The Squid's Ear Magazine


Amba, Zoh / Chris Corsano / Bill Orcutt: The Flower School (Palilalia)

An enthusiastic and well-balanced studio recording in San Francisco from the trio of Zoh Amba on tenor saxophone, Chris Corsano on drums and Bill Orcutt on electric guitar, following Amba & Corsano's duo tour of the West Coast; this is a first meeting between Amba & Orcutt, who perform as a duo on two tracks, including a guitar duo with Amba on acoustic.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Zoh Amba-tenor saxophone, acoustic guitar

Chris Corsano-drums

Bill Orcutt-electric guitar, mixing


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UPC: B0CKFKS76G

Label: Palilalia
Catalog ID: PAL 076CD
Squidco Product Code: 34133

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Hyde St Studios, in San Francisco, California, on February 26th, 2023, by Eric Glauser.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Since exploding on the improvised music scene a couple of years ago Tennessee native Zoh Amba has found herself engaging with an ever-widening group of collaborators as she tours across the US and Europe. She's forged some enduring partnerships, working regularly with drummer Chris Corsano, bassist Thomas Morgan, and pianist Micah Thomas, among others, but one of the deep pleasures of improvised music is when a first-time meeting produces sparks. Indeed, that's certainly the case with The Flower School, which bottles some serious lightning. In March of 2023 Amba and Corsano had finished up a duo tour of the west coast with an explosive performance in San Francisco. The next day the duo entered the studio with guitarist Bill Orcutt-a trusted collaborator of the drummer stretching back a decade. It was the first time Orcutt and Amba had ever played together, but it sure doesn't seem that way.

Although Amba has often recorded a bunch of tune-oriented albums for Tzadik she's a free improviser at heart, and this trio arguably provides the most effective, elastic context for her playing yet. Yet what's most astonishing about The Flower School is how it elevates and transforms the playing of all three participants. It appears that there was more than enough trust in the room to allow each player to push-and-pull. Anyone who pays attention already knows that Orcutt and Corsano are mercurial figures, perpetually adapting, adjusting, and challenging one another so that every performance by their duo seems to spring from a different inspirational source. Inviting a third person to the party could threaten a slowly cultivated balance-whether between Orcutt and Corsano or Corsano and Amba-but in this case the addition only heightened various dichotomies: soft vs. loud, bruising vs. tender, furious vs. lyric.

Much has been made of Amba's debt to the free jazz of 1960's, particularly the way her vibrato-drenched tone dips into valley of sacred music, but here she carves out a space that's entirely hers. On tracks like "The Morning Light Has Flooded My Eyes" and "What Emptiness Do You Gaze Upon!" she reveals a meticulously sharpened gift for motific improvisation, taking a single phrase and chiseling away it until she's discovered every possible permutation, all the while driven by the feverish energy and empathy of her cohorts. This group also displays Orcutt's masterful support skills, as he often takes a single chord or two, letting them float in mutate in the background or splintering them into patient, reserved arpeggios that ripple alongside Corsano's circular sculptures and the saxophonist's edgy blowing. Two of the album's five tracks are duets between Orcutt and Amba. The collection is bisected by "Sweet One," a delicate lattice formed by Orcutt's tremulous electric guitar arpeggios and Amba's spike acoustic pointillism that basks in its own leisurely beauty for a couple of restorative minutes, while the album closer "Moon Showed But No You" is a searingly beautiful ballad where the guitarist unspools clusters of notes somewhere between vintage Loren Mazzacane Connor and a distorted kalimba, while Amba puts an upwardly arcing melodic line through its paces, finding new wrinkles at every turn. Here's hoping that this recording is the start of something, but even if this album is the beginning and end, the level of communication and rapport feels eternal."-Palilalia


Artist Biographies

"Zoh Amba is a saxophonist from Kingsport, Tennessee who since moving to New York in fall 2021 has quickly emerged into a notable presence in the avant garde scene. Zoh has spent considerable time studying with David Murray in New York, and also at the San Francisco Conservatory Of Music & New England Conservatory. The endorsement and collaboration with the creative music world's most notable sound painters means Zoh is poised to continue her ascent in New York and beyond. She has her debut record O, Sun releasing on Tzadik March 18th, 2022. With Micah Thomas, Thomas Morgan, and Joey Baron. Produced by John Zorn."

-All About Jazz (https://www.allaboutjazz.com/musicians/zoh-amba)
2/28/2024

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

"First spellbound by freely improvised music in the mid-1990s after witnessing performances by TEST, William Parker, Cecil Taylor, and others, Chris Corsano began a long-standing, high-energy partnership with Paul Flaherty in 1998. A move from western Massachusetts to the UK in 2005 led Corsano to develop an expanded solo music of his own, incorporating sax reeds, violin strings and bows, pot lids, and other everyday household items into his drum kit. In February 2006 he released his first solo recording, The Young Cricketer, and toured extensively throughout Europe, USA, and Japan. He spent 2007 and '08 as the drummer on Björk's Volta world tour, all the while weaving in shows and recordings on his days off with the likes of Evan Parker, Virginia Genta, and C. Spencer Yeh. Moving back to the U.S. in 2009, Corsano returned focus to his own projects, most notably a duo with Michael Flower, Rangda (with Sir Richard Bishop and Ben Chasny) and solo work, now revamped to include synthesizers and contact microphones in addition to his drum set and home-made acoustic instruments.

In addition to the those mentioned above, he's also worked with, among others: John Edwards (released by: Clean Feed/Dancing Wayang), Jim O'Rourke & Akira Sakata (Drag City/Family Vineyard), Paul Dunmall (ESP-Disk), Nels Cline (Strange Attractors), Jessica Rylan (Load Records), Jandek (Corwood), Sunburned Hand Of Man (Manhand), MV&EE (Eclipse/Time-Lag), Vampire Belt (Open Mouth), Joe McPhee (Roaratorio), and Wally Shoup (Leo/Columbia Japan)."

-Chris Corsano Website (http://www.cor-sano.com/bio.html)
2/28/2024

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

"Bill Orcutt (born February 2, 1962) is an American guitarist and composer whose work combines elements of blues, punk, and free improvisation. Inspired by seeing Muddy Waters in The Last Waltz, Orcutt began playing the guitar as a teenager in Miami. In 1992, he formed the band Harry Pussy with his wife, Cuban/American drummer and vocalist Adris Hoyos. The group recorded three LPs and toured the US frequently, often in support of indie bands like Sonic Youth and Sebadoh. Their music, which drew from American no wave, hardcore punk and free jazz was influential and "served as a progenitor for the Noise movement." In 1997 the band dissolved and the couple divorced. Orcutt moved to San Francisco and took a long hiatus from music, returning in 2009, with an LP of solo guitar entitled A New Way To Pay Old Debts which was well received, ranking 3rd of 2009 in the The Wire magazine's annual "Rewind" list. His follow-up release How The Thing Sings was similarly praised, reaching number 3 on NPR's The Best Outer Sound Albums Of 2011. Since 2009, Orcutt has toured often appearing at festivals in the US and Europe, including Hopscotch, Incubate, Le Nouveau Festival du Centre Pompidou, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Donau and Big Ears. Typically a solo performer, Orcutt has also recorded or performed with Loren Mazzacane Connors, Chris Corsano, Peter Brotzmann and Alan & Richard Bishop."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Orcutt)
2/28/2024

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


Track Listing:



1. What Emptiness Do You Gaze Upon! 06:40

2. The Flower School 06:52

3. Sweet One 02:53

4. The Morning Light Has Flooded My Eyes 09:12

5. Moon Showed But No You 05:13

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Guitarists, &c.
Trio Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music

Search for other titles on the label:
Palilalia.


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The Squid's Ear Magazine

The Squid's Ear Magazine

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