Jeff Kaiser Double Quartet: Nothing Is Not Breath (NWCD0206)


[Limited copies available.]

(Cover art by Ted Killian)

Nothing Is Not Breath — Jeff Kaiser Double Quartet

Jeff Kaiser, trumpet and pump organ; Michael Vlatkovich, trombone
Vinny Golia, woodwinds; Gene Doi, woodwinds
Jim Connolly, contrabass; Hannes Giger, contrabass
Brad Dutz, percussion; Richie West, percussion

SKU: NWCD0206 Category:

1 review for Jeff Kaiser Double Quartet: Nothing Is Not Breath (NWCD0206)

  1. 0 out of 5

    “Many fans of avant-garde jazz find his 1997 recording Nothing Is Not Breath: Music for Double Quartet to be one of the best presentations of Southern California improvising talent ever recorded, indicating his superior talents as a bandleader and conductor. It was released on multi-instrumentalist Golia’s Nine Winds label.”
    —Eugene Chadbourne,

    “I almost began this review with a confession that I was lying about the Trignition CD [9Winds] being the most inaccessible CD, but as I listened further, I stopped myself. This disc is a huge, 70-minute, eleven-part suite that begins subtly and improvisationally and then explodes in many multi-layered compositions and quirky fanfares. I feel the apex of the disc culminates in Section VIII, which I will call the “theme”. It’s the only part of the disc that my mind sings. The rest is an avant-garde smorgasboard that swings in places, much like Ornette’s original double quartet did on the historic Free Jazz. Nothing Is Not Breath goes beyond that template, happily, and saturates itself with wonderful 20th Century classical sensibilities. In attempting to interpret the title of this work, I beleive that even though only four of the eight instruments are winds, the percussion and double basses actually seem to breathe. The rising and falling of dynamics, and the lack of rhythm or pulse in some selections, resembles a large organism slowly inhaling . . . and exhaling. The tumbling marimba is the rattle of its breath, the squealing reeds its vocal chords, the percussion its raspy cough. This is a Kaiser masterwork (not to mention that Golia is on it, of course).”

    -Fred Barrett, Beyond Coltrane

    “There is an aura of discovery and inevitability about this music, a sense that the players are uncovering fresh sounds at every turn…Nothing Is Not Breath is a trip, a soundtrack…running inside your head…Kaiser does have the knack of making his material refreshingly creative and vigorous. The live recording, with superb spatial characteristics, helps to make this a rewarding and intriguing listen.”

    –Cadence Jazz Magazine, New York, July 1998

    “Recorded during a live performance at Ventura City Hall last fall, the CD captures a truly remarkable piece of semi-improvisational music replete with all the drama, adventure and twisted beauty that marks Kaiser’s eclectic repertoire.”

    –The Reporter, Ventura, March 1998

    “Speaking of notable musicians in Ventura, trumpeter-composer-situation-maker Jeff Kaiser came out of a self-imposed hiatus and upped the ante for provocative new music…”

    –Review of Nothing Is Not Breath, Los Angeles Times, Calendar Weekend, 1 Jan 1998

    “An octet with the nuance of a duo supports Kaiser’s compositions: sort of Russian processionals set free.”

    –Greg Burk, LA Weekly, 12 August 1998

    It’s all just shaking air, after all, and here the shaking’s done by fresh, clean breath, rehearsed and running smoothly to time. It’s new “music for double quartet”, one long composition in eleven numbered ‘sections’ lasting seventy minutes. With crisp and fluid professional playing, a large acoustic ensemble growl and bow, saw, tweet, honk and dance their way through a scripted succession of unexpected turns with a wide and clean tonal palette of conventional instruments (the drummer is credited with handling “toys” and a “bright orange phonograph”, but these don’t stand out in the blend; Kaiser’s own pump organ is probably more obtrusive). The drumkit lines up as another voice – as percussion in the orchestral sense, rather than as a beat keeper, and the feel is prelude-to-the-afternoon-of-a-carnival-of-the-animals chamber music-y. Dancing bass figures and textural upper register woodwind mix with academically tense and angular moments in a colourful gamut of textures. Things are frequently dense with several-things-concurrently contrapuntalism and cross rhythms. The ideas in some moments would sustain pieces unto themselves. Halfway through section ‘iv’, eg, the woodwinds alone erupt into a Bells Together foam of joyful bubbling. Some breathily emoting flute provides an apparently rather mime/poetry reading moment, but is thoroughly redeemed when, one and a half minutes into ‘xi’, someone laughs.

    -Jon Bywater, Opprobrium

Add a Review

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.