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Irving Stone's history as a voracious listener stretched back to checking out Monk and Coltrane at the Five Spot and hanging with Ornette. In his later years, he focused on the burgeoning downtown jazz scene, championing musicians taking risks and forging new sounds. Stone developed a reputation for big ears, and insiders knew they were at the right gig if he and his wife Stephanie were there.
When Stone passed in June 2003, the players he befriended gathered to memorialize him in musican appropriate tribute to a life of listening. Culled from about twelve hours of performances, the two-disc Irving Stone Memorial Concert presents more than two hours of highlights and contributions from forty-plus musicians, illustrating downtown jazz's fertility and variety. There are appearances by established bands like saxophonist Oscar Noriega's trio, bassist William Parker's Little Huey Big Band, and Mephista, the collective of drummer Susie Ibarra, laptop artist Ikue Mori, and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier. Courvoisier also appears in a more recent collaboration with saxophonist Tim Berne and drummer Tom Rainey. Serendipitous meetings occurred too: Rainey and saxophonist Charles Gayle; saxophonist Dave Sewelsen with bassist Greg Cohen and drummer Kenny Wollesen; and trumpeter Herb Robertson with trombonist Steve Swell, saxophonist Andy Laster, and drummer Joey Baron for a blistering one-off.
The discs also feature rare solo appearances from saxophonists John Zorn and Chris Speed; cellists Okkyung Lee and Erik Friedlander; and Stephanie Stone, once a regularly performing singer and pianist. From standard jazz instrumentation to the vocal acrobatics of Shelly Hirsch or the strange meeting of Karen Borca's bassoon and Roy Campbell's trumpet, this Memorial is a microcosm of the scene. To followers, it offers the opportunity to hear extraordinary performances from downtown's big names; to newcomers, an introduction for further exploration.
One thing is clear: this event was the place to be, Stone's presence still emblematic of creativity and adventurousness.
Track Listing: Disc One: NoodlingStephanie Stone (2:34); ScrewgunTim Berne w/ Sylvie Courvoisier & Tom Rainey (11:16); BeyondSylvie Courvoisier & Mark Feldman (3:58); Above the AlternateHerb Robertson w/ Steve Swell, Andy Laster & Joey Baron (8:41); From the BeginningJohn Zorn (4:30); EmbraceErik Friedlander (2:38); MemoriesCharles Gayle & Tom Rainey (8:46); CrystalgazinSatoko Fujii (3:57); In This WorldDavid Sewelsen, Greg Cohen & Kenny Wollesen (3:51); MusingsKaren Borca & Roy Campbell (3:52); Neptune's ChildOscar Noriega, Trevor Dunn & Tom Rainey (7:56); Delayed ReasonRobert Dick (9:10) Disc Two: Not a WaltzStephanie Stone (2:03); Bonbon for StoneShelley Hirsch & David Weinstein (2:18); Another YouEllery Eskelin & Marc Ribot (2:38); 2nd Avenue JunkmanAnnie Gosfield w/ Roger Kleier & Greg Cohen (4:04); EarMephista (6:30); Shadow IndigoOkkyung Lee (5:26); InscriptionWilliam Parker and The Little Huey Big Band (11:14); Jazz Remembers StoneRoy Campbell (6:54); Stone in the BardoLouie Belogenis w/ Tony Malaby, Trevor Dunn & Tom Rainey (11:41); ReflectionsYuko Fujiyama (4:09); One Morton StreetLesli Dalaba & Wayne Horvitz (3:57); Cat Teachers/Nap ClarityChris Speed (4:24)
Personnel: Andrew Barkerdrums; Joey Barondrums; Louie Belogenissaxophone; Tim Bernesaxophone; Karen Borcabassoon; Rob Brownsaxophone; Roy Campbelltrumpet; Greg Cohenbass; Sylvie Courvoisierpiano; Lesli Dalabatrumpet; Robert Dickflute; Trevor Dunnbass; Ellery Eskelinsaxophone; Mark Feldmanviolin; Erik Friedlandercello; Satoko Fujiipiano; Yuko Fujiyama piano; harles Gaylesaxophone; Annie Gosfieldpiano; Shelley Hirschvoice; Wayne Horvitzkeys; Susie Ibarradrums; Roger Kleierguitar; Masahiko Konotrombone; Andy Lastersaxophone; Matt Lavelletrumpet, bass clarinet; Okkyung Leecello; Tony Malabysaxophone; Sabir Mateenreeds; Ikue Morilaptop, electronics; Oscar Noriegasaxophone; William Parkerbass; Tom Raineydrums; Marc Ribotguitar; Herb Robertsontrumpet, voice; David Sewelsensaxophone; Chris Speedsaxophone; Stephanie Stonepiano; Steve Swelltrombone; Craig Tabornkeys; Charles Waterssaxophone; David Weinsteinkeys; Kenny Wollesendrums; John Zornsaxophone
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.