Creative, fresh, continuously surprising - this is the first album I've bought that is not straight-ahead jazz. Nachoff has won me over with brilliant writing, brilliant musicianship, and evocative arrangements. Just when a solo seems to have completed its exploration of a musical statement, for one example, the low sonorities of a beautiful synth line jump in to add gorgeous texture and to take the musical idea into fascinating territory. Bravo!
1924 Kimball Theatre Organ
On Toy Piano Meditation:
marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, crotales, Tibetan singing bowls
On March Macabre:
baritone saxophone, bass clarinet
Dan Urness, Matt Holman
trombone, bass trombone
Buchla 200E analog modular system, EMS Synthi 100 analog/digital hybrid synthesizer, Arp Chroma (Rhodes) analog synthesizer, clavioline, Oberheim SEM, modular Moog
The National Music Centre
November 11, 12 & 13, 2016
David Travers-Smith – Recording Engineer
Jason Tawkin – Assistant Engineer
Thanks also to John Leimseider,
Jason Valleau and Adam Fox;
JazzYYC and Kodi Hutchinson
Systems Two Recording Studios,
Brooklyn, New York
December 19, 2016
September 8 & 9, 2017
Mike Marciano – Recording Engineer
Andrew Cavaciuti – Assistant Engineer
Thanks also to Nancy Marciano
Figure 8 Recording Studios,
Brooklyn, New York
September 9, 2017
David Travers-Smith – Recording Engineer
Nate Mendelsohn – Assistant Engineer
Thanks also to Michael Coleman
David Travers-Smith and Quinsin Nachoff
Executive Producer: Michael Janisch
Edited, Mixed and Mastered at
Artwork, Design and Layout: Kate Gentile
All compositions by Quinsin Nachoff (SOCAN)
released February 8, 2019
ABOUT THE ALBUM
Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux communicates an extraordinarily colorful palette of conceptual reasoning and musical expression in the effulgent new release, Path of Totality. Working with saxophonist David Binney, pianist/keyboardist Matt Mitchell, drummers Kenny Wollesen and Nate Wood, plus a clutch of guest artists, saxophonist/composer Nachoff’s overarching inspiration arose from the moon’s total eclipse of the sun in 2017. That event became a dramatic, natural metaphor for the band’s evolutionary creative process, plus a reminder (especially amidst current political and environmental discord) of light’s assured emanation from and triumph over transitory darkness.
The Toronto-born, New York-based saxophonist devises this project’s music as metamorphic narratives, hence the breadth of these six mainly larger-scale works. “I’ve been focusing, back and forth, on the jazz and classical worlds, especially over the last five years”, he explains. “I was featured in the première of my saxophone concerto at the 2017 Vancouver International Jazz Festival, so my thinking has taken on a larger scope, which allows more time for compositional development and the weaving-in of improvisational aspects.”
Nachoff’s acoustic-based compositions each begin from a clear-cut kernel of an idea, with their own set of parameters, which are then developed into stories of differing landscapes, all crafted from the ground up for these specific players to interpret and improvise across. Underlying this cerebral artistry is his fascination with mathematical and scientific disciplines, as well as the formative experiences of a family upbringing which exposed him, first hand, to an array of 20th century electronic, avant-garde and minimalist music. Experimentalism is further bolstered by distinctive sonorities from the vast, living archive of keyboards and synthesizers at Canada’s National Music Centre (Nachoff was amongst its first artists in residence) and Kenny Wollesen’s ‘Wollesonics’, the drummer’s assemblage of unconventional, self-invented percussion instruments.
A progressive yet cyclical impetus in giant-stepping title track ‘Path of Totality’ is explored through thunderous, phased double-drum patterns and far-reaching saxophone figures; and ‘Bounce’ takes motivic ideas and rhythmic structures from a bouncing ball’s motion (studied through mathematical programmes), manipulating them to create elasticized environments, the two saxophonists’ extemporizations eventually narrowing against the full swell of a 1924 Kimball Theatre Organ.
Otherworldly ‘Toy Piano Meditation’, influenced by John Cage’s ‘Toy Piano Suite’ of 1948, transforms five-note melodies over time; and its slow, Gamelan-hued growth reflects Cage’s interest in Eastern philosophy and obsession with mushrooms. Here, Nachoff describes David Binney’s transcendental coda/cadenza as “one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard.” Kenny Wollesen’s totalitarian-suggestive ‘march machine’ threads through ‘March Macabre’, an ominous, big-band-scored political commentary of unrest and disarray, its regimented angst finally broken by the freedom of Orlando Hernández’s intricate tap dance.
Harpsichord and Novachord pointillism, coupled with gurgling modular synth and mesmerizing drumming, underpin Nachoff’s and Binney’s dazzling saxophone extemporizations in ferocious ‘Splatter’; and portraying intersecting planetary pathways, the double drums and saxes of ‘Orbital Resonances’ vociferously rotate around Matt Mitchell’s central piano focus towards a tumultuous crescendo.
As you immerse yourself in its narrative, on whatever level you connect with its story, Path of Totality's artistic journey continues to intrigue, fascinate and enthrall.
“Path of Totality is a stunning, deep dive of an album, the sort of music in which one could spend hours submersed.”
★★★★1/2 DownBeat Magazine
"An imaginative and ground breaking suite of compositions... Complex music that requires and demands multiple replays, the better to understand and appreciate the extent of its many nuances... it certainly merits it."
★★★★1/2 All About Jazz
"A very rewarding listen."
★★★★ Jazzwise Magazine
"This sonic adventure is a form of alchemy, a magical science beyond explanation... Quinsin Nachoff continues to mature as a composer, musician, and arranger."
"This album abounds with appealing ideas, both textural and improvisational, as well as gripping tension, which is rarely abandoned. A group showing a phenomenal facility in blazing undiscovered sonic paths."
"There are moments of great beauty in this music which goes beyond all the boundaries of conventional forms. Experimental styles are the norm, borders are freely crossed, arts and sciences, astronomy and physics provide the inspirations for these extraordinary, thought-provoking compositions and solos."
Bebop Spoken Here
“Quinsin Nachoff dares, assumes and thus demonstrates a great mastery of his art.”
“A wild and thunderously exciting tour de force.”
★★★★ Concerto Magazine
“One of the most stunning projects to see the light of day thus far in 2019.”
Best of Bandcamp
“The whole album is characterized by a continuous ‘freedom’, cosmic... Power music.”
“A distinctive recording, put together with great attention to form and detail — and performed with enormous skill.”
The Arts Fuse
“Transcending pigeon-holing and expectations but drawing on an ever-expanding series of diverse influences.”
Downtown Music Gallery
“Profoundly heavy music with a staggering amount of commitment behind it, evident from the complex compositions, arrangements, and playing... Bravo!”
In on the Corner
“Cutting edge jazz/instrumental music that feels it's way through a round of nostalgia by playing vintage electro-acoustic instruments.”
“Sets into musical language the album’s commitment to understanding of scientific truths.”
“A stunning collection of pieces that run the gamut from free jazz to experimental interactions and beyond.”
“A really excellent album.”
“A stunning, rich, diverse journey through colours, rhythms and atmospheres... Inspired.”
"The trio is loose without being casual, at once taut and free, and the consistent quality of detailed interplay and invention brings Nachoff's forceful, inventive tenor playing to the fore. It may be his most satisfying recording to date."
"The three bandmates push forward while weaving in and out of one another's paths."
"There’s no doubting its excellence on both a compositional and performance level. A remarkable achievement from all concerned.
★★★★ UK Vibe
"If 'Path of Totality' is the moon, this music brings the listener close enough to reach out and touch it. That’s no small thing. In fact, it might be everything."
Bird is the Worm