by Paul Olson
Reedsman Tom Christensen's third and newest CD, New York School, may be the best jazz album of the year, but he hasn't appeared out of nowhere; his years of sidework--for example, with the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra--and his two previous albums under his own name have steadily impressed people in the jazz world, converting them to his multi-instrumental virtuosity (he plays tenor and soprano sax, oboe, English horn and various flutes and clarinets, all well) and his unique and austere ...read more
by AAJ Staff
Modern jazz sometimes seems a bit schizophrenic, caught between the extremes of intellectual abstraction and spiritual seeking, and the more ambitious sort often fails because it can't find intuitive connections between the two. Horn multi-instrumentalist Tom Christensen's third release in six years is a pleasure from start to finish because it manages to simultaneously embrace thought and emotion, interweaving the two in constantly evolving, often unpredictable ways. Christensen is joined by percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, a veteran of his two previous ...read more
by Jerry D'Souza
Art begets art. Tom Christensen composed the music for this record based on the work of a group of poets and painters from the fifties and sixties known as the New York School. Frank O'Hara wrote some of his poems inspired by the paintings of Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, and Grace Hartigan. In turn, some of their paintings were inspired by his poems. Christensen used not only these collaborations, but also a poem or painting as a reference point. And ...read more
by John Kelman
While woodwind multi-instrumentalist Tom Christensen has been making his presence known on the New York scene over the past decade, recording with artists including Joe Lovano, David Sanchez, and Toshiko Akiyoshi, he's been slowly, almost insidiously, emerging as a composer of remarkable depth and invention. His latest release, New York School, is one of those very rare recordings that manages to create its own musical universe. It's almost impossible to take this stunning disc out of the player.
Recordings that ...read more
by Mark Corroto
Like his previous release Gualala (Naxos 2000) where he plays a jazz oboe, multi-reedist Tom Christensen adds the French horn to his piano-less quartet on Paths. But this band's second outing with wood flutes, bass flutes, clarinets and hand drumming is not about eccentricity.
Christensen and company are all about making beautifully accessible yet adventurous music. Just as bassist Ben Allison has been doing in his own groups, Christensen expands the definition of jazz from a small group ...read more
by Steve Armour
Despite the almost thirty-five year absence of a dominant figure, jazz is still evolving. While the big institutions of jazz sniff along after retro trends and media darlings, small labels, small clubs and individually minded musicians are developing the music separate from any clear mainstream. The results of this Balkanization of jazz have been uneven, but now and then a recording surfaces to remind you that the direction is still forward. Gualala, the debut CD from New York multi-instrumentalist Tom ...read more
by C. Michael Bailey
Two Tenors, Sopranos, and Clarinets.
This disc is almost entirely a modal improvisation. Each piece, saving one or two, is built on a single scale, propelled by a single bass figure. It reminds me of a highbrow John Lee Hooker. Boom, Boom, Boom Boom. Tom Christensen, the erstwhile leader of this merry band is a multi-reedist and brass player who uses this ensemble and opportunity to air out is considerable talent. He is joined by fellow Eastman collegue Charles Pillow, ...read more