin-based Canadian saxophonist Peter van Huffel's HuffLiGNoN group with singer Sophie Tassignon. Blaser has also shared the stage with artists including trombonist David Taylor, bassist Michael Blake, drummer John Hollenbeck and pianist Hal Galper. It's no surprise that Rene Laanen of USA Trombone Online has called Blaser" one of today´s finest trombonists."

2013 will see Blaser touring with two new trios: one that, in addition to Marc Ducret, will also feature Danish drummer Peter Bruun; and another featuring French pianist Benoit Delbecq and American drummer Gerry Hemingway. Equally important, Blaser will also reunite his Consort in Motion (Kind of Blue, 2011) Quartet with pianist Russ Lossing, Belgian reed player Joachim Badenhorst, bassist Drew Gress and Hemingway, who replaces the sadly deceased Paul Motian. That record - Blaser's first and only to include a pianist, marrying the seemingly disparate elements of Renaissance and Baroque period composition with more open-ended jazz improvisation - was praised by All About Jazz's Troy Collins as " Fearlessly modern, yet respectfully regal." Collins continues, asserting that "Blaser's adventurous arrangements and reinterpretations offer the best of both worlds, enriching the raw impetuousness of avant-garde jazz with the proven sophistication of ageless classical forms. Consort in Motion is a high-water mark in the enduring lineage of the Third Stream, and all the more inspiring for the focus of its vision."

Meanwhile, with the release of As the Sea - like Boundless, a live recording but one culled from a single performance - Blaser reaps the rewards of greater trust and personal camaraderie built with Ducret, Oester and Cleaver through additional touring, following the release of their debut recording. "The music is quite different from the first record," says Blaser, "because things are more written. It's a little more complex rhythmically, too. But it's crazy, because I can play anything - a single note, even - and everybody will move with me. It's pretty intense."

Between recording and touring with his own groups and collaborating in other leaders' ensembles, Blaser's career continues an upward trajectory that seems to have no end in sight. "The world of music fascinates me to no end, and I´m determined to take one journey after another with my instrument and work," says Blaser. "It´s all about discovery and communicating new ideas. Believe me, I´m proof that a shiny trombone can send a message right to your heart and change your life." "

-Samuel Blaser Website (https://www.samuelblaser.com/biography/)
7/10/2024

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"Benoît Delbecq was born in St Germain en Laye (F), June 6, 1966. He lives in Bondy, near Paris. A dreamer and an adventurer in music, pianist/composer/producer Benoît Delbecq has been one of the activists of Hask (1992-2004) and Astrolab (1994-1999), two Paris-based cutting-edge jazz/improv collectives that have contributed to significantly revitalize the french creative music scene around the club Instants Chavirés in Montreuil/Paris. His music and projects include works for theater, dance, litterature, visual arts and motion pictures, that are being regularly invited by major festivals worldwide. He has released about 35 records as a leader or co-leader among a discography of more than a hundred discs.

Anchored in both jazz history as well as in aesthetical stakes of today's new musics, Delbecq's works are world-widely acclaimed since the early nineties. He is a renown specialist for a personal and polymetric approach of "prepared piano", and has also an regular activity in the electronic department. His works are experimenting a blend of improvisation and composition in which he reveals a rich pallet of sounds, enlightened by stratas of multiple momentums, articulations and seemingly floating harmonies. Inspired by alternative urban musical experiments and electronic music adventures, he also improvises a personal approach of drum'n bass and ambient.

Benoît was awarded 'Prix jeunes affiches de la SACEM' in 1995 with group KARTET, prix de la Villa Médicis Hors-les-murs 2001 for his first solo piano recording " Nu-Turn " (Songlines, 2003), was awarded with the fellowship of Civitella Fundation (New York, 2009), was awarded in 2010 a double Grand Prix International du Disque (Académie Charles Cros, the French Grammy Awards), and his trio CD "The Sixth Jump " (Songlines) was listed in the New York Times top ten jazz/pop records of 2010. His works for the Fred Hersch/Benoît Delbecq FUN HOUSE double trio (premiered and recorded in May 2012, to be released FEB 2013) have recently received the French Ministère de la Culture " Commande d'Etat " funding. Recently he was commissioned by JAZZTOPAD Festival in Wroclaw (Poland) for a new piece for the Lutoslawski String Quartet and two improvisers (Miles Perkin on bass and himself on piano)."

-Benoit Delbecq Website (www.delbecq.net/bd/bd2biography.html)
7/10/2024

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"[...] Michael Bates grew up in Canada and often worked at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. He began playing music in hardcore and punk rock bands and maintains that being a jazz musician is no different. While the music he writes and performs is rooted in the jazz, classical and creative music traditions, hardcore's 'Do It Yourself' ethos remains an important component of his music. He is well known as a hard worker and motivated performer.

Michael has recorded as a leader and as a sideman. He has composed well over two hundred pieces of music including works for chamber ensembles, string quartets and solo double bass. As a touring artist, he has visited Europe, Asia, the United States and Canada. Michael has received several grants and fellowships from the Canada Council of the Arts and was on faculty for five years at the Banff International Jazz Workshop. He has studied with the former principal bassist of the Tokyo Symphony, Yoshio Nagashima, at the University of Toronto with Don Thompson and Dave Young and in New York with bassist/composer Mark Helias and Tony Falanga. [...]"

-Music by the Sea (https://musicbythesea.ca/portfolio-posts/michael-bates-double-bass/)
7/10/2024

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"One of only a handful of drummers equally well known for his work as a composer, Brooklyn-based Harris Eisenstadt (b. Toronto, 1975) is among the most individual and prolific musicians of his generation. His resume includes studies with some of the most respected names in jazz and improvised music, West African and Afro-Cuban drumming, and performance credits in jazz, film, theater, poetry, dance, contemporary concert music and opera.

Eisenstadt has performed all over the globe, received grants from organizations such as Meet The Composer, American Composers Forum, Canada Council for the Arts, and appeared on more than 60 recordings since 2000, including twenty as a leader. Recordings of his compositions often appear on the Songlines, Clean Feed, No Business, and 482 Music labels, and are consistently included on critics' best-of lists. Recent honors: Rising Star Percussion Percussion, Arranger, and Composer categories of the Downbeat international critics poll; Best Album, Drummer, Composer categories of the El Intruso international critics poll.

His first work for orchestra, Palimpsest, was premiered by the American Composers Orchestra, as part of the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute at Miller Theater, Columbia University (2011). Eisenstadt's second orchestral work, Four Songs, commissioned by the Brooklyn Conservatory Community Orchestra, was premiered at the Brooklyn Museum (2013). His first string quartet, Whatever Will Happen, That Will Also Be, was premiered as part of Eisenstadt's twelve-set residency at The Stone in NYC (2015). As a writer and radio producer, he has contributed to National Public Radio and AfroPop Worldwide. Eisenstadt is also an active AfroCuban batá drummer in New York and a longtime researcher in African and diaspora vernacular traditions. He has travelled to West Africa twice (Gambia, Senegal) to research Mandinka and Wolof music, and to Cuba twice (Matanzas, Havana) to research Afro-Cuban music."

-Harris Eisenstadt Website (http://www.harriseisenstadt.com/bio/)
7/10/2024

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Track Listing:



1. Stand By 1:41

2. Requiem for KP 10:36

3. Ekphrasis 5:12

4. This Tune... 3:42

5. Gish Gallop 7:36

6. Scarlet 3:30

7. Song L 5:36

8. Deep River 6:11

9. Chorale 6:03

Related Categories of Interest:


Clean Feed
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Sextet Recordings
New in Improvised Music

Search for other titles on the label:
Clean Feed.


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Spring Rain
(Whirlwind)
Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser pays tribute to clarinetist and composer Jimmy Giuffre, in a quartet with Russ Lossing on piano & keys, Drew Gress on double bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums, merging Giuffre's lyrical forms to create new and innovative compositions.



The Squid's Ear Magazine

The Squid's Ear Magazine

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