Premonition Records Releases New Album from Bassist/Composer Drew Gress


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Premonition Records Releases New Album, The Irrational Numbers, From Bassist/Composer Drew Gress

Third Gress Album for Premonition
In Stores February 19, 2008

Premonition Records is proud to announce the release of The Irrational Numbers, by bassist/composer Drew Gress. With The Irrational Numbers, his third for Premonition, Gress adds another stellar album to his already impressive discography of smart and uncompromising modern jazz. The album features the same core group of players who appeared on Gress' previous Premonition album, the critically acclaimed 7 Black Butterflies including Tim Berne on alto saxophone, Tom Rainey on drums, Craig Taborn on piano, Ralph Alessi on trumpet along with Gress on bass and electronics. The Irrational Numbers has a release date of February 19, 2008.

With The Irrational Numbers, Gress continues to develop a rare alchemy in jazz: the seamless merging of a disciplined harmonic and melodic structuralism with freewheeling and open-ended improvisations. Previous efforts have emphasized the blowing, after all, this is a group of musicians who can, and will, play anything. With The Irrational Numbers, however, Gress leans more on the compositions and on his own emphatic bass playing (there are six Gress solos on the album).

“This Irrational Numbers is the next chapter in this band's evolution, which hopefully benefits from a little intelligent design," says Gress. “We've toured throughout the world in the two years since 7 Black Butterflies and I think we've developed a personal language and way of improvising that is ever changing, and rapidly so. I really dig this inside/out take we seem to have on the traditional Dixieland mode of simultaneous improv that is creating some wild energy on stage. Tim and Ralph have a super-conversational way of playing together and when Craig jumps in on that it sounds like Jelly Roll Subotnik has joined the party. This vibe is what “Blackbird Backtalk" is built upon, as is much of “Fauxjobim."

“As for the writing, I've been intensely focused on blurring the lines between composition and improvisation, on engaging the listener's subconscious by bringing motivic unity into play throughout the album, searching for fabric to bind the pieces together as a unified whole," says Gress. “The listener will hear things early in the record that reappear much later. I guess that amounts to a cinematic approach. My goal is to achieve that sense of improvisational inevitability, without the listener's conscious awareness. Irrational? You tell me."

The album adds 10 new Gress compositions to his already sizable canon of works. Among these, the standouts include, “Chevelle," a long form piece with angular harmonies, a post-surf groove and plenty of blowing, “By Far," spotlighting David Torn's uniquely beautiful production, and “True South," which closes the album with a haunting solo electronic instrument built specifically for Gress.

To sum up, Gress says, “I'd like to call special attention to the endings of each piece, which are a fascinating part of the listening for me. They highlight the fact that this is a band with a composer's mind and an improviser's heart. And, of course, there is David Torn's amazing ability to envelope the music in a hypermodern supersonic space that gives these new sounds a true home. He is the most knowing of individuals."

What They're Saying about Drew Gress:

“The new high-speed motorboat of the contrebasse." --Le Monde

“Gress' compositional voice has grown stronger, more distinctive, and appealingly weirder. The band's unity of purpose (and chops) are jaw-dropping." --Signal to Noise

“Anyone losing sleep over whether jazz is going anywhere these days should listen to this superb American quintet, in which Berne and Gress were joined by rising young pianist Craig Taborn, trumpet phenom Ralph Alessi, and drummer Tom Rainey, a virtuoso accompanist who maintains irresistible free-bop grooves without ever seeming to play the same pattern twice. Together the band provide dazzling reassurances, as they play characteristic jazz phrasing but twist the tradition into uniquely contemporary shapes." --John Fordham, The Guardian, UK

This story appears courtesy of Jason Byrne, Red Cat Publicity.
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