Reviews that mention Jeff Arnal

May 6, 2012

Pail Bug

Pail Bug
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By Ken Waxman

Polymath percussionist Jeff Arnal has pursued parallel paths since his arrival in New York in 2000. Collaborating with a wide range of musicians both in the US and Europe he’s found forums to display both the aggressive punk-like approach that initially attracted him to music plus the improvisational subtleties he picked up following his studies with contemporary composer Stuart Saunders Smith and percussion master Milford Graves.

Pail Bug is recorded with his long-time associate, Berlin-based pianist Dietrich Eichmann plus two bassists, Hamburg-based American expatriate John Hughes and German Astrid Weins, intensifies the free music side of Arnal’s talents. For Eichmann’s contributions are crucial to the elaboration of the five instant compositions or “pails”. A schooled composer who has written pieces for the SWR Symphony Orchestra, the Lyon Opéra Ballet as well as a concerto for saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and the Ensemble Modern, Eichmann still fits seamlessly into an improv setting. Here he superimposes keyboard clanks and clips onto the agitated friction produced by tandem slashing bow work or sly pizzicato pops from the dual bassists. Meanwhile Arnal’s rhythmic interpolations encompass everything from positioned press rolls to miniature bell pings and cymbal scratches. Frequently as well, the group interface fragments enough for protracted duo or trio interludes within the lengthier tracks. MORE

November 28, 2007

Aaron Dugan + Jeff Arnal

Dog Day
C3R 013

Gordon Beeferman/Jeff Arnal

Rogue States

Generate Records GEN 11

Spreading his talents among music for dance, composition and improvisation, Brooklyn-based percussionist Jeff Arnal is as likely to show up in Berlin playing in a band with German composer/pianist Dietrich Eichmann as in a New York combo with other youngish stylists like trumpeter Nat Wooley and bassist Reuben Radding.

Duos seem to be a favored format, and on these CDs the Georgia native trades licks and ideas with chordal instrument players of widely different persuasions. His perceptive work on both wholly improvised CDs is outstanding in itself, although overall Rogue States is more satisfying than Dog Day for a variety of reasons. MORE

November 28, 2007

Gordon Beeferman/Jeff Arnal

Rogue States
Generate Records GEN 11

Aaron Dugan + Jeff Arnal

Dog Day

C3R 013

Spreading his talents among music for dance, composition and improvisation, Brooklyn-based percussionist Jeff Arnal is as likely to show up in Berlin playing in a band with German composer/pianist Dietrich Eichmann as in a New York combo with other youngish stylists like trumpeter Nat Wooley and bassist Reuben Radding.

Duos seem to be a favored format, and on these CDs the Georgia native trades licks and ideas with chordal instrument players of widely different persuasions. His perceptive work on both wholly improvised CDs is outstanding in itself, although overall Rogue States is more satisfying than Dog Day for a variety of reasons. MORE

October 10, 2005

ARNAL/DAHLGREM/MISTERKA

Red
Generate GEN LE10

KAINKWATETT
Kainkwatett
Schraum 1

Freely improvised trio performances by two trios, each including a saxophonist and a bassist on micro-labels continue to point out the differences between European –

in this case German – and American sound explorers. Although both call on the tenets of minimalism and so-called New Music, the Yanks still have a tincture of jazz in their playing, replaced by electro-acoustic musings when it come to the Teutons. MORE

July 19, 2004

JEFF ARNAL/GORDON BEEFERMAN/SETH MISTERKA

Rara Avis
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DIETRICH EICHMANN/JEFF ARNAL
The Temperature Dropped Again
Leo CD LR 390

Georgia-born, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based drummer Jeff Arnal has organized international connections since the late 1990s. These two discs provide an opportunity to compare his work with two fellow Americans and a German composer.

Both have much to recommend them, but, although both were recorded at about the same time, overall the duo session has more going for it than the trio CD. THE TEMPERATURE DROPPED AGAIN matches Arnal’s percussion with the piano of Berlin-based composer Dietrich Eichmann. Although billed a meeting between a “classical composer and a jazz/improv drummer”, Eichmann early on studied with Alexander von Schlippenbach and besides writing straight compositions has interacted with improvisers like reedists Wolfgang Fuchs and Lars Scherzberg. Here both percussionist and pianists communicate in the same language. MORE

December 9, 2002

THE FOCUS QUINTET

1-8 IN 1
Sachimay sca 9357

THE ABSTRACTIONS Sonic Conspiracy
Edgetone EDT 4012

Each of these CDs features Bay area guitarist Ernesto Diaz-Infante and an improvising female vocalist. Other than that you probably couldn’t find two more different sessions that get lumped into the experimental/improvised music category.

Putting aside the ancient West Coast-East Coast dichotomy -- The Abstractions hail from and recorded in San Francisco, the Focus Quintet is a New York band -- the difference between the bands is more philosophical than musical. Directed by Dan DeChellis on piano and keyboards and featuring guitarist Chris Forsyth percussionist, Jeff Arnal and vocalist Anita DeChellis as well as Diaz-Infante, the East Coast ensemble, like much of the pianist’s other work aims for that undefined area between “free jazz and art song”, as he terms it. The Left Coasters, on the other hand, who include along with Diaz-Infante, saxophonist Rent Romus, Bob Marsh on vibes and violin, Scott Looney on percussion and vocalist Jesse Quattro plus a good collection of toys and odd instruments, aim to meld improvised jazz, thrash rock, electronics and surrealistic vocal textures. Each CD must be taken on its own terms. MORE

August 19, 2002

SCHERZBERG/HUGHES/ARNAL

Tripwire
Generate Records GEN 07

Recorded in five different venues in Hamburg and Berlin, the two Americans and one German who make up the Scherzberg/Hughes/Arnal (SHA) trio show here how their music has intensified and adapted in the 18 months since their first CD.

Although drummer Jeff Arnal lives in Brooklyn, bassist John Hughes in Hamburg and alto saxophonist Lars Scherzberg in Berlin, the verdict on this fine disc of improvisations is that they get together often enough to keep the ensemble’s sound tight. Not only, that but adding German pianist/New music composer Dietrich Eichmann to the group on three tracks, and Italian pianist Alberto Braida and pianist Giancarlo Locatelli on one, opens up new avenues of creativity. MORE

November 12, 2001

DAN DECHELLIS/JEFF ARNAL

The Dirigibles Between Similarities
Sachimay SCA 9353

Piano and percussion duets have been a fertile ground for expansive improvisations ever since Cecil Taylor began cultivating the territory with a variety of drummers in the early 1960s. Since that time such post modernists as Marilyn Crispell and Gerry Hemingway, Borah Bergman and Hamid Drake and Irène Schweizer and Pierre Favre have successfully plowed those Elysium fields as a matched pair.

With this CD, Queens, N.Y.-based pianist Dan DeChellis and Brooklyn percussionist Jeff Arnal join that august crowd. MORE

September 17, 2001

LARS SCHERZBERG/JOHN HUGHES/JEFF ARNAL

Top Floor Encounter
Oaksmus om000818

Is TOP FLOOR ENCOUNTER part of the revenge of Generation Y musicians?

For the past 15 years or so, Gen X jazzers -- the so-called Young Lions -- have dominated the musical agenda, limiting improvisation to that involving swing, tonality and conventional interaction. But now, as many of the Young Lions are revealed to be little more than toothless tigers, even younger players are throwing those conventions aside and discovering how such techniques as speech-like inflection and dissonance, first utilized by neo-con mocked avant gardists gives them additional freedom. MORE