Jess Rowland | H.29

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Jazz: Free Jazz Classical: Organ Moods: Featuring Piano
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H.29

by Jess Rowland

This collection of piano improvisation represents taoist practice in sound. Free-form explosions like a Sun Ra organ blast, unexpected tonalities like Schoenberg, & crisp edges like Cecil Taylor. Jess plays her unique form of "stream-of-consciousness..."
Genre: Jazz: Free Jazz
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1. I
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2. II
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3. III
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4. IV
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5. V
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6. VI
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7. VII
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8. Viii
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9. IX
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10. X
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11. XI
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12. XII
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
This collection of piano improvisation represents taoist practice in sound. Jess Rowland turns off all her electronic devices for a change, and goes back to basics: free-form explosions like a Sun Ra organ blast, unexpected tonalities like Schoenberg, and crisp edges like Cecil Taylor, it's crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Jess plays her unique form of "stream-of-consciousness composition" inspired by the I Ching symbol for Water (number 29), action through inaction, as the symbol represents "staying true to oneself under all conditions." Jess also has a track on the new Voices In The Wilderness: Dissenting Soundscapes & Songs of GW'S America Pax Recordings CD. Available on CD Baby, too. http://cdbaby.com/cd/vitwilderness

H.29
Water flows on and on, and merely fills up all the places through which it flows; it does not shrink from any dangerous spot nor any plunge, and nothing can make it lose its own essential nature. it seems true to itself under all conditions. (from the I Ching)

BIO:
A self-taught pianist and composer, Jess has an eclectic and sundry musical background. As band leader for art-damage rock project Spork, and later Soundchaser, Jess has performed in venues from Cafe Du Nord to the Clarion Alley Street Festival. Her collaborations with The Werepad and Dreamland Theater have produced her award-winning puppet-shows, live movie soundtracks, and musical plays, including last year's "The Truth About Teeth". Her most-recent focus on multi-media projects, such as The Barbie Explosion, earned her a grant from The American Composers Forum for one such project, "John Ashcroft vs. The Space Librarians". Jess is also composer in residence for >>SHIFT physical theater. Yes, Jess is a busy little bee. 29.Water is Jess's first release on Pax Recordings. She is currently working on a new play for Dreamland Theater, more music for >>Shift's upcoming Summerfest performance, and a CD/DVD collection of her multi-media work, "McDonaldland is Changing" due for release on Pax Recordings sometime this summer.


Reviews


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Eduardo Chagas, Jazz e Arredores

do qual nos é dado experimentar um belo e fascinante fragmento...
A talentosa Jess Rowland – compositora e improvisadora residente em S. Francisco, Califórnia – desligou por um momento a parafernália electrónica, experimental, noise, jazz e rock. Pelas minhas contas, à quinta vez a solo (não posso garantir a veracidade deste facto), resolveu virar-se de corpo e alma para a simplicidade e a delicadeza acústica do piano, segundo as regras taoistas da busca da verdade e da autenticidade em cada momento do ser e do estar.
De ouvido encostado à fina respiração sonora percebe-se que cada peça conta uma história. Cada história liga-se por laços invisíveis à precedente e à seguinte, fechando ciclo após ciclo, como um conjunto de painéis. Sente-se o prazer que Jess Rowland tem de contar histórias. Nasce da concentração no que é essencial, procurando fixar identidades próprias e alheias – uma multiplicidade de vozes, sujeitos e objectos animados.
Arte despojada e radical, no sentido do encontro com a raiz, que tanto pode ser a do ouvinte como a da própria música. No entanto, a aparente simplicidade exterior, ingénua e até infantil no modo de dizer, esconde uma complexa estruturação, que melhor consolida e agrega os fios narrativos desta colecção de improvisações. A música é água que corre, turva ou cristalina, vencendo todos os acidentes de percurso, imparável, como em Cecil Taylor.
Há coisas que acontecem por indeterminação, sem serem casuais. Fios de destino que se compõem, decompõem e recompõem num ciclo interminável, do qual nos é dado experimentar um belo e fascinante fragmento.

Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation

I'm highly impressed, & hope we're able to hear much more...
Any CD from our pals at Pax Recordings can be expected to have something "different" on it. Jess' piano works certainly fill that bill... totally freestyle piano improv, moving from start to finish with "no mercy". I don't mean that in a negative sense (at all), either... it's just that Rowland's playing starts, proceeds & stops - there's no hesitation... no spots where you feel like the composer is "deliberating", or "thinking through" the next few notes. If you put yourself in the right frame of mind before you sit down to listen, the playing will invade your consciousness, and flow in, out, around and through your brain cells very palatably. What I found was that about 2 days after listening to these tracks, my dreams were then influenced by what I'd heard. The playing is more "full-bodied" than many solo piano improvisation works I've reviewed before, too... lots of chords & harmonics... this will make it far more accessible for listeners who might elsewise be "scared off". I'm highly impressed, & hope we're able to hear much more from Jess Rowland. I give this one a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes

an absolutely genuine inner peace is translated into an engaging lonesomeness...
As the author himself calls them "stream-of-consciousness" compositions, the focus of Jess Rowland's piano pieces is evident since the very beginning of the record; an absolutely genuine inner peace is translated into an engaging lonesomeness that never leaves doors open to rambunctious normality, not even in the reworking of a standard, say "As time goes by". Rowland takes his time between a chord and a flurry of speedy melodic droplets, so that listening to his music compares to being surrounded by a series of illustrated observations of a still lingering past. That's not to say that the nostalgia factor prevails: when his fingers find unorthodox passages to the realms of dissonance, Jess also demonstrates a tougher attitude, comparable to the fractured obliqueness of pianists like Marilyn Crispell yet often dipping in a creative ingenuousness.

Dolf Mulder, Vital Weekly

Most pieces have a romantic and nostalgic touch
"Piano Improvisations" is in fact the subtitle of this CD. The title is some I Ching symbol I can't decipher. It seems to mean 'water'. And if I tell you that in the enclosed booklet we find a poem by zen-master Basho, it's fair to conclude that we have artist here who is inspired by eastern thought. It was only for a short moment that I was afraid to have here some semi-spiritual new age blurb. But don't be afraid this is not the case. No Rowland , who defines her music as "freely improvised, stream-of-consciousness composition", is with both her feet on the ground. She is a self-taught composer and improvisor. In the past she lead her own rockgroups like Spork and Soundchaser. More recently she is into multi-media. But also she must have spent many hours behind the piano, because she is an accomplished pianoplayer and improvisor. Much of her earlier work is available on cd, but this new cd is my first acquaintance with her work so I can't make any comparison. Also I find it difficult to situate Rowland as a pianist in the spectrum of jazz pianists. I'm not that much into this kind of music. Most pieces have a romantic and nostalgic touch. They are sounding all very peacefull and thoughtful. She is not breaking new ground but she is a remarkable, though not very original musician in the tradition of piano-improvisors. A brave move of Pax Recordings, who released another album of piano-improvisations very recently by Thollem McDonas ("Solo Piano").