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BRIAN GRODER TRIO - R Train on the D Line
get it here|
"An album like R Train On The D Line is what separates jazz listeners from non-jazz listeners. The Brian Groder Trio plays the kind of composed yet improvised music that portends to go off the rails at any time, yet never does. And that may be the true definition of jazz.
Consider the audiences' double-take when Louis Armstrong put a trumpet to his lips to open "West End Blues." Satchmo broke all the musical commandments with his improvised phrasing, yet his internal logic rewrote the possibilities. Ninety years later, Brian Groder opens "Asterix" with the same spirit, plus his collaborators, bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen, don't just accompany, they also go off script.
Non-jazz listeners walk away, jazz fans run towards this kind of interplay.
This trio is one of the finest ensembles working in modern improvisation."
Like Trio X, which Rosen has performed in for years with Joe McPhee and Dominic Duval,
this trio is one of the finest ensembles working in modern improvisation. The opening piece, "Quanta" sprints through multiple time changes with the stoic trumpet of Groder taking on all comers with a sharp, crisp champion sound. Groder's compositions give way to the individual voices, Bisio's on "Retooled Logic," where he pulls well paced notes before a bowed solo that layers a dreamy fog of pause over the affair and Rosen's mini-concerto of drums and cymbals on "Drawing In To Pull Away."
The two ballads "Isolating The Way" and "Whispered Sigh" relax the undertaking to allow the listener to more easily observe the trio's interplay. These demonstrate the band's affinity and rapport.
This is indeed, jazz played at the highest level." —
A New York City jazz scene regular, the trumpeter and flugelhorn player
Brian Groder returns with the trio that helped make Reflexology (Latham
Records, 2014) such a highly satisfying recording. Bassist Michael Bisio
and drummer Jay Rosen are well-suited to supporting Groder's flexible,
energetic and probing objectives. Following their previous work
together, their mutual empathy of free-form approaches, combined with
uncompromising melodies, the trio has proven to be an ambitious unit
with a truly different sound.
One of the finest composers and musicians on the New
The title—R Train on the D
Line—implies not just a transference but also a partial disregard for rigid institutional structures. These leading improvisers work around
concepts that Groder, a meticulous composer, painstakingly develops over time; that he allows such a free exchange of ideas in the readings of
his pieces belies the nature of his planning process. Taken together, these elements create a unique ecosystem where consistency and
A spirited "Quanta" opens the album; Groder's clear, crisp style drawing away from the plump percussive
effect of Bisio's bass. These kinds of contrasts are endemic in Groder's arrangements—far from a free-for-all, the individual improvisations
often differ in the players abilities to take their instruments beyond their customary nature. "Retooled Logic," driven by Rosen's
sophisticated use of multiple patterns, has a swing element made distinctive by Groder's individualistic style. On "Drawing In To Pull
Away," Rosen again replies to Groder and Bisio's various explorations with targeted rhythmic responses. Whether on the assertive "Praxis" or
the substantially darker "Whispering Sigh," the trio maintains a austere backdrop that allows their interplay to really stand out.
Throughout his career, Groder has created idiosyncratic compositions that are both challenging and accessible. He writes with a literary type
of intelligence and a virtuosic understanding of instrumentation. The work that this trio has produced is an unusual amalgam of tradition,
free improvisation and minimalism. Even in the silences, there is nothing wasted here. One would hope that R Train on the D Line generates
more attention for Groder, who has inexplicably flown too far under the radar despite his long being one of the finest composers and musicians
on the New York scene. After two fine recordings, Bisio and Rosen's work with Groder has clearly proven this trio to be one with even greater
potential." — Karl Ackermann,
logical sequel to 2014’s Reflexology, Brian Groder has another go at it with
his supercharged trio for R Train on the D Line (Latham Records). The
trumpeter, flugelhorn master and composer continues to explore the wide-open
opportunities presented in a skinny combo that once again adds only Jay
Rosen (drums) and Michael Bisio (bass). Having working together for several
years now pays off nicely for their follow up disc. Throughout eight often
concise tracks, Groder blurs the lines between in and out with tunes that
exhibit cannily structured turmoil. As with that prior trio outing Groder
charts the paths while allowing everyone — himself included — to drive down
these paths in their own way, as long as they do so in concert with each
other. It’s that last part that more than anything makes R Train flourish.
“Quanta” tests the mettle of the rhythm section with the tempo going on a
roller-coaster ride where Groder rides the journey with unforced ease and a
faultless tone. You can hear similar progressive action happening on
“Asterix,” which is likewise rooted in tradition as it reaches out toward
freedom. Groder leads a fairly short ballad “Isolating The Way,” portraying
a somber mood with introverted lines and an assist from Bisio’s sympathetic
bowed bass. Groder, Bisio and Rosen swing closely together on “Praxis,”
showing a heightened level of symmetry and mutual anticipation that comes
with those years of operating as a unit. Bisio highlights “Retooled Logic”
with an extended display on bowed bass, able to get inside and saw away at
Groder’s esoteric harmony within the setting of a solo performance.
“Dreaming In To Pull Away” is Rosen’s opportunity to shine apart from the
rest, and he embarks on his showcase by drawing out unusual timbres from his
cymbals, and then carefully builds the tension that springs the melody into
action. Dynamic compositions are carried out by some of the brightest,
telepathic musicians in the avant jazz world. Brian Groder has a trio of
which people should stand up and take notice, and R Train on the D Line is
another good reason to pay attention to them." —
Something Else Reviews
Some of the brightest, telepathic musicians in the avant jazz world
"Ce n’est pas la première fois que je chronique un disque en trio du trompettiste et bugliste (flugelhorn) Brian Groder avec ses deux acolytes le contrebassiste Michael Bisio et le batteur Jay Rosen. Si j’y reviens, c’est que la musique (jazz moderne contemporain) est excellente et authentique. J’ai aussi une pensée émue pour le contrebassiste Dominic Duval, disparu il y a quelques jours à l’heure où j’écris ces lignes. Dominic a formé une paire mémorable avec Jay Rosen auprès de Joe McPhee ou d’Ivo Perelman et Michael Bisio joue beaucoup avec les mêmes musiciens. C’est dire à quelle famille musicale appartient le trompettiste New-Yorkais qui fait d’ailleurs référence au métro de NYC dans le titre de son bel album. Huit compositions de quatre à huit minutes avec un maximum de 9 :57 pour Retooled Logic, un titre qui souligne l’aspect recherché voire savant de la musique de Groder, faite de modes particuliers et de soubresauts rythmiques artistement articulés par un tandem basse batterie exemplaire. Contrebasse élastique à souhait tenue d’une main ferme et jeu de batterie léger et aéré. Vous conviendrez que les trios trompette basse batterie ne sont pas légion, on se souvient des trios de feu Roy Campbell. Musicalement le trio de Groder joue à ce niveau, mais en comparaison avec une relative retenue et un lyrisme plus introverti. Toute l’attention de Groder est de phraser avec précision et application sur le rythme et les intervalles du thème (assez sobre). Les cadences sont truffées de subtilités rythmiques et le trompettiste Brian Groder a un style et une esthétique personnels qui tiennent la route sur toute la longueur des cinquante minutes du parcours de son R Train sur la Ligne D. On ne peut qu’applaudir : cette musique démontre la grande probité artistique et musicale de ce musicien au-delà du solide savoir faire. Les intervalles de chaque mode et les nuances qui peuvent en découler sont exploités avec obstination et ce n’est pas une sinécure ! Contrôler le son d’une trompette et surtout d’un bugle avec de tels écarts de notes et faire sens musicalement comme Groder le fait est tout-à-fait enthousiasmant. C’est un peu jésuite pour une partie du commun des mortels qui cherche dans le jazz la marque de l’exploit athlétique. Les ignares ont dit ça aussi de Steve Lacy. On n’entendra pas de trompettristerie propre à racoller les chalands et de dégoulinants chapelets de notes exhibitionnistes qui cachent assez souvent le peu de capacité à phraser une improvisation sur la mélodie. Rien que du bel ouvrage ! En bref, je vote pour. Bien que je coure pas après le jazz moderne vu que j’ai tellement à faire dans l’improvisation radicale, j’avoue que des artistes comme Groder, Rosen et Bisio sont l’honneur d’une vocation trop bafouée."
- Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg,
Orynx Improv and Sounds
Brian Groder has a style and a personal aesthetic that hold up the entire length"
""Op het tweede album van het trio van trompettist Brian Groder
is te horen hoe de groep gegroeid is in een jaar tijd. Op
‘Reflexology’ refereerden de New Yorkers naar hun interesse in
de bebop en hun 21ste eeuwse visie daarop. ‘R Train On The D
Line’ is nog een stuk eigenzinniger, met louter composities van
de naamgever. Ik zeg met opzet geen ‘leider’, want dat is Groder
bepaald niet. De bijdragen van bassist Michael Bisio en
drummer Jay Rosen ontstijgen het niveau van sideman ruimschoots.
Gedrie.n geven ze de uitgeschreven noten van Groder
vlees en bloed. De trompettist schrijft aanstekelijke, vaak wat
springerige thema’s, en doorspekt de structuren met tempo- en
maatwisselingen die altijd logisch en organisch aanvoelen. Als
goede kameraden gaan ze op pad, op zoek naar wijde verten
om nieuwe ervaringen op te doen. Dat Bisio en Rosen veelgevraagde
instrumentalisten in de Big Apple zijn, is begrijpelijk. Ze
zijn giganten op hun instrumenten, en stellen zich 100% ten
dienste van de muziek. Dat Groder een nog tamelijk onbekende
trompettist is, is absoluut onbegrijpelijk. Iemand met zo’n fijne
toonvorming, die clich.vrije improvisaties tevoorschijn tovert en
sterke stukken schrijft, verdient aandacht. Veel meer aandacht." - Herman
te Loo, Jazzflits,
They are giants on their instruments, and stand 100% in the service of the music."
"Trumpet-led trios can be a challenge, in terms of maintaining dynamics and momentum, but Brian Groder has proven his skill with this set-up. Reflexology (2014) was a solid album of original compositons with Michael Bisio
and drummer Jay Rosen helping Groder keep things going. It was one of many albums that would have been written about here if there would have allowed.
Groder (who also plays flugelhorn) often has Bisio playing the compositions in unison or harmony with him on R Train on the D Line, the second all-original set from the trio. This arrangement occurs in both "Retooled Logic" and "Drawing in to Pull Away," with different results surrounding the music. In the former, Bisio bows a long solo, before Groder returns to go on a fast, free run and things wrap up. Rosen begins "Drawing" with solo using mallets all over his kit, building in dynamics until his comrades introduce the angular melody. Rosen also punctuates the songs with bells and cymbals, creating more excitement. In "Asterix" bass and drums go wild while Groder holds things together.
The trio is adept at this type of Ornette-ish chordless music (one track has a line that inspired me to compare it to "Peace" in my notes), but they also sound stunning when they strike a calmer pose. Long brass tones and bowed bass make "Isolating the Why" a penetrating statement, and one of the shortest tracks on the album, which leads me to believe it was written-through with no improvisation. Later in the set "Whispered Sigh" delivers a mood of tranquility.
Although Bisio played with both Groder and Knuffke, these brass players each have an approach that's hard to be pin down technically and impossible to really compare to one another. Both favor a rugged tone, but that's really where it ends. Better to just revel in the strength of their ideas at the moment."
They also sound stunning when they strike a calmer pose"
"Brian Groder’s “R Train on the D Line” is an excellent follow-up to “Reflexology”, which was recorded with exactly the same partners in 2014.
The leader’s talking trumpet/flugelhorn evinces melodic consistency and a disarming eloquence regardless the pace and mood of the tunes. Groder's phrasing slides freely and
whimsically over the non-static rhythmic masses created by the dauntless bassist Michael Bisio, a distinctive skipper in the pizzicato and bowing approaches, and the off-kilter drummer Jay Rosen.
Attentive listeners will notice transitory swinging sections being intercalated with the more exploratory ones, an option that avoids steady routines by suggesting a different trajectory.
The super balanced trio approaches Groder’s crisp compositions with discipline, maneuvering the sounds and rhythms with perception, purpose, and accuracy. Multiple listenings will bring new discoveries."
— Filipe Freitas,
"An excellent trio,
and Groder plays the trumpet with particular verve and a big sound. Terrific
in every way." — George Grella,
The Big City Blog
Tough, smart, tight music making on the border of jazz and
"Trumpeter Brian Groder's trio with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen plays a sleek style of modern jazz that builds on the spirit of free-jazz and delivers with a laser-like focus. On their second release 'R Train on the D Line' (if you're a New Yorker, you know), Groder and company pick up with where they left off with 2014's Reflexology.
Opener 'Quanta' is fast and free, and you're immediately struck by the clear, focused sound of the trumpet. The lines between the composed and the improvised are blurred as the tune segues seamlessly between rhythmic figures. This same precision and restrain is found on the follow up 'Retooled Logic', which kicks off with a syncopated melody line with wide intervallic leaps. Then, the trumpet and drums drop out, leaving Bisio to improvise an emotive arco passage. Even in these quieter moments, the pulse and drive continues, perhaps credit to Rosen whose playing lingers long in the ears. Actually, it's the open spaces between the musicians that invites the listener to almost participate by filling them in. For example, I wonder if I could suggest that next trio recording be a quartet - there were moments on the delicate ballad 'Whispers', towards the end of the album, when I swear I heard a piano.
Groder's discography is slim, but each entry is a thoughtful collaboration that invites return visits. Some highlights include his meeting with Sam Rivers on 2007's Torque as well as his 2009 collaboration with pianist Burton Greene. Both of the albums are full of verve and clarity that is found in Groder's playing also here on R Train on the D Line."
— Paul Acquaro,
builds on the spirit of free-jazz and delivers with a laser-like focus.
"La posizione del trombettista Brian Groder è definibile nella medianità degli approcci e degli stili: ha da sempre occupato un posto particolare sulla scena jazzistica internazionale con un sound che per formazione si stabilisce
giusto in mezzo tra be-bop e cool jazz (non può appartenere interamente al primo per questioni di velocità, ma nemmeno al secondo per via di melodie più articolate), così come il suo jazz è da considerare un post-bop di natura particolare, lontano dalle strutture create da Lester Bowie o da Dave Douglas, più vicino alle libertà free di un Wadada Leo Smith, sebbene non condivida la stessa armonica apertura alla libera improvvisazione. Il secondo cd registrato in trio con Bisio e Rosen non fa altro confermare questa bella vena jazzistica che coniuga dense e riflessive correnti tematiche, con escursioni libere demandate ai partners, in grado di assolvere in maniera perfetta a questa funzione di intermediazione della musica verso territori non conosciuti. E' ciò che succede perfettamente nei nove minuti di "Retooled Logic", quando il tema capzioso di Groder lascia spazio ad un lungo assolo di contrabbasso di Bisio lavorato coll'arco, oppure nell'intro di "Drawing in to pull away", lasciato all'egemonico arbitrio di Rosen, su a tirare profondità da tamburi e campanelli in modalità stile libero, una materia di magnifica interazione per la tromba di Groder (che mi ricorda quella di Johnny Coles di La Nevada nell'orchestra Out of the cool di Gil Evans) e per Bisio che restituiscono mille figure. Registrato a Brooklyn nel 2014, "R Train on the D Line" offre un gancio alla migliore proiezione della tromba jazz, in assenza di lavorazioni e preparazioni dello strumento, facendo presa solo sull'eccellenza (calibrata a dovere) dei musicisti."
— Ettore Garzia,
Confirms a beautiful jazz vein that combines dense and reflective modern themes.
"The Brian Groder Trio has a new one, a welcome volume two. The trio with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen scored big with me in 2014 (see July 24, 2014 article) with their first outing, and this one is as good or even better than that one. R Train on the D Line (Latham Records 6001) has a CD release date of April 13th but can be gotten at i-tunes in the meantime, as I understand.
Brain Groder is the thinking person's trumpet-flugel master and composer, to my mind. His compositions are complicated modern vehicles with a readily grasped core. They serve as excellent launching pads for the profound three-way goings-on between Groder, Bisio and Rosen.
Jay Rosen has made his mark as a member of Trio X (the trio with Joe McPhee and Dominic Duval) and sounds especially great on this album. He is a drummer of acute sensitivity, poise, swing and sound color.
This is art, and a fine art indeed.
"Michael Bisio one of modern avant jazz's foremost bassists, often found these days as a member of Matt Shipp's wonderful trio. He shows why he is so highly regarded here, with some formidable contributions to the whole. You might listen to his playing in itself on these tracks and gain much, but of course his playing blossoms forth as an inegral part of this trio music.
Brian Groder gives us eight substantial compositions that form the basis for the angular geometric togetherness and bright improvisations to be heard. His special unvarnished but directly communicative prowess on his horns make the music come vibrantly alive. The music swings mightily and as needed crosses the border to freely articulated timelessness that nonetheless swings with the same energy and drive as the time-based grooving.
Everybody connects with a most eloquent unleashing of meaningful and moving music speech, something that is as rare in this realm as it is in the spoken word world we otherwise inhabit. They SAY a great deal, in other words, and what that is should very much be heard!
"It is some music that brings you a model of how new jazz has evolved over the years to incorporate the expressive opening up of the music in the '60s into a new kind of superlative classicism. It thrives as chamber jazz but decidedly not of an anemic sort, far from it.
"If you want to know something of where new jazz is today, I recommend this volume heartily. It has much great music to explore and unwrap. This is art, and a fine art indeed. Get a copy!!"
— Grego Applegate Edwards,
Gapplegate Music Review
York-based trumpeter/flugelhornist and composer Brian Groder is still
relatively little-known, though he’s
been a fixture in East Coast jazz
communities since the 1980s. He made something of a splash on the creative
music scene several years ago in collaborative recordings with pianist
Burton Greene and reedist Sam Rivers, releasing Groder + Greene and Torque,
respectively, on his own Latham imprint. Groder doesn’t necessarily need
such undeniably heavy company to make his own stamp, however, and is able to
hold his own in the front line as a brass player, bandleader and composer.
On R Train on the D Line, the second disc with his working trio of bassist
Michael Bisio and percussionist Jay Rosen, they make few late-night detours
that supplely engage varied moods on eight original tunes. While no second
horn is present, the trio’s sound is far from thin — Groder has a fat,
steely and crackling tone and his phrasing is witty, clear and inventive.
Abetted by the pliant mass of Bisio’s contrabass and the dry, accented
hurtle of Rosen’s drums and gongs, the three cut a crisp, formidable arc.
There’s a glassy precision to the opening “Quanta,” a clarion and sardonic
whine to Groder’s horn as he doles out condensed runs atop chugging, taut
stomps and clacking tempo sections, interspersed with bright gong accents
and the constant, robust frame of Bisio’s bass. Pizzicato flywheels match
the leaps from Groder’s horn, culminating in the lengthy unaccompanied arco
grind that acts as a frontispiece to “Retooled Logic,” where Bisio makes
extensive use of ponticello harmonics. The three expand and contract amid
matched flurries and make economical, spry music that occasionally veers
into like hues – while not exactly a suite, there are snatches of
commonality between these vignettes, in the hum of comparable actions or
lines that pick up where a previous trace left off. Even as they coil and
uncoil these narrow treads, it’s difficult not to marvel at the clarity of
Groder’s “classic” tone and natural pacing, laconic incisions that are
reminiscent of someone like Paul Smoker. Deft bowing and gentle, snappy
brush-and-cymbal work open “Praxis,” a dry and airy dance for three that
alternately gnaws and twirls as the trumpeter launches into a burred and
swinging solo. Exhibiting a rangy calm yet continually smoldering with
activity, R Train on the D Line is as fine an example of trio communication
as I’ve encountered in recent memory." — Clifford Allen,
Jazz Right Now
R Train on the D Line is as fine an example of trio communication as I’ve encountered in recent memory."
"A welcome continuation of the figurative bread broken on their 2014 outing, the Brian Groder Trio’s
R Train on the D Line transfers the conveyance connotations of its title directly to a propulsive and populist strain of improvised music. Bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen are both back on board, providing the trumpeter with the sort of active, poly-directional support that fits pointedly with the leader’s exploratory aims. Shared history works
as a catalyst for interplay of a high order in an eight piece program that celebrates Groder’s compositional acumen while leaving the door wide open for the extemporaneous decisions of his partners.
Bisio’s late-in-piece lock on a bulbous, barreling groove during the opening “Quanta” shows off his playful side. That broad, reverberating sound also sets up the action “Retooled Logic” moving from fat stops to a stout, striding line to a cloaking shadow for Groder’s graceful negotiation of the melody. His wielding of bow is similarly resonant with rich tonal swathes shaving off his vibrating strings. Rosen keeps the porous patterns churning from his kit with cymbal accents eddying fluidly around centering snare shots. Groder is free to soar, dive and spiral; his smudged and slurred arcs evincing a comparative emancipation from rhythmic gravity.
Groder is the ostensible lead by virtue of his helming the ensemble in name, but Bisio and Rosen are very much proportionate participants. “Drawing In To Pull Away” opens with orchestral-canted percussion from Rosen, a struck bell decaying in sound again the low rumble of malleted tom toms and the splash of cymbal punctuations. Groder and Bisio enter in tandem, voicing a buoyant theme that receives commentary and response in Rosen’s polyrhythmic bursts. Riding the ensuing bustle, Groder keeps his cool and creates clean tonal contrast with the coruscating momentum of his colleagues.
The ballad “Isolating the Why” and tone poem “Whispered Sight” demonstrate the close tonal rapport between Groder and Bisio, the former piece benefiting from another extended display of arco agility by the bassist against of bed of brushes and bells from Rosen. “Praxis” also hits beautifully on that synergistic parity of purpose despite a slightly workaday theme, trumpet and bass engaging in a string of sentence-finishing exchanges as snare and cymbals saunter alongside. The rapid fire “Asterix” achieves better results in half the time with Bisio’s fingers mustering up a speaker-booming head of pizzicato steam while “Keel” closes the date on an synopsizing note hopefully indicative of more to come from this particular convening of complementary musical miens."
— Derek Taylor,
Groder is free to soar, dive and spiral
ace trumpeter Brian Groder has worked with elders like Sam Rivers, Burton Greene and Andrea Centazzo, he has remained under the radar for some
strange reason. Over some half dozen discs he has shown himself to be an inventive musician and crafty composer. This is his second disc with his
current trio: bassist Michael Bisio (in demand bassist for Joe McPhee, Matt Shipp & many others) and drummer Jay Rosen (Trio X, Cosmosamatics & Mark
Whitecage). It seems obvious that Mr. Groder spent a great deal of time composing the music here as each piece provides a different challenge. “Quanta” opens
and consistently shifts through narrow rapids, speeding up, slowing down and keeping the trio on their nimble toes throughout. Mr. Groder has a
warm, enchanting tone which he uses selectively throughout depending on the direction of the piece. This is an all acoustic affair and is warmly
recorded with no effects, hence it is the arranging and dynamics that are most consistently inventive. On “Asterix”, the trio seems to shift
effortlessly through multiple changes, expanding and contracting and never losing their balance. In many ways this is a perfect trio, balanced just
right, sounding like they have been together forever. Bassist Bisio is featured on a few of these pieces and is in fine form, the interplay
between all members on “Keel” is just incredible! This is a trio that is not afraid to take the subtle or lyrical side at times yet remains endlessly
inventive no matter what. — Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
In many ways this is a perfect trio
BRIAN GRODER TRIO - Reflexology
buy it here
"This is, of course, not news for those familiar with his work. Whether in electronically tinged improvisational ensembles like Confusion Bleue, large orchestras or intimately small groups Groder's unconventional yet always engaging approach morphs to fit the setting while remaining singularly recognizable.
His trio outing Reflexology is a sparse, haunting exploration of hard bop motifs that is simultaneously provocative and endowed with a visceral
rhythmic sense. The loosely swinging "Hexadox" for instance starts with a catchy head out of which emerges Groder's darkly melodic and intriguing extemporization. His full-bodied tone meanders unhurriedly over his sidemen's deeply reverberating vamps creating a delightfully textured, almost ethereal sound.
An adventurous touch is apparent on such tracks as the cinematic "Haiti-B." Groder's long, yearning notes loosely weave a spontaneous and poetic theme over the slow simmer of thuds and thrums. Drummer Jay Rosen takes a thrillingly angular turn in the spotlight with breathtakingly agile and complex, polyrhythms.
Rosen's thunderous beats drive the free flowing "Veer." A pensive mood highlights this provocative piece that features Groder's contemplative horn and bassist Michael Bisio's intricate and inventive solo that brims with lyricism and soul.
One of the most virtuosic and imaginative performers on the double bass Bisio's signature, melancholic con arco phrases flow in a somber procession with Groder's languid horn on the mystical and dramatic "Tarried Breath." Rosen's deep rumble and his lightning sharp cymbals enhance the solemn and tense ambience. This memorable and stimulating tone poem of sorts is perhaps the centerpiece of this otherwise uniformly superb album. Introspective, at times atmospheric, always engrossing
Reflexology pays tribute to Jazz's innovative spirit while concurrently remaining delightfully accessible. Unlike the dubious "medical" discipline of the same name this record is a solid, consistently gratifying slice of creative music."
Hrayr Attarian, AllAboutJazz
Trumpeter Brian Groder distinctive style marks his intelligent versatility and superlative musicianship.
"Trumpeter Brian Groder's trio with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen is a real treat. Their album
is an expertly crafted mix of composition and improvisation that delivers
something more than a sum of its parts. Lacking a chordal instrument, the
trio has a lot of space to fill, which they do - to some extent - while
sticking to a more traditional jazz vocabulary. By this I mean, the
musicians don't veer into extended technique or over-blowing to fill space,
but rather through clever phrasing and counterpoint they connect the dots,
still leaving plenty of breathing room in their music. Groder has a clear
limpid tone and uses it to deliver his melodic ideas with precision, while
Bisio and Rosen work together to ensure the type of solid foundation that
reveals their years of playing together. The opening track 'What Not' begins
with a tense syncopated melody that plays against the counter motion of the
sparse rhythm section. After a few moments, the group moves quickly into
improvisation, interacting with aplomb. Another highlight is 'Veer,' about
half way through the album. Bisio's simple but effective bass line is
captivating as it underscores Groder's thoughtful playing. The bassist's own
turn at the helm is just as effective, as he locks in tightly (but not to
tightly) with Rosen with an evocative solo. Additionally, the track 'Tarried
Breath', which seems like the most freely improvised track on the recording,
kicks in with the bass, textural percussion and a languid melody that
lingers hauntingly long after it ends." —
Republic of Jazz
Delicate and tastefully done, Reflexology is a solid and enjoyable album
"The cover of trumpeter Brian Groder new trio tells much about his aesthetics. He is well-versed with the compositional ideas of the great
American jazz masters and their improvisation strategies—Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, including trumpeters as Woody Shaw and
Freddie Hubbard. But in the same manner that these innovative and creative muscians marked their sonic footprint in the rich legacy of the
genre, Groder not only reflects on past achievments but wants to take this genre a step forward.
Groder enjoys the company of experienced and highly versatile improvisers—double bassist Michael Bisio, who lives close to Groder, and drummer Jay Rosen. Both graced
many albums of forward-thinking masters as Sam Rivers, Joe McPhee and Matthew Shipp. The compositions emerged through many meetings between
Groder and Bisio, both shaping the ideas, later the two were joined by Rosen.
Groder compositions are rooted in a strong rhythmic basis,
and the expansion of the fluid, game-like, intimate interplay characterizes all these pieces. Groder has a clean, warm tone, often a
reserved one, and his articulation is clear, often stressing the dramatic narrative of a complex, cinematic stories. Bisio and Rosen
solidify and enrich the rhythmic conception with light-swinging feel, exemplary command of their instruments, melancholic nuances and rich
colors, adding surprising, imaginative elements to the tension building and release. The trio rhythmic versatility embraces also the sensual
cover of Groder's mentor, JoAnne Brackeen "Haiti-B." -
Eyal Hareuveni, AllAboutJazz
"De titel van dit nieuwe album van trompettist Brian Groder,
‘Reflexology’, klinkt als de naam van een Charlie Parker-stuk. In het duo dat hij met bassist Michael Bisio al geruime tijd had, was de muziek
uit de bebopperiode dan ook een referentiekader. Muziekkeuze en bezetting van het duo waren immers geïnspireerd door een plaat van
saxofonist Archie Shepp en bassist Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen met Parker-interpretaties: ‘Looking At Bird’. Met slagwerker Jay Rosen
aan boord hebben ze hun muzikale wereld nu op plaat vastgelegd en daar mogen we blij om zijn. Groder is een fijne trompettist voor wie muzikale
expressie van groter belang is dan virtuositeit. Hij kent zijn instrument weliswaar van binnen en van buiten, maar kneedt er vooral
melodisch sterke verhaallijnen mee. Bisio en Rosen behoren niet voor niets tot de top op hun instrument in het New Yorkse, en zijn al even
wars van effectbejag als de man die ze voor de opname uitnodigde. In acht composities van de nominale leider en ‘Haiti-B’ van Groders
leermeesteres Joanne Brackeen (met een superieure basgroove) laat dit collectieve trio van ‘musicians’ musicians’ horen dat ze beschikken over
een diepe kennis van de jazzgeschiedenis en de muzikaliteit om daar hun inspiratie aan toe te voegen." - Herman te Loo,
A deep knowledge of jazz history and the musicality to add inspiration to it
The Walker's Magazine of Jazz, Japan|
"When Brian Groder issued FluiDensity with pianist Tonino Miano last
year, it struck me as “an elegant dance between jazz and classical”, but the broad-minded Groder finds more than one way to make improvisational
music. Reflexology — released last month — presents Groder in a trio format, playing songs that stick to the far modern jazz side of things.
Crucially, he chose sympathetic partners for this cause, drummer Jay Rosen (Joe McPhee, Sonny Simmons) and Michael Bisio of the Matthew Shipp
Trio. Through this collection of eight tunes, Groder eases his trio through twisting melodies that blur the distinction between what’s
improv and what’s charted. With no full chords at hand, Groder leans on Bisio to make up the gap, who tracks perfectly with the trumpeter on his
sinuous themes and then discreetly slips out to solo. All the while, Bisio stays in touch with Rosen, and both alternate between keeping time
and venturing out to follow the flow. “What Not,” the opening track, sets this sort of tempo for the album. Groder moves to his own rhythm in
an elliptical orbit around the rhythm section. Bisio knows just what to do, playing in lock-step with Groder when the head needs to be presented
and peeling away for his own interpretation which he does while serving as the vital link between Groder’s horn and Rosen’s drums. “Hexadox” is
structured in a similar fashion: another trumpet-bass head , some cooked-just-right trumpet soloing and an eventual return to the head.
But before then Groder leads the trio briefly down some side alleys and they stay right with him. The pensive, nocturnal “Tarried Breath” slows
down the pace with Bisio taking a turn with a bow. Groder does an exquisite job melding his trumpet with the arco bass. Each time out by
Groder is a different adventure, but he consistently creates sketches of definable character performed open-ended but never unhinged and above
all, polished. Reflexology attains all of those things, with a rhythm section that acts as a natural extension of its leader." -
S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!
Each time out by Groder is a different adventure
"Sur la pochette: la face inférieure d’un pied avec des les points de réflexologie illsutré en noir et blanc par les noms de nos musiciens de jazz préférés Miles, Dolphy, Ornette, Ellington, Mingus, Coltrane, Elvin, Monk, mais aussi Freddie Hubbard, Oliver Nelson, Hubert Laws et Joe Farrell. Le titre Reflexology est imprimé à l’intérieur de la pochette en carton blanc, le dessin du pied étant assez expressive. L’art de ne pas tout dire.
L’image de ce pied suggère sans doute que la musique a les pieds dans la tradition évolutive du jazz moderne dont Groder s’inspire pour créer ses thèmes complexes évoquant certaines compositions de Sam Rivers, de Wayne Shorter ou de Joe Henderson. Une personnalité originale à la trompette avec un style très personnel. Avec des coéquipiers inspirés et expérimentés comme le contrebassiste Michaël Bisio et le batteur Jay Rosen, la musique est généreuse, élégante et racée. Rosen et Bisio jouent régulièrement avec Ivo Perelman et Joe McPhee. Le batteur a été longtemps le batteur de référence de Dominic Duval et du tandem Sonny Simmons et Michael Marcus. On retrouve Bisio avec Matt Shipp. Dans cet album, ils se concentrent sur le swing et la cohésion nécessaires pour faire balancer les compositions du leader tout en ouvrant le jeu avec des échappées libres et articulées sur la pulsation. Groder pratique un jazz contemporain ouvert et phrase ses inventions mélodiques / improvisations sur la structure du thème d’une manière tempérée. Pas d’éclairs, mais un jeu d’ombres nuancé avec une certaine tendresse fragile. La rythmique respire sans pour autant ronronner. Il y a une réelle cohérence dans tout l’album, comme si c’était une suite homogène dédiée à un lyrisme élastique plein de fraîcheur. Comme on écrirait des nouvelles dans une atmosphère ou une époque pour en faire un livre dont tous les pans se tiennent. Un tic free est récurrent, comme un agrégat de notes rapides qui ponctue un virage du trio. Brian Groder s’ingénie avant tout à jouer une musique qui ait un sens plutôt que de créer sous la pression d’une rythmique pétaradante. On pense à l’esprit de Jimmy Giuffre, Jack Sheldon ou Bob Brookmeyer, plutôt qu’à Booker Little ou Clifford Brown. Un disque sincèrement attachant d’un jazz sincère et authentique. Pas pour rien que Sam Rivers s’est joint à son quartet pour enregistrer."
Jean Michel van Schouwburg, Orynx Improvandsounds, France
Sincere and genuine jazz
"Septième album sous son nom pour Brian Groder, « Reflexology » (enregistré en novembre 2013) le voit entouré des finauds
Michael Bisio et Jay Rosen. On avait précédemment apprécié la démarche du trompettiste via quelques disques personnels
dignes d’intérêt, parmi lesquels « Fluidensity » en duo avec le pianiste Tonino Miano en 2012. Auparavant il y avait eu
« Torque » avec Sam Rivers ainsi qu’un quartette codirigé par Burton Greene. Tous ces albums ont paru sous bannière Latham,
aux attrayantes pochettes cartonnées. Le répertoire est signé du leader à l’exception d’un titre emprunté à Joanne Brackeen,
avec laquelle Groder a étudié la composition. Les thèmes résultent d’idées développées lors de rencontres informelles entre le
contrebassiste et le trompettiste, le caractère rythmique des structures élaborées en duo les ayant amenés à solliciter le renfort
d’un batteur. S’il s’agit de musique écrite, les trois partenaires sont aussi des improvisateurs hors pair, cette pratique conférant
beaucoup de souplesse et d’allant à leurs interprétations. On sent également qu’une saine émulation est à l’oeuvre, chacun
donnant le meilleur de lui-même au service du collectif. La sonorité de Groder sur ses instruments est à la fois puissante,
décontractée et sans apprêt, évocatrice en cela de la manière d’un Don Cherry. Voilà un bel exemple de jazz acoustique au
présent, dont la démarche artisanale et intègre atteste de la vitalité de ce genre musical, ici dégagé du passéisme sectaire comme
des fausses innovations au goût du jour, au profit d’un véritable engagement en profondeur. New York is (still) Now !"
- David Cristol
ImproJazz Issue #208
The sound of Groder's instruments is both powerful, casual and unadorned, evocative in the manner of a Don Cherry.
Brian Groder had a busy July, tying the knot with his new bride just weeks after the release of his latest disc as a leader. Reflexology
features a clever cover schematic that arranges an array of jazz influences into a podiatrist’s version of a phrenology map. None are
explicitly audible in Groder’s music, and that’s a testament to the individuality at the core of his art. More evidence of his creative
credibility comes with his chosen colleagues. Basssist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen share a long history together both in performance and
recording, and their deep rapport is an immediate asset to the leader. The project had its genesis in duo jam sessions between Groder and Bisio over the summer of 2013 and a similar intimacy informs their work
in the studio with Rosen. Eight of the compositions come from Groder’s pen with the calypso-tinged “Haiti-B” borrowed from his mentor Joanne
Brackeen. There’s a natural integrity to the program with most of the pieces building smoothly off theme statements and into collective and
individual improvisation. Rhythmic variability plays an integral part in the interplay and both Bisio on Rosen take to the flexible structures
with palpable enthusiasm. "What Not” opens on a loping groove and coiled rhythmic momentum with Groder voicing a
textured line as Bisio and Rosen ambulate at either of his flanks. “Hexadox” is half the length, but more open in sound thanks to Rosen’s
active brushes and the balanced throb of Bisio’s walking line. A switch to sticks and doubling of tempo after the theme helps to explain the
title. The drummer regularly drops in little accents on bells to further parse the percolating beat. Groder’s flugelhorn features on “Some Other
Where” where Rosen’s brushes once again supply a porous texture for the melody to glide limpidly across. “Veer” is another piece that
translates title into sound as the trio enters into an angular exchange over overlapping expressions. Groder is at his sharpest toned here,
punching out crisp progressions that gain even greater relief from the shifting rhythmic exchanges beneath them. Bisio’s sound is huge as he
drops into a corpulent solo surprisingly nimble for girth of his consecutive notes. The somber arco lines that open “Tarried Breath” in
concert with controlled cymbal waves are of a completely different cast yet still a fertile context for Groder’s more ruminative side. Brief in
duration, “Opposing Motion” is bright and brassy by comparison with a tightly wound rhythmic drive pushing Groder to sharpen his delivery once
again into a piquancy that carries over into the closing patter and bustle of “Snooker.” -
Derek Taylor, Dusted in Exile
A clean and supple tone and a rounded, flowing phrasing that’s deceptively ripe with interesting depth.
"Fare un parallelo con lo stile ricco e raffinato di Charlie Parker è
inevitabile per questo lavoro di Brian Groder e la sua band. Nei brani proposti, ad esempio gli elaborati e raffinati stacchi per tromba,
sembra che quel modo di fare jazz riviva, per nulla cristallizzato nella fredda e sterile ripetizione di quella corrente musicale. Infatti, è
opportuno sottolineare che il paragone termina là dove comincia l’elaborazione ritmica, e la creatività del gruppo, mirabilmente fuso e
affiatato. D’altra parte anche Parker fu sempre un motivato ed entusiasta apprendista, mai stanco di aprirsi al nuovo ed acquisire e
fare propri i più recenti temi e ritmi. Nell’album si colgono anche consistenti echi e rimandi a Niels Henning e Orsted Pedersen. È infatti
proprio questa rivisitazione che offre al gruppo nuovi spunti per allargare il proprio concetto di musica, apprendere nuovi percorsi,
migliorare e affinare il proprio linguaggio e bagaglio sonoro. L’esigenza del trio è principalmente quella di soddisfare completamente
la lunga e dilatata eco temporale del be-bop, proponendo note e arie del passato come riflesso di quelle di oggi, alla stregua di un effetto
benefico diretto. Molto bello Some Other Where, in cui tromba e batteria dialogano senza sovrapporsi, come pure il pezzo di apertura, What Not,
caratterizzato da un’atmosfera intensa e quasi rarefatta dalle elaborazioni per tromba di Groder, che offre una notevole dimostrazione
della sua considerevole e sfaccettata professionalità. “Reflexology”, tuttavia, dona le sue migliori qualità nella parte centrale in cui, dopo
aver mostrato in che modo si delinea un tema, gli interpreti si lasciano trasportare dalla loro passione e libertà creativa. Il maggior punto di
forza di questa uscita discografica risiede nella sua riflessività, come in Haiti–B (rifacimento di una canzone della Brackeen, altra fonte di
ispirazione per Brian), Tarried Breath e Deepening Appearences, motivi da segnalare per la loro estetica e anche per le improvvisazioni dei
singoli strumentisti e le apprezzabili variazioni eufoniche. In tutti i pezzi Groder sfoggia un perfetto stile be-bop e cool molto limpido e
articolato, Bisio appare molto fluido e discorsivo, mentre Rosen sembra rimanere più legato alle linee melodiche." - Ri.DR.
Jazz Colours, Italy
A remarkable display of Groder's considerable multifaceted skills.
"A long-time fixture in the his native New York City jazz scene, trumpeter and flugelhorn player Brian Groder has devoted a considerable part of his career to the frequent use of free-form approaches. His previous trios have included bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. Groder has also worked with trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum and many others. On
Reflexology he surrounds himself with very like-minded improvisers in bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen. Bisio has led virtually every level of formation from duo through sextet and is a prolific composer. He's also a member of Matthew Shipp's trio and a regular performer on both US coasts. Rosen—who studied with Barry Altschul—is a member of Trio X with trumpeter/saxophonist Joe McPhee and Duval.
Groder's liner notes explain the relaxed perfectionism that went into the creation of this album, first with he and Bisio spending months in tweaking and retooling pieces and finally bringing in Rosen to complete the sound. The title
Reflexology may imply a specific scientific bent in the eight original Groder compositions (plus one cover); the correlation may be as simple an action/reaction analogy. In the case of the opener "What Not" there is clear group interaction in the midst of individual improvisations. Groder always operates from some semblance of a central theme and musicians are skillfully adept at straying and then finding their way back. At the heart of "Hexadox" there is a swing rhythm and it's Bisio who breaks away for an extended solo before Rosen deftly reunites the bassist and Groder.
There are bluesy elements present on Reflexology as well and particularly evident on "Some Other Where" and "Deepening Appearances" though the trio mixes styles effectively. "Veer"—being more abstract—lives up to its name as Rosen seems to skitter around to the edges of the piece while Groder and Bisio punch up the sound with their often discordant and distinct contributions. "Tarried Breath" goes to a completely different place with Bisio's atmospheric bowed bass and Groder's noirish horn creating a threatening darkness. Rosen taps around like mysterious footsteps running toward (or away) from the darkness.
As fine as all the performances are on Reflexology, Groder seems to have saved a special effort for his mentor JoAnne Brackeen's "Haiti-B." His horn soars with an extraordinary and emotional energy
...only staying earth-bound through the anchoring of Bisio and Rosen. Little of Reflexology swings in the traditional sense but neither is it atonal as a rule; rather it is clean and un-wasted playing where every idea comes through and each is relevant. Though the instrumentation is uncommon
the imagination and empathy of the players make it accessible and a pleasure to listen to."
Karl Ackermann, AllAboutJazz
His horn soars with an extraordinary and emotional energy
"A beautiful CD by trumpet player Brian Groder, a program of his original compositions performed with his trio, i.e. Michael Bisio on bass and fantastic drummer Jay Rosen. Groder is in top shape here, especially in regards to his writing, rooted in jazz yet prospective, and rich in memorable tunes. The musicians’ playing, the balance of the tracklist, the strength of the solos – even the cover – are appealing to me. Recommended."
- François Couture,
"I have been appreciating Brian Groder for a while now. He plays trumpet very architectonically. What? Architectonic...having a clearly defined structure. There is form in his improvising which is related to his composing. We get Brian's architectonics laid bare, so to speak, on his new trio album, with the self-explanatory title Brian Groder Trio
(Latham 5901). There's one piece by Joanne Brackeen; the rest are by Groder. He chose well in including bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen. Both
respond with brilliance to free architectonics. Michael is one of the very foremost inventive bassists on the scene today and Jay a great drummer who
does not always get the recognition he should, though as part of Trio X he gets exposure, surely. He sounds better and better these days. So Jay
responds beautifully and contributes his special time and color to this trio. Brian and Michael interact with exceptional grace and inventiveness.
Both play out of the compositional implications of each number in interactive bliss and on their own. The performances are not to be missed.
The compositions hit you in the ears and the trio through-improvises on them with a musical logic that is outstanding." -
Gapplegate Music Review
Do not wait! Get this one because it rings out as one of the best this year!
"Trumpeter Brian Groder's trio with bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen is a real treat.
Lacking a chordal instrument, the trio has a lot of space to fill, which they do - to some extent - while sticking to a more traditional jazz vocabulary. By this I mean, the musicians don't veer into extended technique or over-blowing to fill space, but rather through clever phrasing and counterpoint they connect the dots, still leaving plenty of breathing room in their music. Groder has a clear limpid tone and uses it to deliver his melodic ideas with precision, while Bisio and Rosen work together to ensure the type of solid foundation that reveals their years of playing together.
The opening track 'What Not' begins with a tense syncopated melody that plays against the counter motion of the sparse rhythm section. After a few moments, the group moves quickly into improvisation, interacting with aplomb. Another highlight is 'Veer,' about half way through the album. Bisio's simple but effective bass line is captivating as it underscores Groder's thoughtful playing. The bassist's own turn at the helm is just as effective, as he locks in tightly (but not to tightly) with Rosen with an evocative solo. Additionally, the track 'Tarried Breath', which seems like the most freely improvised track on the recording, kicks in with the bass, textural percussion and a languid melody that lingers hauntingly long after it ends.
Delicate and tastefully done, Reflexology is a solid and enjoyable album." - Paul Acquaro,
Reflexology is an expertly crafted mix of composition and improvisation that delivers something more than a sum of its parts.
"New York-based trumpeter/flugelhornist comfortable in free ensembles yet committed to song form convenes trio for a tribute to Archie Shepp and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen’s 1981 Looking At Bird duet outing. But give Groder credit for acknowledging that no mere flugelhorn could fill the mighty roar left by Shepp - the vital addition of percussionist Jay Rosen allows both leader and bassist Michael Bisio to relax a little. It helps that all three collaborators are melodists (Joe McPhee-associate Rosen coaxes trills from his cymbals), which means
even decidedly abstract lines dart out with the quick fragmentary logic of Anthony Braxton at his most direct. And for those who find the spartan interplay too, well, spartan, Groder’s old composition teacher Joanne Brackeen offers some relief in the guise of lone non-original “Haiti-B”: first a Strata-East bass vamp, then the drummer giving what for."
- Jason Gubbels,
"Downtown trumpet hero, Brian Groder, materializes every year or so with another impressive disc and has remained one of Downtown's best kept secrets. Although he has worked with elders like Sam Rivers, Burton Greene and Andrea Centazzo, he should
be more renown than he is. For this date, he has organized an incredible trio with two of NY's finest collaborators: Michael Bisio who is the bassist of choice for Matt Shipp, Joe McPhee and Steve Gauci and Jay Rosen, CIMP-all-star drummer who continues to work with Trio X (with Joe McPhee), Ivo Perelman and the Cosmosamatics (Sonny Simmons & Michael Marcus). The title of this disc is 'Reflexology' and cover has a drawing of the bottom of a foot with certain (reflex?) spots with the names of the giants of jazz (Miles, Ellington, Monk, etc.) lined to each spot. It seems obvious that Mr. Groder and his colleagues have studied the long history of jazz. All of the songs were written by Mr. Groder except one by pianist Joanne Brackeen who was/is a longtime teacher to Groder. That sense of jazz history pervades throughout this disc as each song reveals another link (or series of links) to the stream that holds this history together. "What Not" has a sly bluesy swagger that feels so good, I can almost hear some woman with a sassy voice singing on top. It sounds like Groder has spent a good deal of time writing
as each song sets a mood and/or tells a story. If you think that this being just a trio would limit any expressiveness, you would be wrong as each member of the trio is important to the structure and story which unfolds on each song. One of the good things about this disc is that both Mr. Bisio and Mr. Rosen are more known for playing well in the free situations, here play Groder's charts with precision, craft and grace. On a song called, "Haiti-B", Rosen plays a most impressive drum solo while Bisio plays his swell repeating line over and over. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
A fine disc on many levels, warm, thoughtful and well-played.
"An open ended approach that challenges the imagination while transcending traditional theory. Stellar!
Listed as an "avant garde" recording on some web sites, Reflexology is the aptly titled adventurous recording from the Brian Groder Trio. The term "avant garde" was coined by critics in an effort to describe music that was left of center and well past the standard accepted traditions of improvisational music of the day. This particular archaic term is neither accurate or adequate to describe the critically acclaimed work of Brian Groder whose background is as varied as his approach to composition. Of course by nature we know critics are obsessive compulsive narcissists with the pathological need to carefully label and categorize all music into specific segments or genres...Brian Groder is an artist, not a genre.
The trio is comprised of rising star bassist Michael Bisio and one of the most sought after lyrical drummers in Jay Rosen. All compositions with the notable exception of Haiti-B are from Groder. A piano less trumpet trio while not the norm is not terribly unusual. Instead of the predictable covers from Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw, The Brian Groder Trio pulls from a myriad of melodic influence and adapts this inspiration to a textured shading that showcases their own lyrical intent. At times rhythmical complex while keeping a minimalist presentation, The Brian Groder Trio skillfully works a harmonic net that moves well past what some would consider traditional improvisational music. Simplicity is indeed the ultimate sophistication.
One foot in the past and a keen lyrical vision for the future has garnered Brian Groder critical acclaim from All About Jazz and Downbeat. Reflexology should fair well across the board and is certainly a release that is worth closer examination."
- Brent Black,
An amazing virtuoso performance, the future for improvisational trumpet is in good hands.
"Tutti gli appassionati di jazz sanno quanta acqua sotto i ponti è passata dalla morte di Parker, ma trovare dei buoni spunti per riproporre quell'epoca non fa più notizia. Cristalizzare un periodo può essere utile per concentrarsi su nuove modalità di intervento su precedenti storici, adoperarsi per allargare i concetti musicali è altra cosa. Lo stesso Parker, d'altronde, era un entusiasta apprendista della musica, mai stanco di migliorare il proprio linguaggio e bagaglio musicale. Ma c'è anche l'esaltazione emotiva del jazz da considerare, a prescindere dall'innovazione.
Sfruttando la desinenza finale la riflessologia potrebbe far coppia con l'ornitologia. Se nel jazz quest'ultima è stata oggetto di contraffazione nelle idee di Charlie Parker e Benny Harris (la melodia nascosta è lo standard di Morgan Lewis, How high the moon), non ci sono precedenti allettanti per la riflessologia musicale (quello che si trova di solito è recalcitrante new age per terapia).
Il trio tromba-contrabbasso-batteria di Groder-Bisio-Rosen nasce per soddisfare la lunga eco temporale del be-bop e "Reflexology" per evidenziare una doppia valenza dei suoni: musica del passato come riflesso di quella odierna ed effetto benefico diretto. Groder, nelle note di copertina, ammette che nella fase creativa aveva in mente "Looking at Bird", l'apprezzato album di duetti tra Archie Shepp e Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen, un omaggio a Parker (la maggioranza dei brani sono rifacimenti del sassofonista americano) in cui ben delineati sono i dialoghi espressivi e spicca quel solito sound evocativo di un'epoca.
"Reflexology" è una raccolta che esibisce le sue prerogative migliori nella parte centrale: dopo aver mostrato che cosa significa organizzare un tema, approfondisce con soluzioni che mordono in altro modo; lasciandosi trasportare dalla passione e dalla libertà degli intenti musicali, il pregio di questo trio sta nella speciale evocazione di stilemi duri a morire, che non è bebop tout court, quello a cui siamo stati abituati a sentire normalmente, ma dove c'è un carattere di riflessività (la seconda valenza di cui si diceva prima) che viene premiato, come nel rifacimento di Haiti-B (un brano della Brackeen, ulteriore fonte di ispirazione di Groder), di Veer, Tarried Breath o Deepening Appearances, in cui accanto ai temi melodici sono più indovinate e preziose le improvvisazioni dei singoli e le loro creazioni sugli strumenti; Groder sfoggia un suono di tromba opacizzato in perfetto be-bop e cool style, Bisio è discorsivo quanto Pedersen (particolarmente riuscito è l'intro all'archetto di Tarried Breath) e Rosen fedelmente attaccato alle linee melodiche."
- Ettore Garzia,
"Groder sports a trumpet sound in a perfect, crystal structure be-bop and cool style."
BRIAN GRODER and TONINO MIANO - FluiDENSITY
buy it here|
two like-minded musicians draw inspiration from diverse and influential composers, Duke Ellington, Cecil Taylor, Arnold Schoenberg, Béla Bartók and Frederic Rzewski and
transcend their influence into a set of lyrical, carefully nuanced spontaneous improvisations. The emphatic interplay and the rich vocabulary of both musicians
enable them to turn the nine improvisations into an organic and quick-thinking exchange of ideas and gestures, patiently accumulating them into, provocative and
engaging compositions. The fragile, airy "Depth of Field" exemplifies the duo method of communication. It is structured from spare, colorful, often muted blows of
Groder, framed gently by Miano who anticipates his moves, till it blossoms as an expressive ballad, that is concluded on the following "Brushmarks," that adopts
similar, fragile mood.
Profound and beautiful music.
"Inclination" and "Opposite Geometry" suggest different approaches. Groder and Miano move in colliding attacks, creating
complex, labyrinthine structures that mature in the following, "Phase Shift." On this improvisation a reserved and subtle exchange of ideas develops into an intense
exploration of shifting rhythms, harmonizations and melodic motifs. "Pinion" refers to the piano suite Squares by American avant-grade composer Rzweski and
combines beautifully elements from this suite with improvisational commentary. This set is closed with a playful game of variations on "Wiser Counter Clock" and a
gentle and thoughtful ballad "Pas de Deux." —
Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz
"There is something classically elemental and appealing about brass-piano duos, rare as they are in improvised music. Of course, like many group formations, the personalities of the players should make up the text of the performance as well as the output itself – in other words, the player is more important than what instruments are used. Therefore, it’s easier to imagine the as-yet-unreleased duets of Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor in terms of a compositional and personal interaction rather than a recital of material specificity. So while the landscape appears tangibly related between the above players or less well-known figures like Brian Groder and Tonino Miano, the results are markedly different.
FluiDensity is the debut recording of Groder and Miano in duet. Groder is a clarion trumpet player whose turns of phrase are incredibly varied and on point; dance-like and incisive, his playing has seen collaborations with veterans of this music including pianists Burton Greene and Joanne Brackeen, reedman Sam Rivers and drummer Newman Taylor Baker. The Italian-born pianist Tonino Miano has been in New York since 1993 and recorded sporadically; interestingly, this is not his first trumpet-piano duo recording (seek out 2008’s The Curvature of Pace with Mirio Cosottini), though it is his first with Groder. Across nine improvisations and co-compositions (including a piece based on composer-pianist Frederic Rzewski’s Noctamble #3), Groder and Miano flutter, spike, skitter and arch with some of the most beautiful music I’ve heard from these particular paired instruments.
One can hear the rangy motifs and jutting postwar classical feel of someone like Alexander von Schlippenbach in Miano’s movements, for which Groder’s narrow, rippling control of valves, breath and embouchure is a perfect foil. As players in a duet context, improvisers should be ready and able to stand alone, and while the rigor and grace of Miano are assured reflections of his embrace of piano repertoire, a trumpeter able to hold similar shape and weight is uncommon. Groder is certainly able to do this in spades, and the pair reflects on apartness and devilish unity on “Depth of Field.” “Inclination” builds from swinging flecks to roiling and gestural direction, puckered incisions and fluffs working their way through dense right-handed fisticuffs. There’s a sardonic atonal delicacy that begins “Pinion,” the aforementioned Rzewski homage, with Groder pensive and romantic, floating against overlapping swirls and cut-off palimpsests.
“Wiser Counter Clock” employs repetitive flicks that nod in the direction of both Herbie Hancock on Grachan Moncur III’s “The Twins” and von Schlippebach on
Manfred Schoof’s “Glockenbär,” while the closing "Pas de Deux" is metallic and sensual. Mimicry and internalized reflection are part of the nature of duets but
the language shared between pianist and trumpeter here is so ingrained, natural and tautly expressed that little thought is possible beyond present grace." -
Quite simply one of the most extraordinary duo performances of contemporary music that I’ve heard in recent memory.
"Groder is a trumpeter with a full, rich tone and excellent technical command. Miano tends to play in a linear style, not too busy, somewhat related to
late-’50s Lennie Tristano. Together, the music they create has a more angular form, almost (one might say) baroque in rhythm if decidedly late-modern in harmony. Several of
Groder’s licks have the sound and feel of bop, at least melodically, but as soon as Miano enters the music seems to be in two different keys much (but not all) of the
time, which essentially draws the listener in. Much of the time, Miano’s piano part has the quality of counterpoint to Groder’s trumpet; at other times, it sounds as if
both musicians are improvising simultaneously but differently on the same motif; at yet other moments, it sounds as if the pianist was “leading” the trumpeter
rather than vice-versa. FluiDensity inhabits a certain Zen-like space in the musical
cosmos, that it ignores and negates any semblance of Fusion (which I normally detest anyway), and that it makes a conscious attempt to be artistic without consciously
trying to sound over-studied or pretentious. In short, it was a fascinating musical journey well worth taking with these two thoughtful and talented musicians, and I
recommend it to your listening experience as well." — Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare Magazine
This is music of fascinating texture and structure.
"Listening to the stimulating FluiDensity is akin to eavesdropping on an intelligent, ad-lib conversation between two friends. Trumpeter Brian Groder and pianist Tonino Miano, both master improvisers, mine the modernist western musical canon for the majority of their ideas and spice it up with a bit of jazz and various ethnic motifs.
The energetic "Optika," with its intricately woven spontaneous dialogue, is perhaps the jazziest track on the record. Blues-tinged lines characterize both Groder's bright undulating horn and Miano's contemplative and resonant keys.
Vaguely Asian sensibilities endow the intriguing "Depth of Field." Miano's warm and edgy piano constructs sharp, crystalline rhythmic and harmonic flourishes, over which Groder's clear and open trumpet blows a wistful chant like wind through a Zen garden.
The deep camaraderie that the two share makes for a gratifying listening experience, as Groder's hypnotic and lilting horn and Miano's clever, glissando-filled pianism produce imaginative and penetrating poetry on "Opposite Geometry."
A consummate musician, Groder is known for his progressive and unorthodox approach to composing. On "Phase Shift," he brings this unique touch to extemporizing as well. His burnished tones engage in a delightfully dissonant duet with Miano's breakneck arpeggios and percussive notes. No stranger to working with unconventional and edgy pianists (Burton Greene) for instance), Groder deftly matches his fast staccato lines to Miano's inventive acrobatics, bringing the tune to an intriguing climax.
The Bologna-native/New York-based Miano is conservatory trained and holds dual degrees in musicology and classical piano performance. The influence of groundbreaking 20th century composers is clear in his improvisations. He combines a sophisticated atonality and dark passion in his heady and mordant sound on the cinematic "Wiser Counter Clock," which ends in a thought-provoking sonic explosion, and also features Groder's angst-laden, meandering melody. Although it may be not for purists,
this provocative yet accessible album enthralls and fascinates through several spins." —
Hrayr Attarian, All About Jazz
Groder and Miano have politely but firmly torn down artificial boundaries between musical genres
"FluiDensity is an elegant dance between jazz and classical, rendered by a couple of veteran hands experienced in the nuances of both. Pianist Tonino Miano started out in classical piano before he moved from his native Italy to New York twenty years ago and immersed himself in improvisational music. Brian Groder started from jazz, mastering both the trumpet and flugelhorn. He made a name for himself starting in the 90′s with the Brian Groder Ensemble, developing his own style of modern progressive jazz and improvised music. More recently, his collaborations with the late, great Sam Rivers (Torque, 2007) and Burton Greene (Groder And Greene, 2009) revealed just how esteemed Groder’s peer group really is, and both releases garnered wide acclaim.
Groder is again pairing up with a like-minded pianist, but unlike Groder And Greene, it’s him and the pianist and no one else. Such a bare setup enables so much more freedom and pure expression, and that’s just what is delivered on FluiDensity. These nine compositions were nothing more than informal discussions between takes before they were performed for the record. Thus, it’s a very instinctual set of recordings, and while there are some classical and jazz, it evokes those styles seemingly more by coincidence than some conscious effort to make an album that blends certain kinds of music."
"Miano’s piano has too much classical grace in his approach to draw close comparisons to Cecil Taylor, but does share Taylor’s intensity and adventurous streak. Together, the pair plays with one mind, like a solo performance involving two instruments. On “Optika,” Miano seems to be stalking Groder’s every gesture, almost anticipating his next moves, then seizing the lead down a path that Groder fully exploits (showing off some fleckless chops along the way around the three minute mark). “Opposite Geometry” goes as the title suggests, with Groder playing long-held notes while Miano’s sweeping piano creates an undercurrent moving in the other direction. The pensive “Pinion” is derived from a 1978 composition, “Noctamble #3,” by kindred soul pianist/composer Frederic Rzewski.
FluiDensity presents music that’s both unencumbered and generally placid. Brian Groder and Tonino Miano send out a clear message that spontaneity doesn’t have to be chaotic."
S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!
'Inclination' moves along like a stage play, with some moments of peacefulness, hope, tension and release, sometimes at once.
"Brian Groder plays a singular trumpet. He can be dense, soulful, technically diverse
and melodically pristine, all in one gulp, and that he is on these recordings. Tonio Miano makes the perfect foil for Brian on piano. He has some of the forward momentum
of a Cecil Taylor but his cascades are musically distinct. He is all over the place on the instrument but at the same time has ideas in his phrasings that sound as if they
could be composed, in that they have a logical, speaking component, so to say.There are parts that do indicate either extraordinary telepathic synchronicities or
pre-planned motifs. They could be either and that says much of the flow of the music here. On "Pinion" they do specifically reference musical quotations from a Frederic
Rzewski piano composition. Otherwise it's a music of free thought, or so it sounds. If you are looking for free but very meaty content in a trumpet-piano duet set, look no
further. This one is a model of what two fine players can come up with in the course of a recording session." —
A mastery of a tumbling, widely harmonic, melodically rich tonal invention.
"Brian Groder is an avant- garde jazz trumpeter from New York City and has performed with a number of artists, composed film soundtracks and multi-media
presentations, and received a number of awards for his compositions. In February 2013, Groder introduced his sixth and latest avant-garde CD, FluiDensity. The
first track, Optika, seems to be a play on the word “optic,” suggesting a type of lens. In this case, the optical is an aural perception of the content
presented. Optika starts with an energetic and aggressively improvised melodic trumpet solo with plenty of jazzy flavor. The piano enters and assists the
trumpet by providing a contrapuntal backbone. The work has a Charles Ives-esque melodic and harmonic feel that intertwines and focuses on neither melody nor
harmony. Depth of Field begins as a bouncy romp and then as a series of emotional trumpet calls and half-valve work. It is as though the trumpet is
reminiscing about happenings on a battlefield. The piano provides the harmonic landscape as the trumpet mimics echoing voices, making this an emotional and
intense work. Wiser Counter Clock starts as a dark, twisted modal waltz and feels like the springs inside a clock are being wound tightly counter-clockwise.
Groder begins with pulsating and extremely rhythmic melodic content. The middle section blurs the concept of the trumpet’s long tones, signifying all the time
in the world, while the piano has the opposite effect of not having enough time. The two join at the end in slight melodic pandemonium, as the clock gradually
winds down. The theme that seems to be portrayed in FluiDensity is one that combines the tangible and intangible, the subjective and the objective.
Overall the works are inventive and the trumpet performances inspired. FluiDensity is certainly a welcome addition to the avant-garde genre."
- Jim Martincic, International Trumpet Guild Journal||
"FluiDensity finds Italian-born pianist Tonino Miano in the congenial company of New York trumpeter Brian Groder. This isn’t Miano’s first piano/trumpet duet; 2009’s Curvature of Pace found him collaborating with trumpeter Mirio Cosottini. While the earlier release explored textural improvisation and extended technique, FluiDensity remains more within the realm of conventional sound creation, with a focus on complex phrasing and an expansive tonality. Its harmonic vocabulary is drawn equally from recent art music and advanced jazz.
The CD opens energetically with Optika, a contrapuntal improvisation in which Groder introduces a descending semitone motif that provides the backbone of the piece. Depth of Field takes a different tack, with cascading piano contrasting with slow, long notes from the trumpet, and ensemble passages broken up by solo intervals for both Groder and Miano. The complex Phase Shift opens with a subdued and subtle call-and-response before Miano’s ever-mutating support shifts the frame around Groder’s trumpet, allowing it to be heard from different harmonic, and hence emotional, perspectives. Wiser Counter Clock is a minor key waltz that changes to a two-beat pulse in sometimes radically different tempi, while the set closes with the lovely Pas de Deux, a reflective piece in which Miano seems to allude indirectly to Debussy.
Miano’s sound can be finely splintered as it explores the outer edges of atonal clusters. But it can also verge on a Monkish bop at times, especially on a piece like Inclination, with its half-step movement and exuberantly fractured swing.
Overall, this is a fine and cohesive collection of duets." —
Avant Music News
Throughout the disc Groder’s trumpet is fluid and lyrical, with a rounded, singing tone.
"Miano’s virtuosity is all over the piano. He is most often the “dense” to Groder’s “fluid” in this equation. He never lacks for textural and gestural ideas that contribute a sense of designed space to the improvisations, his
harmonies ranging from modal to atonal. Groder’s sound is the more deeply “jazz,” especially in the way a jazz wind player accesses quasi-vocal lyricism. His phrasing,
articulation, pitch modulations and Miles Davis-like staccato identify him as the American in this European-American pairing. The lonely, elegiac solo trumpet is an
iconic 20th century American sound that here avoids cliché by virtue of its sincerity." —
Nic Gotham, The Whole Note|
"This Italian-American duo presents itself as one of the most interesting projects of 2013. Trumpeter Brian Groder and pianist Tonino Miano release Fluidensity in “grand style”, the result of their most complete allegiance to jazz improvisation.
After many years as a sideman, in 2004 Groder decides to put his solo career in order by launching his own record label, Latham Records, and re-issuing a project from 1994 “Ancestral Tongue”, a work dedicated to post-bop; then “Torque” in quartet with the participation of Sam Rivers, where the field of vision moves onto free-jazz. The beauty of Groder’s trumpet playing is in the character of his “dialogue”, that way of being in improvisation that was a quality of the masters of the instrument, especially those at the edge between hard bop and free; his path however is not a forced one, but simply the expression of a tenacious musician that knows he’s operating in a sector where as far as the trumpet is concerned there is some difficulty in finding new ideas ( it seems that Wanada Leo Smith might be considered an exception) and the new generation’s focus is on technology. The “effectiveness” of his trumpet will later characterize his quintet “Groder and Greene”, which turns towards avant guard.
As for Miano, he deserved to be appreciated already in some ensembles that only the specialized press had pointed out: Cardinal and EASilence walk along the paths of contemporary classical comp-improvisation. Stylistically close to Cecil Tayolr, Miano’s influences exceed the American contour: the ruminating style deeply blends with the classic pianism of the post-Schoenberg European avant-guard, hence there isn’t a clear dominance of a particular idiom. Moreover, the duo form with the trumpet seems to be one of this Italian artist’s favorite, for years now living in New York, a territory not too crowded with (foreign?) jazz players (I lately remember among the notable ones Kirk Knuffke and Jesse Stacken).
Fluidensity, therefore, descends into the discourse of musical dynamics that not only point out the musician’s proficiency, but also a will to describe a world of thoughts and indirect emotions that are a part of our reality: Inclination seems to be a metaphor on the struggle to forge forward, the push up an inclined plane of something in a struggle for equilibrium; Depth of Field recalls that depth of field typical of trumpet players like Chet Baker, that opening of the trumpet into space that made us love it revealing at the same time the hidden difficulties; in Phase Shift, while Miano weaves traps of clusters in the background, Groder whips solos with a vast range of meanings where the tone becomes at times vocal or lyric, lazy or impertinent. Wiser Counter Clock it’s the episode where the two reach a climatic interplay, where piano and trumpet investigate diverse ideas with many variations, and probably where the apex of their expressiveness resides, confirming that of works without prejudice and that transcend time we still feel the need."
Ettore Garzia, Percorsi Musicali
The beauty of Groder’s trumpet playing is in the character of his “dialogue”, that way of being in improvisation that was a quality of the
masters of the instrument
"Brian Groder and Tonino Miano's FluiDensity is the work of a duo so conversant and solid that one could imagine that they were working off rather dense charts rather than engaged in the give and take of pure improvisation. Groder's melodies are quite engaging and Miano's imaginative accompaniment never fails to be supportive.
Groder is New York based trumpeter and flugal horn player and has garnered enthusiastic reviews on this blog before. His partner on the recording, pianist Miano, also from New York, and is an educator and musician. Together they have made an album the straddles the line between classical and avant-garde jazz with accessible spiraling melodies and evolving improvised ideas. Miano has a strong rhythmic drive to his playing, even when he's playing quietly, that provides a nice buoyancy.
'Optika', the opening song, starts with Groder's unaccompanied trumpet playing an intriguingly convoluted melody. When Miano joins, his counter melodies match in pace and phrasing, giving the tune a rhythmic boost. The wide ranging 'Depth of Field' begins with oblique passages on the piano and insistent melodies from the trumpet to moments that have a folksy openness that bring Aaron Copland to mind. The album as a whole breaths, expanding and contracting, leaving space for listener to ingest, digest and reflect and then do it all over again.
FluiDensity is an imaginative and sophisticated album of dense, fluid, melodic and intriguing improvisation."
- Paul Acquaro, Freejazz Blog||
"Both musicians sound like they have classical training and a wealth of ideas at their disposal. For "Depth of Field", the playing is sparse at times, making each note count.
The musicians appear to finish each other's lines, weaving delicately around one another in a tight communion. There is an elegant quality to this music, inventive without
ever dealing with too many high or fast notes. The pace is more moderate and thoughtfully displayed. Even when they they to go a bit further out, it is never too
far. The duo remain connected to a similar calm sensibility with occasional flashes of brilliance or fireworks. Eventually the duo erupt in short flashes which are impressive
yet don't last too long before they are transformed into something else. You can tell that Mr. Groder has worked long and hard on his tone and playing since every
note fits just right on the open canvas that the duo paint upon. This disc is more like a classical recital than a jazz duo recording. It is still quite dazzling any way you look
or listen to it. — Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery |
BRIAN GRODER and BURTON GREENE - Groder & Greene
buy it here|
"Groder & Greene was recorded in 2007, issued last year and is an exceptionally fine example of modern free jazz. The first thing I noticed was the vivid recording quality, allowing the contributions of the five players to shine like diamonds in crystal clear water. Invited in by that warm sound, you start to decode and untangle the
ingenious compositions within, which have all the depth and complexity we could hope for from such clearly intelligent and well-informed players; at their best, the quintet manage to pull things in five or six different directions at once, giving the amazed listener a feast of elaborate free-thinking ideas to feed on. What’s most exciting, for example on ‘Separate Being’, is how the piano holds down a completely opposing argument which contradicts yet somehow complements the discussion being held between Groder and his partner Rob Brown on the alto. As I savour these ‘Cryptic Means’, I’m tempted to reinvestigate Greene’s work on the 1969 BYG LPs. He may have had more fire and bombast 40 years ago, but I like his more considered approach much better; there’s deep wisdom and experience engrained in these mystical, odd-fitting abstractolid chord shapes of his. Plus there’s even one track graced with a witty Mingus-inspired title, which wins extra points with this paid-up fan of Th’ Mingster. Fabulous work, totally recommended to fans of 1960s Dolph and early Ornette."
— Ed Pinsent,
A feast of elaborate free-thinking ideas
"Trumpeter Brian Groder has a talent for creating combinations of players to achieve certain
musical outcomes. This instinct is especially important when the
territory traversed is free jazz, where the mixtures of players are
indispensable if the music is to be coherent. On Groder & Greene,
the free jazz is indeed cogent and compelling. It is pure magic. With eight group improvisation and just one composition, Greene's
'Can You Thropt The Erectus?,' the expectations might be for chaotic, shambolic music. But this music is nothing of the sort. The group interplay tends toward coherent
statements and organized, at least for free improvisation, tracks. This band's music crystallizes into fully formed conceptions." —
Mark Corroto, AllAboutJazz
"Trumpeter Brian Groder, over a small handful of recordings, is established as an improviser creating his own pathway apart from his influences, and his main mentor Sam Rivers. Decades of dedication to creative music have given pianist Burton Greene a mighty reputation in his field, with a unique perspective that crosses over into 20th and 21st century contemporary classical music. With ex-Cecil Taylor sideman, alto saxophonist Rob Brown, the fantastic bassist Adam Lane, and drummer Ray Sage,
this thoroughly special collective makes music in the moment with a certain grit, spirit, and depth. The liner notes of the CD obsess about so-called free jazz as if it is a regularly maligned and misunderstood subgenre, but one thing is certain:
this talented ensemble plays music unique unto itself, liberated of any barriers save the occasional pulse or beat rooted in the tradition. What
Groder and Greene accomplish is an integration with their band members, sounding unified while retaining their individuality in a cohesion that not so much defines a sound as it consistently triggers their best assets.
Cool and groovy yet elusive and ethereal, the opening number
"Landfall" establishes a rambling swing as Brown fans the flames while Greene walks up and down a spiral staircase. Tip-toeing through time, Greene's delicate musings during
"Separate Being" shape Groder's muted trumpet into a dream sequence, not nightmarish but rather pleasant, while
"Amulet" goes into the underground abyss, more spacious yet shredded. The funky "Nigh" recalls a Julius Hemphill blues, as Groder's outspoken horn and Brown's honking alto tumble on and on. A few segments feature two instruments paired before the rest of the group joins in, like the alto/drums workout starting up
"Only the Now" followed by the loose rhythms of Lane and Sage, or a solo Groder followed by Greene on
"Cryptic Means," which identifies the intent of the group as much as any title, with a considerable amount of playful counterpoint in varied tempi. At times, other gruff tones or late-night elements enter, but in general, there's grounded improvisation with a firm background and experience playing with masters of the idiom.
Groder & Greene is an excellent example of new, modern-day music lined with the wisdom of the pioneers of free jazz, creative improvised, or spontaneous composition, whatever you wish to term it."
– Michael G. Nastos,
Boom 997, Ottawa, Canada
Cool and groovy yet elusive and ethereal
"Free or modern progressive jazz can take many forms but for seasoned artists like trumpet /flugel horn player Brian Groder and pianist Burton Greene the outcome is always definitive and enduring.
On their first collaboration for Latham Records the duo’s album Groder & Greene hit the shelves on October 1, 2009 after nearly two years prior to the original recording date. Good things come with time and jazz listeners will be rewarded with their patience by receiving a classic rendering of the free form style of jazz popularized in the 1950′s by such icons as John Coltrane, Sun Ra and others.
The inspirational improvisations of pianist Burton Greene, alto saxophonist Rob Brown, bassist Alan Lane and drummer Ray Sage help Brian Groder to take the music to another level.
Groder’s penchant for working with other composers gives his brand of modern progressive jazz distinctive richness and depth when the collaborations reach their fruition during a performance. Fortunately this particular group of songs was captured during the heat of spontaneity created by the artists in the studio.
The experience of Greene as a leader in the free jazz movement of the 60′s is immeasurable and his influence resides in the color and overall flow of each composition. Groder and Greene complement each other beautifully on the release and allow the rest of the musicians to contribute in equal measures making
Groder & Greene a true partnership of musicians allowing the voice of jazz improvisation to be heard loud and clear throughout the recording."
- Keith Hannaleck,
All That Jazz
Equally fluent on trumpet and flugelhorn, Brian Groder is a venerated composer, trumpeter, and ensemble leader that has been cited as one of the most original jazz voices of his generation.
"A sense of form and cohesion makes Groder & Greene a success. Veteran “free” pianist Burton Greene cogitates at
the center of all this. Even when he engages in atonal keyboard cascades he exhibits clarity of intent and certainty of direction; when
he shifts gears, even subtly, he carries the rest of the musicians with him. Let’s consider the opener. Bassist Adam Lane offers a folk-like
tune that trumpeter Groder picks up and gives a Blues tinge. Joined by drummer Ray Sage’s ride pattern and Greene’s jabs, the band strides forward
in a manner that would warm a bopper’s heart. Then Greene interjects a single note line that’s harmonically askew, and the steady sense
of swings grows looser, slowly coming undone. This leads to alto saxophonist Rob Brown entering, offering a jagged commentary on the piano figure Greene now lines the middle
of the soundscape with. All comes undone as the group reaches a free form rubato with Groder rejoining the fray that resolves seven
minutes in to a soft, quick ride pattern. Groder and Brown whisper as the tune closes with the trumpeter echoing some of the blues
phrasing of the opening minutes. Such shifts of temperament are witnessed throughout the session. Not that all are the same. The
two horn players flex their Free bop chops over bass and drums on the opening of 'Nigh' and most of 'Surmised Wink,' hinting at
the excitement a more straightforward blowing session might have yielded. 'Amulet' is a piano, bass, and drums trio that has Greene
plucking at the piano inside and out and Lane and Sage responding appropriately. Greene’s 'Hey Pithy, Can You Thropt the Erectus?'
is a raucous outing marked by growling, gagging, and Borscht Belt exclamations, by, I assume, Greene. And the ensemble closes with
the aptly titled and rendered with suitable delicacy 'Sleepwalker'.” —
David Dupont, Cadence Magazine
"This disc, which gives top billing to the trumpeter Brian Groder and the seminal free-jazz pianist Burton Greene, is perhaps my favourite disc of this batch. It has the greatest range of expression and timbre, as well as the strongest sense of momentum, and
— pardon my bias is showing — the greatest connection to jazz of the unfree kind."
Ottawa Citizen, Canada|
"As your musician friend would say upon listening to this
marvelous free jazz CD, 'That's some serious heavy ---- !' Fill in
the blanks." — Dick Crockett, "The Voice", 88.7FM, Sacramento|
"After taking octogenarian saxophonist Sam Rivers on one of the most exciting rides of recent years on 2006's Torque, trumpeter Brian Groder has teamed up with another iconic figure of free jazz, pianist Burton Greene, for
nine magnificent musical adventures recorded, appropriately enough, in Greene Street Studios NYC in October 2007. Without wanting in any way to downplay the importance of
Groder's limpid and remarkably inventive trumpet and fluegelhorn playing, or alto saxophonist Rob Brown's technically and musically outstanding contributions (there's no point in even saying that, as everything Brown has committed to record in his lifetime has been technically and musically outstanding), the date belongs to Greene, not because he deliberately pushes everyone else to the sidelines, but because his contributions as both soloist and especially accompanist are so startlingly original that they command attention, from the inspired octatonic riffery of "Landfall" to the inside-piano investigations of "Amulet", from the virtuosity of "Cryptic Means" to the spiky comping of "Nigh". Sometimes it's all a bit over the top ("Hey, Pithy, Can You Thropt the Erectus?" owes much more to Greene than its punning title), but, hey, I'd rather it was like that instead of some earnest MOR Clean Feed outing where everyone is so afraid of walking on anyone else's toes that nobody moves at all. Greene has worked before with bassist Adam Lane – notably on 2004's Isms Out (CIMP) with Roy Campbell and Lou Grassi – and it shows: Lane is acutely aware of the pianist's left hand, and its tendency to provide the low and mid-register harmonic information, and concentrates accordingly on the more melodic upper octaves of his instrument. Which is not to say the pianist rides roughshod over Lane when the latter takes a solo – far from it: Greene's ear and sense of space is as acute as ever. In such ebullient company, a flamboyant drummer (like Han Bennink) would probably sink the ship altogether, so it's just as well Ray Sage is on hand to keep the beats tight and the music on course to its final destination.
This is a truly splendid album, easily the best thing Burton's released in years"
— Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic Magazine
One of the freshest and most enjoyable releases of the year.
"A marvelously free interplay of five strong musical personalities in the "Instant Composing" process, to be experienced and enjoyed." —
Jazz Dimensions Magazine, Germany |
Top 10 of 2009 - Jazzhouse Diaries
"A brisk session of free jazz from some terrific modern players. I first heard of trumpeter Brian Groder on the album Torque, where his backing band with Sam Rivers‘ trio (with Sam Rivers included). Here, he’s got another crackerjack band, with pianist Burton Greene up front. Very nice work, overall. Groder
surrounds himself with good company, and as on his previous CD, it
pays off." — Memory Select|
"It’s somewhat surprising, on the heels of Greene’s Klezmer projects and the uniquely boppish dates he’s
recently produced for CIMP, that his collaboration with trumpeter Brian Groder harks back to the blowouts of yore. In a quintet with altoist Rob Brown, bassist Adam Lane and drummer Ray Sage, the
emphasis is on collective improvisation. However, playing free in this decade is something decidedly different than it was 40-odd years ago, for musicians’ technique and knowledge is generally at a much
higher level. Groder has a precise, steely tone and his statements are economical - cool, yet full, like a less-brash Ted Curson. It’s hard not to reach back in time
when hearing Brown boil over as blocky piano motifs and turbulent gut and horsehair pool and shove underneath, but even within those choppy waves, there’s a sense of composure directing the ensemble’s
bombs towards a plotted explosion. Greene mirrors and recombines phrases into dense dialogues in a mutable, cubistic approach to comping."
— Clifford Allen, AllAboutJazz NY
Best New Releases
"This is one smokin' hot little (9-track) CD that features trumpet and flugelhorn from Brian, with keyboards from Burton Greene, along with alto sax by Rob Brown, double bass from Adam Lane and drums by Ray Sage. It's an October 2009 release
jammed full of very interesting spontaneous improvisation, and I dug it in many different ways. Sage has played with some other underground folks we've reviewed here, most notably Bonnie Kane, reviewed in issue # 81, so I expected something different... something "off the path"... and I got it in spades! The keyword for the playing these guys do is "different", in fact... not so strange that a reg'lar jazzer couldn't dig down into the soul of what they do, but certainly off-kilter enough that no self-respecting "middle-of-the-roader" would be caught with a copy of their CD. Of course, this kind of music is more suited to the readership of this fine 'zine, where the unexpected IS the norm... because that's what keeps life moving in new directions... one of the best examples is "Only The Now", one of my favorites... just listen to Lane's double bass on this one - truly moving (every second of every measure). My absolute favorite, though, had the sounds of hobgoblins from the netherworlds... that would be "Hey Pithy, Can You Thropt the Erectus"... definitely something along the lines of an improvised exorcism... ha! ha! These guys clearly know how to have fun with their music, and easily pass it along to the receptive listener.
They get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me,
with an "EQ" (energy quotient) rating of 4.98." —
Dick Metcalf, IMPROVIJAZZATION Nation|
"Groder is poetic and unique, with a sound all his own." —
Vittorio Lo Conte, AllAboutJazz Italy
"Appearing on numerous top-ten lists for 2009, Groder & Greene brings together NYC free jazz trumpeter/flugelhorn player Brian Groder with Chicago-born/Amsterdam-based free jazz piano legend Burton Greene - veteran of the NYC Avanat Garde scene and contemporary of such folks as Archie Shepp,Henry Grimes and Bill Dixon. They are joined by alto saxophonist Rob Brown, double-bassist Adam Lane and drummer Ray Sage in creating eight efficacious improvised pieces that range from ferocious (the excellent opener "Landfall") to quiet and strange ("Amulet") with every variation between. The strength of the players and exceptional rapport they bring the sessions takes what should by any means be chaos and instead weaves spontaneous compositions out of the cacophony.
All of the players exhibit exceptional abilities within this genre, with Greene attracting the ear with piano work that at times tinkles odd notes, or canters across the keys and at others pounds out furious fistfuls of block chords. He truly seems a perfect foil for
Groder's strong melodic touch, and the other musicians also seem especially well chosen for this project. Superb tracks like "Only the Now," "Separate Being," "Nigh," and 'Surmised Wink" are remarkable examples of free jazz music at its finest - full of unexpected surprises mad intriguing directions, while the cover of Greene's "Hey Pithy, Can You Thropt
the Erectus" is an engaging treat. "Cryptic Means" features the duo
without the rest of the bend in a rewarding turn, and the haunting "Sleepwalker" ends this dreamlike experience (complete with nightmares) in delicious fashion." — JazzChicago.net |
"We are dealing with a work of high caliber, where the quintet follows a compact and with a group identity. In their performances they appear to have a mysterious bond, because everything works perfectly without there being a single moment of routine. The beautiful voices of the soloists are on display within well-designed tracks, which show how, after all, even
within a genre defined as 'free' there's room for an organization of
sounds, an internal evolution different from what has been recorded decades
ago. It is worth mentioning Groder's previous recordings: here we
have a worthy sequel." —
Cosimo Parisi, Musicboom, Italy
A confirmation that we're in front of a musician of international stature
"In addition to the leaders, Groder
on trumpets and Greene on piano, Rob Brown and Adam Lane join the forces to put this one over the edge. Great playing all the way
around." — Jazz Corner
Top 10 of 2009
"That spontaneous improvisation proceeds flawlessly is a tribute to the musicians who play the music. In Groder & Greene, a recording which brings together trumpeter and flugelhorn player Brian Groder with pianist Burton Greene, altoist
Rob Brown, bassist Adam Lane and drummer Ray Sage, open-mindedness, musicianship
and a salient responsiveness generates the stunning quality of the intuitive
interaction among the group’s members. The direct improvisatory messages
delivered in Groder & Greene are not easily forgotten. Groder speaks with his brass instruments in untwisted lines, forever communicating their tremolodic brightness as well as their muted softness.
Lane’s opening bass pizzicato in “Landfall” regales his extraordinary bent pitch sensitivity. Brown distinguishes himself
with an essential vertical relationship to his alto. And Sage never fails, through a lightness of touch, to develop primary background
Lyn Horton, JazzTimes
"Groder & Greene is a decisive case that proves 20th century free jazz
continues to be vital and expertly accomplished in the 21st century. Pianist Burton Greene and trumpeter/flugelhorn player Brian Groder -
along with alto saxophonist Rob Brown, bassist Adam Lane and drummer Ray Sage - are experienced pros of the progressive jazz scene and
together the five artists have forged one of this year's finest works of fully improvised material. The 75-minute outing shows music unfolding in real time, true
spontaneity occurring when the microphones went live at The Studio on Greene Street in New York City in October, 2007. While the
quintet may have discussed forms to follow or the order of instruments, or perhaps some expectations regarding tempo or mood,
its obvious there were no pre-existing melodies, lines, explicit chords or other structural elements written down beforehand. There
is much autonomy at play on the nine tracks, each piece swirls, bursts with energy and the responses to each moment are plainly
unanticipated. Even so, there is also a perception of objectives being met and a keen impression of order. There is, above all, a
high degree of focus and communication. The album commences with the approachable 'Landfall,' which starts with Lane's easygoing bass groove, Groder's standard bebop trumpet
and Greene's bustling single-note piano runs. Gradually the tune expands into a provocative nexus of auditory impacts: Sage's leaping
drums, Brown's tense saxophone and Greene's knotty and rhythmic keyboard lines that evoke Cecil Taylor's percussive patterns. The
piece works as a striking strategy to introduce the players' authority of their instruments as well as the particular
improvisational methodology that is shaped throughout the session."
— Doug Simpson, Audiophile Audition Magazine
One of this year's finest works of fully improvised material.
"A few years back, Brian Groder wandered into DMG and left us with his own self-produced disc. Although I hadn't heard
about him before this, Brian was backed by free/jazz legend Sam Rivers and Sam's current trio. Turns out that Brian is an excellent
trumpeter and that disc was one of the highlights of the year. For this disc, Brian works with another legend, ESP pianist Burton Greene
plus an equally impressive crew with Rob Brown on alto sax, Adam Lane on bass and Ray Sage on drums.
It's been about a month since Brian laid this disc on me and I am still amazed by what I hear. Although
this disc is freely organized, it often sounds as if many of the pieces were pre-planned or partially written. The ever-wonderful
bassist, Adam Lane kicks off "Landfall" with an infectious pumping bass-line, which remains at the center of the entire piece. The
incredible piano, bass & drums rhythm team plays tightly and loosely at the same time, speeding up and slowing down together while the
trumpet and alto sax sail around one another in interconnected spirals. On 'Only the Now', the drums and alto sax play an intricate
duet at first, with the other instruments slowly coming one at a time, each one adding another line to the ever-flowing waves within
waves. The closer you concentrate, the more you hear the way this intense listening session reveals different connections amongst the
members. This is magical (free) music that is never cluttered, busy or indulgent. There is often a relaxing sense of calm at the center
of the well measured storm. Each member of the quintet contributes to the direction and inspired interaction. Brian plays some sublime
muted trumpet on 'Separate Being' while Burton carefully places soft flurries of notes and Rob spins a few notes of his alto into
cerebral tapestry. There are those moments when it sounds as if there are a couple of songs or
ideas happening simultaneously, but as soon as you feel as if you about to fall in, the direction changes, a clearing opens up and you land safely back on the ground.
Groder & Greene has again left us with one of this year's best." — Bruce Lee Gallanter,
Downtown Music Gallery
"More than two years ago trumpet-player Brian Groder released "Torque", a stellar CD with Sam Rivers on sax. Ever since, I've been scanning the usual information sources, eager to find new material by him, wondering what
happened because I couldn't find any, but here it is: finally. The band is co-led by pianist Burton Greene, with Rob Brown on sax, Adam Lane on bass,
and Ray Sage on drums. Quite a band! And so is the music. Which is as free as it gets, and quite disciplined at the same time. Brian Groder explains
"We would discuss the possible form, order of instruments entering and exciting, moods, dynamics and tempos ... but there weren't any
melodies/lines, chord or special structure we were reading down". And even if that is the case, very often that is not how it sounds.
I will not review every track, but you get the gist of it: lots of variation, lots of musical ideas, lots of fun too, and emotional
moments, ... what more do you want? So, in sum, again a great album. Some jazz musicians publish more than is possible to keep track of,
other artists remain shamefully under-recorded. Groder clearly fits in the latter category. Not only for his technical skills on the
trumpet, but also for his musical ideas." — Free Jazz blog, Netherlands read the rest here
Again, a great album; 4-1/2 stars
"Brian Groder and pianist Burton Greene are veterans of New York’s
progressive, free jazz scene, so it’s no surprise that the duo’s latest work, Groder & Greene, is a masterful example of the 20th century
avant-garde jazz in which they were bred. As with many totally improvised, “out” recordings, it’s often best to sit back, turn off your brain, let the
cacophony come to you, and absorb the constructive and destructive interference of sounds. Album-opener “Landfall” is the most accessible track
on the Groder & Greene. It begins with a silky bass groove played over fairly staid bebop drum and piano parts and gradually morphs (some might say
“devolves”) into a maddening, improvised confluence of sonic textures: screeching trumpet and saxophone, chaotic keyboard lines, and spastic
drumming. The song exemplifies the considerable talents of Groder, Greene,
and their excellent accompanists: bassist Adam Lane, drummer Ray Sage, and
saxophonist Rob Brown. Their command of their instruments plus the language of music and the jazz idiom in particular allows them to take a (semi)
traditional jazz progression and deconstruct it in real time, using only their ears as guides. The remaining tracks on Groder & Greene,
while somewhat more challenging, are just as intriguing. With atonal mayhem that would sound at home on a horror-movie soundtrack,
spontaneous melodies that ooze emotion, and exhilarating bursts of rhythm that drive the release, it’s a work that could only result
from giving world-class musicians the total freedom to communicate with one another musically. Greene and Groder should be commended
for fostering such uninhibited communication." —
"This recent outing finds Groder surrounded by some heavy company. Burton Greene, for starters, is one of the foundation pianist of free music, beginning in a very interesting group with Alan Silva in the early sixties, continuing to thrive with a number of seminal recordings for ESP and BYG, and on from there. He has from the very start forged his own path and he sounds today as good as he ever has, which is very good by any index.
"Rob Brown plays extraordinarily loquacious alto sax. He never seems at a loss for lines nor does his inspiration flag. Adam Lane is one of the premier bassists of the new music and a composer and leader in his own right. If I were only allowed to name a handful of bassists that were most actively innovative today, he would be on it. Ray Sage I don't know much about, but his drumming on
Groder & Greene achieves exactly what is needed: a loose freetime player who can carry a pulse well if called upon, and consistently invents within the group setting. Well, then there is Brian Groder himself.
The evidence of this disk suggests he is a trumpeter anyone would welcome on a free date.
He's limber and filled with good musical ideas. That's the lineup individually. Collectively they come up with a program that updates the classic free date with plenty of permutations, landmarks, signposts and traffic signals, always showing green (or is it Greene?). Seriously this is excellent music and some of the best Burton Greene in a long time. But it's everybody shining. I don't give out stars, that always reminds me of second grade penmanship, but if I did, this would get the highest rating. Grab a copy and give it a spin."
"Groder & Greene is a new project bringing together trumpeter Brian Groder and pianist Burton Greene to create the kind of artistic jazz that borders
between absolute freedom and brilliance. Along with Rob Brown, Ray Sage and Adam Lane, Groder and Greene play this music as if they were born to do it. This is an album you’ll want to
recommend for anyone who asks about quality jazz albums of 2009. There are many, but this is one of the best."
This Is Book's Music blog
"High quality, under the radar trumpet man Groder is not only making a name for himself as an original jazz voice, he’s
creating his own niche of doing duets with civil rights jazz-era free jazz players and making interesting collaborations that cross generations and sonics. Teaming this time around with one of the era’s piano men, this
sounds like some post 'Bitches Brew' Miles that’s stripped down to the elephant funk basics but still delivers a full sound. Wild stuff for ears
looking for a thrill, this seems to be sitting down jazz that gets you squirming in your seat. A delightfully wild ride."
— Chris Spector, Midwest Records|
"After his first one, "Torque", with legend Sam Rivers and his trio, it is now with veteran Burton Greene with whom Brian Groder joins forces for another tour de force. To begin with,
it is a long time ago since I enjoyed so intensely a jazz recording as this one. Great vibrant and spirited music. Free jazz by musicians who can handle freedom and demonstrate a strongly
focused operation, creating some fantastic and gorgeous moments. For me the fun already starts with the opening track "Landfall": the comical, seemingly a bit clumsy playing by Greene, with a delicious solo by saxplayer Rob Brown. Yes, Groder contracted an impressive crew for this date. Rob Brown played with Cecil Taylor. Burton Greene is one of the godfathers of freejazz. He lived (or lives?) in Amsterdam. In recent years he had his band Klezmokum, playing klezmer in a jazz jacket. The names of Adam Lane (bass) and Ray Sage (drums) didn't ring a bell, but fine musicians they are. The improvisations are much of a collective exercise, but Greene is often somehow in the center of where it is happens. Greene is also the writer of the only composition on this disc: "Hey Pithy, Can You Thropt The Erectus?" All pieces make the impression of being chaotic and
cacophonic from the outward, but if you dive into them, all is dazzlingly intertwined and connected. Very communicative ensemble work. "Nigh" circles around a simple melodic theme that sounds very familiar but I'm unable to identify it. Also it is driven by a straight beat, which is not what you expect in free jazz. Greene puts a lot of humor and fun in the music, like in "Amulet" where he distorts the sound of the piano by putting objects on the strings. It is the contrast between Greene's 'primitive' playing and the playing by the others that make this one a very enjoyable record. Must have been two blessed days when these recordings were done in october
2007." — Vital Weekly webcast, Netherlands
BRIAN GRODER and the SAM RIVERS TRIO - Torque
buy it here
Once in a great while, a new release comes along in which all the elements of musical magic come together: great ensemble playing, impeccable and sensitive improvisation, and great compositional structures that make it all work. Trumpeter Brian Groder's Torque is one of those rare releases in which everything clicks. Music of ceaselessly fascinating possibilities."
Samuel Chell, AllAboutJazz
"The trumpeter holds his own as
a player opposite a true giant of jazz, bringing poised, muted trumpet figures that fit perfectly with Rivers' elaborate flute filigrees on the freely improvised
'Behind the Shadows Part 1'. He also asserts his presence confidently
into a tight band that's been going for more than a decade, finding firm footing in
'Oculus''s relaxed, swinging groove and joining into the collective tumult of
'Betwixt'. The other two players get a couple duets apiece with Groder, and each offers a strong example of unflagging engagement. The opener,
'Spellcast', features drummer Anthony Cole's masterful management of tension with fluid shifts from cymbals to toms. Bassist Doug Mathews' adroit shifts between unison and
counterpoint on 'Jingo' are impressive. While it's Groder's date, Torque is an excellent opportunity to hear Rivers in a two-horns-and-rhythm-section setting that he hasn't
employed for a while. His adroit tenor turn on 'Diverging Orbits' sounds individual yet completely integrated into Groder's free-bop framework; the energy and attunement of his playing belies the fact that he was 81 years old when this disc was
recorded. Somehow that makes this recording seem even more special.
Four stars."- Bill Meyer, Downbeat Magazine
Brian Groder brings impressive focus and impeccable chops to this encounter with Sam Rivers.
"Kevés olyan produkció van, amelyet a közönség és a szakma is egyaránt elismert, ugyanis az esetek többségében vagy az egyik, vagy a másik oldal fanyalog. A „kiemeltek” közé tartozik a trombitás Brian Groder Torque című albuma is, amelyet mind a két oldal osztatlan sikerrel fogadott. A korong a nagy presztízsű Downbeat magazintól a Best Of 2007 címet is elnyerte." Papiruszportal (Hungary)
read the rest here
"Subtle yet powerful, wrenching at the listener and weaving an intricate web of Jazz as Jazz should be, stunning compositions matched with great playing."
- PBS 106.7-FM. Melbourne, Australia
"Groder converses very beautifully with the trio. Without exaggeration, this is one of the better recent samples of avant-garde jazz."
- Radiophone Greece
"Brian Groder is imaginative and highly achievable
with the daring tenacity of an avant jazz artist. The counterpoint between Groder and Sam
Rivers is careful as explosive nitroglycerin."
- Dick Crocket, "Still Another Jazz Show" 88.7FM Sacramento
Brian Groder and his perfect partners, the Sam Rivers Trio." - WJCT FM, Jacksonville FL
"Groder speaks jazz as if it were his mother tongue, but that also means that he does not leave it as he
found it." - ImproJazz, France
In these notes is the entire history of jazz."
- Vittorio LoConte, Musicboom.it
"It's remarkable that so much of this is improv, the rapport being copasetic at all levels." - Mark S. Turner, Signal To Noise
"Brian Groder plays his trumpet and flugelhorn with a fresh and authoritative sound. His presence is known after only a
few seconds into the first track, 'Spellcast', and things get better from there. A great listen." - Marco Watercrest, Landmark Magazine
|"Whether it is a gorgeous duet, tight ensemble playing or Rivers and Groder spitting fire,
Torque twists and turns easily to move through its free and structured spaces." - Elliot Simon
This is easily one of the best and most exciting releases of 2006 and may prove to be an
enduring classic." - Ken Kase All About Jazz
"Not only has Groder penned excellent material for the whole album, he is also an excellent executive musician who leaves enough space to allow the other members
to shine." Jo Vanderwegen, - Gonzo Magazine"Torque is marked by four brilliant musicians listening closely to one another and playing
extremely well together. An enjoyable listen in parts, or taken in the lovely playing all at once. Rivers' technique is just as powerful as ever,
after almost 50 years of playing."
- Ollie Bivens, All About Jazz-LA
"Groder is a musician
with spotless technique and a nicely open sound, harmoniously well grounded with a feeling for melody. For lovers of Sam Rivers, or of music of the afore-mentioned Ornette Coleman, this CD is certainly a welcome addition." Jazz Podium
"The result is a subtle, creative CD in which the unprecedented suppleness of the rhythm section allows these two smoldering
volcanoes to produce a splendid palette of sounds." - Mischa Andriessen, Jazzmozaiek Magazine
"Groder manages to create a common language which holds the middle between free, avant-garde and
bop. Everything on this album is a success. A real must!" - Free Jazz blog
"Torque is a fine recording that deserves to be heard by as many fans of improvised music as possible." - Ronald Lyles, Jazz Improv NY
"The magic here is that even when these men are playing in the free mode, they seem to sail together
and anticipate each other's moves, always flowing together in one stream." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
"The cooperation between the younger Groder and old hand
Rivers is perfect, sounding as if they have played together for years. Essential? Yes!"
- Jan van Leersum, MazzMusikaS
"Between them they produce an absorbing set of
free-bop that yields up new riches with every listen. Recommended ."
- Ken Mathieson, JazzWise
"This is stimulating, fresh jazz with an eye to the future but a strong awareness of the past and as such, recommended." - Derek Ansell, Jazz Journal International
"Here's a superior set of contemporary jazz, blazing straight out of the long and unruly heritage of left-field explorations."
- Daniel Spicer, Popmatters.com
"The impact of hearing the strong and incisive lines created by the "front-line" of Groder and saxophone veteran Sam Rivers was great, freeing
shock waves that will be felt for a long time." - Publico (Portugal's National Daily Newspaper)
"Rivers is not diminished by his age, intense as always and sometimes playing with the force of a tornado."
- Trem Azul Jazz Store, Lisbon
"A new vision for modern jazz that has a lot on the ball." Midwest Records|
"There's never a dull moment throughout this recommended CD."
- Ken Dryden, All Music
"The best of Groder's last three CDs." - Swing Journal, Japan
"On Torque, his fourth as a leader, the trumpeter/flugelhorn player's music hearkens back to the '60s avant-garde where arrangements were wide open but the rhythm section usually swung and had a strong linear quality to it. The Sam Rivers Trio here backs Groder, including the saxophonist himself, so there is a solid chemistry that anchors each
track." - Tad Hendrickson, JazzWeek
"These four musicians sculpt new life into this paradigm through total presence and superb musicianship."
Johan Scherwin, Lira Magazine|
"You'll play the disc so many times, trying to find your favorite part, that the batteries in your remote
will die. It's that kind of thing." - Jazz
"'Cross-Eyed' and 'Fulcrum' bristle with improvisatory richness.
'Tragic Magic' is an extended duet between trumpet and saxophone, and
'Diverging Orbits' is the perfect platform for Groder's
explorations." - Nate Guidry, Scripps Howard News Service||
"This CD is right at the cutting edge of contemporary improvised music. Strikingly uncompromising in his approach. Music not only for today but also for tomorrow."
- Bruce Crowther, swing2bop.com|
"Groder shines during the full quartet meetings, and easily holds his own during the smaller settings. This is the kind of record you
can listen to repeatedly without fatigue." - Jay Collins,Cadence Magazine
"It is music that can reach both fans of the avant-garde and those who rarely venture beyond modal hard-bop, which is actually quite something to say."
- Joseph Bendel, J.B. Spins
"The musicians are generally restrained as
far as tempo and tenor goes, and the spacious recording atmosphere allows each man's instrument to ring out in the mix, giving the listener a chance to fully engage in the
process." - Jason Ferguson, Orlando Weekly
"Groder is clearly a formidable talent. If you like your jazz brisk and tonally adventurous without losing melody or a sense of restraint, Torque has everything you could want."
- Sid Smith, Postcards From the Yellow Room
BRIAN GRODER Ancestral Tongues
buy it here
"Trumpeter Brian Groder leads a capable ensemble through [performances] which are interesting, tender, and
well-delivered. Kevin Kuhn's guitar work shades the procession with subtle, brief strums, adding some unexpectedly rhythmic responses to the horns soloists. Amidst the slower
ballads, the uptempo swing of 'Lee's Label' stands out as the finest piece, with some heated tenor from Michael Mee which frays at the edges of his quick triplets and trills and
some high spirited trumpeting from Groder. With all eight pieces contributed by the session's leader, this is a nice inside jazz
disc with much to offer those who yearn for more ballads, nicely crafted heads, and compelling solo work from all."
- Andy Bartlett, Cadence Magazine|