Two side-long tracks of minimal improvisation from NY saxophonist Jeff Tobias (Sunwatchers) and UK guitarist Jack Cooper (Ultimate Painting); "Wicken" and "Debden" are named for and inspired by the tributaries of the River Cam in North Essex, revealing themselves in steady progressions and subtle application of instrumental technique in a beautifully flowing reflection.
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Label: Astral Spirits
Catalog ID: AS181
Squidco Product Code: 31171
Recorded by the artists.
Jeff Tobias-alto saxophone
Jack Cooper-electric guitar
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• Show Bio for Jeff Tobias
Jeff Tobias: "I am a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and writer who has been an active part of the American DIY community since 2003.
My main creative activity these days is contributing via alto saxophone and synthesizer to the punk/psych/jazz group Sunwatchers. We've released a torrent of music since 2014 on beloved record labels including Trouble in Mind, Castle Face, and Amish. I also play bass guitar in the "rock instrument music" ensemble Thee Reps. I have performed and recorded with artists including Modern Nature, Katie Eastburn, David First, Arthur Doyle, Mega Bog, Eugene Chadbourne, Matana Roberts, and many others. To date, I have contributed to over seventy physically released recordings, and I tour regularly throughout North America and Europe.
My saxophone playing has been described as "authentically fearsome ... just the sort of thing that fries microphones and never pays the rent." (Bill Meyer, The Wire, March 2018) I have fact-checked this and it is accurate.
I hold a degree in music composition from Brooklyn College, where I studied composition with Tania Leon, Jason Eckardt, Doug Geers and Doug Cohen. I also studied saxophone performance at BC with JD Parran.
I have written about music and politics for outlets including the Brooklyn Rail, Flagpole Magazine, Creative Loafing (ATL), and others."-Jeff Tobias Website (https://www.jefftobias.net/about/)
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1. Wicken 14:28
1. Debden 15:48
sample the album:
"The Greek philosopher Heraclitus claimed that "No one ever steps in the same river twice," as everything is in flux and constantly changing. By the same logic we might say that no jazz musician ever plays the same piece twice. Now consider the album Tributaries, a river-inspired work created by Jack Cooper (guitar) and Jeff Tobias (saxophone). On the calm surface it all seems pre-composed and constant, yet in the puddles of space there is scope for both men to interpret and improvise. Performed live this album would still be the same river, but each time the artists would be new people in new waters.
Cooper is the mainstay behind British art-rock band Modern Nature, whose jazz inclinations contain a shiver of folk-horror. Tobias is a member of New York jazz-psych group Sunwatchers and has numerous eclectic session credits. Tributaries contains two lengthy and compatible tracks, "Wicken" and "Debden," named after feeder streams of the River Cam in Cambridgeshire, England. The music has echoes of older times, or maybe the magic one finds along quiet riverbanks.
Minimal it certainly is, with Cooper's single guitar notes feeling more like piano prods. His input is sharp and glinting, where the sax is full of gentle sustain. A solid hardness meets shining softness here in an orderly flow. With its condensed sound, Tributaries relates to December Concert by Bill MacKay and Matthew Lux (ears&eyes, 2014) but in truth this project goes some way beyond, say, a Colin Stetson or Moondog work in its naked essence. Cooper is an admirer of Evan Parker (who records with Modern Nature), Anthony Braxton, Grant Green and Derek Bailey."-Gareth Thompson, All About Jazz
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