Wayne Horvitz


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No Place Fast (Theatre For your Mother, 1979) *
Cascando: Two Radio Pieces (Theatre For your Mother, 1979)
Simple Facts (Theatre For your Mother, 1981) *
Some Order Long Understood (Black Saint, 1983) *
Dinner At Eight (Dossier, 1986) **
President (Dossier, 1987) **
This New Generation (Elektra, 1987) antologia
Nine Below Zero (Sound Aspects, 1987) **
Todos Santos (Sound Aspects, 1988) **
President: Bring Yr Camera (Nonesuch, 1989) ****
New York Composers Orchestra (New World, 1990) ***
NYCO: First Program in Standard Time (1992), 6/10
Pigpen: V As In Victim (Avant, 1994), 6.5/10
Pigpen: Miss Ann (Tim/Kerr, 1995), 6/10
Pigpen: Live In Poland (Cavity Search, 1996), 5/10
Pigpen: Daylight (Tim/Kerr, 1998), 6/10
President: Miracle Mile (1992), 7/10
Zony Mash: Cold Spell (Knitting Factory, 1997), 5.5/10
Zony Mash: Brand Spankin' New (Knitting Factory, 1998), 6.5/10
Zony Mash: Upper Egypt (Knitting Factory, 2000), 5/10
Zony Mash: American Bandstand (Songlines, 2000), 6/10
Zony Mash: Live In Seattle (Liquid City, 2002), 5/10
4+1 Ensemble: 4+1 Ensemble (Intuition, 1998) , 6/10
4+1 Ensemble: From a Window (Avant, 2001), 6.5/10
Monologue (Cavity Search, 1997), 6/10
Ponga: Ponga (Loosegroove, 1998), 5/10
Ponga: Psychological (P-vine, 2000), 5/10
Sweeter Than the Day (Songlines, 2002), 6/10
Film Music 1998-2001 (Tzadik, 2002), 5/10
Joe Hill (2007), 6/10
A Walk in the Dark (2008), 5/10
Gravitas Quartet: Way Out East (2005), 6/10
Gravitas Quartet: One Dance Alone (2008), 6/10
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White keyboardist Wayne Horvitz (1955) was "the" composer of his generation.
While he was playing with John Zorn, Horvitz rehearsed his ideas about progressive chamber jazz with the four swinging suites of No Place Fast (june 1979), featuring both Horvitz and his wife Robin Holcomb on keyboards, plus percussion, saxophone and flute, the two radio pieces of Cascando (may 1979), namely Cascando for trumpet (Lesli Dalaba) and vocalists and Words And Music for trumpet, vocalists, contrabass and percussion, Simple Facts (may 1980), that featured Holcomb's first compositions, and the two lengthy suites for piano (Horvitz), cornet (Butch Morris) and bass (William Parker) of Some Order Long Understood (february 1982), Some Order Long Understood and especially Psalm.
After Dinner At Eight (september 1985), a post-fusion hodgepodge of funk, jazz, rock and ethnic music (with Horvitz on electronic keyboards and drum-machine, Elliott Sharp on guitars, Doug Wieselman on clarinet and tenor saxophone, Chris Brown on percussion), and a jazzier trio with cornet player Butch Morris and drummer Bobby Previte, Nine Below Zero (january 1986), in 1986 Horvitz and Holcomb the New York Composers' Orchestra to perform compositions for jazz orchestra, at a time when everybody else seemed more and more fascinated by freer and freer improvisation.
At the same time, Horvitz entertained an electric fusion band, the President, formed in 1985 with himself on electronic keyboards, Doug Wieselman on tenor saxophone, Elliot Sharp and Bill Frisell on guitars, David Hofstra on bass and Bobby Previte on drums, and basically a continuation of the trans-stylistic song-oriented program of Dinner At Eight. The President (1987), Bring Yr Camera (february 1988), with Dave Tronzo replacing Frisell, and Miracle Mile (1991), with Frisell and several new additions, took frequent detours into progressive rock, rhythm'n'blues and ethnic music.
The acoustic jazz career with the New York Composers Orchestra continued on a parallel track via New York Composers Orchestra (january 1990), featuring alto saxophone, flute, reeds (Wieselman, Marty Ehrlich) two trombones (including Ray Anderson's) two French horns, three trumpets (including Herb Robertson and Lesli Dalaba), two pianos (Holcomb and Horvitz) bass and drums (Previte), and via First Program in Standard Time (january 1992), by a less star-studded version of the orchestra (without Robertson, Dalaba, Previte).
A full-time member of John Zorn's Naked City, Horvitz Horvitz continued to explore other kinds of music with his own groups: sampled-laden progressive-rock with Pigpen, a quartet of alto saxophone, keyboards, bass (Fred Chalenor) and drums, as on V As In Victim (may 1993) and Miss Ann (december 1993); electronic dance music (funk, trip-hop, acid-jazz) with Zony Mash (keyboards, guitar, bass, drums) on Cold Spell (1997) and Brand Spankin' New (1998); eerie soundscapes for piano, violin (Eyvind Kang), trombone (Julian Priester) and electronic keyboards (Reggie Watts) with the 4+1 Ensemble on 4+1 Ensemble (1996) and its follow-up From a Window (august 2000); straight-forward funk-jazz jams with Ponga (a quartet with keyboardist Dave Palmer, drummer Bobby Previte and saxophonist "Skerik") on the live Ponga (1997); elegant chamber jazz with the Gravitas Quartet (trumpeter Ron Miles, cellist Peggy Lee, bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck) on Way Out East (august 2005).
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Wayne Horvitz (New York, 1955) rehearsed his ideas about progressive chamber jazz with the four swinging suites of No Place Fast (june 1979), featuring both Wayne Horvitz and his wife Robin Holcomb on keyboards, plus percussion, saxophone and flute, the two radio pieces of Cascando (may 1979 - Theatre For your Mother, 1979), namely Cascando for trumpet (Lesli Dalaba) and vocalists and Words And Music for trumpet, vocalists, contrabass and percussion, Simple Facts (may 1980 - Theatre For your Mother, 1981), that featured Holcomb's first compositions, and the two lengthy suites for piano (Horvitz), cornet (Butch Morris) and bass (William Parker) of Some Order Long Understood (february 1982 - Black Saint, 1983), Some Order Long Understood and especially Psalm, while he was playing with John Zorn.

In 1986, while everybody else seemed more and more fascinated by freer and freer improvisation, Horvitz and Holcomb the New York Composers' Orchestra to perform compositions for jazz orchestra.

L'album solista Dinner At Eight (september 1985 - Dossier, 1986) denotava gia` la passione per funk (These Hard Times), gamelan (Three Questions) e jazz-rock (Second Line).

Nel 1985 ha poi formato con un nugolo di avanguardisti newyorkesi (Bobby Previte, Elliot Sharp, Bill Frisell e David Hofstra) i President (Dossier, 1987), che in realta' assomigliano piu' a un complesso di rhythm'n'blues strumentale con influenze che vanno dal blues (Please Take That Train, sul primo album) a Miles Davis.

Bring Yr Camera (Nonesuch, 1989) e' il punto d'arrivo di questo stile rigorosamente ancorato al jazz, ma al tempo stesso contaminato da ogni sorta di forze centrifughe. La violenta ragnatela di distorsioni psichedeliche di Hearts Are Broken, il tenero e anemico lamento blues per glissando hendrixiani di Philip, l'incalzante ed esuberante fanfara "zappiana" di Ride The Wide Streets, l'ipnotica e orientaleggiante Andre's Mood con giochi di sax alla Peter Gordon (ma e' Doug Wieselman), puntano in direzione di una fusion jazz-rock che e' satura di riferimenti e citazioni, mentre i riverberi onirici delle tastiere e l'alto lamento di sax di Our Hands Of Water, i feedback maniacali di 3 Crows, oppure Wish The Childern Would Come On Home, incrocio fra musica cerimoniale giapponese e colonne sonore di Morricone, e soprattutto la marziale e sinistra suite A Bad Dream (dieci minuti), che volge in trance drammatica le clownerie orchestrali jazz inventate da Zappa, esplorano un limbo di suoni inarticolati che e' ormai al di fuori di qualsiasi convenzione del genere.

In parallelo Horvitz conduce una carriera piu' propriamente jazz in trio con Robert Previte alla batteria e Butch Morris alla cornetta: Nine Below Zero (Sound Aspects, 1987), con 3 Places in Suburban California e Nine Below Zero, e Todos Santos (questo secondo dedicato a composizioni di Holcomb) ne hanno segnalato la grande sensibilita' romantica, del tutto insolita nell'ambito della sperimentazione jazz.

Horvitz e' rimasto il piu' volutamente convenzionale degli sperimentatori newyorkesi. Rappresenta l'ala opposta a quella di Zorn: invece di decomporre la musica, Horvitz la "ricompone". E` al tempo stesso il piu' arditamente "rock" del nuovo jazz, capace di insinuare ovunque quei fraseggi sincopati che furono l'essenza del rhythm and blues di New Orleans.

During the 1990s, Wayne Horvitz founded a number of new-music ensembles: Pigpen, Ponga, the 4+1 Ensemble, Zony Mash.

At the same time Horvitz pursued an acoustic jazz career with the New York Composers Orchestra. The main compositions on New York Composers Orchestra (january 1990 - New World, 1990) were: Horvitz's nine-minute Prodigal Son Revisited (variations on a blues standard) and nine-minute requiem The House that Brings a Smile, Holcomb's eleven-minute fantasia Nightbirds - Open 24 Hours, and Ehrlich's eight-minute "chorale" After All. The orchestra featured: alto saxophone, flute, reeds (Wieselman, Marty Ehrlich) two trombones (including Ray Anderson's) two French horns, three trumpets (including Herb Robertson and Lesli Dalaba), two pianos (Holcomb and Horvitz) bass and drums (Previte).

A less star-studded version of the orchestra (without Robertson, Dalaba, Previte), recorded First Program in Standard Time (january 1992 - New World, 1992), featuring Holcomb's eleven-minute title-track, Lenny Pickett's ten-minute Dance Music for Composer Orchestra, Elliott Sharp's eight-minute Skew and Horvitz's nine-minute Paper Money and an eleven-minute composition by Anthony Braxton.

The President released Miracle Mile (Nonesuch, 1991), with a program entirely devoted to Horvitz's compositions: the almost gothic Yuba City, the puzzling Variations On A Theme by WC Handy, etc. Twisted rhythms and melodies, surreal electronics, and a unique way to produce cohesive songs from individualistic attitudes.

Pigpen was a quartet of sax, keyboards, bass and drums. The center of mass was actually Tonedogs' bassist Fred Chalenor. The single Kind Of Death (Cavity Search) and the EP Halfrack (Tim/Kerr, 1993) introduced the concept that was fully developed in V As In Victim (Avant, 1994): post-Soft Machine sampled-laden progressive-rock. The "groove" grew stronger (almost grunge) on Miss Ann (december 1993 - Tim/Kerr, 1995), Live In Poland (Cavity Search, 1996) and Daylight (april 1997 - Tim/Kerr, 1998).

Zony Mash (a keyboards-guitar quartet still featuring Chalenor on bass) veered towards electronic dance music on Cold Spell (Knitting Factory, 1997), even flirting with trip-hop and acid-jazz on the more electronic Brand Spankin' New (Knitting Factory, 1998) and on Upper Egypt (july 1999 - Knitting Factory, 2000). Timothy Young's guitar became more prominent on the acoustic American Bandstand (july 1999 - Songlines, 1999), Horvitz's first piano album in more than a decade, later reissued as Forever (Songlines, 2000), and Live In Seattle (Liquid City, 2002). While credited to Horvitz only, Sweeter Than the Day (january 2001 - Songlines, 2002) was, de facto, the continuation of American Bandstand, another acoustic setting with Timothy Young (electric guitar), Keith Lowe (accoustic bass) and Andy Roth (drums).

Horvitz's virtuoso skills are on display in his solo album Monologue (Cavity Search, 1997).

Downtown Lullaby (Depth Of Field, 1998) was a collaboration with Elliott Sharp, John Zorn and Bobby Previte.

Eerie soundscapes dominate 4+1 Ensemble (Intuition, 1998) and its follow-up From a Window (august 2000 - Avant, 2001), orchestrated for piano, violin/viola (Eyvind Kang), trombone, drum-machine, electronics.

Ponga is a quartet of four bandleaders: keyboardists Dave Palmer and Wayne Horvitz, drummer Bobby Previte, and saxophonist Skerik. They released Ponga (Loosegroove, 1998) and Psychological (P-vine, 2000), which offer straightforward funk-jazz jams.

Film Music 1998-2001 (Tzadik, 2002) collects six pieces for a variety of ensembles.

Solos (Songlines, 2005) is a collaboration with Robin Holcomb. The title is due to the fact that each piece is a solo piano composition, alternatively by one or the other.

The Gravitas Quartet (trumpeter Ron Miles, cellist Peggy Lee, bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck) debuted with Way Out East (august 2005), followed by One Dance Alone (2008), one of the most intriguing takes on chamber jazz music.

Intersection Poems (march 2003) documents a live jam with trumpeter Bill Clark, guitarist Ron Samworth, cellist Peggy Lee, drummer Dylan van der Schyff (basically, the Vancouver-based free-jazz collective Talking Pictures).

Joe Hill (premiered in october 2004 and first recorded in 2007) was a monumental oratorio for a 30-piece chamber orchestra, three vocalists and soloist Bill Frisell, dedicated to a martyred labor leader. The bombastic music was a hybrid of classical music, big-band jazz and Broadway musicals.

A Walk in the Dark (2008), credited to Wayne Horvitz and Sweeter Than the Day, an acoustic quartet (Tim Young on guitar, Keith Lowe on bass and Eric Eagle on drums) reminiscent of West Coast's cool jazz. This was their second studio recording after their 2002 debut.

Wayne Horvitz's Royal Room Collective Music Ensemble, the big band that he formed in 2012, was first documented on the live At The Reception (april 2013).

Wish The Children Would Come On Home (august 2013) contains 16 impressionistic pieces.

55: Music and Dance in Concrete (june 2012), born out of a collaboration with coreographer Yukio Suzuki, video artist Yohei Saito and engineer Tucker Martine, features 110 short pieces, 55 for chamber ensemble and 55 for improvisers.

Horvitz paid tribute to the poet Richard Hugo on Some Places Are Forever Afternoon (january 2015) for a seven-piece ensemble (Ron Miles on cornet, Sara Schoenbeck on bassoon, Peggy Lee on cello, Tim Young on guitar, Keith Lowe on bass and Eric Eagle on drums).

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