Quinsin Nachoff - tenor saxophone
Mark Helias - double bass
Dan Weiss - drums
Recorded at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NYC by Michael Brorby (May, 2016)
Mixed and Mastered at Found.Sound.Toronto, Canada by David Travers-Smith (June, 2016)
Produced by Quinsin Nachoff
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
CD Artwork, Design and Layout by A Man Called Wrycraft
Videography by Diana Piruzevska and The Naked Eye Media
released May 19, 2017
ABOUT THE ALBUM
It was Quinsin Nachoff’s involvement in the Penderecki String Quartet’s commission ‘Stars and Constellations: Scorpio’, for string quartet and saxophone trio, which prompted the New York-based, Canadian-born saxophonist to further the idea of establishing a chord-less trio as a distinct project away from his larger ensemble successes. A stand-alone concert with seasoned musicians Mark Helias (double bass) and Dan Weiss (drums) created the conceptual spark; and following the writing of new material early in 2016, a series of concerts in New York, Toronto and Montreal neatly led to this single-session recording — Quinsin Nachoff’s Ethereal Trio.
“There’s a huge history of composing for instrumental trio, I enjoy writing this way as it gives me two distinct voices that I can really work with. As a bassist, Mark Helias is such an experienced musician – I can compose harmonically or contrapuntally and he always expands it to such an extent that we’re never missing harmony; if we play in more of an open setting, it leaves us more freedom. Dan Weiss is a master of dealing with anything rhythmically –so he can be very free within even something very structured. From a saxophonist’s point of view, I’m able to explore a greater range in the instrument; I can either be busier or leave more space. All three of us love to investigate different colors and extended techniques, so many different directions are possible. Once we’ve understood what the direction is for each composition then that’s when the magic starts to happen.”
Opening an album which blends through-composition and improvisation, each piece having its own plot and internal logic, ‘Clairvoyant Jest’ finds Nachoff's saxophone dancing across rhythmically-twisted swing, characterized by double-stopped, open-stringed bass and harmonics which highlight the harmonic motion. Yet the trio’s predominant vibe is searching and otherworldly, hence the ‘ethereal’ tag, with ‘Gravitas’ focusing on freer response and reflection as its questioning saxophone motifs are interpreted by arco bass. Suggesting a change in our imaginative picture of the world, ‘Imagination Reconstruction’s animation pairs sax and Helias’ bass harmonics magnificently, and the ten-minute progression of ‘Portrait in Sepia Tones’ ramps up into a superbly percussive maelstrom. ‘Push-Pull Topology’ possesses an underlying walking-bass thread, stretching and pulling different rhythms – fives over fours over threes – while the bristling landscapes of ‘Subliminal Circularity’ summon the leader’s equally raw and rippling saxophonic tones.
Quinsin Nachoff relishes the freedom and the opportunities this trio offers: “I’m regularly involved in projects which include a lot of composing, arranging and organizational effort to make them happen. This Ethereal Trio album became much more about simply playing the saxophone, which was extremely fun and rewarding – and these musicians are such a pleasure to play with. That’s the world I like to live in.”
"The instrumental mastery of all three players is beyond doubt."
“Sophisticated structures framed in original and innovative thematic improvisations.”
Jazz Poland (Recommended)
"All three musicians revel in each other’s company. The saxophonist [Nachoff] is a fearless explorer of contemporary jazz expression... An album well worth investigating."
★★★★ UK Vibe
“This recording stands out from a crowded field by virtue of the exceptional skill of the players... Ambitious but rewarding music.”
"A perfect balance between Nachoff's wistful tenor and Mark Helias' rich, resonant pizzicato bass, adorned by Dan Weiss' unobtrusive yet apposite drumming."
★★★★ All About Jazz
"The interplay - sometimes solo, other times in duo—is simply astonishing."
Art Music Lounge
"Magic - Give it a listen."
Bebop Spoken Here
"You really get to know what these guys are about straight out of the gate, as the album-opening “Clairvoyant Jest” struts and capers, stops and starts so everybody gets a moment (or three or four) in the spotlight, and generally lets you know that for the next 43 minutes, attention must be paid."
"A joy to listen to."
“Their notes melt together, like a constellation of beauty.”
Musical Memoirs (blog)
“Divine orchestrations further enhanced by a sparkling energy... An exciting project.”
Improvisational masterworks... Impeccable but not pristine... Highly recommended.”
★★★★ All About Jazz
"Forward thinking... This music will live forever."
"The six compositions are trim and varied, with Nachoff sounding terrific throughout."
The Vinyl District
"Nachoff toys with times, measures, harmonies... Not necessarily an easy album, but certainly interesting."
Phontas Troussas (Greece)
"Jazz and contemporary classical music converge in a very personal way."
El Intrus (Spain)
"Sophisticated structures often associated with difficult avant-garde are now framed in original, creative improvisations and themes."
"The trio is loose without being casual, at once taut and free, and the consistent quality of detailed interplay and invention brings Nachoff's forceful, inventive tenor playing to the fore. It may be his most satisfying recording to date."
The Whole Note
"The three bandmates push forward while weaving in and out of one another's paths."
"A record that is prepared to dwell in the infinite possibilities of the light, the airy and the tenuous... An exploration of instrumental combinations from which exquisite flashes of colour often emerge."
Raul da Gama
"Stands out as a must-hear!"
Gapplegate Music Review