Reviews that mention Jason Stein

January 24, 2017

Jason Stein/Paul Giallorenzo/Frank Rosaly

Hearts and Minds
Astral Spirits AS026

Having figured out how to make an improvised music trio function as if it was a Heavy Metal trio on this disc are three Chicago-based players who have already established themselves as Jazz standard bearers. Like movie thriller makers who demonstrate that there’s a subversive edge in their program, no matter how much in-your-face brutality is exposed, Jason Stein, Paul Giallorenzo and Frank Rosaly are too attuned to sophisticated sounds to affect the jejune properties of simpler strategies. MORE

October 11, 2016

Artist Feature

Jason Stein
By Ken Waxman

Serendipity plays a large part in many musicians’ careers. And it’s serendipity that has meant that bass clarinetist Jason Stein has recently been performing his own music for large arena audiences. That’s because Stein, 39, is the brother of comedy superstar Amy Schumer and his Locksmith Isidore trio has become her opening act, regularly playing for tens of thousands of Schumer fans. Stein isn’t letting these high-profile gigs take over his life though. This month for instance, the night after he plays at Madison Square Garden (MSG) with Schumer, his Hearts and Minds trio with keyboardist Paul Giallorenzo and drummer Chad Taylor, is at the Greenwich House Music School. MORE

June 1, 2016

Festival Report

Doek ABC
By Ken Waxman

With many parts of the Netherlands reclaimed from the sea over the centuries, the Dutch have long been adroit recycling, reusing and repurposing. So it’s no surprise that except for the soft-seated Bimhuis, with its magnificent waterfront view, most venues for this year’s Doek ABC Improvisation Festival in Amsterdam, April 29 to May 4, had initially been built as schools, warehouses and even a dungeon. These locations were particularly pertinent for this year’s fest which united local improvisers (A) with visitors from Berlin (B) and Chicago (C). The festival also demonstrated how different musicians repurpose the jazz and improvised traditions. MORE

June 1, 2016

Artist Feature

Mike Reed
By Ken Waxman

Chicago drummer Mike Reed, 42, is a realist – and a visionary. More than a dozen years ago he experienced his own epiphany about the (jazz) music business and his place in it while working part time as a bartender. “I was thinking about my future and how I didn’t want to still be a bartender when I was 39 … or 49,” he recalls. Reed who at that point had been involved with different bands in Chicago’s music ferment since his mid-‘90s return to the city after completing a degree in English and Psychology at the University of Dayton Ohio, was with cornetist Josh Berman, already co-curating a series of Sunday sessions at the Hungry Brain club. Earlier, while working for a marketing agency he had helped organize city concerts encouraging people to vote in the presidential election. Promotion seemed to be the appropriate career choice and within a year, he had partnered with Pitchfork, a Chicago-based online music magazine, to create the annual summer Pitchfork Music Festival which is still going strong. MORE

October 21, 2015

James Falzone/The Renga Ensemble

The Room Is
Allos Documents 010

Like a bee which continuously transfers nectar from one plant to another, Chicago-based composer/clarinetist James Falzone flashes among Jazz, academe, so-called classical, liturgical, World and improvised musics. Illustrative of this approach is the six-piece, all-reeds, Renga Ensemble, which melds compositions and improvisations. Unlike the flying drone not all the textures Falzone conveys are sweet. But the 14 tracks here could serve as textbook example of how to operate a woodwind ensemble. MORE

November 16, 2014

Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack

Awaits Silent Tristero’s Empire
Singlespeed Music SSM-014

Franz Koglmann

JOIN!

ORF-CD 3177

Michael Lösch

Heroes

Sweet Alps No #

Nicole Mitchell

Intergalactic Beings

FPE Records FPE 02

Something In the Air: Mixing Advanced Jazz with Program Music

By Ken Waxman

Creating an entire program of integrated story and sound has long been a hallmark of western music. Just because the 20th and 21st century has given composers not only more instruments and modes to work with but also the possibility of adding aleatoric passages hasn`t lessened such projects’ appeal. Unlike the sometimes ill-conceived so-called jazz musicals of the past, today’s improvisers have the skills needed to link a coherent story line with creative sounds. MORE

December 19, 2013

Frank Rosaly

Cicada Music
Delmark DL 5006

Nate Wooley Sextet

(Sit In) The Throne of Friendship

Clean Feed CF 280 CD

Transferring personal compositional notions to an ensemble can be challenging, depending on the size and makeup of the group. Both the vibraphone-centred sessions here – led respectively by Chicago drummer Frank Rosaly and New York trumpeter Nate Wooley – avoid the obvious drawbacks by entrusting the interpretations to long-time associates. However the drummer hedges his beats by mixing brief earlier tracks, recorded solo or in quintet formation, with far superior sextet outings from three years later. By maintaining a consistency of vision however, Wooley’s CD comes out on top. Another point of intersection is that while both leaders are identified with the so-called avant-garde, there’s a genuine commitment to showcasing exciting motion in the composition – call it jazz or swing if you wish. MORE

November 26, 2012

Josh Berman & His Gang

There Now
Delmark DE 2016

Venerating a bit of Chicago history while turning the concept on its head, is the idea behind cornetist Josh Berman’s There Now CD. Titling his seven-piece group as a “gang”, he references the Eddie Condon-Austin High “gang” of the late 1920s, and arranged five of the Chicago School’s Dixieland signature tunes plus three of his own compositions for this project. But the subversive allure of the CD is that it isn’t a Trad Jazz retread, but an exercise in post-modern voice approximation. MORE

September 21, 2012

Kyle Bruckmann

On Procedural Grounds
New World Records 80725-2

Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack

Cracked Refraction

Porter Records PRCD 4061

As improvised music’s pre-eminent – well let’s face it probably only – oboe and English horn specialist, Oakland, Calif.-based Kyle Bruckmann has been flexing his organizational muscles as a band leader and composer during the past few years. These recent CDs showcase these talents admirably along, of course, with his distinctive soloing.

Gigging with New music ensembles, the Stockton Symphony and many area regional orchestras plus a smattering of Rock and electronic music bands is how Bruckmann makes his living, but it’s with his own Wrack quintet that he expresses his own ideas. Mostly consisting of Chicago musicians with whom Bruckmann played before relocating to the Bay area in 2003, the band is filled out by one player, violist Jen Clare Paulson, who is mostly involved in notated music ensembles, plus three others – bass clarinetist Jason Stein, bassist Anton Hatwich and percussionist Tim Daisy – who usually work the Improv/Jazz side of the equation, with associates such as saxophonists Ken Vandermark and Dave Rempis. MORE

September 21, 2012

Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack

Cracked Refraction
Porter Records PRCD 4061

Kyle Bruckmann

On Procedural Grounds

New World Records 80725-2

As improvised music’s pre-eminent – well let’s face it probably only – oboe and English horn specialist, Oakland, Calif.-based Kyle Bruckmann has been flexing his organizational muscles as a band leader and composer during the past few years. These recent CDs showcase these talents admirably along, of course, with his distinctive soloing.

Gigging with New music ensembles, the Stockton Symphony and many area regional orchestras plus a smattering of Rock and electronic music bands is how Bruckmann makes his living, but it’s with his own Wrack quintet that he expresses his own ideas. Mostly consisting of Chicago musicians with whom Bruckmann played before relocating to the Bay area in 2003, the band is filled out by one player, violist Jen Clare Paulson, who is mostly involved in notated music ensembles, plus three others – bass clarinetist Jason Stein, bassist Anton Hatwich and percussionist Tim Daisy – who usually work the Improv/Jazz side of the equation, with associates such as saxophonists Ken Vandermark and Dave Rempis. MORE

July 6, 2012

Festival Report:

Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon
By Ken Waxman

London saxophonist John Butcher and Chicago percussionist Tim Daisy were the MVPs during the Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon at the end of April. To stretch the metaphor further, Butcher was doubly valuable, since as a pinch hitter he replaced Una Casa/Observatorio’s third member when that saxophonist was unable to perform with Buenos Aires-based trumpeter Leonel Kaplan and Viennese computer manipulator Christof Kurzmann. If Butcher’s playing was sympathetically creative with that trio, his improvising was equally spectacular with The Apophonics, a new group, otherwise consisting of British bassist John Edwards and Bay-area percussionist Gino Robair. Meanwhile the cap-sporting Daisy subtly pacing Wrack, the chamber-styled string-and-horn quintet; as well as added rhythmic heft to saxophonist Dave Rempis’ Percussion 4Tet, whose raucous free jazz closed the festival to enthusiastic audience cheers. MORE

June 20, 2012

Boris Hauf Sextet

Next Delusion
Clean Feed: CF 238 CD

Boris Hauf/Steven Hess/Keefe Jackson

Proxemics

Creative Sources CS 184 CD

Fascinated by the minimalist textures revealed by balancing percussion and reed timbres plus an overlay of electronics, Berlin-based saxophonist Boris Hauf convened these telekinetic exercises in collective improvisation during a 2010 busman`s holiday in Chicago.

A frequent visitor to that city, Hauf is best known for his work with the efzeg combo, but these CDs are even more reductionist. Replacing the guitars that were part of efzeg with piano micro-tonalism of one-name Austrian Juun, plus his own harmonium playing on Proxemics, Hauf fills out the juddering narrative with contributions from his tenor and soprano saxophones, Keefe Jackson’s contrabass clarinet and tenor saxophone and Steven Hess’s drum beats. Hess, who is almost prominent in metal bands; Hauf and Jackson, who leads his own band and is a fixture in Chicago FreeBop combos; are all accounted for on Next Delusion with the trio augmented by exploratory Windy City bass clarinetist Jason Stein and two additional drummers: Michael Hartman and Frank Rosaly, both of whom gig frequently on the Chi-town Jazz scene. MORE

April 1, 2012

Jason Stein Quartet

The Story This Time
Delmark DE 2013

Having chosen to make the often unwieldy bass clarinet his only horn, Chicago-based Jason Stein has also had to use good-old American ingenuity to carve out a singular path for himself. Unlike the relative handful of bass clarinetists who don’t double on other reeds and mostly concentrate on New music or abstract expressionism, Stein defines himself as a Jazzman. Thus this CD’s program mixes five knotty Stein originals with a half dozen other tunes composed either by Thelonious Monk or members of the so-called Lennie Tristano school. Additionally the entire program is anchored by the woody time-keeping of bassist Joshua Abrams and the rhythmic accents of drummer Frank Rosaly. MORE

February 12, 2011

Exploding Star Orchestra

Stars Have Shapes
Delmark DE 595

Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly

Empathetic Parts (with Roscoe Mitchell)

482 Music 482-1074

By Ken Waxman

One of the standout players among Chicago’s recent burgeoning crop of improvised musicians, alto saxophonist Greg Ward is versatile enough to gig with groups ranging from the chamber-oriented International Contemporary Ensemble to those lead by saxophonist Ernest Dawkins and other members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (ACCM). These CDs confirm his skills, although his role is more prominent in drummer Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly then as part of cornetist Rob Mazurek’s 14-piece Exploding Star Orchestra. His contributions to Reed’s Empathetic Parts are even more impressive, since he shares reed duties with saxophonist/flautist Roscoe Mitchell, more than 40 years his senior and an AACM founder. For his part, Mitchell is spontaneous enough to assimilate a performance strategy already tested with the existing five-piece band. MORE

February 26, 2010

Jason Stein’s Locksmith Isidore

Three Less Than Between
Clean Feed CF 153 CD

Facet

Conscious Mental Field Recordings

Satelita 002

Olivier Thémines Trio

Miniatures

Yolk Label J2044

Once relegated to sessions that attempt to revive Swing Music or Classic Jazz, members of the clarinet family have moved front-and-centre on the improvised music scene, at least since the early 1990s. This ends the reed hegemony of the saxophone which has been paramount at least since Bebop’s birth around 1939.

As these CDs demonstrate though, the newest generation of woodwind players is versatile enough to use technique and imagination to overcome the instrument(s) supposed soft tone and lack of suppleness when performing difficult music. At the same time, creating with equally committed players is a necessity – as is choice of proper material – or the woodwinds’ admirably pliable qualities turn squishy and spongy. MORE

June 6, 2008

Scott Fields

Bitter Love Songs
Clean Feed CF 102 CD

Evan Parker-Mark Wastell-Graham Halliwell-Max Eastley

A Life Saved By a Spider and Two Doves

Another Timbre at06

Kidd Jordan/Kali Z. Fasteau

LIVE at the Kerava Jazz Festival: Finland

Flying Note FNCD 9012

Open Loose

Strange Unison

Radio Legs RL 013

Jason Stein

A Calculus of Loss

Clean Feed CF 104 CD

By Ken Waxman

Arguments exist as to the commercial benefits of free trade agreements. But musicians wish similar treaties existed for their trade. In the period since NFTA, for instance, the ability of performers to travel across borders has become worse. That’s what makes festival season important. Foreign performers ranging from respected veterans to savvy tyros get Canadian exposure. Recent CDs here capture older jazzers’ alchemy and suggest newer players to watch. MORE

June 6, 2008

Kidd Jordan/Kali Z. Fasteau

LIVE at the Kerava Jazz Festival: Finland
Flying Note FNCD 9012

Evan Parker-Mark Wastell-Graham Halliwell-Max Eastley

A Life Saved By a Spider and Two Doves

Another Timbre at06

Scott Fields

Bitter Love Songs

Clean Feed CF 102 CD

Open Loose

Strange Unison

Radio Legs RL 013

Jason Stein

A Calculus of Loss

Clean Feed CF 104 CD

By Ken Waxman

Arguments exist as to the commercial benefits of free trade agreements. But musicians wish similar treaties existed for their trade. In the period since NFTA, for instance, the ability of performers to travel across borders has become worse. That’s what makes festival season important. Foreign performers ranging from respected veterans to savvy tyros get Canadian exposure. Recent CDs here capture older jazzers’ alchemy and suggest newer players to watch. MORE

June 6, 2008

Evan Parker-Mark Wastell-Graham Halliwell-Max Eastley

A Life Saved By a Spider and Two Doves
Another Timbre at06

Kidd Jordan/Kali Z. Fasteau

LIVE at the Kerava Jazz Festival: Finland

Flying Note FNCD 9012

Scott Fields

Bitter Love Songs

Clean Feed CF 102 CD

Open Loose

Strange Unison

Radio Legs RL 013

Jason Stein

A Calculus of Loss

Clean Feed CF 104 CD

By Ken Waxman

Arguments exist as to the commercial benefits of free trade agreements. But musicians wish similar treaties existed for their trade. In the period since NFTA, for instance, the ability of performers to travel across borders has become worse. That’s what makes festival season important. Foreign performers ranging from respected veterans to savvy tyros get Canadian exposure. Recent CDs here capture older jazzers’ alchemy and suggest newer players to watch. MORE

June 6, 2008

Jason Stein

A Calculus of Loss
Clean Feed CF 104 CD

Evan Parker-Mark Wastell-Graham Halliwell-Max Eastley

A Life Saved By a Spider and Two Doves

Another Timbre at06

Kidd Jordan/Kali Z. Fasteau

LIVE at the Kerava Jazz Festival: Finland

Flying Note FNCD 9012

Scott Fields

Bitter Love Songs

Clean Feed CF 102 CD

Open Loose

Strange Unison

Radio Legs RL 013

By Ken Waxman

Arguments exist as to the commercial benefits of free trade agreements. But musicians wish similar treaties existed for their trade. In the period since NFTA, for instance, the ability of performers to travel across borders has become worse. That’s what makes festival season important. Foreign performers ranging from respected veterans to savvy tyros get Canadian exposure. Recent CDs here capture older jazzers’ alchemy and suggest newer players to watch. MORE

June 6, 2008

Open Loose

Strange Unison
Radio Legs RL 013

Evan Parker-Mark Wastell-Graham Halliwell-Max Eastley

A Life Saved By a Spider and Two Doves

Another Timbre at06

Kidd Jordan/Kali Z. Fasteau

LIVE at the Kerava Jazz Festival: Finland

Flying Note FNCD 9012

Scott Fields

Bitter Love Songs

Clean Feed CF 102 CD

Jason Stein

A Calculus of Loss

Clean Feed CF 104 CD

By Ken Waxman

Arguments exist as to the commercial benefits of free trade agreements. But musicians wish similar treaties existed for their trade. In the period since NFTA, for instance, the ability of performers to travel across borders has become worse. That’s what makes festival season important. Foreign performers ranging from respected veterans to savvy tyros get Canadian exposure. Recent CDs here capture older jazzers’ alchemy and suggest newer players to watch. MORE

December 6, 2006

Bridge 61

Journal
Atavistic ALP172CD

Raucous and other-focused Journal is yet another entry in Chicago saxophonist Ken Vandermark’s ever lengthening discography. Largely concentrated on low pitches, the instrumentation on this notable 72-minute, eight-track CD is completed by Jason Stein’s voluminous bass clarinet timbres, Nate McBride’s resonating acoustic and electric bass fills and Tim Daisy’s chunky percussion strokes.

Playing tenor and baritone saxophones, Vandermark’s most common strategy consists of arduous snorts and vamps– one part glottal R&B honks, the other altissimo Free Jazz shrills. The other players respond, expand or moderate the attack. Thick strums and funky thumb pops from the bassist define the groove on more rhythmic numbers, while acoustically McBride outputs woody bass slaps. Spectacular in his drum displays, Daisy references vigorous backbeat ruffs and rolls along with subtle shuffles, rim shots and kettle drum approximations – doubling or halving the tempo at will. When not gurgling basement split tone runs, Stein often uses pitch-sliding trills for melodic double counterpoint with Vandermark’s saxophones or clarinet. MORE