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ALBUM REVIEWS

Chris Speed: Platinum on Tap

Read "Platinum on Tap" reviewed by Geannine Reid

Saxophonist Chris Speed releases an album in a chord-less trio format entitled, Platinum on Tap on Skirl Records, a label dedicated to Brooklyn based creative music, now with over thirty-one releases. Speed is known for skirting the boundaries between: jazz, rock, electronic, classical and improvised music and the music on this project is in alignment with that visionary concept. Speed, revered for his compositions and commendable technical faculties within in small, medium-size and large ensemble, joins forces with bassist Chris ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Chris Speed: Really OK

Read "Really OK" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Saxophonist, clarinetist, Chris Speed has been in the thick of things the past several decades. He's been a co-conspirator in trendsetting ensembles led by alto saxophonists, composers Tim Berne, John Zorn, and leading-edge outfits Claudia Quintet and Pachora amid a host of other noteworthy projects. Speed's prominence in the newer realm of jazz and jazz improvisation cannot be minimized. On Really OK he reenergizes his craft with a roots driven modern jazz trio presentation, featuring a mix of originals, a ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Endangered Blood: Endangered Blood

Read "Endangered Blood" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Endangered Blood formed in 2008, to play a benefit concert to help pay for fellow musician Andrew D'Angelo's medical bills. For the performance, drummer Jim Black and bassist Trevor Dunn--two of the saxophonist's band mates--enlisted saxophonists Chris Speed and Oscar Noriega. As happens so often in modern groups, familiar players in different combination produce compelling results.Black and Speed are both veterans of Tim Berne's vanguard band, Bloodcount, as well as Human Feel, Pachora, Yeah No and Alas No ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Three with Chris Speed/Skirl Records: Big Choantza; Smell The Difference; Esopus Opus

Read "Three with Chris Speed/Skirl Records: Big Choantza; Smell The Difference; Esopus Opus" reviewed by Sean Patrick Fitzell

The New Mellow Edwards Big Choantza Skirl Records 2009 Tyft Smell The Difference Skirl Records 2009 Ben Perowsky Quartet Esopus Opus Skirl Records 2009

Since founding Skirl Records in 2006, saxophonist Chris Speed still hasn't led a project for the label. But that hasn't diminished ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Chris Speed / Chris Cheek / Stephane Furic Leibovici: Jugendstil

Read "Jugendstil" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Double-bassist Stephane Furic Leibovici avers that he likes to be gentle with sounds and to listen to the inside of them. He is true to this philosophy on Jugendstil, where he finds solace in the quiet and the meditative; getting inspiration from classical and chamber music and using them to the full in his writing.

One of the traits of the music is the subtle changes woven into the context. The credit for this goes largely to clarinetist ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Chris Speed / Chris Cheek / Stephane Furic Leibovici: Jugendstil

Read "Jugendstil" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose

Everything about this extraordinary album, Jugendstil, is deliberate and attains its own level of perfection. To begin with, there is its name: The word Jugendstil (German for “youth style," akin to the French “art nouveau" movement of the late nineteenth century) is so apt, considering that it defines the music contained in this record. For instance just as that art movement was typified by highly stylized and curvilinear forms, so also is the music on this record. Here, the aural ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Chris Speed: Playing For The Team

Read "Chris Speed: Playing For The Team" reviewed by Tom Greenland

Human Feel Galore Skirl 2007

Chris Speed has been perking up audience ears since the early 1990s, when he and a talented coterie of Boston music students descended on Manhattan to test their mettle in the downtown scene. One of the important outgrowths of this camaraderie was Human Feel, a quartet (originally a quintet) with Speed, Andrew D'Angelo (alto saxophone, bass clarinet), Jim Black (drums) and Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar).

Although ...

LIVE FROM PHILADELPHIA

Skirl Records Visits Philadelphia

Read "Skirl Records Visits Philadelphia" reviewed by Edward Zucker

We are in a period when more and more people download their music via the internet; important retailers such as Tower Records are shutting their doors; and blank CDs outsold pre-recorded CDs last year. Yet, Chris Speed--a multi-instrumentalist and longtime member of New York's downtown scene--has undertaken the Herculean task of starting an independent record label with the launch of Skirl Records. On December 15, 2006, Speed and several bands on his label came to Philadelphia for a ...

INTERVIEWS

An AAJ Interview with Chris Speed

Read "An AAJ Interview with Chris Speed" reviewed by AAJ Staff

In an effort to avoid having their work artistically typecast, many musicians have chosen to incorporate a variety of styles into their own vernacular. Although this frequently results in fascinating results, there are several distinct challenges and problems with the eclectic approach.

The first is simply that of failing to convince, perhaps better stated as a lack of credibility, a sort of musical equivalent to “hey, look at me, I can do that too!" or worse “you want that? We ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Chris Speed's Yeah NO: Swell Henry

Read "Swell Henry" reviewed by Eyal Hareuveni

Four years have passed since the last release by Chris Speed's Yeah NO quartet, Emit (Songlines, 2000). Speed has been busy in those years as a key player in the ensembles of Uri Caine, Dave Douglas, Myra Melford, Matt Moran and John Hollenbeck. He toured and played with three collaborative bands with overlapping personnel--the Balkan-tinged quartet Pachora, with his own Yeah NO players, electric bassist Skuli Sverrisson, drummer Jim Black, and guitarist Brad Shepik; Jim Black's AlasNoAxis, with Sverrisson and ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Chris Speed: Emit

Read "Emit" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

With his fourth solo CD, saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Speed continues his distinct assault on modern jazz as Emit may in fact represent the artist’s finest achievement as a leader thus far. Along with three of his longtime band mates from the peppery Balkan based band, “Pachora”, Speed and trumpeter Cuong Vu make for an auspicious front line horn section in concert with the all world rhythmic pairing of bassist Skuli Sverrisson and drummer Jim Black.

Basically there’s not one track to ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Chris Speed: Emit

Read "Emit" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

With his fourth solo CD, saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Speed continues his distinct assault on modern jazz as Emit may in fact represent the artist’s finest achievement as a leader thus far. Along with three of his longtime band mates from the peppery Balkan based band, “Pachora”, Speed and trumpeter Cuong Vu make for an auspicious front line horn section in concert with the all world rhythmic pairing of bassist Skuli Sverrisson and drummer Jim Black.

Basically there’s not one track to ...


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