Chris Speed is a composer, clarinetist and saxophonist living in Brooklyn, NY. His bands include Human Feel, yeah NO, Trio Iffy , Pachora and The Clarinets. He is a member of Jim Black’s Alas No Axis and John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet.
Speed was born in Seattle in 1967 and graduated from the New England Conservatory in 1990. In 1992 he moved to NYC where he joined Tim Berne’s Bloodcount. Throughout the nineties Speed worked with many pioneering bands in the creative new music/downtown scene including the Dave Douglas Sextet, Myra Melford’s Same River Twice, Erik Freidlander’s Chimera, John Zorn’s Bar Kokhba and Mark Dresser’s trio with Anthony Coleman. During this time he also began pursuing his interest in East European folk music, forming Pachora in 1992, and traveling throughout Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Macedonia. Speed is considered one of the leading NYC musicians linking jazz and creative improvisation with Eastern European and Middle Eastern folk music. Currently, he works with Uri Caine’s Bach, Mahler, and Mozart projects, as well as Ben Perowsky’s quartet.
Chris was named the rising star clarinetist in Downbeat magazine for 2004 and 2005. In July 2004 he was the special guest at the Copenhagen International Jazz Festival, working with ten different cutting edge Danish groups. In April 2006, he launched Skirl Records, a label dedicated to Brooklyn based creative music.