Ned Rothenberg


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Trials Of The Argo (Lumina, 1981), 6/10
Portal (Lumina, 1982), 6/10
Trespass (Lumina, 1986), 6.5/10
New Winds: The Cliff (Sound Aspects, 1989), 6/10
Opposites Attract (New World, 1991), 6/10
New Winds: Traction (Sound Aspects, 1991), 6/10
Double Band: Overlays (Moers, 1992), 6/10
The Crux (Leo, 1993), 6/10
New Winds: Digging it Harder From Afar (Victo, 1994), 5/10
Double Band: Real And Imagined Time (Moers, 1995), 5/10
Power Lines (New World, 1995), 7.5/10
Amulet (Leo, 1996), 5/10
New Winds: Potion (Victo, 1997), 6/10
Monkey Puzzle (Leo, 1997), 6/10
Sync (Intuition, 1998), 5/10
Tools of Trade (CIMP, 2001), 5/10
Ghost Stories (Tzadik, 2001), 6/10
Intervals (Animul, 2002), 6.5/10
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Reed player Ned Rothenberg cut his teeth in Fall Mountain, an experimental trio with Bob Ostertag (electronics) and Jim Katzin (violin), that recorded the extended cacophonous pieces of Early Fall (december 1978). But Rothenberg established himself among creative improvisers with Trials Of The Argo (september 1980), a lengthy experiment of overdubbing saxophones, flutes, clarinets, shakuhachi flute and ocarina, Continuo After The Inuit (march 1981), that only used circular breathing and multiphonics (but no overdubbing) to imitate the vocal music of the Inuits on alto saxophone, both off Trials Of The Argo, with the three solos (november 1982) for alto saxophone, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone and ocarina as well as the duet with drummer Gerry Hemmingway, Polysemy (april 1983), off Portal, with the alto saxophone solo Caeneus and the clarinet-sax duet Kakeai with John Zorn off Trespass (august 1985).
He largely abandoned creative improvisation when he formed the New Winds, a trio of "multi-reedists" (Robert Dick on flute and piccolo, J.D. Parran mainly on clarinets, Rothenberg mainly on alto), that indulged in the complex and ambitious textures of The Cliff (september 1986), Traction (january 1991) and Digging it Harder From Afar (june 1994). He then formed the Double Band (with reed player Thomas Chapin, two bassists and two drummers) that debuted on Overlays (may 1991), playing high-energy funk-jazz inspired by Ormette Coleman's Prime Time.
Continuing that progression towards larger and more intricate constructions, the crowning achievement of his career was a big-band effort, Power Lines (august 1995), that explored dense, unpredictable structures replete with his favorite rhythmic experiments (Hanrahan on reeds, Mark Feldman on violin, Ruth Siegler on viola, Erik Friedlander on cello, Mark Dresser on bass, Dave Douglas on trumpet, Josh Roseman on trombone, Kenny Berger on reeds, Mike Sarin on drums, Glen Velez on percussion).
The chamber jazz compositions of Ghost Stories (april 2000), namely the Duet for Alto Saxophone and Percussion with Japanese percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, Arbor Vitae with shakuhachi player Riley Lee, and Ghost Stories, a quartet with Chinese pipa player Min Xiao-Fen, cellist Erik Friedlander and Takeishi, and the solos of the double-CD Intervals (Animul, 2002), one disc for alto sax and one disc for clarinet or shakuhachi, displayed his extended techniques at the reeds in the new context of his sophisticated sense of timbral counterpoint.
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Dopo l'assolo di Trials Of The Argo (september 1980), un lungo brano in cui sovrapponeva diversi strumenti a fiato suonati in modi sperimentali, e Continuo After The Inuit (march 1981), entrambi da Trials Of The Argo, ancora nella tradizione dell'improvvisazione creativa alla Evan Parker o Anthony Braxton, Ned Rothenberg (Boston, 1956) ha perfezionato, a partire da Portal (quattro assoli per sassofono, clarinetto basso e ocarina: Caeneus, Caenis, Portal, piu` il duetto con Gerry Hemingway di Polysemy), uno stile veemente e incalzante che sfrutta al massimo la suggestione del "respiro circolare" fino a riprodurre le sensazioni del mantra indiano o del minimalismo di Glass.
The zenith of this art of demonic solos was perhaps reached on Trespass (Lumina, 1986), that includes six solos and one sax duet. The geometric scales of Strata (bass clarinet), the calm aquatic drones of Trespass (alto sax), the reverbs and bird calls of Filigree (alto sax), and, mainly, the minimalist repetition of Caeneus (alto sax) create a humane and naturalistic mood. As a counterbalance, the three-part suite Kakeai engages John Zorn's squealing saxophone for a heated dialogue of a more abstract nature.

Solo Works (Tzadik, 2006) collects Trials Of The Argo, Continuo After The Inuit, Portal, Polysemy , etc.

L'apice di questo solismo indemoniato e' forse rappresentato dalla suite in tre movimenti Kakeai per clarinetto e sax (su Trespass, che comprende anche sei assoli per clarinetto).
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Ai Semantics di Elliot Sharp ha contribuito con composizioni di un violento tribalismo come Terra Firma, Big Business (sul primo album) e Revolver (su Bone Of Contention), gag cacofoniche come Direct Dial Dirge e Midst Of Other Solitaires, che smembrano melodie da night-club (sul primo album), e fanfare alienate come Trumped Up Charges (su Bone Of Contention). Nei New Winds, un trio di "poli-fiatisti" (Robert Dick, J.D. Parran), si concede invece timbri, sonorita' e armonie piu' ostici.

Nonostante le frequenti interazioni con i rinnegati del free jazz, Rothenberg e' rimasto sostanzialmente fedele alla scuola degli improvvisatori, alla quale ha apportato contributi squisitamente tecnici.

Opposites Attract (december 1990 - New World, 1991) was a collaboration with Paul Dresher (guitar, sampler, electronics), bassists Anthony Jackson and Mark Dresser, drummers Bobby Previte, Gene Reffkin and Samm Bennett. Hanrahan played shakuhachi, bass clarinet, alto and tenor. The result is surprisingly close to Fripp's, Eno's and Byrne's futuristic world-music (Untold Story).

The New Winds were a trio of "multi-reedists" (Robert Dick on flute and piccolo, J.D. Parran mainly on clarinets, Rothenberg mainly on alto) developing complex and ambitious harmonies: The Cliff and Seeing The Double on The Cliff (september 1986 - Sound Aspects, 1989); Traction, 3-2-1, Propriocentricity and Hat And Beard on Traction (january 1991 - Sound Aspects, 1991); and Dovetail (march 1994), The Rising And The Swell (june 1994) and Angst In The Rangst (march 1994) on Digging it Harder From Afar (june 1994 - Victo, 1994), which collects material recorded between 1989 and 1994. On Potion (july 1997 - Victo, 1997) New Winds were Robert Dick, Herb Robertson, Ned Rothenberg.

He then formed the Double Band (Rothenberg and Thomas Chapin on alto, Jerome Harris and Kermit Driscoll on bass, Billy Martin and Adam Rudolph on percussion) which released Overlays (may 1991 - Moers, 1992), containing the lengthy meditations of Polly Molly, Overlays, SuoDolo in Breakneck, Scuffle Shuffle in a limping funky style that sounds influenced by Ormette Coleman's Prime Time and Ronald Shannon Jackson but more rhythmically erudite. Slightly different line-ups recorded Real And Imagined Time (Moers, 1995), containing the title-track, and Parting (may 1996). The Double Band dissolved when Chapin died in 1998.

The Crux (august 1992 - Leo, 1993) collects solo works for alto sax (Intimations, The Crux, Sokaku Reibo), bass clarinet (In The Thick) and shakuhachi (Do Omoi) composed between 1989 and 1992.

Power Lines (august 1995 - New World, 1995) was his crowning achievement, a big-band setting (Mark Feldman on violin, Ruth Siegler on viola and violin, Erik Friedlander on cello, Mark Dresser on bass, Mike Sarin on drums, Dave Douglas on trumpet, Josh Roseman on trombone, Kenny Berger on saxophone and clarinet, Glen Velez on percussion) and a repertory of five lengthy compositions (Hidalgo, Strange Saraba nde, Bellhop Vontz, which is a reworking of the Double Band's Fits and Starts, Crosshatch, and the 21-minute In The Rotation) that explores dense, unpredictable structures replete with his favorite rhythmic experiments.

Collaborations included: Paramggod (september 1994) with Ton Klami (Kang Tae Hwan on sax, Masahiko Sato on piano, Midori Takada on percussion); Amulet (Leo, 1996), recorded over a three-year period from october 1992 to september 1995, with acrobatic female vocalist Sainkho Namchylak; Monkey Puzzle (Leo, 1997) with saxophonist Evan Parker; Sync (Intuition, 1998), by Port Of Entry (a trio with Jerome Harris and percussionist Samir Chatterjee) performing lengthy and complex Rothenberg compositions (Gamalong, The Hotel Lazard Cafe, Port Of Entry); Tools of Trade (june 2001 - CIMP, 2001) with pianist Denman Maroney.

The chamber jazz compositions of Ghost Stories (april 2000 - Tzadik, 2001), the Duet for Alto Saxophone and Percussion with Japanese percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, Arbor Vitae with shakuhachi player Riley Lee, and Ghost Stories, a quartet with Chinese pipa player Min Xiao-Fen, cellist Erik Friedlander and Takeishi, and the solos of the double-CD Intervals (Animul, 2002), one disc for alto sax and one disc for clarinet or shakuhachi, displayed his extended techniques at the reeds, as they have been progressing over the years, and his sophisticated sense of timbric counterpoint.

En Passant (Creative Works, 2004) is a woodwind duo with Peter Schmid.

Decisive Action (recorded in 2004)

The Fell Clutch (june 2006) is a collaboration with drummer Tony Buck, bassist Stomu Takeishi and slide guitarist David Tronzo.

Free Zone Appleby (july 2006) is a collaboration with Italian guitarist Paolo Angeli and Evan Parker.

Ned Rothenberg, Catherine Jauniaux and Barre Phillips recorded the live album While You Were Out (november 2008).

World Of Odd Harmonics (august 2010) is an album of solo clarinet improvisations.

World Of Odd Harmonics (august 2010) is a solo-clarinet album.

Ned Rothenberg and Ken Vandermark formed the all-clarinet sextet Renga Ensemble with Keefe Jackson, Jason Stein, James Falzone and Ben Goldberg. They debuted with The Room Is (april 2013).

In Cahoots (june 2014) documents the trio of Ned Rothenberg (sax, clarinet, shakuhachi), Mark Feldman (violin) and Sylvie Courvoisier (piano) .

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