Reviews that mention Liberty Ellman

December 13, 2021

Henry Threadgill Zooid

Pi Recordings PI 92

Another glimpse unto the distinctive world of Henry Threadgill has produced another authoritative set of sound vignettes that simultaneously reflect the affiliated musicians and the composition/arrangements. Defined as sonatas or concerti by Threadgill, the five tracks depend on the proven qualities of the established Zooid chamber group: guitarist Liberty Ellman, cellist Christopher Hoffman, drummer Elliot Humberto Kavee, Jose Davila’s tuba and trombone and the composer playing alto saxophone, flute and bass flute. MORE

November 11, 2020

Liberty Ellman

Last Desert
Pi Recordings P185

Taking time to head up a rare leadership session, Brooklyn-based guitarist Liberty Ellman appears to have internalized in his compositions and arrangements lessons picked up during his tenure in Henry Threadgill’s Zooid. Ellman, who also produced and mixed some of that AACM saxophonist’s disks, has obviously been inspired by sounds he helped create. Still as someone who also has been part of ensembles headed by other archetypes such as Myra Melford and Adam Rudolph, this CD’s seven tracks are reminiscent not imitative MORE

September 1, 2018

Jason Robinson’s Janus Ensemble:

Resonant Geographies
pfMentum PFMCD 115

Using all the sonic colors available from an 11-piece ensemble, San Diego-based tenor saxophonist Jason Robinson has composed a seven-part suite that articulates straightforward swing without sacrificing exploratory touches. While recruiting some exceptional talent, Robinson’s writing emphases its uniqueness with a non-expected orchestration that includes three low-brass players, four reeds divided between saxophone and clarinets, two percussionists. plus double bass and guitar. While the expansive arrangements are sometimes enlarged enough to reflect Stan Kenton orchestra at its most restrained, the bedrock riffs and rhythms relate back to more subtle organization of the pre-war Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington bands. MORE

April 6, 2017

Artist Feature

Stephan Crump
By Ken Waxman

Without overemphasizing the experience, bassist Stephan Crump declares that September 11, 2001, when he witnessed the destruction of World Trade Center from his Brooklyn apartment, changed his life. “My music wasn’t the same after 9-11,” he recalls. “After it happened I spent a lot of time improvising on my electric piano. I needed new rules to express my thoughts.” The thoughts have since been expressed in mature compositions, culminating in last year’s highly-praised Rhombal quartet session, dedicated to his brother Patrick, who had recently died. MORE

July 6, 2015

Henry Threadgill Zooid

In for a Penny, in for a Pound
Pi Recording

By Ken Waxman

With battering-ram-like force, some composers thrust mammoth themes at the listener, creating an impression through the weight of their ideas. Henry Threadgill follows an antithetical path. His compositions are organized with pointillist insinuation; the true shape of the exposition is only obvious after every motif has locked into place. He has been experimenting with application of this formula since the late ‘70s, and after a 14-year history together has found his ideal vehicle with the members of Zooid. MORE

September 5, 2011

Henry Threadgill Zooid

This Brings Us To Volume II
Pi Recording PI 36

Nicolas Caloia Quartet


No # No label

Lotte Anker/Craig Taborn/Gerald Cleaver

Floating Islands

ILK 162 CD

William Parker & ICI Ensemble

Winter Sun Crying

Neos Jazz 41008

Something In The Air: Guelph Jazz Festival 2011

By Ken Waxman

--For Whole Note Vol. 17 #1

A highlight of the international calendar, the Guelph Jazz Festival (GJF), September 7 to 11, has maintained its appeal to both the adventurous and the curious over 18 years. It has done so mixing educational symposia with populist outdoor concerts, featuring performers ranging from established masters to experimenters from all over the world. MORE

September 13, 2010

Henry Threadgill’s Zooid

This Brings Us To Volume I
Pi Recordings 31

Another glimpse into the Henry Threadgill world, this singular CD extends the composer/flutist/saxophonist’s sounds rather than alluding to any other current improvised music conceptions. In essence, the tunes on This Brings Us To are part of a unique Klangfarbenmelodie, where every thematic and pitch division advanced by the five musicians are essential to attain the composer’s sonic vision.

Taken mostly legato and moderato, the six compositions are of another extension of what Threadgill has been creating since this century began. Even so, such expected tropes as the preponderance of deep brass tones – supplied by tubaist/trombonist Jose Davila, who also plays in the Spanish Harlem Orchestra – and subtle finger-style guitar licks, courtesy of Liberty Ellman – whose employers have ranged from the San Francisco Mime Troupe (SFMT) to M-Base – remain constant with the reedist’s long-time conception. MORE

January 24, 2002


Everybodys Mouth’s A Book
PI Recordings PI01

Up Popped The Two Lips
PI Recordings PI02

Five years after his unsatisfactory major label dalliance ended, composer/saxophonist Henry Threadgill is back with not one, but two new CDs on a brand-new label. Showcasing one quintet and an almost wholly different sextet performing new Threadgill’s pieces, the sessions are exhilarating and comfortable at the same time. That’s because the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM)’s most iconoclastic writer is still finding new ways to express himself while staying faithful to the jaunty compositional system he developed as long ago as the early 1990s. MORE