Christopher  Woitach | Dead Men (are heavier than broken hearts)

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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Dead Men (are heavier than broken hearts)

by Christopher Woitach

Original modern jazz crossover - a vocal and instrumental tribute to detective novelist Raymond Chandler
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
Release Date: 

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1. Playback
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2. Openings 1
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3. Marlowe's Roscoe
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4. The Simple Art of Murder
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5. Dames
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6. High Window
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7. The Big Sleep
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"Dead Men (are heavier than broken hearts)" is a musical tribute to the great detective novelist Raymond Chandler. This is not a "film noir" score, it's a collection of modern jazz compositions by Christopher Woitach about, and using phrases from, Raymond Chandler's books. Included are vocal and instrumental compositions reflecting the many moods of Chandler's writing, played and sung by some of the Pacific Northwest's most creative musicians.

Musicians:
Christopher Woitach - guitar, v-guitar
Greta Matassa - voice
Stephanie Porter - voice
Tom Bergeron - alto saxophone, voice
Keller Coker - trombone, voice
Tim Jensen - flute, baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, voice
Dan Schulte - bass
Julian Macdonough - drums

About the leader/composer:
Christopher Woitach is a jazz guitarist and composer, currently residing in Portland, OR. He plays and composes in a fresh, innovative style that pushes the boundaries of modern jazz while embracing everything from swing to free jazz.

As a player, Woitach has covered a lot of ground, from backing up Rich Little and Bernadette Peters to playing with avant-garde cellist Hank Roberts. He plays throughout the Northwest with the popular swing band The Monarchs, and does several concerts a year with guitarist John Stowell. He performs every year for Bellingham, WA’s Jazz Project in a variety of settings, and is a featured performer/educator for the Blaine Jazz Festival in Blaine, WA.

As a composer, Christopher Woitach combines all his influences with a thoughtful jazz-classical crossover approach. He studied counterpoint with minimalist pioneer David Borden, 20th century composition with Robert Keefe, and jazz guitar with the great Jim Hall. His use of Baroque contrapuntal techniques with modern tonality, combined with extensive improvisatory passages, shows the influence these musicians had on Woitach’s work.

Christopher Woitach teaches jazz guitar at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, OR, where he leads the WOU Guitar Ensemble and performs with the WOU Faculty Jazztet, known as “The Western Rebellion”. He is a Teal Creek Records and Jazz Project recording artist.

Christopher Woitach's recordings include "Live at Lucia Douglas Gallery" with guitarist John Stowell, "Larry Holloway and Christopher Woitach", with bassist Larry Holloway, and "Western Rebellion", with the WOU Faculty Jazztet, The Western Rebellion. His newest recordings are "Family", a collection of his compositions for his family, and "Dead Men (are heavier than broken hearts)", a musical tribute to the great detective novelist Raymond Chandler.

“Woitach plays Cindy Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” with a billowing resonance reminiscent of Joe Pass” - Cadence Magazine

“Jazz Guitarist Extraordinaire” - Pacific Arts Association

“Woitach’s new album "Family" takes the listener to unexpected places. What is clear, however, is Woitach’s honed skills as a composer, his command of the guitar, and all bolstered by his imaginative ideas as a soloist.” - Jazz Improv Magazine

“Christopher Woitach - making the implausible seem possible” - The Jazz Project

“Woitach is always searching for new forms of expression. With a clean and well rounded sound, Woitach’s search is both compelling and rewarding. He manages to control every aspect of his playing, balancing ideas with a keen sense of melodic righteousness” - Jazz Review

"This is a fine effort from Woitach. A performer who is comfortable playing and writing material that allows the listener to ponder what might be next. Always pushing the envelope, Family is an excellent session and is full of surprises." - Jazz Review


Reviews


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Susanne Moore

This album made jazz make sense!
I am not a jazz fan, but I keep trying. While listening to "Dead Men (are heavier than broken hearts), I became a jazz believer. I loved this album! It put jazz into a context where I think I was finally able to "get it". It is a quirky, fun to listen to CD, and I think a perfect blend of multiple art forms. Mr. Woitach is a master musician and I join his appreciative audience.

Pascal Dorban

This is yet again another example of how great Woitach's compositions and playin
This is yet again another example of how great Woitach's compositions and playing are. This time, Mr Woitach delivers a very original and interesting work in the field of modern jazz. Do not be afraid to buy this Cd, you will not regret it. - Pascal Dorban Jazz.com broadcast Radio ARA, Luxembourg

Stephen Verbit

Woitach's latest album signals emergence of important jazz musician
Christopher Woitach's second album as a leader signifies the breakout on the jazz scene of a highly evolved and still-evolving artist who dares to innovate with an astounding arsenal of unusual and powerful compositional tools to create a distinct sound that swings and bops and floats and grooves and surprises with shifting tempos, moods, layers, textures, and colors. While drawing on a thorough grounding in existing blues and jazz styles and traditions, Woitach blends these elements with thoughtful invention into an original synthesis that defies easy categorization.

Woitach's harmonically-advanced, cool-toned, and subtle guitar playing is featured throughout the album. He is technically brilliant and versatile - using the guitar in different contexts as a percussive, harmonic, melodic, rhythm, and lead instrument. His improvisational prowess is demonstrated both vertically - building and smoothly manipulating dense chordal and harmonic voicings, and horizontally - propelling his compositions with polished, expressive, melodically-advanced, and flowing lines.

Woitach includes generous space in his compositions for improvisations from his sidemen who are all first-rate musicians in their own right. Tim Jensen (flute), Keller Coker (trombone), and Tom Bergeron (alto) contribute outstanding improvisations on the album's first cut. Bergeron's alto solo on the third track blasts into orbit with a muscular free-jazz explosion reminiscent of John Coltrane or Ornette Coleman at their most untethered.

Woitach's compositional sophistication, his use of counterpoint and canon and fugal structures, and the deployment of alto, trombone, flute, baritone, bass clarinet, bass, and drums in his arrangements is nothing less than inspired. For example, the album's opening cut interleaves improvisational sections with five-voiced fugue interludes of precise lengths determined by a descending Fibonacci number series. In the hands of a less-skilled composer and musician, such a calculated scheme might result in music that is overly mechanical, unduly complicated, and devoid of feeling.

Woitach's breakthrough on this album is the culmination of years of applied effort to plumb the mysteries and depths of classical mathematical constructs to discover their underlying organic, natural, and musical implications. On this album, Woitach applies his complex compositional techniques to create jazz music that is impressively unconventional, atypical, and decidedly uncommon. Woitach does not emulate other composers and musicians. His music is not an exercise in intrinsic geekery or cybernetic noodling. Although knowledge of harmonic and contrapuntal music theory and applied mathematics no doubt enhances appreciation, it stands on its own as enjoyable jazz music. He captivates the listener with what I call "pure grooving" and music that is capable of expressing and reflecting a wide range of emotion, but he does so in his own uniquely refined yet mischievous Woitachian way.

Jazz critic Scott Yanow once wrote: "The most important jazz musicians are the ones who are successful in creating their own original world of music with its own rules, logic, and surprises." By this criterion, Woitach's latest album is persuasive evidence of his emergence as an important jazz musician. Woitach has created and continues to create his own original world of music that exhibits internal logic and surprises that can be found in the music of no other.

Woitach is an extraordinarily talented musician and composer, and with this album, he has succeeded brilliantly by creating music that simultaneously appeals to the emotions and the intellect - music that is interesting, dynamic, accessible, and rewards repeated listenings. The best part is that Woitach is still evolving, still exploring the ramifications of his creative genius. There is a lot of great music yet to come from, and the world would do well to pay attention to, this amazing artist.