Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet
free / improvised from Seattle Washington
Seattle-based pianist/composer and electronics musician Wayne Horvitz first emerged as a force on the downtown New York scene back in the ’80s in collaborations with John Zorn, Butch Morris, and Bill Frisell. He has led ensembles such as Pigpen, Zony Mash, the President, and many others. Gravitas Quartet bridges the gap between thoroughly composed chamber music and Wayne’s love of small-group improvisation. The performances are classical in their precision, jazzy in their mutable blends and their grasp of expressive possibilities. With two exquisite releases out on the Songlines label, Wayne’s writing is as emotionally resonant as ever, and in bringing the music to life the band spins webs of musical relationships. Ron Miles’ trumpet glances back in the direction of New Orleans and early Ellington, while Peggy Lee’s cello free-associates Bach, Beethoven, Bartók, and beyond. Sara Schoenbeck’s bassoon provides wittily baroque counterpoint or contemplative melodic lead according to the circumstances, while the piano’s runs, motifs, and clusters suggest links to impressionism and occasionally to atonality. In other pieces, different sets of connection take shape. This marvellous group weaves beautiful, poetic, and utterly adventurous narratives. Give Gravitas a listen!