Tenor Sax: Colter Frazier
Percussion: Rob Wallace
1. Prelude (5:38)
2. The Creek (6:55)
3. Banana Sandwich (5:56)
4. Ballad (6:12)
5. TGC (8:03)
6. Factory (8:33)
7. Vignette 1 (1:46)
8. Vignette 2 (1:30)
9. Vignette 3 (1:16)
10. The Window (3:40)
All Music © 2007 Colter Frazier Music (ASCAP) and RNAWALLACE MUSIC (ASCAP)
Special thanks to Steve Jay, Miles Jay, Wayne Peet, Jeff Kaiser,
Tessa Dickinson, Ted Coe, Danielle Siano, and YOU.
These improvisations were recorded by Miles Jay at Muse Ranch on March 18th, 2007. They were mixed by Miles Jay and mastered by Wayne Peet at Newzone Studio, Los Angeles, on July 30th, 2007.
CD tray photo by Ted Coe. Inner sleeve photo by Tessa Dickinson. Graphic Design by Danielle Siano.
Jason Mears: alto saxophone, clarinet, wood flutes
Kris Tiner: trumpet, flugelhorn
Paul Kikuchi: drums, percussion
Ivan Johnson: contrabass
Disc 1: First Set (24:20 / 21:17)
1. Attack of the Eye People (Mears)
Who Are They If We Are Them? (Mears)
The Mactavish Rag (Tiner)
2. And Who Is Not Small (Tiner)
Disc 2: Second Set (42:57)
1. Swan-Neck Deformity (Kikuchi)
The Empty Cage (Mears)
Swim Swim Swim, Eat Eat Eat (Mears)
Recorded live at Café Metropol in Los Angeles, California on Friday, December 30, 2005
Recorded live to two track by Paul Kikuchi
Mastered by David Christensen and Paul Kikuchi
Cover photo and album design: Kio Griffith
Band photos: Allen D. Glass II
Thank you to Kio Griffith, Misato Nagare, Dottie Grossman, David Christensen, Rocco Somazzi, Allen D. Glass II, Jeff Kaiser and Vinny Golia
© 2006 Jason Mears Music, ASCAP and Kris Tiner Music, ASCAP
For more information: www.mtkjquartet.com
When the camera pulls back
on people you care about
because you have followed
their story all season
and you know
what makes them happy
and what hurts them
and you love them
and want to protect them,
that’s your cue to sit back,
let the music take care of them now.
When I wrote that, I wasn’t thinking about The Empty Cage Quartet, but I see a connection. They share a common view, something about expansiveness or maybe a sense of what I can only call “mission.” These guys actually care about us, and want to make us better through their musical example, God help them. It’s a tall order, admittedly, but saxophonist Jason Mears and trumpeter Kris Tiner talk seriously about the band as a positive model for social change, incorporating and expanding upon what they learned under the tutelage of people like Wadada Leo Smith and Vinny Golia.
Mears, Tiner, Kikuchi and Johnson (“The MTKJ;” now “The Empty Cage Quartet”) came together at The California Institute of the Arts, in Southern California, circa 2002. They began playing music that was admittedly “horrible” (Kris Tiner’s word), at first, but which has evolved to a very telepathic kind of communication that transcends historical models of creative new music and almost doesn’t require language in its usual sense. They’re bent on transcending the clichés of “free jazz,” with its historically associated bias toward self-expression at the expense of everything else. They all contribute tunes and are dedicated to finding ways of getting around traditional improvisation and composition, to create music that is “continuous” and spontaneous. At the same time, in their musical explorations, they incorporate and honor the earlier forms they want to transcend. There is, for example, homage to without imitation of the Anthony Braxton and Ornette Coleman quartets.
So they use a system which in effect means that, in performance, any player can cue a composition at any time. For that to work on a level that approaches art requires the ability to almost literally read each other’s minds. Forget about not paying attention. Forget about playing on chord changes. It’s very akin to linking arms and jumping off the proverbial edge-of-the-cliff. It takes enormous mutual trust, acquired through the time-honored method of playing and touring. It is a truism that there’s no substitute for playing together a lot over a period of time in different settings and circumstances. The bonding that emerges from this kind of intensity has created, for these four, a unity that is probably more rock-solid than that of most “real” families.
And that makes them happy. They like it when audiences are touched and even inspired by the music they make together. Drummer Kikuchi tells about a gig in Olympia, WA, when the audience behaved as if they were at a rock show, yelling and “getting into” the show, letting the music take them to new places.
A word about the title of this CD: “Hello the Damage” was the all-too-literal English translation of part of a French review damning the group’s last CD. Anyone familiar with the often hilarious nonsense masquerading as “translation” on the Babelfish web site will sympathize.
This is a band whose musical growth rate has been amazing. They’re dedicated to doing something new, and the strength of their musicianship and vision are collectively and individually impressive enough to make that happen.
I’m going to leave the last word (well, almost) here to Kris Tiner, who, talking about how much he appreciates the work of Thelonious Monk, Charles Ives and Morton Feldman, says, “You can tell they love music.” Amen.
Los Angeles, CA
[Ed. from a reviewer friend: This expression (in french “bonjour les dégâts…”, “damage” is a plural in french, it makes it more spectacular) became famous after is was used in an advertisement against alcohol when driving : “Un verre ça va, trois verres bonjour les dégâts” “One drink is alright, three drinks, hello the damage” : nobody speaks about 2 drinks, the case becomes a hole where reason gets drowned).]
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Ted Killian: Electric and acoustic guitars, samples, loops, sound design
Loop-based guitar improvisations/excursions recorded “live” in the studio in a single take. Ted's music is frequently compared to that of David Torn, Steve Tibbetts, Terje Rypdal, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Sonny Sharrock, Nels Cline, or Bill Frisell, sometimes even David Gilmour, Jeff Beck or Uli Jon Roth. But Ted cites influences that come from all over the map: Leo Kottke, Eliott Sharp, Paul Dresher, Scott Johnson, Vernon Reid, John Abercrombie, Michael Brook, Daniel Lanois, Gary Lucas, Jim Thomas, John Fahey, Jimi Hendrix, John Mclaughlin, Frank Zappa, Pat Metheny, Buckethead, Chet Atkins and Les Paul. Yet, despite this, there is still something uniquely “Killianesque” in his approach. Ted is a guitarist who isn't afraid to paint with the instrument's full color “palette.” He's not afraid to make wild, adventurous, passionate “in-you-face” music or sonorous, languid, peaceful harmonic/melodic explorations.
Ted Killian: A Biography
Born and raised in sunny Southern California, Ted Killian has been a guitarist for over 4 decades now and he still hasn't managed to learn to play the thing correctly. But, as it turns out, this may have turned out to be a pretty good thing. Without necessarily having set out to do so, Killian has found his own unique “voice” on an instrument that is nearly ubiquitous in modern popular music. His sound is a peculiar amalgam of odd, sometimes familiar, influences: folk, pop, blues, rock, metal, jazz, electronica, electro-acoustic “art music,” and just plain noise (“!”) that begs one to think the word “fusion” but is much more primal, gut-level and organic than any connotation that word may conjure.
Killian's music is full of contradictions. It is primitive and sophisticated, visceral and sensitive, abstract and accessible, complex and blood simple all at once. It is given birth by heavy doses of technology (MIDI guitar, a plethora of electronic effects, digital echo devices, samplers, and all manner of assorted “gadgets”) but the result is amazingly human sounding. There is blood and sweat mixed in with all of the diodes and cables — and more than a small measure of passion. This intensity is not something that can be seen in the usual form of typical guitarist “histrionics” but can be heard in every note of the music itself.
Killian began playing and experimenting early on, but (in terms of public performance) bloomed late. Beginning in the late 1980s, he began performing his original music in conjunction with the Ventura New Music Concert Series (Southern California)– aided by close friend and colleague, avant-jazz trumpeter, Jeff Kaiser. So began a long series of ever-changing concerts and presentations all around Southern California. Some of these were in connection to SEAMUS, an acronym for the national “new music” organization: the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the United States (Killian was introduced to the organization by Kaiser in 1990 and became President of the Los Angeles chapter in 1992). Ted's has been interviewed as a featured composer on “Music of the Americas” on KPFK radio in Los Angeles. Since the debut of “Flux Aeterna” his music has been played on literally dozens of radio stations around the globe and has garnered critical praise in as many publications internationally. In recent years, he has composed music for ballet, “fixed” gallery installations, multi-discipinary art performances, large ensembles and small groups. And, after all of this, Killian has still somehow managed to avoid having ever been in anything resembling a “band.”
Ted Killian is a 1982 graduate of UCSB with a Bachelors degree in visual arts. Since then he has exhibited paintings, sculpture and computer art in a number of galleries, museums and other venues across the country. He was a 1992 appointee to the “Task Force for Visual Arts” in Ventura, CA. He supports his musical/artistic activities with his “day job” as a freelance graphic designer for various musical instrument and high-tech manufacturers. He currently resides in Southern Oregon with his wife, 3 sons, 3 guinea pigs, and 2 goldfish.