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Colin Stetson

Woodwind player Colin Stetson can play powerfully while circularly breathing for long periods, can draw multiphonics out of a sax with great skill, and can command an audience's attention with his focus and melodic improvisations.

Stetson was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI, where he became proficient on assorted saxophones, clarinet, and flute. He earned a degree in music from his hometown school the University of Michigan in 1997, studying with Roscoe Mitchell, Donald Sinta, and Christopher Creviston; afterward, he went on to study with Steve Adams and Henry Threadgill as well. While still in college, he co-founded Transmission (which later became Transmission Trio), and in 1998 he played with progressive Detroit-area jazz-rockers Larval on their Knitting Factory album Larval 2.

He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area that summer along with the rest of Transmission, which released its first album in 1999. Stetson also branched out to play live with the likes of Fred Frith, Peter Kowald, Ned Rothenberg, and Kenny Wollesen, and kept up his Detroit/Ann Arbor connections as well. Before moving west, he had played on his friend Recloose's debut EP for Planet E, and their collaborations continued over the years, culminating in the DJ's acclaimed full-length Cardiology in 2002. Also that year, Tom Waits tapped Stetson for reed work on his Alice and Blood Money albums, which led to significant exposure and a live performance on David Letterman. His most recent appearance with Waits has been on the soundtrack to the animated feature Shrek 2.

Stetson had a limited edition 3" CD release of a 2002 performance at the Artship in Oakland, and his full-length debut as a leader came in the summer of 2003 with the quintet recording Slow Descent. Since relocating to NYC in 2004, Stetson is performing regularly with the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Jeremiah Lockwood's Sway Machinery, Zemog El Gallo Bueno, and the ever present Transmission as well as performances with Sinead O'Connor, Burning Spear and Medeski, Martin, and Wood and Anthony Braxton. Source: Steve Huey


Album Review

Ivo Perelman: Reed Rapture in Brooklyn

Read "Reed Rapture in Brooklyn" reviewed by Jeff Schwartz

Is this album fundamentally unreviewable? Are there jazz fans who do not immediately know if they need an 11-hour collection of 103 improvised duets between Ivo Perelman and a dozen saxophonists and clarinetists? It is at least describable. Perelman is faithful to his tenor, while his partners bring examples of nearly every type of saxophone, from soprillo to contrabass, as well as most of the clarinet family. Although all tracks are free improvisations, the default mode is ...

Radio & Podcasts

Reed Rapture With Stetson And More

Read "Reed Rapture With Stetson And More" reviewed by Bob Osborne

On this show we continue our look at Ivo Perelman's Reed Rapture In Brooklyn focusing on his duets with Colin Stetson. As well as further music from Stetson I am also featuring new albums from Patrick Golden, Something Blue, and Marc Ducret. Playlist Show Intro 00:00 Ivo Perelman, Colin Stetson “Five" from Reed Rapture In Brooklyn (Mahalaka Music) 01:06 Colin Stetson “Never Were the Way She Was" from Never Were the Way She Was (Constellation Records) 11:32 ...

Album Review

Ivo Perelman: Reed Rapture in Brooklyn

Read "Reed Rapture in Brooklyn" reviewed by Mark Corroto

"Let's play two," the famous line by the Cubs Hall-of-Fame baseball player Ernie Banks in 1969, uttered when the temperature in Chicago had reached 105 degrees (40.5 celsius) and his teammates were exhausted, might find its analogy with this massive undertaking from saxophonist Ivo Perelman. At eleven hours in length though, the two games Banks cited are not single games, but more like two double-headers here. Like the baseball infielder, Perelman has limitless energy and a never-ending appetite for creativity, ...

Liner Notes

Reed Rapture In Brooklyn: A Box Set Of Woodwind Duets With Ivo Perelman

Read "Reed Rapture In Brooklyn: A Box Set Of Woodwind Duets With Ivo Perelman" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

One of the 20th century's musical geniuses, saxophonist Charlie Parker said “Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you that music has boundaries. But, man, there's no boundary line to art." This statement on unbridled creativity applies perfectly to saxophonist Ivo Perelman's oeuvre. Perelman, however, is not just a saxophonist. Although the tenor is one of his favorite tools of expression, he is an ...

Radio & Podcasts

Colin Stetson, Ches Smith, Marisa Monte, Evgeny Ponomarev & Other New Releases

Read "Colin Stetson, Ches Smith, Marisa Monte, Evgeny Ponomarev & Other New Releases" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

The much-awaited return of Marisa Monte and the faux-Nippo-jazz of Julien Daïan open a show which centers around the outstanding new album by Ches Smith and dives deep into the diversity of today's international jazz scene. Happy listening! PlaylistBen Allison “Mondo Jazz Theme (feat. Ted Nash & Pyeng Threadgill)" 0:00 Marisa Monte “Calma" Calma -Single (Sony) 0:16 Host talks 3:21 Julien Daïan Quintet “Shinjuku Nemura Naï" Cut Up (French Paradox) 04:09 Host talks 08:07 Evgeny Ponomarev ...

Live Review

Colin Stetson a JazzMi 2018

Read "Colin Stetson a JazzMi 2018" reviewed by Luca Muchetti

Colin Stetson Teatro dell'Arte-Triennale JazzMi Milano 4.11.2018 C'è qualcosa che spinge il concerto di Colin Stetson al Teatro dell'Arte della Triennale, uno degli appuntamenti-chiave dell'edizione 2018 di JazzMi, ben oltre la spettacolare presentazione dal vivo di All This I Do for Glory, e che fa diventare il live visto a Milano una sorta di prova del fuoco dell'intera filosofia seguita da Stetson nel suo cammino da solista. L'album --uscito ...

Album Review

Colin Stetson: New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges

Read "New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Saxophonist Colin Stetson's New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges evokes the quote by cowboy philosopher and former US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."First question, how does he do this? Recorded without loops or overdubs ...

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May 12 Sun
May 14 Tue
May 16 Thu
Aug 20 Tue
MUTEK Montreal 2024
Montréal, Canada


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Silently Held

Challenge Records


Live @ Victo

Les Disques Victo


Reed Rapture in...

Mahakala Music


New History Warfare...

Not On Label (Colin Hunter Self-released)



Not On Label (Colin Hunter Self-released)


Those Who Didn't Run

Not On Label (Colin Hunter Self-released)




Tony Malaby
saxophone, tenor
Sonny Simmons
saxophone, alto
Matana Roberts
saxophone, alto
Michel Doneda
saxophone, soprano
Matt Bauder
saxophone, tenor

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