AMN Reviews: Keir Neuringer – Ceremonies Out of the Air

coverEvery once in a while I start thinking that there’s nothing new to be heard in solo saxophone recordings, but I’m always wrong. Case in point, this release from the Philadelphia-based Keir Neuringer. Ceremonies Out of the Air demonstrates what one person with versatile skills can coax out of an instrument.

Neuringer has spent many years in Europe and the U.S., collaborating with Rafal Mazur, Ensemble Klang, Evan Parker, Reuben Radding, Matt Bauder, Andrew Drury, and many others. This, his first solo release, is an 80-minute, 5-track tour-de-force of the saxophone that was recorded in a single night in August 2013.

Each piece has a distinct emotional or philosophical meaning to Neuringer, evoked in the form of continuous, floating notes and chords. Often multiphonic, Neuringer’s approach is both heartfelt and cerebral. His style is somewhat reminiscent of John Butcher, but too idiosyncratic for a direct comparison.

Rolling and scraping, Neuringer uses both sounds, and makes liberal use of the space between sounds, to kindle quiet interludes between long, wavering drones. Sometimes repetitive and minimalistic, but never a dull moment throughout its length, Ceremonies Out of the Air sets a high water mark in the often-overlooked oeuvre of solo sax.

Blasting Opera Forward: Braxton in New York Previewed

Anthony Braxton
Cover of Anthony Braxton

From The New York Review of Books:

Though Anthony Braxton’s contributions to jazz have been substantial, he has spent the last three decades on the genre’s fringes. A MacArthur Award-winning saxophonist, composer, and teacher, Braxton has released a number of acclaimed works, including For Alto, the first album for unaccompanied solo saxophone ever recorded, and has for years been a leading proponent of merging avant-garde jazz with contemporary art music. Yet when I spoke to him in early April, Braxton told me he was surprised to be included on the list of “Jazz Masters” honored by the National Endowment for the Arts, in January. And, once again, he was already looking ahead: more eager to talk about Richard Wagner and Karlheinz Stockhausen, influences on his own opera-cycle in progress, Trillium. The latest work in what he calls his “opera complex,” Trillium J (The Non-Unconfessionables), will have its premiere this month at Roulette in Brooklyn, from April 17 to April 19. The weekend before, Braxton will also play saxophone in performances at the same venue with a chamber orchestra and with a nonet that includes Ingrid Laubrock, Nate Wooley, and Mary Halvorson.

Upcoming Shows at Trinosophes

From Detroit’s Trinosophes:

April 12: Mind Over Mirrors, Chatoyant, Clarinet Panic
Mind Over Mirrors is the solitary reeling of American harmoniumist/electronicist Jaime Fennelly. Utilizing an Indian pedal harmonium, oscillators, tape delays, and an assortment of synthesizing processors, Fennelly bends slowly-building, repetitive melodies into massive sonic mountains. Folklorist Brendan Greaves may have best summed up Mind Over Mirrors’ “referential compass points—G.I. Gurdjieff’s harmonium improvisations; certain particularly harmonically viscous recordings of Sacred Harp singers; Edward Artemiev’s soundtracks to Tarkovsky films—in its patience, its simultaneously formal and folk aspects, and its sheer, unabashed (if intermittently anxious) beauty, it doesn’t sound much like anything else being made today.” His fourth album, When The Rest Are Up At Four, was released in September on Immune Recordings, following releases on Digitalis, Hands In the Dark & Aguirre/Gift Tapes. Fennelly was a founding member of the iconoclastic trio Peeesseye (with Chris Forsyth & Fritz Welch), is one-third of free jazz unit Acid Birds, and is now a resident of Chicago, IL after living for three years on a remote island in the Salish Sea of Washington State, where the Mind Over Mirrors project was initially developed.

Chatoyant is a mosaic of door creaks, shot gun blasts, rustling wind, alien ages and biker rock. A post-vocalist group with no songs in particular, they sound like many of your favorite bands for a moment or two. while sounding like no band at all. Somehow it ‘s all so familiar, like from a dream we all had once. Over the past year, Chatoyant have put out three releases in editions of 20. They have many more planned for 2014.

Clarinet Panic is a new group that hails from Toronto and performs mathy chamber-rock on cello, drums, guitar and saxophone.


April 17: Ken Vandermark’s Made to Break
April 18: Eric Carbonara and Nick Milevoi, Fortuna/Knaggs
April 19: Pandelis Karayorgis Quintet
April 27: BYOBach
April 30: Chicago Underground Duo

Jazz Listings From The New York Times

Michael Formanek
Cover of Michael Formanek


Tim Berne and Michael Formanek (Saturday) Mr. Berne, a saxophonist, and Mr. Formanek, a bassist, have accrued a lot of mileage together, in settings both chamberlike and aggressively unscripted. This special duo performance, part of the Sound It Out series, should recall the spirit of their well-rendered album in that format, “Ornery People,” from just over 15 years ago. At 8 p.m., Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow Street, West Village, 212-242-4770,; $20, $15 for students. (Chinen)

Peter Evans Zebulon Trio (Thursday) Peter Evans, a trumpeter with an expressive command of timbre and texture, named this trio — with John Hébert on bass and Kassa Overall on drums — after the sorely missed club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where it recorded an album, “Zebulon,” that provides a loose framework of expectation here. At 9 and 11 p.m., the Jazz Gallery at Salt Space, 1160 Broadway, fifth floor, at West 27th Street, 646-494-3625,; $15, $10 for members in the first set; $10, $5 for members in the second set. (Chinen)

Go: Organic Orchestra (Monday) This sprawling, meditative large ensemble is a project of Adam Rudolph, an open-minded percussionist, composer and conductor. Drawing inspiration from earthy and elemental sources, it features three dozen musicians, in a diverse whorl of woodwinds, strings, percussion and guitars. At 7 p.m. (open workshop) and 8 p.m. (performance), ShapeShifter Lab, 18 Whitwell Place, Park Slope, Brooklyn,; $15. (Chinen)

Ingrid Laubrock Quintet (Monday) A tenor and soprano saxophonist drawn to a spirit of inquisition, Ingrid Laubrock enlists some accomplished partners in this band: the alto saxophonist Tim Berne, the trombonist Ben Gerstein, the tuba player Dan Peck and the drummer Tom Rainey, her husband. At 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, 212-989-9319,; $10 cover, with a $10 minimum. (Chinen)

Tri-Centric Music Festival (through April 19) The Tri-Centric Foundation, organized around the music of the irrepressible avant-garde composer and multireedist Anthony Braxton, is in the midst of a sprawling festival at Roulette in Brooklyn. On Friday at 8 p.m., the trumpeter Nate Wooley presents “Battle Pieces,” a process-oriented work for quartet, in a concert that also includes Mr. Braxton’s “Composition 146,” for 12 flutes, two tubas and percussion. On Saturday at 8 p.m., Mr. Braxton leads his Falling River Music Nonet, sharing a program with the vocalist Fay Victor and her piece “Neighborhood Dynamics.” And over three nights starting on Thursday, at 8 p.m., Mr. Braxton will preside over the premiere of “Trillium J (The Non-Unconfessionables),” his latest opera. A full schedule is at Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, near Third Avenue, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, 917-267-0363,; $20 to $35, $15 to $30 for students and members. (Chinen)

Dan Weiss (Friday and Saturday) Mr. Weiss, a drummer whose range of interests may be rivaled only by his depth of precision, recently released a breakthrough of an album, “Fourteen,” featuring his beguilingly complex music for a 14-piece chamber ensemble. This album-release engagement will feature the same personnel, including Miles Okazaki on classical and electric guitars; David Binney and Ohad Talmor on saxophones; Jacob Garchik and Ben Gerstein on trombones; Jacob Sacks and Matt Mitchell on either piano or organ; and three unflappable vocalists, Lana Cencic, Judith Berkson and Maria Neckam. At 9 and 11 p.m., the Jazz Gallery at Salt Space, 1160 Broadway, fifth floor, at West 27th Street, 646-494-3625,; $22, $10 for members. (Chinen)

Classical Music Listings From The New York Times

Robert Ashley
Cover of Robert Ashley


Robert Ashley’s ‘Crash’ (Friday through Sunday) The composer Robert Ashley has a devoted following, especially for his unconventional, often haunting operas that use spoken dialogue, chanting and experimental musical and narrative techniques. He died last month at the age of 83, just months after completing his final opera, “Crash,” which will have its premiere as part of the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Directed by Alex Waterman, “Crash” is the first of three Ashley operas being presented as part of the Biennial. Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m., Whitney Museum of Art, 212-570-7766,; $20, $16 for students and 65+. (Anthony Tommasini)

Jeremy Denk (Saturday) The Peoples’ Symphony Concerts presents this excellent pianist in a program featuring Mozart’s Sonata in F (K. 533/494); Ligeti’s Piano Etudes, Book Two; Schumann’s “Davidsbündlertänze”; and several works by William Byrd. At 8 p.m., Washington Irving High School, Irving Place at 16th Street, Manhattan, 212-586-4680,; sold out. (Schweitzer)

MATA Festival (Wednesday and Thursday) One of New York’s finest showcases for young composers, this festival kicks off at the Kitchen on Wednesday with the American debut of the Finnish ensemble Uusinta, playing works that include the premiere of Hikari Kiyama’s “Joruri Death Metal.” Thursday brings a program that includes new works by Carolyn Chen and Alex Weiser. (Through April 21.) At 8 p.m., 512 West 19th Street, Chelsea, 212-255-5793,; $20, $15 for students. (Woolfe)