Stephan Crump | Outliers

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Jazz: Chamber Jazz Avant Garde: Modern Composition Moods: Instrumental
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by Stephan Crump

The fourth and most recent album by the critically-acclaimed hard-grooving, highly colorful all-string Rosetta Trio, revealing new depths of feel and telepathy
Genre: Jazz: Chamber Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. In Waves
5:42 $0.99
2. Re Eyes
5:21 $0.99
3. Middle March
4:03 $0.99
4. Outliers
7:30 $0.99
5. Synapse
5:41 $0.99
6. Dec 5
5:49 $0.99
7. Cryoseism
5:23 $0.99
8. Away from, a Way To
5:44 $0.99
9. Esquima Dream
3:00 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I put Rosetta Trio together in 2004 to test out some new work I’d sewn together from many fragments that had came to me over the weeks and months after 9/11. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about starting a new group. I had this very personal material and needed to surround myself with people I trusted, old friends. Liberty and Jamie hadn’t previously played together, but I had a hunch there’d be sparks. I documented those first sessions, and upon listening I knew there was something special happening, that this was a band. Nevertheless, it took a lot of work for us to find how the ensemble might function, to balance the lift and the lean. That work led us to the first album, Rosetta. I hadn’t thought beyond this initial experience, but the trio kept playing, touring the States and Europe, becoming a deeper, more expansive version of itself. And there was more I wanted to try in the writing. Next, we made Reclamation, then Thwirl, for which I invited the guys to contribute compositions (Jamie’s piece made that album, and Liberty’s is presented here). As it turned out, there was yet more I wanted to try. It started with “Re Eyes,” which grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. By the time I finished the piece, I knew we were headed back over the mountain. And here we are, Outliers.


This song has been its own challenge, compositionally and performatively. Instead of presenting a melody within a harmonic and rhythmic context, for instance, I sought to make a compelling, muscular piece that’s all about the the feel…in this case, the harmonious complexity of waves of differing but fundamentally related cycles crashing into one another. I’ve long believed that it’s really always about the feel…but here, it’s really really all about the feel.


This is the tune that revealed for me the reality that we would make another album. I realized I still had things I needed to try with this group, and once the tune grabbed hold of me, I knew we’d have to record it and that it’d need a whole bunch of friends to keep it company.


This is one of two pieces written for my late brother, Patrick, which I held back from the Rhombal quartet, whose debut album was wholly dedicated to him. I wanted to save this piece and “Dec 5” for Rosetta Trio. Two months before the cancer finally took him, I was able to visit one last time, in Memphis, in mid-March of 2015. As sad and difficult as that time was, it was also powerfully real and beautiful. As Patrick’s body was being taken from him, his spirit expanded, revealing a more and more pure version of himself. It seemed almost as though heaven were meeting him, halfway. I’m deeply grateful to have been present not just to witness this transformation, but to share it with him during our final moments together.


I don’t have a strong track record of composing while on the road, but this may be a solid exception. I wanted to devise and experiment with a new feel, and the seed for this groove came to me in the back of a tour van in Europe. The idea is to establish that feel together, then expand into separate orbits around the common pulse, creating dimension and gravitational pull.


I’m always trying to find ways to get this band rocking even harder than before (although we may come off as folky-friendly to many ears owing, I imagine, to lack of drums and big amps, we are working hard), and I started hearing this nervy, fast melody beating up against an insistent, octave-oriented bass groove…essentially, this is my “Immigrant Song” for Rosetta Trio.


I wrote this piece for my brother, Patrick, on the occasion of his birthday a few months after his passing.


A few years ago, as we prepared to make the Thwirl album, I invited Jamie and Liberty to each write a piece for the band. Jamie’s “Conversate (Talking-wise)” arrived in time for us to present on that recording, but we needed more time and work to assimilate the quirky architecture underpinning Liberty’s contribution. Quite a bit more time, as it turns out, but I think we found the spirit of it, here.


Recording and including this piece feels a bit like placing a bookend on a certain twenty-some-year period in my life, as it was the opening song on my very first album as a leader, Poems and Other Things, from 1996. I introduced it to the trio a few years ago thinking it could be a good fit for some of our live sets, and we’ve really grown into it. It was the first piece we recorded during these sessions.


Although I love the version recorded not long ago by Rhombal quartet for our eponymous debut album, this tune was originally written for Rosetta Trio, and we’d hoped to record it for Thwirl but weren’t quite ready. It took some more living and playing before we found the right balance, and I’m very glad to present this trio version, here.



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