Perhaps no combination of instrument and style carries the predictability of the free jazz tenor saxophone and it's to Stephen Gauci's abiding credit that he manages both to embody a tradition and refresh it at every turn. The over-the-top blowout is, of course, part of Gauci's vocabulary. Eventually it will all show up: mystical yipping onslaughts, Pharoah-esque polyphonic bursts, the Ayler birth wail, the split-tones and multiphonicseverything that's made the tenor the expressionist's instrument of choice. But it's all deployed with the subtlest and most supple intelligence and there are contrasts that can startle.
Gauci makes effective use of the short heads he's fabricated here, using composition to delineate emotional zones clearly, areas of tonal concentration and rhythmic impetus, creating variety and depth at every turn and hinting at internalized voices from shakuhachi to swing. Sonny Rollins was likely part of Gauci's stylistic formation and he can build a solo out of well-placed and varied micro-figures, whether in compound dialogues with his partnersbassist Mike Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen, or traveling his own path through the surging rhythmic fields. It's often his introspective side that's most arresting. On "One That Got Away," Gauci lowers his volume almost to silence, using it to build drama and assemble meaning. The beautiful "Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness" feels both impassioned and somehow suppressed.
His sound is highly personal and flexible, at times a kind of twisted cry, an intense, warbling, yet muffled sound that carries as much feeling as any sound might. Along with his previous CIMP CDs and his 2007 Clean Feed date Nididhyasana, Substratum confirms that Gauci is among the most significant tenor saxophonists to emerge in recent years.
Track Listing: Threshold; Waking Down; Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness; Startling Suchness; This Cannot Be Lost; Song of Sundaram; Substratum; One That Got Away; When My Day Comes; The Dead Can Only Live; Here and Now.
Personnel: Stephen Gauci: tenor saxophone; Michael Bisio: bass; Jay Rosen: drums.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.