|Sixteen: Drummers Suite (February 26, 2016)|
Dan Weiss — Sixteen: Drummers Suite (February 26, 2016) ¶ Cutting edge contemporary jazz writing for large ensemble.
¶ A source for news on music that is challenging, interesting, different, progressive, introspective, or just plain weird.
¶ Matt Mitchell: “He’s a master of evaporating tones, and every chord he plays is broken crystal — sharp and translucent.” — Giovanni Russonello, The Gig
Location: New York, NY
Style: Modern Jazz
Album release: February 26, 2016
Record Label: Pi Recordings
1 The Drummers Meet 0:56
2 Elvin 3:59
3 Max 5:04
4 Tony 7:11
5 Philly Joe 9:22
6 Klook 7:21
7 Ed 15:17
¶ Dan Weiss: compositions, drums, tabla, vocal percussion;
¶ Thomas Morgan: acoustic bass;
¶ Jacob Sacks: piano;
¶ Matt Mitchell: keyboard, piano, glockenspiel, organ, vibraphone;
¶ Miles Okazaki: guitars, vocal percussion;
¶ Stephen Cellucci: percussion, vocal percussion;
¶ Katie Andrews: harp;
¶ Anna Webber: flute, alto flute;
¶ David Binney: alto saxophone;
¶ Miguel Zenon: alto saxophone;
¶ Ohad Talmor: tenor saxophone;
¶ Jacob Garchik: trombone, tuba;
¶ Ben Gerstein: trombone;
¶ Judith Berkson: voice;
¶ Lana Is: voice;
¶ Jen Shyu: voice.
¶ Sixteen: Drummers Suite is the highly anticipated follow–up to Fourteen, drummer/composer Dan Weiss’s brilliantly ambitious opus for fourteen musicians. Nate Chinen of the New York Times named it one of his top ten releases of 2014, and Peter Hum in the Ottawa Citizen called it “a blazingly creative effort . Ultimately, its audacious and unconventional success is uplifting, a testament to whats possible and what can be imagined.” Sixteen is even more daring: The ensemble is now comprised of sixteen musicians, featuring drums, acoustic bass, guitar, piano, synthesizer, three saxophones, two trombones, tuba, flute, three voices, harp, glockenspiel, organ, vibraphone, tabla and percussion, giving the work even greater sonic scope. Like on Fourteen, the work is an unique amalgam of jazz, Indian music, prog rock, contemporary classical music, and other completely idiosyncratic influences, all woven by Weiss into a completely sui generis musical tapestry.
¶ Weiss started composing Sixteen immediately after the completion of Fourteen, which had whet his appetite for further exploration of different orchestration concepts and use of a greater tonal palette. The work is particularly influenced by the composers Iannis Xenakis and Per Nørgård, whose works Weiss was studying. Around the same time he was analyzing an Elvin Jones comping rhythm from a video he found on Youtube of the John Coltrane Quartet performing the song “Vigil” at the Comblain–la–Tour Festival, Belgium in 1965, and the idea came to him to use a particular drumming passage as the basis for his composition “Elvin.” Inspired by the idea of starting his composition process with a drum pattern rather than harmony or melody, Weiss went on to meticulously transcribe specific rhythmic passages of some other of his favorite drummers: Max Roach, Tony Williams, Philly Joe Jones, Kenny “Klook” Clarke and Ed Blackwell, and utilize them as the basis of each movement of the suite. ¶ Each piece on Sixteen is built not only around these specific drum patterns but they also reflect Weiss’s imagining of the personality based on his research into the lives of each drummer. He further cross–references these personalities from movement to movement as a way of showing how they influenced one another, reflecting the nature of the drum lineage in the jazz tradition. The introductory piece “The Drummers Meet” intertwines all six drummers phrases in the context of a chakradar, a specific type of tabla composition. The source material for the other pieces are:
¶ Elvin Jones, from John Coltrane Quartet recorded at the Comblain–la–Tour Festival, Belgium, 1965: “Vigil,” from 2:15 to 2:23 Max Roach, from Max Roachs Deeds, Not Words: “Jodies Cha Cha,” from 1:02 to 1:11 Tony Williams, from Miles Davis’s Nefertiti: “Nefertiti,” from 6:37 to 6:50 Philly Joe Jones, from Miles Davis’s Milestones: “Billy Boy,” from 5:10 to 5:14 Kenny “Klook” Clarke, from Dexter Gordons Our Man in Paris: “Broadway,” from 0:00 to 0:09 Ed Blackwell, from John Coltrane and Don Cherrys The Avant Garde: “Cherryco,” from 4:55 to 5:02
¶ Weiss is one of the busiest drummers on the jazz scene. He has toured and recorded with the likes of Rudresh Mahanthappa, Greg Osby, Lee Konitz, Tim Berne, Rez Abbasi, and Amir ElSaffar, in addition to musicians such as keyboardist Matt Mitchell, saxophonists Dave Binney and Miguel Zenon, guitarist Miles Okazaki, and vocalist Jen Shyu, all of whom appear on Sixteen. Indeed, the musicians on the album most of whom also appeared on Fourteen are almost entirely made up of Weiss’s long–time collaborators. As much as Sixteen is an expression of his singular vision, it is also a reflection of this strong community of superb, like–minded musicians who admire Weiss’s talent and ambition and have bought–in fully to this considerable undertaking. ¶ Pianist Jacob Sacks, who has played with Weiss for over twenty years, says of him “Dan is one of the greatest musicians of our time. His endless fountain of creativity, scholarship, and camaraderie is a constant source of inspiration to me and to anyone who has ears and a heart.”
¶ As on Fourteen, the work is through–composed and written specifically to showcase each musicians unique sound. Even with all the tricky rhythms and abrupt changes in the music that might seem unwieldy for such a large group, the musicians pull it all off with aplomb. Jen Shyu says of Sixteen: “I was most struck by how tailor–made it was for each of us. During the recordings session he seemed to know exactly how it would sound. The music really shows the vastness of his imagination and is a window into how his mind works; how he is able to bring all of these influences together. For all its complexity rhythmically as well as melodically and harmonically, the music remains penetrating and lingering.” Jacob Garchik, who plays trombone and tuba on the recording said “Danny has a distinctive compositional voice, which mirrors his vibrant personality: deeply layered and complex, with humor, surprise, virtuosity, tradition, swing, soulfulness, and groove.” On Sixteen, he abstractly and beautifully translates the multi–layered styles of his drum heroes, their independent limbs to simultaneous melodies. It delights with overlapping, complimentary layers where melodic lines co–exist in different rhythmic cycles, instrumental groups, stylistic references, and sonic palates. With Sixteen: Drummers Suite, Weiss has realized another exceptional achievement, one that continues to reimagine the possibilities of what a large ensemble can do in a jazz context.
By KARL ACKERMANN, Published: February 16, 2016; Score: ****
¶ Dan Weiss began his professional drumming career touring with the likes of saxophonists David Binney, Lee Konitz, Rudresh Mahantthapa, among others. Weiss has also been studying tabla with Pandit Samir Chatterjee for two decades and has been named a top drummer in a number of prominent polls. Sixteen: Drummers Suite bears more than a passing resemblance to Weiss’ Fourteen (Pi Recordings, 2014) at least in terms of the music’s development and the cohort of musicians.
¶ Weiss’ inspiration for Sixteen: Drummers Suite is not confined to the legendary drummers whose specific contributions within larger works serve as jumping–off points for these through–composed pieces. Weiss studied the work of Iannis Xenakis, a Romanian–born architect and composer who often used mathematical models in composing. His final composition, in 1997, was written for percussion soloist and chamber orchestra. Another inspiration is Danish composer Per Nørgård, whose noteworthy composition “I Ching” (1982) was written for solo percussion.
¶ Weiss opens with a brief solo, “The Drummers Meet,” flowing directly into “Elvin” and touching off complex rhythms and unexpected deviations. The Elvin Jones inspired piece is the first of several, almost psychedelic saturations of buzzing electronics, wordless vocals and ensemble playing woven together by this master percussionist. “Max” (referencing Max Roach, of course) adds a spoken word loop in staccato, rap mode. One of the most classic references is “Tony,” as in Tony Williams, and derived from the drummer’s performance on Miles Davis’s “Nefertiti.” Opening with a warm solo from bassist Thomas Morgan and then joined by pianist and keyboardist Jacob Sacks and Matt Mitchell, respectively, the vocalists and larger ensemble take the piece on an uninhibited ride. Sacks closes the tune with a hymn–like piano solo.
¶ Remaining compositions are based on very brief, particular phrases from Philly Joe Jones, Kenny Clarke and Ed Blackwell. The Blackwell piece is the most reflective and direct on the album, opening with moody sax but moving through a wide range of changes over its fifteen–plus minute length. It closes with Miles Okazaki’s pensive guitar and the distant pulse of Weiss. Much of the satisfaction in listening to Sixteen: Drummers Suite lies in the levels that reveal themselves over repeated listening. Despite the intricacies that Weiss revels in, there are coherent qualities throughout the music. The compositions are both powerful and fantastical and the sixteen musicians persistently take advantage of the potential in these unique creations.
AMN Reviews: http://avantmusicnews.com/2016/02/28/amn-reviews-dan-weiss-sixteen-drummers-suite-2016-pi-recordings/
¶ Dan Weiss began playing the drums at the age of 6. He received his bachelor's degree at Manhattan School of Music with a major in jazz percussion and minor in classical composition. Soon after getting his formal education, he began touring the world and recording with musicians such as David Binney, Lee Konitz, Rudresh Mahantthapa, Miguel Zenon, Kenny Werner and many others.
¶ In addition to the drums, Weiss has been studying the tabla under his guru Pandit Samir Chatterjee for almost 20 years. This apprenticeship has been a major influence in his musical aesthetic, exemplified in two of his records where he performs classical Indian repertoire on drum set. David Adler (All About Jazz ) wrote, “Weiss is arguably unique among today’s jazz drummers, transposing ideas from his tabla study to the drum kit, as heard most clearly on Tintal Drum Set Solo (Chhandayan , 2005) and Jhaptal Drum Set Solo.” Weiss was also named ‘The Top Up and Coming Percussionist’ 2 years in a row in the 60th and 61st annual Downbeat’s Critic’s Poll and was featured in the New York Times as ‘One of the 5 Most Promising Drummers of the New Generation’.
¶ Weiss has led his trio, which includes Jacob Sacks on piano and Thomas Morgan on bass, for over a decade. Their two releases, “Now Yes When” and “Timshel” have been critically acclaimed for their unique approach to song structure and endlessly creative improvisation. In addition to the trio, Weiss leads his unique large ensemble that features some of NYC’s most gifted musicians. The album ‘14’ released on the Pi record label has received a lot of attention and even made it into New York Time’s top ten records of 2014. There is another large ensemble record slated to come out end of 2015. It is a through composed piece based on 6 of history’s greatest jazz drummers.
¶ Weiss currently lives in Brooklyn, NY where he continues to study, practice, teach, perform and record.
Matthew Mitchell (born July 19, 1975) is an American jazz pianist and composer. He is also part of the faculty of the New York–based Center for Improvisational Music
• Mitchell was awarded a Pew Fellowships in the Arts in 2012.
|Sixteen: Drummers Suite (February 26, 2016)|