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Frieze of Life | Nuclear Frog Pond

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Jazz: Free Jazz Jazz: Chamber Jazz Moods: Type: Improvisational
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Nuclear Frog Pond

by Frieze of Life

Composed and improvised chamber jazz with Greg Sinibaldi/tenor sax bass clarinet, Mark Taylor/alto and sop sax, Jay Roulston/trumpet, Chris Stover/trombone, Geoff Harper/bass and Byron Vannoy/drums.
Genre: Jazz: Free Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Moose Knuckles
3:27 $0.99
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2. &(and)
4:55 $0.99
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3. Desire
5:55 $0.99
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4. A Preliminary Account
6:23 $0.99
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5. Consolation
6:00 $0.99
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6. Yo, Han!
3:42 $0.99
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7. Dialogue
1:16 $0.99
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8. Hitler's Cafe
3:07 $0.99
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9. Code Name 6
3:16 $0.99
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10. Epona
4:47 $0.99
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11. Melodia Na Neblina
6:10 $0.99
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12. ...other Serious Issues...
4:01 $0.99
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13. Claude Et Eric
6:47 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Frieze of Life is a unique ensemble that effectively combines elements of creative improvisation with subtle, complex compositional designs to create a sound that is exciting, spontaneous, and thought-provoking. With inspiration coming from such diverse sources as Jimmy Giuffre's chamber jazz ensembles, the jazz-based innovations of Anthony Braxton and George Lewis, the harmonic languages of Bela Bartok, Arnold Schoenberg, and Gyorgi Ligeti, and the textural landscapes of Pierre Boulez and Luciano Berio, Frieze of Life offers a fresh, original take on the avant-jazz scene.

The members of Frieze of Life are some of the most innovative talents in the Pacific Northwest: Greg Sinibaldi (composer, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet), Mark Taylor (saxophones), Jay Roulston (trumpets), Chris Stover (composer, trombone), Geoff Harper (bass), and Byron Vannoy (drums). All of these musicians are highly in demand in Seattle and nationally, and each maintains an active schedule of performing, recording, composing, teaching, and leading innovative projects.

Frieze of Life has been receiving significant attention recently, including an Earshot Golden Ear award in 2004 from the Earshot Jazz Society. They have also received grants from Centrum, the Puffin Foundation, and the Jack Straw Foundation.

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Reviews


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howard londner

making music as great as it can be...
This is not a pretty CD. Picasso's Guernica isn't pretty either. These great musicians are putting their egos aside in an effort to not just make great music,...to make music great,and make it as great as it can be (When did Jackson Pollack know when he was done with painting?). It would have been better if I could here more bass and some titles are stupid. Still a super CD, buy it!
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The Wire (June 2005) -- Art Lange


A Seattle sextet of shrewd conceits and palpable empathy, Frieze of Life
alternates between nearly indistinguishable group improvisations and
compositional strategies (while also sneaking in a couple of themes by Bela
Bartok). Adept at ear-catching harmonies, the four horns (saxophonists Greg
Sinibaldi and Mark Taylor, trumpeter Jay Roulston and trombonist Chris
Stover) adapt with striking sensitivity to the contours of the moment, and
solos don't intrude but rather complement the mood. Bass (Geoff Harper) and
drums (Byron Vannoy) often attack from an oblique angle, offering ostinati
that sustain momentum or motoric rhythms to energise the group-think.
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Paris Transatlantic Magazine


I’m not sure where on earth the phrase “nuclear frog pond” comes from – probably leader Greg Sinibaldi’s own head – but the band name is a lift from Edvard Munch, which perhaps explains the music’s surprising darkness of texture and mood, very different from what one might expect from a four-horns-plus-bass-and-drums jazz ensemble. Listeners may be reminded of Dave Douglas’s jazz-goes-to-the-Old-World aesthetic, and Sinibaldi, like Douglas, includes a few modern-classical arrangements in the program (in this case, some Bartók). Pieces like “Desire” and “Code Name 6” are built up layer by layer in the manner of a round, until all six instruments are present and accounted for; and even the collectively credited pieces – wholly improvised, I assume – tend to be slowmoving, close-voiced canons, each horn taking turns to throw a new note into the pot. It’s a strong and unusual disc, with excellent work from all concerned (Sinibaldi on tenor sax and bass clarinet, Mark Taylor on soprano, alto and tenor, Chris Stover on trombone, Jay Roulston on trumpet, Geoff Harper on bass and Byron Vannoy on drums). These are players who really listen to each other – it’s impressive how they spin intricate chorales out of thin air. But I’m also left feeling the music’s not quite there yet, for several reasons, first and foremost being the concentration on sonorous, melancholy canons to the point of redundancy – I could have used more explosive moments like “Moose Knuckles”, “Hitler’s Café” and the last half of “Claude et Eric”, where the tasteful after-you interaction is ditched and they all just jump in. Elsewhere the emphasis on the horns makes the bass and drums seem underused and occasionally superfluous – on “Consolation” for instance the drummer isn’t really given enough to do – and many of the pieces lack internal contrast, or don’t go far enough past their initial premises. That’s a long list of cavils, yet on balance I’d still recommend the disc: such weaknesses are apparent cumulatively over the course of the album, but make little difference to individual tracks’ success. This is smart, unhackneyed music from a band whose future progress will be worth following.—Nate Dorward
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