John Funkhouser Trio | Time

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Jazz: Progressive Jazz Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz Moods: Featuring Piano
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by John Funkhouser Trio

While sounding like a unified whole, this CD draws from a wide range of influences, including Indian Classical, progressive modern jazz, Bach, Latin jazz, spacious ECM-style jazz, McCoy Tyner, Balkan folk music, 70s funk, etc.
Genre: Jazz: Progressive Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Green Dolphin St.
9:54 $0.99
2. Ellipse
8:59 $0.99
3. Prelude (More Cowbell!)
2:22 $0.99
4. Fugue
5:43 $0.99
5. Dyin' Nation
3:16 $0.99
6. Emancipation
7:41 $0.99
7. Eleventy One
6:20 $0.99
8. Come Rain or Come Shine
7:08 $0.99
9. Alone Together
6:54 $0.99
10. Ode to a Lame Duck
10:09 $0.99
11. Kelp
4:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
* With influences from Frank Zappa to Dave Brubeck, group creates an adventure in listening *

“The trio spans the depths and intricacies of several genres to engage listeners with their own hand-made music.”
— Holly Rushakoff, The Octopus

“…the blooming virtuosity of this young trio is something to be admired. Keep an eye on this up and coming threesome; the future looks bright!”
— Mike Metheny, Kansas City Jazz Ambassador Magazine

Time (November 30, Jazsyzygy Records), the latest release by pianist John Funkhouser’s trio with bassist Greg Loughman and drummer Mike Connors, draws from a tradition common to both jazz and rock —experimenting with unusual time signatures to give music new shape and feeling. Time weds the harmonic sophistication of jazz with the emotional punch of rock to draw the listener into an adventure in listening. While the music may defy easy categorization, it is in the best tradition of intelligent, yet accessible, experimentation in music.

Funkhouser cites jazz innovators such as Max Roach, Dave Brubeck, and Dave Holland as well as progressive rockers like Yes; Emerson, Lake, and Palmer; and Frank Zappa as equal influences on the trio’s concept.

“I’ve always gravitated to artists who go off the beaten path a little bit,” Funkhouser says. “But at the same time, I made a conscious decision to make music that people would want to listen to. A lot of avant-garde music is made for the initiated, the people already in the know. The music on this album is challenging and it takes risks, but I also think that a generally knowledgeable or interested listener could hear it and relate to it.”

Funkhouser and his trio create an elusive blend of the approachable and the adventurous. Funkhouser is an unfailingly lyrical improviser and composer, who maintains a strong sense of melodic development, whether he’s playing a ballad such as “Come Rain or Come Shine” or a funky up-tempo original like “Eleventy One.” His bright, percussive touch keeps his lines dancing and weaving with a compelling groove. He is also an expert orchestrator of the keyboard, building his solos on “Fugue” and “Ellipse” to exciting block-chord climaxes. Whether they’re exploring a familiar standard like “Alone Together” in 7/4 or shifting among meters like 13/8, 7/4, and 9/2, as they do on Funkhouser’s “Ode to a Lame Duck,” the beat always remains strong and clear. The rhythm, while transparent, is elegant and playful, never stiff. Loughman and Connors are fluid and conversational players who can both anchor the time and loosen it up when needed.

Just as the music contains compound meters, so too, the title of the album has compound meanings for Funkhouser. “I wanted the title to be a bit ambiguous. Obviously, the title is an allusion to the odd time signatures we use,” he says. “But, Greg, Mike and I have also put a lot of time into making the odd meters feel natural. There’s also something that’s harder to put into words, that music may unfold in time, but it can put us in touch with something timeless and eternal.”

Multi-instrumentalist and composer John Funkhouser actively performs a wide spectrum of music, including jazz, world musics, American popular music, European classical music, and all kinds of hybrids between these various traditions. In demand as a jazz bassist and pianist, Funkhouser has shared the stage with singers Luciana Souza and Tierney Sutton, South Indian percussion master Trichy Sankaran, world jazz practitioners such as Natraj and Francisco Mela, and jazz masters such as Ran Blake, Herb Pomeroy, Yoron Israel, Laszlo Gardony, Bob Gulotti, and Mark Harvey's Aardvark Jazz Orchestra. Since 2003 he has been a bassist with the New England Philharmonic under conductor Richard Pittman. Besides his three CDs as leader, Funkhouser appears on nearly 40 CDs by artists such as the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Matt Savage, Willie Myette’s Katahdin’s Edge, James Merenda, Philippe Cretien, and David Thorne Scott. He holds a degree in music theory from Cornell, and a Masters degree in jazz piano, bass and composition from New England Conservatory. He currently teaches at the Berklee College of Music.

Bassist Greg Loughman has performed with Curtis Fuller, JoAnne Brackeen, Mark Murphy, Judi Silvano, Kenwood Dennard, Greg Abate, Ray Santisi, Mark Greel, Al Vega, Grammy-nominated pianist Phillip Aaberg, guitarist Mimi Fox, Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Carlos Malta, Patti Page, actor/singer James Naughton, and the Jimmy Dorsey Big Band, among many others. In addition, Greg is a faculty member at the University of Maine in Augusta and at Bowdoin College.

Versatile drummer Mike Connors studied jazz drumming at Berklee with jazz greats Joe Hunt and Alan Dawson. He has toured internationally with the avant-pop group Combustible Edison, the 1999 Lillith Fair, Lisa Loeb, and several national Broadway shows including, Bye Bye Birdie and Anything Goes. Connors has also played on soundtracks for the films Inspector Gadget, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Gas Food Lodging and Four Rooms. Mike is on the faculty at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

“We’ve worked really hard over the past few years to develop a language of playing in odd meters,” Funkhouser says. “We’ve reached a point where we’re confident enough with it to be exploring and having fun with it. That’s what jazz is all about.”


Ellipse had its genesis as a math experiment. In the initial section, the left hand of the piano plays a pattern in 5/8; the right hand plays a pattern in 7/8. These 2 patterns converge on the 35th beat and repeat. The bass melody is in 6/8 with the sixth bar in 5/8 to make it come out to 35. The drums play a more complex 35 beat pattern. The improvising section is all in 5/8.

Prelude & Fugue is modeled after Bach, but only loosely.

Eleventy One: This tune is in 11/8 time, hence the primary meaning of the title, but Tolkien fans will grasp another meaning: Bilbo Baggins put on the Great Ring at his eleventy-first birthday party and disappeared, never to be seen in the Shire again.

Ode to a Lame Duck was written in December, 2008, shortly after Barak Obama’s historic election to the U. S. presidency. This is a little tune for his predecessor. The A section is in 13/8 time, the B section is in 7/4, and the C section is in 9/2.

Kelp is a kind of seaweed with huge leaves that sway gently in the undersea currents.



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