Tag Archives: reuben radding

Squid’s Ear review by Kurt Gottschalk

Transit – Quadrologues (CF 143)
There’s something pleasantly round about the music made by the quartet Transit. The group’s conjures notions of transportation, but their music feels more vehicular, more about the means of movement than some application of the old jazz saw of “going places.” They are more like a close shot on the “going” itself — more gerund than noun.

Drummer Jeff Arnal assembled the band for the 2006 release Transit (in time-tested fashion, the first album’s title becomes the name of the band) and here they hone their approach, tighten their focus, amplify their intent. Despite their base of operation, and even their naming a track for New York’s subway system (“Z train”), they seem more akin to Montreal’s smaller underground transit with it’s big, spoke wheels and rubber tires. The Métro de Montréal trains move more quietly, and invite observation of their means of movement, whereas the Z train hides its tiny, noisy wheels behind a skirt of metal. The Métro invites us to gaze upon its wheels, the roundness, the spokes, the mechanics. They move, they blur, they slow, they stop, their big bicycle wheels doing yeoman’s work. There’s something deceptive about them: the rubber tires so puncturable, the spokes too thin, it seems they’d break under the weight of hundreds of commuters, a split axle in the middle of the tracks like a child’s toy racecar, immobilized and never to be repaired.

But the Métro doesn’t stop in its tracks, and neither does this quartet, a classic “pianoless” ensemble à la Ornette. They are, they seem, sturdy, round and spoked. Reuben Radding’s bass at times rumbles to speaker-shaking depths behind an exciting horn section of shining star Nate Wooley on trumpet and Seth Misterka, a saxophonist deserving of much more notice. Together, they are in flux, in constant motion, in tempos more like undulating waves than machine guns or woodpeckers. They slow and speed up again (wait, make that more like a local train than an express!) with interconnections (spokes) happening more quickly sometimes than the ear (eye) can make out. The ten tracks seem to move past without pause, changing within as much as between. An exciting sort of dialogue, or quadrologue, spokes, bespoken.
http://www.squidsear.com/cgi-bin/news/newsView.cgi?newsID=1200

Cadence Magazine review by Jerome Wilson

Transit – Quadrologues (CF 143)
The group Transit contains musicians such as Reuben Radding and Nate Wooley, who are known for doing more abstract music, but here the four men work together to form a powerhouse group sound. Seth Misterka’s alto and Wooley’s trumpet are consistently powerful whether pealing out lyrical melodies or spitting intense whispers. But it’s the rhythm section of bassist Radding and drummer Jeff Arnal that really holds it all together with deep, thudding rhythms in the energy sections of this work and enveloping cymbal and bow work on the quiet parts. “Flip” features shuddering sax and trumpet over rattling bass and drums that resolves into vocalized alto phrases. And “Walking On Fire” is hair-raising group shouting. “Speaking In Tongues” best shows the group’s strengths with Wooley crying forlornly in semi-Arabic wails over Arnal’s and Radding’s rubbery beats with Misterka oozing through the cracks. Transit is a band that shows a potent blend of exoticism and power.
©Cadence Magazine 2010 www.cadencebuilding.com

Le Son du Grisli review by Guillaume Belhomme

Transit – Quadrologues (CF 143)
Et la même invention, aussi : dans le déploiement d’une musique en équilibre toujours précaire et qui fait de son état vacillant le premier de ses atouts (Strata), sur l’air latin flirtant avec le minimalisme de Walking on Fire ou encore sur de lentes progressions affirmant davantage au fil des secondes, jusqu’à changer une mollesse d’abord revendiquée en morceau d’épaisseur irrésistible (Meeting Ground, The Science of Breath). Jusqu’au bout, Transit invente en quartette vigoureux mais distant, si ce n’est en conclusion, sur Myrtle Avenue Revival, pièce dont le free fantasque évoque Don Cherry (Wooley aux avant postes) histoire de finir sur un grand hommage. http://www.lesondugrisli.com/

Touching Extrenes review by Massimo Ricci

DENMAN MARONEY QUINTET – Udentity (CF 137)
Pianist (or “hyperpianist”? Hold on, please) Denman Maroney is clearly trustful in the abilities of an average mind. Trying to explain the polyrhythmic concepts that underscore the large part of this music, he says that “there are at least two and more often three tempos going; the listener is free to choose which one(s) to relate to”. Perhaps this musician is not aware of the fact that the majority of a typical audience is not even able to stay anchored to a rudimentary 4/4 with a couple of shifted accents, let alone a superimposition of composed metres. Many pathetic characters come out with various kinds of bullshit about complex mathematic “mysteries” underlying the perfection of the universe, yet they could not name an interval or an elementary beat if threatened at gunpoint. Such sorts of involuntary victims of artistic diversity are not likely to be grateful for the labyrinthine qualities of this excellent album. Hell, this group doesn’t swing, if not for an allowed minimum.

Right, the hyperpiano. Besides numerous interlocking figurations executed with concentrated investigational attitude, Maroney – who appears positively gifted with a scintillating musicality coming from the insides of his brain – frequently plays the “regular” keyboard with a hand while enjoying the pleasures of extended techniques with another, the whole enhanced by the exploitation of several objects on the strings which generate “complementary overtones that move in contrary motion, one down toward the fundamental and the other up toward infinity”. Already fantasizing in regard to enhancement of awareness and realization? Wrong: the record’s title is the contraption of “undertone identity”, a concept introduced by Harry Partch which is too complicated to tackle in a sheer review. You can still learn the definition and use it in your intellectual conversations: nobody – except a few brighter individuals – go actually checking for the truthful core of these things, otherwise a lot of sapient icons would be swallowed by the very blob of their appalling ignorance.

Let’s not digress, though: the quintet performs fabulously throughout Udentity. Ned Rothenberg (alto sax, clarinets) employs a toothsome transitoriness in the methods applied, alternating altruistic repetition bathed in cutting dissonance and interchangeable anti-patterns which dignify the entire timbral tissue. He’s perfectly corresponding to the trumpet of Dave Ballou, who on a different side of the blowing spectrum avoids any kind of hypertrophic irresponsibleness, privileging lines that – although extremely respectful of the composer’s original plan – shine for intelligent restraint. If Michael Sarin’s drumming is entirely perfect for the overall design of these creations, his sober delivery a true injunction against the smell of moth-eaten “flexibility” characterizing the bulk of jazz drummers, bassist Reuben Radding is to be admired both as a solid donor of corpulent foundations for the general structure and an extemporaneous originator of bedazzling melodic sketches in places where an arcoed elegy is probably going to lead a sensitive receiver to deeper perceptions than an innocuous “pulse”.

Just to give a vague idea of how this stuff sounds, let me tell you that those whose ear-training includes Stravinsky and Zappa should greet this CD pretty warmly. Maroney has managed to tickle our interest with complications that sound good, lively, natural, without a hint of agony. Discomposure and angst are to be found somewhere else; here, we only appreciate an outstanding collective control over a series of well-developed strategies.
http://www.touchingextremes.blogspot.com/

Touching Extrenes review by Massimo Ricci

CF 137DENMAN MARONEY QUINTET – Udentity (CF 137)
Pianist (or “hyperpianist”? Hold on, please) Denman Maroney is clearly trustful in the abilities of an average mind. Trying to explain the polyrhythmic concepts that underscore the large part of this music, he says that “there are at least two and more often three tempos going; the listener is free to choose which one(s) to relate to”. Perhaps this musician is not aware of the fact that the majority of a typical audience is not even able to stay anchored to a rudimentary 4/4 with a couple of shifted accents, let alone a superimposition of composed metres. Many pathetic characters come out with various kinds of bullshit about complex mathematic “mysteries” underlying the perfection of the universe, yet they could not name an interval or an elementary beat if threatened at gunpoint. Such sorts of involuntary victims of artistic diversity are not likely to be grateful for the labyrinthine qualities of this excellent album. Hell, this group doesn’t swing, if not for an allowed minimum.

Right, the hyperpiano. Besides numerous interlocking figurations executed with concentrated investigational attitude, Maroney – who appears positively gifted with a scintillating musicality coming from the insides of his brain – frequently plays the “regular” keyboard with a hand while enjoying the pleasures of extended techniques with another, the whole enhanced by the exploitation of several objects on the strings which generate “complementary overtones that move in contrary motion, one down toward the fundamental and the other up toward infinity”. Already fantasizing in regard to enhancement of awareness and realization? Wrong: the record’s title is the contraption of “undertone identity”, a concept introduced by Harry Partch which is too complicated to tackle in a sheer review. You can still learn the definition and use it in your intellectual conversations: nobody – except a few brighter individuals – go actually checking for the truthful core of these things, otherwise a lot of sapient icons would be swallowed by the very blob of their appalling ignorance.

Let’s not digress, though: the quintet performs fabulously throughout Udentity. Ned Rothenberg (alto sax, clarinets) employs a toothsome transitoriness in the methods applied, alternating altruistic repetition bathed in cutting dissonance and interchangeable anti-patterns which dignify the entire timbral tissue. He’s perfectly corresponding to the trumpet of Dave Ballou, who on a different side of the blowing spectrum avoids any kind of hypertrophic irresponsibleness, privileging lines that – although extremely respectful of the composer’s original plan – shine for intelligent restraint. If Michael Sarin’s drumming is entirely perfect for the overall design of these creations, his sober delivery a true injunction against the smell of moth-eaten “flexibility” characterizing the bulk of jazz drummers, bassist Reuben Radding is to be admired both as a solid donor of corpulent foundations for the general structure and an extemporaneous originator of bedazzling melodic sketches in places where an arcoed elegy is probably going to lead a sensitive receiver to deeper perceptions than an innocuous “pulse”.

Just to give a vague idea of how this stuff sounds, let me tell you that those whose ear-training includes Stravinsky and Zappa should greet this CD pretty warmly. Maroney has managed to tickle our interest with complications that sound good, lively, natural, without a hint of agony. Discomposure and angst are to be found somewhere else; here, we only appreciate an outstanding collective control over a series of well-developed strategies.
http://touchingextremes.blogspot.com/2009/11/denman-maroney-quintet-udentity.html

All About Jazz review by Clifford Allen

CF 143Transit – Quadrologues (CF 143)
Nate Wooley – The Seven Storey Mountain (Important Records)
The work of trumpeter Nate Wooley falls into a number of camps: free improvisation, experimental noise or restructuralist postbop. It would be easy to lump him in with a young trumpeters/ extended techniques setting but Wooley is decidedly an individual. And while brass players tend to elicit an expected bravura, Wooley is very much at home in collective exploratory endeavors as one color in a very broad palette.

Transit is one of the first outfits that Wooley began working in when he arrived in New York from Denver and Quadrologues is the quartet’s second disc. Here, Wooley is joined by drummer Jeff Arnal, bassist Reuben Radding and altoist Seth Misterka on ten collective improvisations. While the group structurally hints at a piano-less quartet and attachments to post-Ornette non-chordal bop, such a model couldn’t be further from what Transit actualizes. A piece like “Time isn’t what you think” explores the cycles of breath, anguished whispers and near shrieks peeling away spatial layers as Misterka’s mournful, wide vibrato keen rises out of hums and sighs. Plodding pizzicato and rattling percussion mark intervals and like many of the improvisations here, there’s an airy pause that signals the end of the experience, giving one the feeling that a window on activity has shut while the foursome continue onward. That’s not to say that there aren’t moments of infectious, swinging rhythm—Arnal has a penchant for funky, flitting cross-rhythms that echo John Stevens’ Ed Blackwell-ian moments. “Speaking in Tongues” features a soulful, throaty Radding solo interwoven into a light polyrhythm and piercing golden unison.

Seven Storey Mountain is an exploration of (and creation of) environment, which finds Wooley joined by semi-regular partner Paul Lytton on percussion and David Grubbs on harmonium, as well as the inclusion of field recordings made in Jersey City. The landscape as it is initially defined here is restive, ultra-low tones bubbling only slightly to the surface. The nature of their production is unclear, perhaps electronic or a low-tone gong. Metallic breaths and gravelly burble seem assigned to a trumpet or a contact mic, while crinkling footsteps and swaths of air might signal taped Jersey environs. Though extremely subtle, the play of low tones and breaths and the introduction of rattling percussion and Grubbs’ droning harmonium enter and recede cyclically: Ten minutes in, electronic and breath palettes become dense as a clear, rolling patter of snare, cymbals and sticks generate an active blueprint toward present, immediate speed. Wooley notes, “My internal rhythm is really, really fast actually. Lytton and I have talked about this a little, because we have very similar at rest tempos, meaning the velocity that we tend to be most relaxed in.” In other words, the pensive and subtle cycles at the piece’s outset become almost closed-in, allowing environmental self-awareness to move from slow realizations to those of hyper-speed, fierce futurities.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=34408

Jazzword review by Ken Waxman

Ancient but apt, the saying “you can take a boy out of the country, but can’t take the country out of the boy” is more accurate if the country is Canada and the “boys” are male and female musicians in the United States. No matter how busy they are, improvisers are always ready to play north of the border. Last month, for instance, Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based drummer Harris Eisenstadt played two Toronto shows in one day before continuing an American tour.

CF 123Harris Eisenstadt – Guewel (CF 123)
Being Canadian doesn’t mean cutting yourself from other interests as Eisenstadt demonstrates on Guewel (Clean Feed CF 123 CD. Named for the Wolof word for griots, the band – cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, trumpeter Nate Wooley, French hornist Mark Taylor and baritone saxophonist Josh Sinton – plays the drummer’s arrangements of West African pop music and ceremonial rhythms which he learned overseas. The tunes contain elements of southern dance tracks and brass band marches. Each horn man has the melodic smarts to meld with Eisenstadt’s multi-faceted drumming, producing catchy yet non-simplistic tunes. With his hunting horn sonorities, innate lyricism and pumping vamps, Taylor is a standout. The sympathetic arrangements stack horn parts atop one another in such a way that every solo becomes almost three-dimensional. Should a tune like Rice and Fish/Liti Liti begins mellow and impressionistic, then a drum beat signals a timbral shift with Taylor’s jujitsu tongue-fluttering matched with near Mariachi-styling from the other brass players. N’daga/Coonu Aduna transcends its marching band flavor as Sinton riffs harshly, accelerating to whoops and brays, while the meandering brass trill rococo detailing around him and Eisenstadt clatters, pops and ruffs.

CF 121RIDD Quartet – Fiction Avalanche (CF 121)
Davis is also part of the RIDD Quartet on Fiction Avalanche (Clean Feed CF 121 CD with CanCon provided by his spouse Kris Davis, who studied at the U. of T, and the Banff Centre. Outstanding on 10 group compositions, solos are weighed among Davis’ sensitive drumming, sweeping colors from distaff Davis, Reuben Radding’s tough, but restrained bass, and the kinetic runs of saxophonist Jon Irabagon. On Fiction Avalanche, the pianist percussively chords a counter melody that extends rasping bass slides and flattened reed vibrations. Monkey Catcher is a screaming blues expanded by Irabagon’s fortissimo split tones, yet tamed by Davis’ chord progression, key-clipping and flailing. Sky Circles is both atmospheric and lyrical. In unison the saxophonist’s buzzy trills and the pianist’s comping outline the theme. Segmented by winnowing squeals from Irabagon, the pianist moors the improvisation while advancing the theme chromatically. http://www.jazzword.com/review/126900

Cadence Magazine review by Jason Bivins

CF 138
Paul Dunmall Sun Quartet – Ancient and Future Airs (CF 138 )


CF 137
Denman Maroney Quintet – Udentity (CF 137)

Dunmall’s visit to New York’s The Living Theater (1) finds him in a slightly unfamiliar setting given his recent work on Slam. With a trio of longtime associates, this Vision Festival set finds him in a more reflective mood alongside Malaby, whose blend of melancholy and fire has become ever more singular of late (not least in his work in Helias’ Open Loose trio). Norton’s vibes are absolutely central to the textural range of these long pieces. While “Ancient Airs” opens rather slowly, the race is on after a while, with contrapuntalism firing up the engine. Dunmall and Malaby make for a wonderfully contrastive tenor tandem, fierce in the right measure without resorting to mere burning. I reckon it’s hard not to wail once Norton hits the traps and gets things churning with Helias, but this music never loses its focus and there’s always something lyrical happening. As ever, I find it quite an exhilarating experience when Dunmall rocks the pipes, but he does so quite judiciously. After the piece plateaus, it sounds as if the band is cycling through some refracted version of Coltrane’s “One Up One Down,” audible especially with Malaby’s vertiginous solo at about the 35-minute mark. Helias’ sweet bass solo is pleasantly modal after the fury preceding it, and it cues up a somewhat (yes) airy ending. The second improvisation, at a mere 10 minutes, is a tad bitty and doesn’t really get going anywhere. But this one’s a keeper nonetheless.

Having long been a fan of Denman Maroney’s unique sound world—his “hyperpiano” is the most radically prepared innenklavier imaginable—I confess that it’s really only with this recording (2) that I realized how rhythmically acute a musician he is. His bowls, and buzzing devices, and blocks have created a richly tex-tured idiomatic extension of the piano, but these nuanced, percolating compositions are bouncing inventions that recall some fusion of Rothenberg’s Double Band, John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet, and Mark Dresser’s Force Green band from the 1990s (of which Maroney was a key member). This high praise is emphatically deserved. Beyond this general appraisal (and really, just go get this one), I have to give it up for the engine room specifically. Radding and the superb Sarin are so good, with power and grace combining almost imperceptibly, that you could risk overlooking everything else as you simply concentrate on their playing. But then there’s the exceptional contrast between the clarion lines Ballou reels out, and
Rothenberg’s intense playing, with horns as rhythmic generators fueled by circular breathing, overblowing, and more. And the tunes are pretty fabulous too, with the post Bop line on “II” sounding almost like a late 1960s Ornette tune. The loping pulse of “III” is a perfect context ready to be agitated by the heady sound of scraped metal, a continual staggering which eventuates in a stunningly inventive “piano trio” improvisation. Absolutely killer alien tones! There are soft percussive thwacks and layered tempi from the horns on “IV” and a post-Dave Burrell mutated stride thing that opens up “V.” The disc eventually loops back to the feel of beautifully fractured post Bop on “VII,” with a brilliant piano trio section again. A fantastic disc, and a strong candidate to show up on my year-end list.
©Cadence Magazine 2009 www.cadencebuilding.com

Jazz’n’More review by Jürg Solothurnmann

CF 143TRANSIT – Quadrologues (CF 143)
****
Improvisationen, die oft wie komponiert klingen. Die Karten werden neu gemischt; die Errungenschaften von europäischer Free Music und Free Jazz verbinden sich auf anderem Niveau mit vororganisierten Strukturen. Arnal, ein Schüler Milford Graves, publiziert bei Clean Feed die zweite CD seines Quartetts – mit dem Braxton-Schüler Misterka und mit dem Trompeter Wooley, seinerseits ein Schüler des immens unbewerteten amerikanischen Free Music-Pioniers Jack Wright. Die vier gehen sehr kooperativ und gleichzeitig selektiv zuwerke und bauen meistens transparente Ereignisse, wobei die Stilistik manchmal näher bei sparsam distanzierter Neuer Musik und manchmal bei groovend kommunikativem Free Jazz liegt. Die zwischen drei und neun Minuten langen Ereignisse enthalten interessante Klang- und Geräuschkombinationen, die getrennt durch Pausen ausgekostet werden. Dadurch ergibt sich eine Vielfalt von Gesten, Gestalten und Aktionen. Mal fliesst die Musik, mal stockt sie, erzählt kleine Geschichten und ist trotz Modernität und Zurückhaltung gut anzuhören. Vielversprechend.

EJazz news review by Glenn Astarita

CF 143Transit – Quadrologues (CF 143)
The second offering by this New York City based quartet is largely assembled upon an abundance of intriguing tonal contrasts, where progressive and free-jazz translucently merge into a coherent group-centric sound. Designed with layers, and climactic theme building maneuvers, the hornists’ generate soaring and frenetic phrasings atop levitating motifs, tinged with minimalist exchanges and weaving lines.

They transmit an emotive gait that touches your senses in various ways and means. At times, alto saxophonist Seth Misterka and trumpeter Nate Wooley render haunting sub-plots, driven home by drummer Jeff Arnal’s rolling tom patterns. Yet the musicians temper the flows via soft overtones, and a few concise nods to world music. No doubt, this is not a one-dimensional outfit.

With bustling metrics and spiraling horns, the musicians also plunge into a bit of crash and burn fare on the avant-jazz romp titled “Meeting Ground,” where Misterka’s popping notes, communicate a sense of urgency. Otherwise, the respective performers are well-known within global jazz and improvisation circles due to their extensive solo and group-led discographies. Hence, the synergy here becomes evident early on and further evidenced by the whirling ostinato and circular passages executed on the memorable “Speaking In Tongues.” In sum, it’s an entertainingly divergent and persuasive string of musical events.
http://ejazznews.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=10483&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0