The Squid's Ear Magazine


Gregorio / Smith / Bryerton: The Cold Arrow (Balance Point Acoustics)

The second trio release from clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio, double bassist Damon Smith and Jerome Bryerton on gongs, selected metal & cymbals (but no drums), in a sophisticated album of eight collective improvisations numbered as "The Planar Effect" and two Gregorio compositions, an absolutely impressive set that obscures the line between "spontaneous" and "composition".
 

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Personnel:



Guillermo Gregorio-clarinets

Damon Smith-double bass

Jerome Bryerton-gongs, selected metal, cymbals


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Label: Balance Point Acoustics
Catalog ID: bpaltd19019
Squidco Product Code: 34522

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2023
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded at Birdcloud Studios in Collinsville, Illinois, on September 26th, 2022, by Ryan Wasoba.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

The only time I met and spoke with Cecil Taylor was in 2003 in the basement of Tonic, the much-beloved and long-gone Lower East Side venue, where he, Sunny Murray, Andrey Henkin and myself were sitting in one of those old wooden wine-cask cabanas they had. Murray's group was playing there that evening and Cecil had come out to see the band. I remember Cecil whispering a query in my ear: "Mr. Allen, who is your favorite architect?" At that point I was not a follower of architecture but having recently finished graduate work on the visual artist and architect Donald Judd, I offered his name in response. It made sense, especially given that architecture in its purest form shapes our interactions with light and space as much of Judd's art does. And by that time I was also aware that improvising musicians do not operate in a vacuum - they engage with a wide array of art forms in the building of their worlds, from painting to architecture, dance to literature and sculpture, whether we are talking about the Harlem Renaissance or May of 1968.

Simply put, the music made by Guillermo Gregorio, bassist Damon Smith, and drummer Jerome Bryerton is that of artists. Gregorio (b. 1941, Buenos Aires) is a polymath, having worked in sonic situations with Fluxus-adjacent Argentine musicians and composers in the mid-1960s and beyond. Gregorio's subsequent and recent improvisational world touches on the art and architecture of Constructivism, in which abstract units relate to one another in a spatial-temporal dynamic, potentialities commingling with situational gravity

Smith (b. 1972, Spokane) is deeply committed to postwar abstract art from a variety of perspectives, all linked by committed intensity, and has augmented his bass with a bevy of objects and preparations that display the influence of European improvisers like Barry Guy or Joelle Leandre as well as Fluxus composer Ben Patterson.

Bryerton (b. 1974, Chicago) is a percussionist and painter whose canvases show the influence of Cy Twombly or Gerhard Richter and the tear-away collages of paper, ink, and glue that one sees on decommissioned billboards.

On The Cold Arrow, their second trio disc to date, the musicians are constantly poised at the moment where thought becomes action, space becomes material, and improvisation becomes composition. There is a high degree of elegance and a ton of physical heft; these approaches (and the degrees between) create an experiential play, a dynamism much like the tension exhibited between the shape of stretched canvas and the image/object occupying that canvas, or the daily use of a complex built structure.

Instead of delving into the particularities of the two Gregorio precomposed works here, or the handful of group improvisations, focusing on the "balance point" between tendencies is what feels right. At the end, one might look to painter Agnes Martin, who in a 1997 interview said "I think that art is responded to with emotion and the best art is music, it's the highest form of art. It's completely abstract and we...respond to it emotionally." The arts are that projectile right into the center."-Clifford Allen, October 2023


Artist Biographies

"Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1941, American composer and clarinet player Guillermo Gregorio has lived variously in Europe and the United States since 1986. Leading his Chicago-based trio and other ensembles, Gregorio has performed extensively, and his compositions have been recorded on numerous CDs by the Swiss label hatART and the American labels New World Records, Atavistic, and Nuscope, among others. His works have been played by noted New Music ensembles in the USA and Europe, among them Makrokosmos Ensemble (Switzerland) , Ensemble N_ER (EU), International Contemporary Ensemble (USA), Fonema Consort (USA), and the Maverick Ensemble (USA). In addition, as an instrumentalist, Gregorio has worked with many experimental and improvisational groups, including those that recorded the music of Cornelius Cardew, Anthony Braxton, and Philip Corner, among other contemporary composers (see discography for details).

As a composer and improviser, Gregorio has collaborated with Fred Lonberg-Holm, Ran Blake, Steffen Schleiermacher, Steve Swell, Jim O'Rourke, Ken Vandermark, Mats Gustaffson, Axel Dörner, Josh Abrams, Jeff Parker, Jason Adasiewicz, Carrie Biolo, George Graewe, Franz Koglmann, Thomas Lehn, Heiner Reinhardt, Le Quan Ninh, Akikazu Nakamura, Ab Baars, Sebi Tramontana, Mary Oliver, Klaus Koch, Gene Coleman, Enrique Gerardi, Paulo Alvares, Vinko Globokar, Makrokosmos Quartet, François Houl, and Stephen Dembski, among others.

He participated in the Argentine experimental music scene throughout the 1960s, '70s, and early '80s. His involvement with New Music included both composing and playing clarinet, saxophone and miscellaneous instruments in the Movimiento Música Más (Fluxus Group), the Experimental Group of Buenos Aires, and the Group of Contemporary Music of La Plata, featuring Fluxus events, multi-media spectacles, environmental pieces, and experimental concerts. Some of his earlier work in Argentina is available in the CD Guillermo Gregorio: Otra Música. Tape Music, Fluxus and Free Improvisation in Buenos Aires 1963-70 (Atavistic UMS/ALP209CD). After leaving Buenos Aires Gregorio had the opportunity to experience the European creative music scene of the middle '80s, i.e. the fruitful convergence of Free Jazz and 20th-century music and its interconnections with visual art. The interaction with composers and artists of that milieu constituted an indelible mark in his further explorations.

Gregorio-a visual artist himself-has frequently explored the intersection of visual and musical experience. His involvement in visual arts and design is a central influence in his music. In his series entitled "Madi Pieces" and "Coplanars" (1999-2005) Gregorio used Constructivist and geometrically generated ideas in scores ranging from conventionally notated material to graphic systems and open structures. In these compositions, a reinterpretation of the fundamental and structural concepts of Constructivism converges with the historical experiences of Argentinean Conceptualism, Fluxus, intermedia synthesis, and graphic realization. In January 2001, he founded the Madi Ensemble of Chicago, which performed original and historical scores that draw from the conceptual foundation of diverse Argentinean avant-garde currents. His scores related to that period have been exhibited in numerous shows at galleries and institutions, among them the Block Museum of Art (Northwestern University, Evanston, IL), Chelsea Museum of Art (NY), Kettle's Yard Gallery (University of Cambridge, UK), and Elastic, Sound & Vision Gallery (Chicago). Some of Gregorio's works belong to the permanent collections of the MADI Museum and Gallery in Dallas, Texas, and the Centre d'Art Geometrique MADI in Paris. His works have been published in Leonardo, Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, Notations 21 (Mark Batty Publisher), Noon Literary Annual, and other specialized publications. His series of pieces entitled "Otra Música" (2005 to the present), composed using conventional notation, focus on history and critical issues as well as syntactic aspects of texts and music. Still maintaining the openness of the works from the former period, the name of the series-"Otra Música"-refers to the title of a monthly column on experimental and avant-garde sounds that Gregorio wrote for a specialized magazine in Buenos Aires during the early '70s. Currently, Gregorio's interests are related to improvisation and "composition in real time" playing clarinet, in addition to the aforementioned compositions.

Gregorio has a degree in Architecture, and has worked as a graphic designer. As an educator he taught history and theory of architecture at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and history of industrial design and visual communication at the University of La Plata, Argentina. In the USA he has taught history of 20th-century art and art appreciation at Purdue University North Central, Indiana, sound improvisation at the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, and worked as advisor of Grad Projects in the Sound Department of that School. At the present time Gregorio teaches History of Communication Design at Columbia College, Chicago."

-Guillermo Gregorio Website (https://ggregorio.com/biography/)
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and has had lessons with Bertram Turezky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. Damon's explorations into the sonic palette of the double bass have resulted in a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant-garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. Visual art, film and dance heavily influence his music, as evidenced by his CAMH performance of Ben Patterson's Variations for Double Bass, collaborations with director Werner Herzog on soundtracks for Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World, and an early performance with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Damon has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including: Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra's Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Roscoe Mitchell, Michael Pisaro, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. After many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and five great years in Houston, Texas working regularly with Alvin Fielder, Sandy Ewen, David Dove & Chris Cogburn, Damon will move to the Boston area in the fall of 2016. Damon has run Balance Point Acoustics record label since 2001, releasing music focusing on transatlantic collaborations between US and European musicians."

-Balance Point Acoustic Website (https://www.balancepointacoustics.com/damon-smith/)
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Jerome Bryerton's artistic expression evolved from years of playing drums in rock, jazz and experimental groups. Performing solo or collaboratively, he's toured and recorded internationally with many notable improvisers. Jerome is also part owner of a large industrial silk screening operation in Chicago.

While some may perceive a factory to be the antithesis to the creative process, Jerome's imagination has been known to incorporate the errors of assembly line production into some of his art. Rejected test prints often made their way into many of his early canvases.

Strictly working within the medium of oil on canvas and applied with plexiglass. Jerome's dense, moody abstractions and marbleized colors have been said to evoke controlled chaos, blurred memory and decay. His influences range from Masters such as Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, Luc Tuymans and Cy Twombly. Self-taught and skilled in improvisation, Jerome believes that everything starts with curiosity: if you're curious about something and you're willing to learn more about it, everything happens by itself."

-Jerome Bryerton's Website (http://www.jeromebryerton.com/about)
4/10/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Planar Effect 3 07:35

2. Planar Effect 8 04:45

3. Planar Effect 4 05:53

4. Planar Effect 2 05:52

5. Coplanar 4 04:36

6. Planar Effect 9 03:03

7. No. 12x 04:23

8. Planar Effect 6 04:23

9. Planar Effect 5 04:34

10. Planar Effect 7 04:02

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Chamber Jazz
Trio Recordings
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers

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Balance Point Acoustics.


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