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 ...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 ...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 ...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 ...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 ...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 ...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 ...read more
The Clarinets is both the name of the all-clarinet improvisational trio of Chris Speed, Oscar Noriega and Anthony Burr, and the title of their new CD, the first release on Speed's new Skirl Records imprint. Here Speed (on clarinet), Noriega (on bass clarinet and clarinet) and Burr (on bass clarinet) explore the possibilities of their instruments in an improvised setting. Jazz purists won't find much to enjoy here: these eight pieces (gloriously recorded in the expansive former-church interior of the ...read more