About GrimmusiK Records

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1/18 | “I Resolve” fundraiser for Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS)

I RESOLVE 2018

The Legal Association for Women is hosting its annual “I Resolve” fundraiser for the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services’ (DAIS) Legal Services Program on Thursday, January 18th, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. The event will be held at the Boardman & Clark Law Firm in their lovely atrium overlooking the State Capitol and will feature live music, hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and a silent auction. To RSVP, please e-mail Lynn Lodahl at llodahl@hq-law.com. We hope you can join us for this fun event!

*Brian Grimm will be providing live solo cello for this event!


 

CALL FOR SCORES LunART Festival celebrating women composers (June 28th-30th Madison, WI)

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June 28-30th, 2018  Madison, WI

Celebrating women composers

Call For Scores (Deadline March 1st, 2018)

Serbian flutist Iva Ugrčić is organizing this year’s LunART Festival for women composers – taking place in Madison, WI from June 28-30th, 2018!  This three-day festival features a remarkable range of women, diverse and varied in their artistic visions, but with the shared passion and desire to make their voices heard!

The vision for LunART festival is to empower women in the arts by fostering originality, honoring diversity, and strengthening equality – and to put Madison on the world map as mecca for women artists.

Festival Events include four classical concerts presenting the work of women composers, a musicological lecture about women in the arts, as well as “Starry Night” after hours performances featuring local women jazz and hip hop artists, and singer-songwriters. Visual art, photography, and spoken word will be woven into all Festival events, and we are thrilled to include the Madison Youth Choir in our Closing Gala Concert.

Our 2018 Composer in Residence is award-winning composer Jenni Brandon, whose instrumental and vocal music will be showcased in our Gala concerts, including two world premieres! She will coach the LunART Festival “From Page to Stage: Emerging Composers Workshop,” offering master classes, lectures, and discussions about collaboration and tools necessary for a successful freelance career in the arts. Additionally, we have created an annual Call for Scores, open to women composers from around the globe.


Call for Scores poster

CALL FOR SCORES

(Submission Deadline Dec 1, 2017- Feb 1, 2018)

Designed for professional composers. Up to three works will be chosen and then presented each night of the Festival. Composer can come and she will have free housing provided.

Performances

Thursday June 28 @ MMoCA Lobby 7pm

Friday June 29 @ Promenade Hall, Overture Center 7pm

Saturday June 30 @ FUS Auditorium 7pm

FROM PAGE TO STAGE – Emerging Composers Workshop

(Submission Deadline Dec 15, 2017-March 15, 2018)

For younger composers and students that still need guidance and tools for professional careers.  The Page to Stage concert will be Saturday June 30 @ Capitol Lakes 2pm. Fee for this is $150 for the professional concert and recording, workshop with musicians, and masterclass with the composer, + all events for free.

 


LunART Festival Mission

The mission of the LunART Festival is to support, inspire, promote, and celebrate women in the arts through public performances, exhibitions, workshops, and interdisciplinary collaboration; thus enriching our community and creating a welcoming space for learning and experimentation.

About Dr. Iva Ugrčić  FOUNDER & ARTISTIC/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

“There is a place for everyone under the Sun.”

Serbian flutist Iva Ugrčić is one of the most exciting and adventurous young flutists in the international pantheon. Described as “a natural star on her instrument,” Iva has been featured as a solo artist and a chamber musician at numerous music festivals, touring and performing around Europe and the United States. She is a musician who has worn many hats throughout her professional career: flutist, teacher, artistic director, entrepreneur, freelance musician and recording artist, among others. Since moving to the United States (2014), Iva has performed with many orchestras and chamber groups.

She currently plays with Black Marigold Wind Quintet, ID flute and percussion duo, and Sound Out Loud contemporary chamber music ensemble.

After completing her Bachelor and Master’s degrees at the University of Belgrade Academy of Music, Iva Ugrčić moved to Paris, where she studied flute performance and chamber music for three years with Pierre-Yves Artraud and George Alirol.

Iva Ugrčić’s solo album, The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi was released in September 2014. The same year, Ms. Ugrčić was awarded the prestigious Paul Collins Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, where she completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree (2017), studying with flutist Stephanie Jutt. Iva won the Shain Irving Duo Competition in 2015 as well as multiple concerto competitions, performing as a soloist with the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra and Miami Summer Music Festival Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, Iva received a James R. Smith Orchestra Award for excellency and leadership. She is finishing up her second solo album Cries and Whispers – Flute Works by Doina Rotaru, and currently serves as Artistic Director for the Rural Musicians Forum in Spring Green.


 

Cello Zone! Pirastro Eudoxa String Review (for 1st time buyers) Part 1

Detail 1: Three different ways to secure your gut string to the ebony tailpiece. C & G strings are looped, like viola da gamba or classical guitar. D-string is laced, with the knot catching underneith the tailpiece. Eudoxa A-stings have a ball end with a thick cushy washer, so I have it saddled in the fine-tuner.

String Gauges for Part 1

the “Isseralis” set up

  • a1 Eudoxa medium gauge 21 PM / 1.05mm (sheep gut core, aluminum wound)
  • d2 Eudoxa medium gauge 24 PM / 1.2mm (sheep gut core, silver/aluminum wound)
  • G3 Eudoxa heavy gauge 27 PM / 1.35mm (sheep gut core, silver wound)
  • C4 Oliv light gauge 36 PM / 1.8mm (sheep gut core, silver wound)

I recently had a month away from my cello while it was being repaired for some damages caused by United Airlines (more on that in another post). During the interim, I was researching both plain and wound gut strings to outfit my cello(s) with. It became clear that a lot of my heroes – Pau Casals, Jacqueline Du Pré, Daniil Shafran, Steven Isserlis – used wound gut strings. It was high time I gave it a try.

Now, I don’t know which gauges British cellist Steven Isserlis uses… but I know that his set up is Pirastro Eudoxa for a1, d2, G3 – and Pirastro Oliv for C4. Isserlis is a benchmark among modern cellists for the tone he draws from the cello. He is famous not only for his wonderful performances of cello repertoire, but also for his decades long use of Eudoxa strings, handmade by Pirastro in Germany. If it’s good enough for him, then it’s certainly good enough for me!

The new strings have been on for a three weeks now. I love the tone they produce, there is a complex, vocal quality to it. They feel nice under the fingers and allow you to sculpt each note. This is exactly the sort of color and depth I felt was lacking from my steel string set ups. It’s a robust round sound, rich in harmonic content and full of resonance. Quite honestly, they are much louder than I anticipated. I know the stereotype is that gut strings are quieter than steel, and maybe this is more to do with projection or is about steel vs plain/open gut … but I must say that on *my cello, these wound gut strings are actually louder than the steel string set ups. *Loudness results may vary from cello to cello… I’m having the opposite problem, I can’t seem to play quietly enough. So much so that I’ve had complaints from my upstairs neighbors about the volume being too loud when I am practicing.

Initially, the G/C strings seemed too stiff and limited in their range of expression via variation in tone. However, they have since opened up a lot. Now it is easier to bow near the fingerboard and activate the string quietly. At first I felt trapped into pushing towards the bridge for every note, just to get it to speak. There is a limit to how aggressively you crank on these strings, especially on the low end. You can’t bend the string to your will with crushing down bows. It won’t respond the same way, it certainly won’t give you the sound you want. There is a lot more subtlety to be explored in the sound and the technique.

Detail 2: Here you can see the “ball end” with cushy “washer” on the a-string. My a-string was and friction peg were fighting the tension a bit when I had it threaded underneath (like the d-string). So after a week, I switched to saddling it in the fine-tuner and it hasn’t given me any trouble since. This may have to do with the added downward tension behind the bridge when threading in the tailpiece vs saddling in the fine-tuner – where it sits higher. I looped the low strings, because they held tension better and were more secure on my cello that way. You can keep it simple though, and thread all of the strings like I have the d-string, just let the knot catch on the underside of the tailpiece.

Pros / Cons

Pros

The tone is incredible (see video above). Many of my adult students (and student parents) being more familiar with what a cello sounds like, immediately remark at the Eudoxa’s beauteous sound. With a nice ebony wood tail piece and the gut string set up, it feels like I turned on a super wet reverb inside the cello!

Gut strings have been the sound of bowed string instruments for centuries! Steel strings only came into prominence in the 20th century during WWII when sheep gut was hard to come by. Playing on gut puts you in touch with centuries of tradition and helps you understand the repertoire of the past (from 1940’s back to the 1600’s) in a deeper tactile way.

Eudoxas are uniquely flexible all the way up the fingerboard! I feel more relaxed when playing in thumb position. Planting the thumb and fingers down to the fingerboard two octaves up the A&D strings is easier to do than on steel.

The staccato and spiccato bow strokes sound is unreal on these strings. I truly feel I’ve never executed a proper sounding staccato or spicatto stroke until using gut. The bite is there, but it’s still a round note unlike steel where it can sound only like the bite and nothing else.

Pizzacato feels/sounds AMAZING. If you are a jazzer or get into chordal playing, definitely give these strings a try. It makes me feel like I’m playing fretless bass guitar, Jaco style. Pizz has never sounded so lush on my cello!

Shifting is very enjoyable and fun to do on this set up (which I can’t say for most strings).

Eudoxa strings are not as expensive as one might think! A full set of Eudoxa is about $250, whereas an equivalent set of Larsen Magnacore (steel) or Thomasitik Versum (steel) runs about $350-$400. These are professional, high end strings used by such greats as Isseralis and Jacqueline du Pré. While Du Pre was transitioning from plain gut to steel strings, she used Eudoxa C4, G3 and Prim (steel) d2, a1 – as you can see and hear in the video below. Again, if Eudoxa is good enough for THE Jacqueline du Pré, they are good enough for little ole me!

Cons

The obvious one (no getting around it) – gut strings have a longer break in period. New steel Larsen Magnacore strings are said to break in within an hour. It has taken two full weeks for my Eudoxa strings to settle up-to pitch and into tension. I spent hours playing in the strings everyday, tuning constantly throughout each session. My (friction) peg tuning skills have much improved as a result! – Update: For this entire 3rd week I haven’t had to peg tune my strings once, they have held steady at A=440Hz! Wohoo!

More subject to temperature and humidity changes.

Animals definitely died in the making of these strings… they are not vegan-cellist friendly.

The Intonation Game

Sometimes it feels like you are chasing intonation around the fingerboard for the first couple of weeks. The strings are all going out of tune at slightly different rates. Because the strings are thicker, rolling your finger from back to front results in a much larger sweep of pitch. There is a bit of retraining for how to place the finger and correct the intonation. Some of these issues are break-in period ones. Now that the strings have settled in and relaxed, it feels mostly back to normal when placing and adjusting the finger to achieve good intonation.

I could foresee a couple of issues for some players/cellos in respects to the low strings: they may feel too chunky; be slow to speak; have overpowering bassy low end; not bright enough lows for your instrument to cut through; vibrate too widely for your string spacing (I can get the C string to vibrate so widely that it hits my G string!); have trouble getting the edgy tone that one can get from a tungsten wound steel string.

My one tonal complaint is with the aluminum winding on the a1 string. It sometimes sounds tooooo much like aluminum. You get a gross sound sometimes when you portamento. The toothy crunching crinkle winding-tone comes out harshly if you don’t get the bow tilt and placement just right, especially without enough rosin on.

The sweet spot on a gut string during the break in period seems to be very specific. If you aren’t listening to the physical feed back loop of the string<>bow interaction, you’ll get a false sounding note, or it may not even speak at all. Certain high register notes are particular to speak; some of the wolf-tone notes of a string can go false or simply disappear on you – if one is not using the proper bow speed, placement, pressure/weight, tightness.

Wound gut strings demand respect from you, the player. With both left hand pitch and point-of-contact for the bow – the feeling is similar to having a feral cat or rescue dog in the house for the first time. You can’t necessarily predict how they will react and behave so you are on your toes, more ready for a slew of possible outcomes. With steel strings, it’s more like having a domesticated dog or cat, you can predict fairly accurately how they will behave in each situation.

On many cellos, the strings may be too wide/thick for your bridge &/or nut – you may need to get those re-cut or altered by a luthier.

Winding Up

The first recording I ever heard of the Bach cello suites was by Pau Casals. These recordings from the late 1930’s were given to me by my Classical teacher Janet Marshall. She was part of the generation of cellists following after Casals in the mid 20th Century. Both Casals and Marshall had an incredibly powerful yet simultaneously beautiful sound. When I play on this Eudoxa gut string set up, I feel that the sound of Casals comes out of my cello. I hear all of those lessons with Janet playing back in my head, how she sang phrases and demonstrated passages with the highest passion and musicality. Playing on these strings feels like being home.

In Part 2 I will review a Full Set of Eudoxa Meduim Gauge strings. Stay tuned and Happy Practicing!

Brian

Click here to book a Cello Zone lesson!


11/12 | ‘Seasons of Change’ Wellness Retreat @ Blue Mounds Dharma Center

Cultivate Equanimity During Seasons of Change

Sun, 11/12 @ Blue Mounds Dharma Center

2979 Main St, Blue Mounds, WI 53517

$80 10:30am-5:00pm

Email Shannel to register!  ymassageyoga@gmail.com

We had a fantastic response from both attendees and practitioners last time we held our Seasons of Change wellness retreat.  ~ Are you over due for a check-in with your mind and body?  ~ Looking for an opportunity to spend a day taking care of yourself?  Then this is a perfect day retreat for you!  Blue Mounds Dharma Center is an open, relaxed space set into the gorgeous forested crags of Blue Mounds, WI.  Join us to practice and learn something new about Zen mindfulness, Chinese guqin zither music, yoga, acupressure, and movement meditation.  Email Shannel (yoga instructor, ymassage) to reserve your spot!

download itinerary pdf


 

11/3 | InDIGenous Jazz Series: Nestle and Lovely Socialite @ Wisconsin Union Theater

Fri, 11/3 | Free! Doors Open 7:00p

@ Wisconsin Union Theater

800 Langdon St, Madison, WI 53706

Nestle (Album Release)

Lovely Socialite

fb.event || Tone MSN feature

from GMJC: Concerts of fresh original music, in a great listening room, with no cover charge. That’s what music fans will find at the UW Memorial Union’s Frederic March Play Circle on four Friday evenings this Fall as the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium (GMJC), Madison Music Collective and Wisconsin Union Theater present the sixth season of “InDIGenous Jazz”, a series that showcases music composed and performed by our community’s finest jazz musicians.


Nestle: Leading off this double-header concert is the experimental trio Nestle, which includes local bassist Rob Lundberg, in the premiere performance of their new GMJC-commissioned suite, “Bird Song.” This unique new suite uses archived sounds from the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology as the music’s primary generative element. In addition to Mr. Lundberg, Nestle members include Twin Ports-based guitarist Cyrus Pireh and Chicago-based percussionist and electronics artist Ryan Packard. They’ve been together as a band for two years and have developed a flexible free-flowing turn-on-a-dime improvisational rapport.

Lovely Socialite: The second set features the quirky Madison-based sextet Lovely Socialite whose bold and intricate compositions combine the aesthetics of modern jazz with contemporary classical, driving rock, and hip hop. Often compared to Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, its members include Corey Murphy (Trombone, Electronics), Abe Sorber (Vibraphone, Drums), Pat Reinholz (Electric Cello, Electronics), Brian Grimm (Pipa, Gaohu, Guzheng, Cello, Electronics), Ben Willis (Double Bass, Electronics), and Mike Koszewski (Drums, Percussion). For this concert, they will perform works composed by the band’s members over the past few years.



Nestle Bio:
The Nestle trio exists in performance.
The Nestle trio is listening.
The Nestle trio is a realization of visions.
The Nestle trio is an expression of being through doing.

The Nestle trio of Robert Lundberg, Ryan Packard, and Cyrus Pireh respectively assemble an instrumentation of double bass and electronics; percussion, accordion, and electronics; and 9-string electric future lute.

To live and thrive in the current situation invokes a certain music: not a music to put on as background or a music to wear as a shirt or badge and gain entry into social sets.

A music that is the result of doing.
A music that is the result of people.
A music that exists as proof of existence.

Lovely Socialite Bio:
Lovely Socialite, formerly Lovely Socialite Mrs. Thomas W. Phipps, is a Milwaukee/Madison-based six-piece that combines the aesthetics of modern jazz with contemporary classical, driving rock, and hip hop. Lauded for their bold and intricate compositions, the group often draws comparisons to Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. The band’s original music combines strict notation with moments of improvisation and maintains a healthy balance of dark and heavy rock grooves with quirky jazz obscurities.

While Lovely Socialite’s unusual mix of strings, traditional Chinese instruments, brass, and a jazz rhythm section suggest that the group might be a contemporary music ensemble, it is their use of stomp boxes, vocal processors, and other electronics that makes the group a suitable fit for any rock, hip-hop, or jazz bill. In fact, Lovely Socialite has been privileged to share the stage with such artists as Dessa, of Minneapolis hip-hop collective Doomtree, as well as performing live on the UW Madison Terrace with Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes.

In October of 2015, Lovely Socialite released their second full length album. Nearly two years in the making, “Toxic Consonance” was recorded at Blast House Studios in Madison with Landon Arkens. “Toxic Consonance” represents an edgier and more mature version of the band than their previous endeavor, “Registers Her Delight” (2012), and features extensive production efforts mixing found sounds, vocal samples, and electronic effects into their live-style recording.

Promotional Cosponsor: Terra Incognita

Cello Zone! Rosins I Use

“Which cello rosin do you use?”

…. is actually a question I am rarely asked!  This overlooked cake of hardened tree-goop not only allows us to bow the string*, but also plays a large part in our tone production.

I suggest that students apply a few coats of rosin (3 to 10 strokes, ΠV) before each practice session, rehearsal, & performance.  Partly for consistency, but also to avoid injury.  Without enough rosin on your bow, the hairs won’t properly grip the strings.  To compensate for the ensuing bow-slip, you will tense up and over-work your right arm; resulting in an injury similar to tennis elbow.  However, there is such a thing as over-rosining your bow.  If it’s too thickly coated, your hairs will get stuck in the string.  This results in a bow-tripping sensation much like stumbling from catching your toe on the sidewalk.  We’re looking for that Goldilocks principle: not too much, not too little – a few coats of rosin is just right.

With so many brands and prices, which one do you choose?  Thankfully, Johnson String Instrument Shop has made it easier for me to share the rosins I use via student wish lists!  Here are some recommended cello rosins for: (I) Students (II) Professionals and (III) …surprise! Percussionists.

*Without rosin the bow hairs can’t grip the string, no matter how hard you bow… it makes no sound.


Book a Cello Zone Lesson with Brian!

Live in Sun Prairie?

email Prairie Music & Arts:  info@prairiemusic.org,

cc: bgrimm@prairiemusic.org

Live on the west side of Madison?

email Monroe Street Arts Center:  info@monroestreetarts.org

cc: brian@monroestreetarts.org


Cello Rosins I Use –  For Students

Pirastro Cello Rosin

Pros:  Generally used in Spring/Summer (humid seasons); for light, fast playing.  Cuts well, can add an edge to your bow tone.  There are a lot of Pirastro rosins to choose from (almost too many…), surely one among their variety should be ample to cover the tone and grip needed for your particular strings: see here.

Cons: Heavy powdering, can irritate sinuses.  Sometimes tone is too bright and thin for classic cello repertoire.  Doesn’t grip as deeply as I need for power playing.

Still not sticky enough for you?  Buy the Pirastro Bass Rosin, it works great for cello!

Pirastro rosins have been developed and produced in Offenbach, Germany for over 200 years. Pirastro Cello Rosin is an amber color medium grade rosin specially formulated for use with cellos.


Hill Dark Rosin for Violin, Viola and Cello

Pros:  *Rosin of choice for two of my go-to luthiers!  Use as a final polishing layer in combination with other rosins; fine smooth feel with medium tone; not over-grippy.

Cons:  For a professional cellist, this rosin doesn’t grip strongly enough to stand on it’s own.  However, for students on smaller sized cellos (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, etc) it should do splendidly.

Hill Dark Rosin (green), the ultimate rosins, used by professionals worldwide. The Hill Brand rosins are wrapped in their own padded velveteen shell. This is the rosin that others strive to emulate. Used for violin, viola and cello, the amber (light) is slightly hard and has moderate powder. The dark (green) is slightly softer and grips better than the amber.


Professional Cello Rosin

Kolstein Cello Rosin

Pros: For the last decade this has been my favorite rosin!  Generally used in Fall/Winter (drier seasons); for heavy, rich playing.  More and more, I’ve been using it all year round.  The tone is complex, gorgeous.  Very grippy, results in a powerful deep sound.

Cons:  This rosin may be too sticky and coarse for some sets of lighter gauge strings.

Kolstein & Sons, Ltd. produces an outstanding rosin using their Ultra Formulation Supreme recipe. Very minimal powdering and excellent grip equate to quick response and consistent sustain for both the veteran and beginning cellist. A good rosin for players with respiratory difficulties.


Melos Baroque Cello & Bass Viol Rosin

Pros: Wow, I love this Baroque cello/viol rosin.  Though it’s made for traditional sheep gut strings, it still plays wonderfully on modern metal-core/wound strings.  Incredible glide, with even grip from fingerboard to bridge on all strings. Lighter tone than Kolstein; plays smooth; a finer grade.  It feels as if the bow hairs are melting into your string, like a hot knife through butter.  No harsh squeaking sounds on the A string.

Cons:  Have yet to find any, this stuff is near perfect in my book.

Melos Baroque Cello Bass Viol Rosin is superb for use with period instruments using gut strings. This Baroque version rosin is stickier than rosin for their modern counterparts. Melos founder Christos Sykiotis, himself a cellist, explains it this way: “The gut string sounds not easy as a metallic string. We shouldn’t press the bow in order to play so we need a stickier rosin to play easy.” Melos rosins are made in small batches from Greek pine resin and other natural ingredients.

Try a combination of their two modern cello rosins:  Melos Dark (fall/winter) & Light (spring/summer) Cello Rosin


Rosin for Percussionists

Kolstein All Weather Bass Rosin – I originally heard about Kolstein rosin a decade ago from a professional double bassist (and have loved it ever since).  This past weekend, I premiered a composition by percussionist Garrett Mendelow.  This duo piece included three sections: (i) guqin zither + pedal board, tape, singing bowls and crotales (ii) tabla and Indian cello (iii) bowed vibraphone.  We tried my Kolstein rosin on the bass bows + my Tatsuya Nakatani beach wood cello bow on the vibes.  The tone was delicious.  The vibraphone bars played smooth and spoke well.  OK percussionists, the secret is out! Get that Kolstein bass rosin, it’s even stickier than the cello version – you won’t need much.

Speaking of percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani… I had the immense pleasure of performing in his Nakatani Gong Orchestra this September.  It was hands down, one of the most unforgettable performances of my life. What a tremendous honor to learn directly from the bowed gong master himself (thanks Scott Gordon of Tone Madison for curating)!  I’ve been using one of Tatsuya’s hand made Nakatani-Kobo bows for about 3 years.  I love it.  The tone, the bite, the feel, the articulation…. his bows are incredible.  They are designed for gongs and cymbals, so I tried it on the vibraphone.  The Nakatani-Kobo bow spoke much quicker and with less pressure than a (often over tightened) double bass bow.  Percussionists, these bows are made for bowing metal, check them out.  I asked Tatsuya which rosin he prefers to use, his answer was: Pops Bass Rosin.


Alright Cello Zone studio, that’s all for today’s post.  I hope you find this helpful when selecting your next cake of rosin!  Follow the blog, like us on facebook and share with other cello friends.  Leave your comments below, what’s your favorite brand of rosin and why?

Happy Practicing!

Brian Grimm


10/21 | “Emergence” CD Release Show w/ Invisible Guy Trio (SF)

Sat, 10/21 | No Cover 630-930p @ The Mason Lounge

416 S Park St, Madison, WI

INVISIBLE GUY TRIO (SF)

BRENNAN CONNORS & STRAY PASSAGE (Mad)

↑ CD Release via setola di maiale (Italy)

Brennan Connors & Stray Passage have a new CD “Emergence” coming out this October on Italian label, setola di maile!

http://www.setoladimaiale.net/catalogue/view/SM3300

“Their sets embrace plenty of sinuous melody and conversational interplay,
but can just as easily dive into minimalism and dissonance.” ~ Tone Madison

Experimental Jazz trio Brennan Connors & Stray Passage has been performing in Madison for the past 5 years, exciting listeners with a range of sonic capabilities.  Their improvised music is directly linked to the atmosphere in the room and energy of the audience.  The listener is such a crucial element in shaping the band’s sound that they recorded this album in front of a live studio audience – expertly captured by master engineer Steve Gotcher at Audio for the Arts.  Listeners will experience a jazz trio that embraces both free and structured improvisation, original compositions, groove based experiments, and sound exploration. The breadth of a performance ranges from focused minimalism to fiery high energy music, all while maintaining a sense of narrative organization and compelling ensemble interplay.

The group is led by Brennan Connors on tenor and soprano saxophones.  Geoff Brady orchestrates drum and percussion textures, while Brian Grimm rounds out the trio bowing cello, contra-cello, and electric bass.

We are ecstatic and grateful to setola di maiale records in Italy for officially releasing our first album!


We’ll be joined by a fantastic drummer & friend of mine, Hamir Atwal (San Francisco), with his trio Invisible Guy.  The group features Michael Coleman on keyboard & Ben Goldberg on clarinet.  We are very glad to share our CD release show bill with another trio that explores the dynamics of free-improv in full range!

“Mr. Goldberg is a clarinetist of range and curiosity.” – The New York Times

Ben Goldberg’s Bay Area-based trio looks forward and backward at the same time, creating both nostalgic reveries and modern statements. Goldberg is known for drawing on his Jewish roots and radical versions of Klezmer music and his clarinet work is always focused with an endearing lyrical quality. Pianist Michael Coleman leaps between stride riffs and electronic splatter. Drummer Hamir Atwall provides everything from a swinging undercurrent to a clattery rush.

As a trio, Ben, Michael, and Hamir are in strict pursuit of beautiful melody. Michael Coleman says: “Melody is the knife that cuts through to truth. Then there is the importance of breath, and personal expression.” Reviewing a 2014 concert, Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune said the group is “an unusually focused ensemble inventing a musical syntax for itself.”

From 1992, when his group New Klezmer Trio released Masks and Faces and “kicked open the door for radical experiments with Ashkenazi roots music” (SF Chronicle) to 2013’s simultaneous release of Subatomic Particle Homesick Blues (featuring Joshua Redman) and Unfold Ordinary Mind (featuring Nels Cline), which the New York Times noted for “a feeling of joyous research into the basics of polyphony and collective improvising,” clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg has shaped a career through relentless pursuit of musical truth across many genres and styles, resulting in the Downbeat Critics’ Poll naming him the #1 Rising Star Clarinetist in both 2011 and 2013. In 2015 Ben released a recording of his songcycle Orphic Machine , sung by Carla Kihlstedt and performed by an allstar nine piece band including Nels Cline, Greg Cohen, and Ches Smith. The LA Times called Orphic Machine “knotted and occasionally spooky composition marked by dazzling interplay.” All Music Guide says “Orphic Machine is wildly ambitious and sophisticated, but also graceful, emotionally honest, and accessible. It makes the profound embraceable and, as a result, is a masterpiece.” Ben currently composes for and leads the following groups:
Unfold Ordinary Mind ; Go Home ; Ben Goldberg School ; and Ben Goldberg Trio with Greg Cohen and Kenny Wollesen.

Drummer/Percussionist Hamir Atwal is a Berklee College of Music graduate who
has taught at Music Academy International, and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Hamir is an active endorser of DREAM Cymbals. Hamir has played with saxophonists Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, and Grant Stewart; Bassist/Producer Bill Laswell; and clarinetist Ben Goldberg.

Michael Coleman is a pianist, improviser and composer currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. He has had the pleasure of playing with many great musicians and recording with some of his favorite bands and people. Apart from leading his own groups (Beep!, CavityFang, Young Nudist), Michael has toured the world with Chris Cohen, tUnEyArDs,
Sean Hayes, Miles Kurosky and Jug Free America.