Inspired by the largest icefield in the Rocky Mountains trumpeter Nate Wooley set out to explore “ … large structures that have a feeling of being really large and slightly disturbing, but also, natural, … it’s not an attack on our senses. We understand it.” On “Columbia Icefield” Wooley’s amplified trumpet is joined by drummer Ryan Sawyer, pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn and guitarist Mary Halverson. The three compositions on “Columbia Icefield” while unique in content and form seem to share an overall point of view or perhaps mood. The recording itself also contributes to this overall mood. The album’s mix beautifully exploits the stereo field to project a big and open sound that still seems close and intimate.
The album opens with “Lionel Trilling”, a piece that seems like it would make a great soundtrack for a journey by train to visit the ice field. The piece slowly builds up from very deliberate but somewhat overlapping melodic and rhymical patterns on the guitars. The interplay between Halverson and Alcorn is very tight and balanced. These patterns could be imagined as representing the sounds of the train. They are eventually joined by other patterns played by the drums along with the very effective use of the amplified trumpet as percussion. This builds up over time but not in a sentimental or obvious way. The train continues to climb till out of nowhere ethereal voices arrive and the mood abruptly changes. They have arrived and set out to explore the expanse in a floating dialogue. This gives way to a new section of contrapuntal questions and episodic improvisations till it is time to leave and then we get back on the train to return to where the journey began.
“Seven in the Woods” is a piece where its shape slowly forms over time. It begins as an abstraction of what it will become with a slow counterpoint of melodic fragments between the guitars and muted trumpet. When the drums finally enter it tries to subvert the developing shape with march like rhythmic attacks. Eventually the drums give in and all of this abstraction crystallizes into a soulful melodic hymn accompanied by beautiful brush work from the drums. The piece then moves through a series of wonderful moments with solos from each of the musicians. Eventually it begins to fall back apart but is interrupted by the guitars with chiming church bell chords that slowly fade away.
The last piece “With Condolences” starts slowly and quietly but as the sonic conversation grows it becomes more and more animated over time. As it builds up into a chatter, spoken word lyrics emerge and push it back into a more reflective instrumental conversation that slowly winds itself down.
The playing by each of the musicians on “Columbia Icefield” is nothing short of outstanding. I hope that Nate Wooley is able to do a lot more recording with this particular group. As an ensemble they demonstrate real chemistry. Make no mistake “Columbia Icefield” is a great album. So, do your ears a favor and spend some quiet time listening to “Columbia Icefield”.
Chris De Chiara
From the Impending Bloom calendar:
On Saturday, March 16th, @7:30PM, Musica Viva presents violinist and violist Eric Pritchard, clarinetist Fred Jacobwitz, along with pianist Carl Banner, @Banner Arts, located at 7502 Flower Avenue, in Takoma Park, Md.
On Tuesday, March 26th, @8PM, Transparent Production’s presents Fire!, w/Mats Gustafsson on reeds, Johan Berthling on bass, and Andreas Werliin on drums. Opening, “Spoiler”. @Rhizome, 6950 Maple Street in Takoma, DC, @8PM.
On Friday, April 5th@7PM, The Tomeka Reid Stringtet, at Milkboy, @7416 Baltimore Avenue in College Park, Md.
Also on April 5th@7:30PM, saxophonist and composer Henry Threadgill’s “Double Up Plays Double Up, Plus (part of Direct Current), at The Kennedy Center, 2700 F Street, NW, WDC.
On Saturday, April 13th, @3PM, Transparent Production’s presents vocalist Lisa Sokolov & cellist Jake Sokolov-Gonzalez. @Rhizome, 6950 Maple Street in Takoma, DC, again @3PM.
On Friday, May 10th, @8PM, Transparent Production’s presents trombonist Steve Swell Trio, w/ Jay Rosen on drums, and Dominic Duval Jr. on double-bass. @Rhizome, 6950 Maple Street in Takoma, DC, again @8PM.
Source: Ingebrigt Håker Flaten.
Buddyprisen (established 1956 in Oslo, Norway) is an award, given annually by the Norwegian Jazz Forum to a Norwegian jazz musician that has “been an excellent performer and significantly involved in Norwegian jazz by other means”. The award was accompanied by a statue portraiting the New Orleans trumpeter Buddy Bolden, made by visual artist Lise Frogg. From 1987, recipients have received a travel grant; in 2011, the grant amounted to NKR 50,000. The awards ceremony takes place at the club “Bare Jazz” in Oslo.
Source: New York’s ISSUE Project Room.
SYNCRETICS SERIES: HPRIZM: PRESSURE WAVE / JOSH SINTON: KRASA
Fri 15 Mar, 2019, 8pm, 22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn
ISSUE continues its Syncretics Series with acclaimed composer and performer Hprizm performing PRESSURE WAVE, an evening length audio/visual piece. Saxophonist, bass clarinetist, and creative musician Josh Sinton also presents krasa, exploring the sound magnification of the contrabass clarinet.
MARK FELL WITH OKKYUNG LEE / KARA-LIS COVERDALE: SOLO ORGAN / LXV
Thu 21 Mar, 2019, 8pm, First Unitarian Congregational Society
ISSUE presents artist and electronics visionary Mark Fell, returning to ISSUE for the first time since 2015 to premiere an untitled new piece with cellist, composer, and improviser Okkyung Lee. The evening also features Kara-Lis Coverdale and LXV, collaborators on joint album Sirens, each presenting new solo work.
HARD WOOD: DAXOPHONE CONSORT WITH DANIEL FISHKIN, CLEEK SCHREY & RON SHALOM
Sat 30 Mar, 2019, 8pm, 22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn
ISSUE presents composers & instrumentalists Daniel Fishkin, Cleek Schrey, and Ron Shalom — the U.S.’s only extant daxophone consort. At ISSUE, the group collaborates with experimental vocalist and composer Judith Berkson. The concert features the premiere of a new commission, HARD WOOD, by Alvin Lucier.
YING LIU: PLAYDATE
Sat 06 Apr, 2019, 2pm, 22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn
Multimedia artist and experimental hodgepodge-ist Ying Liu opens her 2019 residency with the premiere of PLAYDATE, an outdoor play and hyper-cellphone oriented performance combining theater and happenings, exploring themes of urban interconnectivity.