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James Falzone

“Falzone is a remarkable, in-the-moment improviser -- able, as few virtuosi can, to listen as intently as he sings.”
--Larry Kart, Author of Jazz in Search of Itself (Yale University Press)

Composer and clarinetist James Falzone is working at the intersection of many styles of music including jazz, improvised, classical, and folk traditions. He has been featured on numerous public radio and television shows and has performed in concert halls and jazz clubs throughout the United States and abroad with his own Allos Musica Projects. He has also collaborated with such diverse and visionary artists as Steve Lacy, Richard Stoltzman, Jorrit Dijkstra, Theodore Bikel, Joe Maneri, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Ran Blake, and many others.

He is also a founding member of the highly acclaimed French music ensemble Le Bon Vent, recently featured at the Maison de la Culture in Montreal which broadcasted the ensemble’s live performance on Canadian Public Radio -- one of only a handful of ensembles to have this honor in recent years.

Falzone appears on more than ten recordings as a guest artist, and his 2000 solo recording, The Already and the Not Yet, was hailed by jazz writer and critic Larry Kart as “a work that speaks a unique, potent musical and spiritual language” and Grammy®-winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman called it “an amazing journey…simply astounding.”

His newest recording, April 2007's The Sign and the Thing Signified, is the first title on his own Allos Documents label. His other recent releases include Le Bon Vent’s Good Night Marc Chagall (Epact) and Jorrit Dijkstra’s Flatlands Collective: Gnomade (Sky Cap).

A composer in many genres, Falzone's music has been performed recently by The Rockford Symphony Orchestra, The South Bend Indiana Orchestra, and The Human Connection New Music Ensemble. He has developed or taken part in projects that have been awarded grants from the Chicago Cultural Center, the Hillary Swing Fund for Creativity, The Consulate General of the Netherlands, The Rotary Foundation, the New England Foundation for the Arts, and the Vermont Arts Council.

Educated at New England Conservatory in Boston, he has been a frequent lecturer on music at L’Abri Fellowship both in the U.S. and Europe and has presented masterclasses and workshops at Notre Dame University, Wheaton College Conservatory, Marquette University, Northern Illinois University. He was also a visiting scholar at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he assisted the Navy’s Strategic Studies Group in thinking through how musical improvisation could shed light on the ever-changing war on terrorism.

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Radio & Podcasts

James Falzone: Joyful Noise from the Pain Stick

Read "James Falzone: Joyful Noise from the Pain Stick" reviewed by Lawrence Peryer

Today, the Spotlight shines on clarinetist, penny whistle player, composer, improviser, and educator James Falzone. This discussion was recorded back in early March of 2024. I reached out to James shortly after seeing him perform with the bassist and vocalist Katie Ernst in their duo Wayfaring. I was initially hoping to record them together but an even better outcome came about: I had separate discussions with each of them, which allowed us to expand beyond their work together ...

Album Review

James Falzone: The Room Is

Read "The Room Is" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Legend has it that Jimmy Giuffre harbored a vehement distaste for the use of percussion in his ensembles. He found drummers distracting, irritating and clamorous. By the time he recorded the classic records 1961 (ECM, 1992) and Free Fall (Columbia, 1963) he had jettisoned drummers from his piano and bass trio. It must have driven marketing executives mad. How would listeners follow the music? Who kept the time? What's with all this freedom?Exactly, what is with all this ...

Album Review

James Falzone - The Renga Ensemble: The Room Is

Read "The Room Is" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Enterprising Chicago-based clarinetist James Falzone and a core band of fellow improvisers signal a modern day avant-jazz summit, inspired by the leader's affinity for Renga, which is a Japanese poetic tradition where 2 or more poets work in parallel to produce a new work. Falzone yields dividends by enlisting an ensemble, featuring prominent trailblazers of the modern era's improvising circuit such as Ken Vandermark, Ben Goldberg, Ned Rothenberg and others of note. The performers' inner-workings are implanted within a holistic ...

Album Review

Klang: Tea Music

Read "Tea Music" reviewed by Lyn Horton

Four musicians from Chicago, led by clarinetist James Falzone, call themselves Klang, which is the German word for “sound." But Klang's debut, Tea Music, projects more than just sound; it goes deeper than that. The music is a re-examination of Jimmy Giuffre's combination of vibes and clarinet in his late-1950s ensembles. Bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy join vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz and Falzone to create an album that alternates between fast and moderate rhythms; and haunting and colorful tunes. ...

Album Review

Klang: Tea Music

Read "Tea Music" reviewed by Troy Collins

Formed in 2006 for a now defunct improvised music series, Klang has since become one of Chicago-based clarinetist James Falzone's primary working groups. An update of the swing era clarinet and vibes combination popularized by Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton, the quartet (which features vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Tim Daisy) taps into some of Falzone's fondest indulgences on their studio debut, Tea Music, including a series of compositions inspired by clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre's 1950s-era small combo ...

Album Review

James Falzone / Klang: Tea Music

Read "Tea Music" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The much-admired 1950s work of clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre is the inspiration for James Falzone's quartet, known as Klang. But like most things emanating from the insular world of Chicago jazz, the signature is never forged.

Falzone, a clarinetist, has explored many musical forms, from classical and chamber music to French folk and jazz. He has played with Jorrit Dijkstra's Flatlands Collective and collaborated with Steve Lacy, Joe Maneri, and Fred Lonberg-Holm. Klang formed in 2006 when Falzone and ...

Album Review

James Falzone / Jason Adasiewicz / Jason Roebke: Klang

Read "Klang" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Dudley Bayne's fledgling Luminescence label was formed to capture moments in time that may never repeat again. The pianist found the Chicago scene a whirlwind of activity, with soon-to-be famous musicians forming multiple groups, and he began recording their shows. His Luminescence Live releases are a series of limited edition discs documenting some very creative music making.

Klang, recorded in 2007, is a quartet begun by Falzone that favors a modern chamber jazz sound. The reeedman--heard here on ...

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The Jazz Session #213: James Falzone

The Jazz Session #213: James Falzone

Source: AAJ Staff



James Falzone's Allos Musica to Release Lamentations (Allos Documents) November 2nd

James Falzone's Allos Musica to Release Lamentations (Allos Documents) November 2nd

Source: Improvised Communications

On November 2nd, Chicago-based clarinetist/composer James Falzone, and the four year-old trio version of his longstanding Allos Musica ensemble, will release their debut recording, Lamentations (Allos Documents). The group, which has performed at creative music venues all around Chicago and will serve as ensemble-in-residence for the MOMENTA dance company in November, features oud player/vocalist Ronnie Malley and hand drummer/percussionist Tim Mulvenna. Its music is a mix of Falzone's original compositions and collective improvisations inspired by Arabic musical forms such as ...


Performance / Tour

James Falzone to Celebrate New CD with Back-to-Back May Concerts in Chicago

James Falzone to Celebrate New CD with Back-to-Back May Concerts in Chicago

Source: Improvised Communications

Clarinetist/composer James Falzone will perform back-to-back Chicago concerts in early May to celebrate the release of his new CD, The Sign And The Thing Signified (Allos Documents). Falzone, a Chicago native, will perform with his seven-piece ensemble, Allos Musica, at the Ossia Performance Space on May 5th at 8:00 p.m. and The Hungry Brain (presented by Umbrella Music) on May 6th at 10:00 p.m. Both concerts will feature Amy Cimini (viola), Katherine Young (bassoon), Karen Davis (cello), Krzysztof Pabian (bass), ...



Clarinetist/Composer James Falzone to Release New CD in April

Clarinetist/Composer  James Falzone to Release New CD in April

Source: Improvised Communications

On April 17th, Chicago-based clarinetist/composer James Falzone will release his second CD, The Sign and the Thing Signified (Allos Documents 002), an eclectic collection of new compositions written for his six piece Allos Musica ensemble. The recording takes its name from Falzone's longstanding interest in semiotics (the study of signs and symbols) and features bassoonist Katherine Young, violist Amy Cimini, cellist Kevin Davis, bassist Brian Dibblee and drummer/percussionist Tim Mulvenna. Inspired by the otherwise disparate musical legacies of figures such ...

"The only way to sum up the style of Chicago clarinetist and composer James Falzone is to say that it can’t be done. Falzone is an inveterate genre-crosser, and though he squawks and swoops with some of the city’s best free improvisers, it’s his fluency in classical and ethnic European cultures that set him apart...an already important Chicago voice..."
--Matthew Lurie, Time Out Chicago

"...[Falzone] weaves music from threads of classical and jazz, and colors it with Middle Eastern filligree. His playing is technically unassailable, his deployment of a bassoon and three strings within his sextet impressively intricate, and the tripartite title piece summons some lovely textures."
--Bill Meyer, DownBeat

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Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

The Room Is

Allos Documents


Cicada Music

Delmark Records


Sighs Too Deep For...

Warner Bros. Records



Luminescence Records


Tea Music



The Sign and the...




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