Listen Both Ways is the first studio recording by drummer George Schuller's longstanding Circle Wide quintet to concentrate primarily on his original compositions. The group's previous Playscape releases, 2003's Round 'Bout Now and 2008's Like Before, Somewhat After, paid homage to the seminal efforts of famous post-war bandleaders--trumpeter Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet on the former and pianist Keith Jarrett's American Quartet on the latter.Six of the album's eight tunes are staples of the unit's live sets, with nuanced arrangements of pianist Carla Bley's serene ballad Jesus Maria" and under-sung writer Margo Guryan's Ornettish Edwin" rounding out the ...read more
The rhythm team of bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller has proven to be a particularly potent one. Their work as half of Conference Call (alongside reed player Gebhard Ullmann and pianist Michael Jefry Stevens) gives that band both compositional and improvisational strength. The same holds true in guitarist Michael Musillami's trio, where they take care of stoking the fires while Musillami takes off on his improvisational flights. A lesser-known group with a pair of records behind them is Fonda's trio with pianist Carlo Morena. Although an inveterate modernist, favoring the dissonant and devising compositions that ...read more
Throughout musical history, the influences of substantial artists, recorded works, or certain epochal periods, have their effect on contemporaries and ensuing generations. For those that make music, it shows up in their playing or composing. Tracking those influences, whether well-known sources or those under the radar, is not as important as the end result of an individual's statement.
Forward-thinking artists can find inventive ways of incorporating influences into personal statements. That's what Brooklyn-based drummer George Schuller has done in his new recording. For a man who was exposed to all kinds of great music during his ...read more
This writer's familiarity with the physical concept known as dewpoint is as extensive as can be expected from someone who spent much of her science classes with a literary magazine hidden underneath her notebook. Dewpoint," the appropriately titled opening track of the sophomore release of George Schuller's Circle Wide, is perhaps as elucidating as any semester-long course in conveying what it means to reaching a threshold of precise saturation, neither failing to live up to the bar set high nor causing discomfort by reaching too high and producing a work of pretentious chaos.
Dewpoint" is one of two original tracks ...read more
"Dewpoint," the appropriately titled opening track of Like Before, Somewhat After, the sophomore release of George Schuller's work with Circle Wide, is perhaps as elucidating as any semester-long course in conveying what it means to reaching a threshold of precise saturation, neither failing to live up to the bar set high nor causing discomfort by reaching too high and producing a work of pretentious chaos.
Dewpoint" is one of two original tracks on the record, the others being respectful but bold reinterpretations of pieces by Keith Jarrett's 1970s American Quartet. The tune showcases no gradual crescendo; ...read more
It's now some thirty-one years since the demise of Keith Jarrett's American Quartet," uniting Ornette Coleman alumni Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden with former Bill Evans drummer Paul Motian. That group's masterpiece and effective swansong was Survivors' Suite (ECM, 1976), and so it is fitting that two sections are reprised on drummer/composer George Schuller's affectionate tribute to the band, alongside four other Jarret pieces and two originals.
It takes both the vibes of Tom Beckham and the well-traveled guitar of Brad Shepik to fill Jarrett's piano stool, while Donny McCaslin takes on the horn duties. Bassist ...read more
Despite Keith Jarrett's ongoing success as a solo improviser and standards interpreter, many bemoan his decision to stop writing in the mid-1970s. Improvisation may be spontaneous composition but, with his 1970s American and Scandinavian Quartets, the pianist created a songbook that remains influential to this day. George Schuller's Round 'Bout Now (Playscape, 2004) was a thoroughly personal tribute to Miles Davis' transitional period of 1967-1969. Returning with Circle Wide for Like Before, Somewhat After, the drummer fashions an equally distinctive homage to Jarrett's American Quartet. Alongside six Jarrett compositions, two Schuller pieces are so in touch with the spirit of ...read more