“….. IMPROVISED CONTEMPORARY ART MUSIC MEETS FREE FORM JAZZ.”
Like a cold slap upside the head, improvised contemporary art music meets free form jazz. After years of faux interaction between art music and jazz, the reality has been achieved. Not the reality of a new hybrid genre but rather a new expression of improvised music through the interaction of two long established genres. Indeed, each piece in this program suggests a different solution to the problem of meaningful expression through improvised music.
The central issue on this CD seems to be whether or not to keep time. “Jive At 5:05,” “Blue Lou” and “Rhythmic Interplay” are definitely keeping time, but are they what they appear to be or is there some ulterior purpose lurking in the background? Is Schumacher playing with us again? That leaves the remaining pieces which are not involved with time keeping. They run the gamut from the very atmospheric “Low Grade Anxiety,” which sounds like a score submitted by a contemporary composer, to the thoughtful (and demented) “instructive lecture” by Professor Musikmacher on “Dogma Of Dogmas.” There are the breathy whistles of “Huff And Puff,” and what is that cell phone at the end of “Call Waiting” about? “Force Field” finds the percussionist in an eerie and threatening sonic environment which he must very carefully play his way out of, while “The Real Deal” is definitely not a raw deal!
Yes, Jive At 5:05 demonstrates to us what we may have suspected was possible all along; namely, that art music and jazz could stimulate each other into a new expressiveness. I would, however, like to suggest an even simpler possibility: that the “cold slap upside the head” I referred to is nothing more than the sudden awareness that classically trained musicians can improvise and that jazz musicians have enough musicianship to keep up with their classically trained counterparts. Who knew? Old stereotypes die hard!
----- Steven Eversole
MUSIC NOW ENSEMBLE: This ensemble is a collective of improvisers and composers of exceptional musicianship and imagination. The members of the collective perform in various combinations of players in order to offer a kaleidoscope of instrumentations consistent with the philosophy of free improvisation. Stanley Schumacher founded the ensemble in 2003 to present performances in both acoustical and electroacoustical formats and to promote the diversity and spontaneity of contemporary art music.
STANLEY SCHUMACHER: Trombonist, vocalist, and composer Stanley Schumacher is director of the Music Now Ensemble and president of Musikmacher Productions. He has an established resume in improvised music, having performed with Ricardo Arias, Gary Hassay, Rosi Hertlein, David Hofstra, Evan Lipson, Hans Tammen, Todd Whitman, Nate Wooley, and many others. In addition, Stanley composes contemporary art music. A number of his compositions employ narrative texts, which often exhibit a humorous theatrical element. This humorous theatrical element also appears in some of the improvised pieces on this CD such as “Dogma Of Dogmas” and “Rhythmic Interplay”. His improvisation can be heard on the previous release from Musikmacher Productions, Don’t Abandon Your Baby (MM003).
SABIR MATEEN: Fluent on alto and tenor saxophones, Bb and alto clarinets and flute, Sabir Mateen began his musical career in Philadelphia and has lived in New York City since 1989. He began playing rhythm and blues in the early 1970’s and has since expanded his musical horizons into the world of jazz. He has played with Horace Tapscott, Cecil Taylor, Sunny Murray, William Parker, Butch Morris, Steve Swell, Mark Whitecage, and Jemeel Moondoc.
EVAN LIPSON: Bassist Evan Lipson performs in a variety of alternative ensembles. His improvisation credentials include performing with Stuart Dempster, Andy Hayleck, Katt Hernandez, Rosi Hertlein, Matthias Kaul, Lukas Ligeti, Toshi Makihara, Sabir Mateen, Tatsuya Nakatani, Pauline Oliveros, Mike Pride, Stanley Schumacher, Birgit Ulher, Nate Wooley, Todd Whitman, and Jack Wright. Evan has received both the Composers Forum SUBITO grant and Meet the Composer’s Creative Connections grant. He studied string bass with Michael Formanek and Robert Kesselman.
LUKAS LIGETI: Born in Vienna, Austria, percussionist Lukas Ligeti studied composition at the Vienna Music Academy. As an improviser, he has performed with Raoul Bjurkenheim, Eugene Chadbourne, Jonas Hellborg, Henry Kaiser, Jim O’Rourke, John Oswald, and John Zorn among others. Lukas has received composition commissions from Bang on a Can, the Kronos Quartet, and Vienna Festwochen. He frequently works in various parts of Africa and co-leads the band Burkina Electric, based in Burkina Faso.
PROFESSOR MUSIKMACHER: A long-time associate of the State Mental Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Professor Musikmacher performs exclusively with Stanley Schumacher and the Music Now Ensemble, which provides a platform for his “instructive lectures.” He was educated in Berlin at the Moravian Academy and at the St. Ursula School for Delinquent Girls where he completed his theoretical studies. Professor Musikmacher is well known for his essay “Oral Arts and the Negative Space Continuum.” Included in the venerable Journal of Oral Arts, this essay explores the metaphysical relationship of sound and reality. His recent book, Altered States: A Comprehensive Investigation of Reality, published by Didactic Press, has received high critical acclaim.