with Chris Speed (clarinet, tenor sax), Cuong Vu (trumpet), Skuli Sverrisson (bass), and Jim Black (drums, melodica)
Chris Speed's third release for Songlines with his band Yeah No (following Yeah No, 1997, and Deviantics, 1999), features sweet/astringent offbeat grooves and evocative soundscapes from one of New York's most finely attuned working units. On Emit, the density and harmonic complexity of the improvising contrasts with the simplicity of the compositional material. Black's drumming, hopping from power beats to arachnid antics, combined with Skuli's elegantly harsh landscapes and sinuous sub-lows, energize Speed and Vu's bold and enthusiastic explorations. The quest for beautiful dissonance (think Bulgarian Women's Choir) inspired 'Tralala,' with Black filling in abrasive harmonies on melodica. 'Kompa' explores the merge of Balkan folk dance, Haitian groove and jazz improvisation. 'Beranche,' a nod to Julius Hemphill's wild blues-based grooves, descends into a grungy-dirge jam in alternating 7/8 and 5/8. (A berançe is an eastern European dance that can take various metric forms.) 'Tangents' is car crash of cut and paste jazz phrases, improvised ambient bass and swinging drums. Emit merges hyper beats, eclectic dance forms, impassioned solos, wacky grooves, and lyrical melodies, each song retaining its own sonic uniqueness. It was developed on tour March 2000, and then recorded live to two-track (24 bits) by Jim Anderson at Avatar, NYC.
Born in Seattle in 1967, Chris Speed was raised on classical music, playing piano from age five, and adding clarinet at eleven. In high school he switched his focus to the tenor sax and jazz, continuing his studies at the New England Conservatory. In Boston he co-formed the band Human Feel; they recorded four CDs, the last being Speak to It (Songlines 1514, 1996). There he also discovered the Rom (gypsy) music of eastern Europe, and this eventually led to the creation of Pachora, a Balkan/near-eastern influenced band featuring Black, Sverrisson and Brad Shepik, with three records on Knitting Factory. In New York since 1992, he has played in bands led by the cream of 'downtown' improvisers including Tim Berne, Myra Melford, Mark Dresser, and Steven Bernstein. Besides his new trio Iffy (KFR) with Jamie Saft and Ben Perowsky, year 2000 marks his work on the debut recordings of Jim Black, Alas No Axis (Winter & Winter) and Jamie Saft, Sovlanut (Tzadik); on the new Dave Douglas sextet Soul on Soul (RCA); Susie Ibarra, Flower after Flower (Tzadik); the Satoko Fujii Orchestra, Double Take (East Works); Matt Moran's Slavic Soul Party; and Pachora's third record Ast. He can also be heard on Songlines with Jerry Granelli & Badlands (Enter, a Dragon and Crowd Theory).
Cuong Vu was born in Vietnam to musical parents and emigrated to Seattle at age six. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory where he studied with Joe Maneri. He co-led Saft/Vu (Ragged Jack, Avant), and leads the VU-TET, JACKhouse, and Scratcher (featuring Holly Palmer). His new record Bound (Omnitone) features Black, Saft and Stomu Takeishi. Born in Reykjavik,
Skuli Sverrisson graduated from Berklee College and has appeared on over 30 records with Icelandic artists, including his group Pax Vobis, and Mo Boma. Recently he has been collaborating and touring with Laurie Anderson in her mixed media piece Moby Dick and is the musical director for her new record. His solo record Sermonie (Extreme), features tape compositions "taking audio snapshots of the interior architecture of sound," joining electronics and extended techniques for the electric bass.
Jim Black grew up in Seattle, moved to Boston in 1985 to attend Berklee, and has lived in Brooklyn since 1991. He has been touring/recording with Pachora, Bloodcount, Dave Douglas's Tiny Bell Trio, Ellery Eskelin, and Uri Caine's Mahler and Bach Projects, and has a new record, Alas No Axis (Winter & Winter).
ReviewsSpeed's music is one of the freshest and most attractive newer strains in jazz. ” LA Weekly