The Squid's Ear Magazine

Fefer, Avram Quartet: Juba Lee <i>[Used Item]</i> (Clean Feed)

From post/hard bop to African-influenced spiritual jazz, the 2nd release from saxophonist & clarinetist Avram Fefer's quartet with Marc Ribot on guitar, Eric Revis on bass and Chad Taylor on drums swings freely or finds introspective grooves in nine original Fefer compositions of rich melodies around unusual time signatures, yielding extraordinary soloing and group interplay.

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Avram Fefer-alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet

Marc Ribot-guitar

Eric Revis-bass

Chad Taylor-drums

Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.

UPC: 5609063006018

Label: Clean Feed
Catalog ID: CF601
Squidco Product Code: 33875

Format: CD
Condition: VG
Released: 2022
Country: Portugal
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at EastSide Sound, in New York, New York, on March 9th, 2022, by Lou Holtzman and Duff Harris.

This is a USED (previously owned) item

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.
Previously played Squidco store copy, used for cataloging and samples, in excellent condition.

"Saxophone veteran Avram Fefer has long held true to an ethic of loyalty. The musical relationships he forms are anything but fleeting. "I like to stick with people," he says, discussing his longtime trio with bassist Eric Revis and Chad Taylor, the lineup that recorded the weighty albums Ritual (2009) and Eliyahu (2011). When the opportunity arose to expand the trio to a quartet with the unclassifiable guitar icon Marc Ribot, Fefer jumped at the chance. The resulting Testament (2019) was one of the saxophonist's most widely praised albums to date, hailed by Downbeat in an Editor's Pick as "a hothouse of a recording." Now this illustrious quartet has returned with Juba Lee, a set of new music that for Fefer represents a triumph, an overcoming of personal demons in the aftermath of the death of one of his closest friends, the legendary essayist and bandleader of Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, Greg Tate. "I had a photo of Greg over my piano throughout the time that I was preparing the music for this album," Fefer reports.

Taylor, the drummer in Ribot's Albert Ayler-themed Spiritual Unity project (Spiritual Unity, Live at the Village Vanguard with the late Henry Grimes), came to Juba Lee with a good deal of groundwork already laid. He had also played drums on Revis' stellar recent recordings Sing Me Some Cry and Slipknots Through a Looking Glass. The longtime bassist for Branford Marsalis, Revis boasts additional sideman credits ranging from Kurt Rosenwinkel to Peter Brötzmann. Fefer recalls how years ago, Revis would come off the road with Marsalis and still make it to the Knitting Factory Tap Bar the same night, eager to hold it down for Fefer's weekly gig. Making music was that important, as was the fellowship with like-minded peers.

Fefer and Ribot, too, share a certain poly-stylistic musical outlook that they've cultivated over the course of decades. In addition to leading his own improvising groups and rubbing elbows with the likes of Sunny Murray, Steve Lacy and Denis Charles, Fefer has recorded with The Last Poets and Archie Shepp; led acid-jazz, drum-n-bass and electric avant-dance groups; collaborated in Gnawa, Manding, and other African musical ensembles; worked with directors Melvin Van Peebles and Ivo Van Hove; and created an ongoing series of solo interactions with the sculptures of Richard Serra. Ribot has worked with Elvis Costello and Tom Waits, delved into Cuban and Haitian folkloric music, interpreted a broad array of protest music (Songs of Resistance: 1942-2018), made anarchic avant-rock records with Ceramic Dog, and applied Albert Ayler's music to solo acoustic guitar (Saints), among countless other far-flung accomplishments. When Fefer attempts to describe what Ribot brings to Juba Lee, "punk spiritual" is the term he reaches for, and it fits the Ribot persona to a tee.

Fefer's warm, soulful tone on tenor saxophone is heard on the first several tracks of Juba Lee, before switching to alto for the more strident title track, as well as the ballad "Love Is in the Air" and the Ornette Coleman-inspired "Gemini Time." He concludes on bass clarinet with a moving tribute to Tate, "Sweet 15 (for G.T.)," a ballad duet in 15/8 with Ribot on acoustic guitar. "Unlike a lot of woodwind players," Fefer says, "I've worked hard to develop a distinctive voice on all my instruments, meaning that I approach tenor, alto and soprano saxes very differently, not as a 'doubler.' I have had distinct influences on each instrument, and I take these different instrumental voices very much into account when planning a composition, concert, or recording."

Not only is that varied fluency reflected throughout the span of Juba Lee, but the ability of Fefer and Ribot to breathe melodies as one, even as contrasting polyrhythms churn around them on pieces like "Bedouin Dream" and "Brother Ibrahim," is truly uncanny. Fefer also notes that the subtle "micro-dances" that Taylor can generate within a groove, further energized by Revis' unshakable solidity, together form the perfect rhythm team for his musical vision ("Sky Lake" being a potent example). "Brother Ibrahim" was recorded previously on Shades of the Muse (CIMP, 2004) in the midst of the Iraq war; the piece is "meant to be a pure and naive sound of love conveyed to all the various tribes around the globe," he explains. "Avram, Abraham, Ibrahim... whatever your reference is, I am saying, 'We are brothers, we are connected, and we are playing together on earth's playground.'" It's as fitting a summation for Juba Lee, and the prevailing vibe of this timeless music, as one could ask for."-Clean Feed

Artist Biographies

"Avram Fefer is a New York-based composer, improviser, bandleader, teacher and player of multiple woodwinds. He has recorded thirteen albums as a leader, many more as a sideman, and has performed in clubs and festivals throughout Europe, Japan, Africa, and the Middle East. He has performed with legends like Archie Shepp, Bobby Few, the Last Poets, and the David Murray Big Band and in renowned off-Broadway productions such as Ivo Van Hove's "Streetcar Named Desire" and Melvin Van Peebles' "Sweet Sweetback's Badassss Song".

His own bands have included modern jazz greats like Marc Ribot, Eric Revis, Michael Bisio, Chad Taylor, Reggie Nicholson, Ben Allison, Michael Wimberly and Roy Campbell. He also plays regularly with his jazztronica band Rivers on Mars and his jazz-funk band Big Picture Holiday, as well as Greg Tate's Burnt Sugar Arkestra and Adam Rudolph's Go:Organic Orchestra.

He is actively involved in ensembles comprised of anywhere from two to thirty musicians, playing music that ranges from classic and avant-garde jazz to funk, fusion, conducted orchestral music, and a variety of Indian, Arabic, and African music.

If there is a degree of freedom and self-expression in it, he will play it.

Over the years, Avram has also enjoyed a variety of inter-disciplinary collaborations --- with painters, poets, dancers, and sound designers. In 2012 he initiated the Resonant Sculpture Project, a unique international series of solo musical interactions with the large-scale works of legendary sculptor Richard Serra.

In addition to performing, Avram believes deeply in the role of arts education and maintains a thriving private teaching practice in downtown Brooklyn."

-Avram Fefer Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Marc Ribot (pronounced REE-bow) was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1954. As a teen, he played guitar in various garage bands while studying with his mentor, Haitian classical guitarist and composer Frantz Casseus. After moving to New York City in 1978, Ribot was a member of the soul/punk Realtones, and from 1984 - 1989, of John Lurie's Lounge Lizards. Between 1979 and 1985, Ribot also worked as a side musician with Brother Jack McDuff, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Chuck Berry, and many others.

Rolling Stone points out that "Guitarist Marc Ribot helped Tom Waits refine a new, weird Americana on 1985's "Rain Dogs", and since then he's become the go-to guitar guy for all kinds of roots-music adventurers: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp." Additional recording credits include Soloman Burke, Neko Case, Diana Krall, Beth Orton, Marianne Faithful, Arto Lindsay, Caetano Veloso, Laurie Anderson, Susana Baca, McCoy Tyner, The Jazz Passengers, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Cibo Matto, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, James Carter, Vinicio Capposella (Italy), Auktyon (Russia), Vinicius Cantuaria, Sierra Maestra (Cuba), Alain Bashung (France), Marisa Monte, Allen Ginsburg, Madeleine Peyroux, Sam Phillips, and more recently Joe Henry, Allen Toussaint, Norah Jones, Akiko Yano, The Black Keys, Jeff Bridges, Jolie Holland, Elton John/Leon Russell and many others. Ribot frequently collaborates with producer T Bone Burnett, most notably on Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's Grammy Award winning "Raising Sand" and regularly works with composer John Zorn.

Marc has released over 20 albums under his own name over a 35-year career, exploring everything from the pioneering jazz of Albert Ayler with his group "Spiritual Unity" (Pi Recordings), to the Cuban son of Arsenio Rodríguez with two critically acclaimed releases on Atlantic Records under "Marc Ribot Y Los Cubanos Postizos". His avant power trio/post-rock band, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog (Pi Recordings), continues the lineage of his earlier experimental no-wave/punk/noise groups Rootless Cosmopolitans (Island Antilles) and Shrek (Tzadik). Marc's solo recordings include "Marc Ribot Plays The Complete Works of Frantz Casseus" (Les Disques Du Crepuscule), "John Zorn's The Book of Heads" (Tzadik), "Don't Blame Me" (DIW), "Saints" (Atlantic), "Exercises in Futility" (Tzadik), and his latest "Silent Movies" released in 2010 on Pi Recordings was described as a "down-in-mouth-near master piece" by the Village Voice and has landed on several Best of 2010 lists including the LA Times and critical praise across the board. 2013 saw the release of "Your Turn" (Northern Spy), the sophomore effort from Ribot's post-rock/noise trio Ceramic Dog, and 2014 saw the monumental release: "Marc Ribot Trio Live at the Village Vanguard" (Pi Recordings), documenting Marc's first headline and the return of Henry Grimes at the historical venue in 2012 already included on Best of 2014 lists including Downbeat Magazine and NPR's 50 Favorites.

Marc has performed on scores such as "The Kids Are All Right," "Where the Wild Things Are," "Walk The Line (Mangold)," "Everything is Illuminated," and "The Departed" (Scorcese)." Marc has also composed original scores including the French film Gare du Nord (Simon), the PBS documentary "Revolucion: Cinco Miradas," the film "Drunkboat," starring John Malkovich and John Goodman, a documentary film by Greg Feldman titled "Joe Schmoe," a feature film by director Joe Brewster titled "The Killing Zone", and dance pieces "In as Much as Life is Borrowed", by famed Belgian choreographer, Wim Vandekeybus, and Yoshiko Chuma's "Altogether Different". Marc is also currently touring his live solo guitar score to Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid", which was commissioned by the NY Guitar Festival and premiered Jan 2010 at Merkin Hall, as well as a program of new arrangements of classic Film Noir scores commissioned by the New School Noir Arts Festival 2011.

In 2009, Marc was named curator and musical director for the year's Century of Song Festival, part of the Ruhr Triennale in Germany. The concert series sparked new collaborations with Iggy Pop, Marianne Faithfull, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, master cajón player Juan Medrano Cotito, Carla Bozulich and Tine Kindermann.

Marc's talents have also been showcased with a full symphony orchestra. Composer Stewart Wallace wrote a guitar concerto with orchestra specifically for Marc. The piece was premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC in July of 2004 and also appeared at The Cabrillo Festival in Santa Cruz, CA in August of 2005.

Marc is currently touring with several projects including the Marc Ribot Trio, a free jazz group featuring legendary bassist Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor on drums, his power trio Ceramic Dog with bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Ches Smith, the Philly soul meets the harmolodics of Ornette Coleman's The Young Philadelphians with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Calvin Weston, and with Caged Funk, a project of funk arrangements of John Cage's music featuring Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic fame."

-Marc Ribot Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"One of the most talented and accomplished musicians of his generation, Grammy Award-winning bassist and composer Eric Revis has, over the past 15 years, become an important voice in jazz. Branford Marsalis states, "Eric's sound is the sound of doom; big, thick, percussive." Scores of musicians across various disciplines agree. Revis has performed and recorded with Betty Carter, Peter Brotzmann, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Steve Coleman, Ralph Peterson, Lionel Hampton, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Cyrille, and Tarbaby (the experimental trio he tri-leads with Orrin Evans and Nasheet Waits).

Manning the bass chair with Branford Marsalis' powerfully flexible quartet since 1997, Revis has also recorded four brilliant albums as a leader. 2004's Tales of the Stuttering Mime and 2009's Laughter's Necklace of Tears have both revealed his startling range as a musician and composer. Informed by his past but not tethered to it, a glimpse into the musical trajectory of this artist is indelibly clear on his latest release Parallax (Clean Feed ) and the soon to be released City of Asylum (Clean Feed).

"Tales of the Stuttering Mime was an amalgam of songs I'd been composing for quite some time," Revis explains. "Being that there were a lot of different influences at play, it required that I use various band configurations on almost every tune, which was great in that I had a very real connection to all of the musicians involved." With Laughter's Necklace of Tears the same conceptual construct was in place in terms of the confluence of musical influences, but the goal was to present it in a more cohesive fashion in terms of having one group navigate the songs for the record as opposed to five or six".

Conceptually improvisational and thematically broad, Parallax (Clean Feed) is timeless and borderless. The albums' approach is one of inclusion, extrapolation and exploration. Joined by Jason Moran, Ken Vandermark and Nasheet Waits, it is a true document of Revis' growth as a composer, bassist and sounding board. As on previous recordings, Revis' playing is personal and distinctive: his tone deep and woody, his execution, agile, melodic and clear. A musical polyglot, Revis is comfortable in any setting, any direction. His skills as a band leader and composer are equally profound and inspiring."

-Eric Revis Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Chad Taylor (b. 1973) is a composer, educator, percussionist and scholar who is a co-founder of the Chicago Underground ensembles. Originally from Tempe, AZ, Chad grew up in Chicago where he started performing professionally at the age of 16. Chad has performed with Fred Anderson, Derek Bailey, Cooper-Moore, Pharoah Sanders, Marc Ribot, Peter Brotzmann, Malachi Favors and many others. Chad leads his own band Circle down which debut recording was given a 5 star review by All music:

"What is remarkable is that there is no wasted motion, no histrionics or grandstanding, as pure emotion is translated to superlative music making on this most highly recommended recording, one for the ages."

Chad has a BFA from the New School in Jazz Performance and a MFA in Jazz Research and History from Rutgers University."

-Chad Taylor Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

Track Listing:

1. Showtime 6:22

2. Bedouin Dream 7:43

3. Sky Lake 8:23

4. Juba Lee 6:17

5. Brother Ibrahim 8:26

6. Love is in the Air 5:54

7. Gemini Time 7:16

8. Say You're Sorry 6:26

9. Sweet Fifteen (for G.T.) 6:35

Related Categories of Interest:

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Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
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