Ingrid Laubrock & Tom Rainey: Stir Crazy

Chris May By

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Ingrid Laubrock & Tom Rainey: Stir Crazy
The spring-going-on-summer 2020 cancellation of live performances has hit jazz fans hard and it has hit musicians even harder, denying them their main source of income. Nonetheless, the response of many players has been selfless, making available morale-boosting livestream performances, most of which it is possible to watch for free, sometimes with the option of giving a donation via a tip box.

Brooklyn-based saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey have had an equally generous and timely idea: a series of newly made home-recordings going under the generic title Stir Crazy, which you can obtain for free through Bandcamp. So far, the duo have released four episodes. You can find the first three here and the fourth here. The plan is to carry on releasing episodes at roughly one-week intervals.

The initiative is, says Laubrock, helping she and Rainey keep sane while also staying in touch with fans who are avid concert goers and who the duo miss playing for. Whenever they do get donations, Laubrock and Rainey give 50% or more to charities dealing with the health crisis and do a little grocery shopping with the rest.

As a duo, Laubrock and Rainey are as deep and as engaging as that other exceptional saxophone and drums partnership featuring Binker Golding and Moses Boyd, joint auteurs of London's we-out-here alternative jazz scene. The Stir Crazy recordings were made with a Zoom handheld device, so, as Laubrock points out, they are not of audiophile quality but they are honest and heartfelt musically—and as has ever been the case, it is what is in the grooves that counts.

Laubrock and Rainey are modern masters with a lengthy history of playing together and, as you might anticipate, Stir Crazy offers music of rare and profoundly symbiotic beauty. Hearing musicians playing together with such extraordinary rapport is always uplifting, and it has probably never been more so than in April 2020. The series is a promise of the pleasures to come when public performances resume. Meanwhile, it is great medicine for the heart and soul.

Track Listing

Stir Crazy Episode 1; Episode 2; Episode 3; Episode 4.


Ingrid Laubrock: saxophone; Tom Rainey: drums.

Album information

Title: Stir Crazy | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Self Produced

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