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George Schuller's Circle Wide: Listen Both Ways

Read "Listen Both Ways" reviewed by Troy Collins

Listen Both Ways is the first studio recording by drummer George Schuller's longstanding Circle Wide quintet to concentrate primarily on his original compositions. The group's previous Playscape releases, 2003's Round 'Bout Now and 2008's Like Before, Somewhat After, paid homage to the seminal efforts of famous post-war bandleaders--trumpeter Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet on the former and pianist Keith Jarrett's American Quartet on the latter.Six of the album's eight tunes are staples of the unit's live sets, with ...

INTERVIEWS

George Schuller: Like Before, But Fresh

Read "George Schuller:  Like Before, But Fresh" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke

Throughout musical history, the influences of substantial artists, recorded works, or certain epochal periods, have their effect on contemporaries and ensuing generations. For those that make music, it shows up in their playing or composing. Tracking those influences, whether well-known sources or those under the radar, is not as important as the end result of an individual's statement.

Forward-thinking artists can find inventive ways of incorporating influences into personal statements. That's what Brooklyn-based drummer George Schuller ...

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George Schuller's Circle Wide: Like Before, Somewhat After

Read "Like Before, Somewhat After" reviewed by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

This writer's familiarity with the physical concept known as dewpoint is as extensive as can be expected from someone who spent much of her science classes with a literary magazine hidden underneath her notebook. “Dewpoint," the appropriately titled opening track of the sophomore release of George Schuller's Circle Wide, is perhaps as elucidating as any semester-long course in conveying what it means to reaching a threshold of precise saturation, neither failing to live up to the bar set high nor ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

George Schuller's Circle Wide: Like Before, Somewhat After

Read "Like Before, Somewhat After" reviewed by Nic Jones

"Dewpoint," the appropriately titled opening track of Like Before, Somewhat After, the sophomore release of George Schuller's work with Circle Wide, is perhaps as elucidating as any semester-long course in conveying what it means to reaching a threshold of precise saturation, neither failing to live up to the bar set high nor causing discomfort by reaching too high and producing a work of pretentious chaos.

“Dewpoint" is one of two original tracks on the record, the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

George Schuller's Circle Wide: Like Before, Somewhat After

Read "Like Before, Somewhat After" reviewed by John Sharpe

It's now some thirty-one years since the demise of Keith Jarrett's “American Quartet," uniting Ornette Coleman alumni Dewey Redman and Charlie Haden with former Bill Evans drummer Paul Motian. That group's masterpiece and effective swansong was Survivors' Suite (ECM, 1976), and so it is fitting that two sections are reprised on drummer/composer George Schuller's affectionate tribute to the band, alongside four other Jarret pieces and two originals.

It takes both the vibes of Tom Beckham and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

George Schuller's Circle Wide: Like Before, Somewhat After

Read "Like Before, Somewhat After" reviewed by John Kelman

Despite Keith Jarrett's ongoing success as a solo improviser and standards interpreter, many bemoan his decision to stop writing in the mid-1970s. Improvisation may be spontaneous composition but, with his 1970s American and Scandinavian Quartets, the pianist created a songbook that remains influential to this day. George Schuller's Round 'Bout Now (Playscape, 2004) was a thoroughly personal tribute to Miles Davis' transitional period of 1967-1969. Returning with Circle Wide for Like Before, Somewhat After, the drummer fashions an equally distinctive ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

George Schuller's Circle Wide: Like Before, Somewhat After

Read "Like Before, Somewhat After" reviewed by Troy Collins

On Like Before, Somewhat After, drummer George Schuller reconvenes his group Circle Wide, last heard on its 2003 Playscape debut Round 'Bout Now, a tribute to the pre-fusion electro-acoustic work of Miles Davis. Once again tapping the 1970s for inspiration, Schuller delves into the discography of pianist Keith Jarrett's classic American Quartet, which featured Dewey Redman (reeds), Charlie Haden (bass) and Paul Motian (drums).

Criminally underrated, Jarrett's American Quartet embraced the diversity of its time, seamlessly blending numerous ...

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George Schuller: Jigsaw

Read "Jigsaw" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

George Schuller has moved from the basic quartet of his band The Schulldogs to fashion music for a conglomerate that moves from a quintet to a septet for this record. While the extra horns bring in a greater depth and extension, the addition of strings lends a serene presence. Together they add to the lure, and the call.

Schuller says that he had violinist Mark Feldman in mind for the three-part suite called “Tense." It is apparent why. ...

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George Schuller: JigSaw

Read "JigSaw" reviewed by Ty Cumbie

If the opening violin/trombone duo (Mark Feldman and Curtis Hasselbring, who also plays guitar on the session) momentarily reveals a strong vein of new classical influence, the ensuing drum/bass vamp, topped with a spirited trumpet solo (I would bet money Dave Ballou made some funky physical movements delivering it) dispels any fear of being subjected to a large dose of snooty chamber music. The piece evolves, leading to a passage with drawn out polyphonic lines, then a solo free-for-all over ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

George Schuller: JigSaw

Read "JigSaw" reviewed by John Kelman

As an extension of his Schulldogs project, JigSaw finds drummer/composer George Schuller following somewhat in the third stream path of his father Gunther. With a group of players who double on so many instruments in order to provide a broad complexion of textures, Schuller comfortably blends free improvisation, new music and a surprising sense of swing for a recording that succeeds on many fronts.

While he plays on a little over half of the recording, the presence of violinist Mark ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

George Schuller: 'Round 'Bout Now

Read "'Round 'Bout Now" reviewed by Florence Wetzel

Round ‘bout Now is the recording debut of the George Schuller Quintet, a group that has played steadily in New York for the past four years. From its title to its aesthetic, the CD is inspired by Miles Davis, particularly his fertile pre-fusion period in the late ‘60s. But although Davis is the reference point, this group of talented musicians makes the material their own, using the master to find their own mastery. Of the eight songs, ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

George Schuller: Round 'Bout Now

Read "Round 'Bout Now" reviewed by John Kelman

While revisiting of the electric work of Miles Davis has become somewhat commonplace these days, the transitional period between his second quintet of the 1960s and the explosion that would be Bitches Brew has received less attention than it deserves. With Round 'Bout Now the George Schuller Quintet, formerly known as Chump Change, makes its recording debut with an album that pays tribute to such albums as Circle in the Round, Filles de Kilimanjaro, and In a Silent Way.

Although ...


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