Saxophonist, clarinetist, Chris Speed has been in the thick of things the past several decades. He's been a co-conspirator in trendsetting ensembles led by alto saxophonists, composers Tim Berne, John Zorn, and leading-edge outfits Claudia Quintet and Pachora amid a host of other noteworthy projects. Speed's prominence in the newer realm of jazz and jazz improvisation cannot be minimized. On Really OK he reenergizes his craft with a roots driven modern jazz trio presentation, featuring a mix of originals, a pop standard, and works by Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane. With asymmetrical infusions of tenacity, warmth and skirmishes ...read more
Endangered Blood formed in 2008, to play a benefit concert to help pay for fellow musician Andrew D'Angelo's medical bills. For the performance, drummer Jim Black and bassist Trevor Dunn--two of the saxophonist's band mates--enlisted saxophonists Chris Speed and Oscar Noriega. As happens so often in modern groups, familiar players in different combination produce compelling results.Black and Speed are both veterans of Tim Berne's vanguard band, Bloodcount, as well as Human Feel, Pachora, Yeah No and Alas No Axis. Dunn has been a member of Mr. Bungle and bands led by John Zorn, while Noriega is one of ...read more
The New Mellow Edwards Big Choantza Skirl Records 2009 Tyft Smell The Difference Skirl Records 2009 Ben Perowsky Quartet Esopus Opus Skirl Records 2009
Since founding Skirl Records in 2006, saxophonist Chris Speed still hasn't led a project for the label. But that hasn't diminished his instrumental contributions to it. His distinct tenor and clarinet are integral to the latest Skirl crop, illuminating his range ...read more
Double-bassist Stephane Furic Leibovici avers that he likes to be gentle with sounds and to listen to the inside of them. He is true to this philosophy on Jugendstil, where he finds solace in the quiet and the meditative; getting inspiration from classical and chamber music and using them to the full in his writing.
One of the traits of the music is the subtle changes woven into the context. The credit for this goes largely to clarinetist Chris Speed and saxophonist Chris Cheek. Together, and individually, they bring in gentle nuances, slight shifts of direction and, when ...read more
Everything about this extraordinary album, Jugendstil, is deliberate and attains its own level of perfection. To begin with, there is its name: The word Jugendstil (German for youth style," akin to the French art nouveau" movement of the late nineteenth century) is so apt, considering that it defines the music contained in this record. For instance just as that art movement was typified by highly stylized and curvilinear forms, so also is the music on this record. Here, the aural replaces the visual form of the art it seeks to represent and the compositions are typified by their stylized phrases ...read more
Human Feel Galore Skirl 2007
Chris Speed has been perking up audience ears since the early 1990s, when he and a talented coterie of Boston music students descended on Manhattan to test their mettle in the downtown scene. One of the important outgrowths of this camaraderie was Human Feel, a quartet (originally a quintet) with Speed, Andrew D'Angelo (alto saxophone, bass clarinet), Jim Black (drums) and Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar).
Although unrecorded since 1996, Galore marks the group's triumphant return. Like much of Speed's other work, the disc embodies an all-for-one ...read more
We are in a period when more and more people download their music via the internet; important retailers such as Tower Records are shutting their doors; and blank CDs outsold pre-recorded CDs last year. Yet, Chris Speed--a multi-instrumentalist and longtime member of New York's downtown scene--has undertaken the Herculean task of starting an independent record label with the launch of Skirl Records. On December 15, 2006, Speed and several bands on his label came to Philadelphia for a CD release party. The evening of music was presented by the Ars Nova Workshop, which continues to be Philly's only ...read more