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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Empty Cage Quartet: Empty Cage Quartet

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The sixth album of West Coast Empty Cage Quartet features this unique, hard -riving outfit in its most abstract mode to date. During the last decade, the quartet focused on exploring new ways of integrating diverse influences into an original, creative blend--from modern forms of jazz improvisation to contemporary experimental practices. This self-titled, limited edition LP is no different. The seven compositions, all by trumpeter Kris Tiner and reed player Jason Mears, are smart, multilayered and do not decipher easily. The quartet interplay is intimate, sharp and precise as it always been. And the quartet has a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Empty Cage Quartet: Gravity

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Widely admired for its intricate mathematical construction, the Mayan calendar is far more than just a lightning rod for misguided prophets predicting the end of the world; it is also the source of inspiration for Gravity, the fourth studio recording from the young West Coast-based Empty Cage Quartet.

The album consists of two extended compositions, which are broken into sections and alternated throughout the session. “Gravity" and “Tzolkien" rely on combinations of pitch palindromes and symmetrical harmonic and rhythmic sequences derived from calendar-based number series to yield an endless variety of thematic variations. Despite such meticulous frameworks, the written material ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Empty Cage Quartet: Stratostrophic

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Stratostrophic, the sixth release by the Empty Cage Quartet (ECQ), finds the avant West Coasters full of ideas and limited by nothing. Their omnivorous approach gladly frustrates label taggers while rewarding informed listeners with advanced compositional and improvisational delights. Their continuing association pays off in an acquired looseness that revels in taking chances without losing the links that keep these sonic aerialists flying together. Inside/outside, silly/serious, ECQ's creative central heat liquefies such abstractions into a bold shower of musical sparks. The set begins with the three-footed “Again A Gun Again A Gun Again A Gun." Drummer Paul ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Empty Cage Quartet: Stratostrophic

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Stratostrophic is the Empty Cage Quartet's third official studio album. Formerly known as the MTKJ Quartet, the adventurous young West Coast-based ensemble features Tim Mears (alto saxophone, clarinet), Kris Tiner (trumpet, flugelhorn), Ivan Johnson (bass) and Paul Kikuchi (drums, percussion). A cohesive mix of exuberant free jazz, angular post-bop, stark chamber aesthetics and propulsive post- Braxtonian structures all figure prominently in their singular sound.

Balancing extended episodes with brief sketches, Mears and Tiner (the principal composers) demonstrate a newfound versatility in their writing. Their previous reliance on long-form compositions is now offset by the inclusion of concise miniatures ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Empty Cage Quartet: Hello The Damage!

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Formerly known as the MTKJ Quartet, the Empty Cage Quartet consists of Jason Mears (alto saxophone, clarinet, wood flutes), Kris Tiner (trumpet, flugelhorn), Paul Kikuchi (drums, percussion) and Ivan Johnson (bass). The title of this recording comes from an English translation of a negative French review of one of the MTKJ Quartet's previous releases. Negative French review or not, with its constant touring, the Empty Cage Quartet has been burning up clubs in the US for years. The music on Hello The Damage! was recorded during a West Coast tour; two sets in Los Angeles on a night in December ...



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