- Artist: Tatsu Aoki
- Format: CD
- Release Date:3/21/2006
'This disc announces itself from the first as a different kind of jazz album, with Hunsinger's opening soprano sax solo a kind of cantorial call to an unseen congregation, and Jarman (as so often on this record) entering second with a supportive counterpoint, this time on alto clarinet.... [Aoki's] bass comes in like an earthmover, at once digging a deep foundation for the piece and dragging it out of place, creating a constant tremor of tension. There is little chaos here and less machismo, a refreshing change from the burgeoning athleticism in much of the male-dominated free-jazz scene.' - from the liner notes by Carl Wilson, Toronto Globe and Mail Robbie Lynn Hunsinger wanted something more from free music. The accomplished classical oboist turned avant-garde improviser enlisted Asian American jazz innovator Tatsu Aoki and free jazz pioneer Joseph Jarman to create a jewel of a CD. This is starkly original improvisational music drawing readily on Asian, classical and jazz sources. REVIEWS: 'Trio is a wonderful recording from Chicago-based bassist Tatsu Aoki, reed player and oboist Robbie Lynn Hunsinger, and multi reed player and percussionist Joseph Jarman. The 10 songs sidestep convention as agilely as Gene Kelly dodged raindrops...The music remains challenging and stimulating throughout and this strikes me as simply one of the most superb collections of music to come through the door in a long while.' - Mark Gallo, jazzreview.com 'Four Stars: The collaboration between bassist Tatsu Aoki and reedists Robbie Lynn Hunsinger and Joseph Jarman is one filled with empathy, warmth and profound listening. Celebrating Chicago's history of improvisational discourse simply by extending that particular jazz dialogue, the threesome exhibit their strengths as a free-floating collective.' -Mitch Myers, downBeat Magazine Robbie Lynn Hunsinger - oboe, English horn, sona, shenai, silver clarinet, alto and soprano sax Joseph Jarman - alto sax, flute and bass flute, bass clarinet, hand percussion Tatsu Aoki - upright bass BIOS Tatsu Aoki has achieved international acclaim breaking new ground for the bass as a lead instrument. He is the founder and artistic director of the Asian-American Jazz Festival, and one of the leading artists on the Asian-American creative music scene. Named one of sixteen Chicagoans of the Year by the Chicago Tribune in 2001, Aoki has recorded solo bass albums as well as duet and ensemble pieces with Fred Anderson, Von Freeman, Afifi Phillard, Mwata Bowden, Francis Wong, Don Moye and Malachi Favors. Born in Japan and trained in the Taiko tradition from a very young age, he brings a force and focus to the role of the bass in the rhythm section that few can match. With styles ranging from traditional Asian music and jazz to free music and experimental sounds, Aoki is one of the most regarded bassists in the free music scene. Robbie Lynn Hunsinger, leader of this project, occupies an unusual berth in the world of free music. An accomplished orchestral oboist, she forges links between improvisation and Eastern music influences with her masterful tone control and her affinity for the contours of melody. This has led to work with artists as varied as Evan Parker, Ab Baars, Joe McPhee, Cassandra Wilson, Ken Vandermark, and Eugene Chadbourne. Her performances range from the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago World Music Festival to Carnegie Hall and the Shanghai Children's Palace. Her twenty-five years of professional classical experience include a landmark Marlboro recording of a Schoenberg chamber symphony and regular non-member performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Hunsinger has also created several electronic sound installations, including a recent showing at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. Joseph Jarman is a founding member of the Art Ensemble and the AACM, and since the 1960s, has been a beacon for visionary jazz around the world. The multicultural approaches of Hunsinger and Aoki (as well as Henry Threadgill and hundreds of other jazz musicians today) owe much to the investigations the Art Ensemble made 40 years ago - 'Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future,' as the manifest read. Jarman has received numerous grants and honors from the National Endowment and the New York Foundation for the Arts; numerous first place awards in Down Beat's Critic's Poll as a member of the Art Ensemble and as a saxophonist; and the Oscar du Meilleur Disque given by the Academie du Jazz in France. Jarman founded the Brooklyn Buddhist Association after moving to New York in 1982, and was ordained as a monk in 1990; in 1993 he retired from performing to focus on those duties. But after three years he found he missed music, which has as much to say about the spirit as any other discipline. He has returned sparingly to playing since 1996, his more recent work marked by a reflective calm not often associated with the raucous discord of free jazz. That contemplative mode pervades the music of the Trio. TRIO - Artist Discographies (selected) TATSU AOKI Tatsu Aoki -Rooted: Origins of Now Tatsu Aoki -Basser Live Tatsu Aoki -Miyumi Project Tricolor -Non-Participant + Milk; Mirth + Feckless Fred Anderson -Fred Fred Anderson -On The Run Von Freeman -Fire Power Trio -Power Trio (Mwata Bowden, Afifi Phillard, Tatsu Aoki) ROBBIE LYNN HUNSINGER Chicago Symphony Orchestra -'The Wooden Prince', Bartok, with Boulez (1994 Grammy winner) Chicago Symphony Orchestra -'Overtures and Preludes', Wagner, with Barenboim Chicago Symphony Orchestra -Symphony No. 7, Bruckner, with Solti Marlboro Festival Orchestra -Chamber Symphony No 1, Op 9, Schoenberg, with Galimir Robbie Hunsinger/Michael Vorfeld -As Driving In Texas, NurNichtNur Records Tatsu Aoki -Miyumi Project The Scott Fields Ensemble -96 Gestures Guillermo Gregorio -Mississippi River South of Memphis JOSEPH JARMAN Art Ensemble of Chicago -Dreaming of the Masters I & II (with Cecil Taylor) Art Ensemble of Chicago -Live in Tokyo Art Ensemble of Chicago -The Third Decade Art Ensemble of Chicago -Urban Bushmen Art Ensemble of Chicago -Full Force Art Ensemble of Chicago -Fanfare for the Warriors Joseph Jarman 4tet - Poem Song Joseph Jarman 4tet - Inheritance Joseph Jarman 4tet - Black Paladins Joseph Jarman/Anthony Braxton -Alone Together Equal Interest - Out Of The Mist Joseph Jarman/Don Moye -Egwu-Anwu PRESS CLIPS for AOKI-HUNSINGER-JARMAN Trio is a wonderful recording from Chicago-based bassist Tatsu Aoki, reed player and oboist Robbie Lynn Hunsinger, and multi reed player and percussionist Joseph Jarman. The 10 songs sidestep convention as agilely as Gene Kelly dodged raindrops. From the opening quiet soprano sax/alto clarinet/chanting bass (underscored by shaker) interplay on the opening "Consequence," a serene, yet stimulating mood is set. Jarman's kalimba and Hunsinger's buzzing and darting silver clarinet on "Larsen B," with Aoki's barely perceptible bass, and Aoki's call-to-service bass line sharing space and time with Hunsinger's English horn and Jarman's flute, percussion rattle and Chinese small cymbals on "Cape of Needles" are transformative. This is a meditative, gossamer and yet strong-willed music. Aoki has a touch as deft as Charlie Haden's and as adventurous as Dave Holland's. Hunsinger, who works with the Chicago Symphony* and a local country band concurrently, also lists Cassandra Wilson on her resume. Jarman, a co-founder of the AACM and Art Ensemble of Chicago, is a foundational member of the international free jazz community. Together, they weave a powerful musical tapestry. On "Powerhouse," Jarman and Hunsinger both play delicate, impish, playful altos, while on "LD 50" Hunsinger introduces the beautifully played shenai, an Indian oboe, played counterpoint to Jarman's bass flute (and thumb piano) and Aoki's slowly bowed bass. "Dryad," with oboe that is alternately quiet and squeaky played along side bass flute, strikes an interesting tone with Jarman's humming through the flute; "Hornswoggled" opens with a Chinese oboe (sona) moving to the darker oboe, while Jarman's percussion and Aoki's arco work lift, support and enhance the explorations. "eye to eye," a fascinating oboe and bass clarinet dance again features Aoki's understated yet buoyant bass. "Requiem," the closing number, sets a motif with Jarman's gorgeous bass clarinet and Aoki's complex bass in an intricate crosspatch over which Hunsinger darts quickly in and out on shenai. Throughout, Aoki anchors, cajoles and compliments the reed players with articulate and thoughtful phrasing. The music remains challenging and stimulating throughout and this strikes me as simply one of the most superb collections of music to come through the door in a long while. Highly recommended for those with adventurous ears. - Mark Gallo, jazzreview.com January 24 2003 * Hunsinger has freelanced and recorded with the CSO but is not a regular member. To her credit, Hunsinger beautifully adapted to the rhythmically loose, jazz-based improvisational language that is at the core of Jarman and Aoki's work. Yet she also bought to the equation a degree of tonal Polish and technical aplomb that one expects from the best classical instrumentalists. With Aoki laying down propulsive lines on acoustic bass one moment, playing traditional Japanese drums the next, the musicmaking never lacked for rhythmic drive or direction. And then there was Jarman, a one-man-band who drew long and silken phrases from a variety of wind instruments, played hand-held percussion with remarkable delicacy and grace and sang gently lyrical songs without hint of affectation or pretense. Somehow, Jarman made all this music cohere with Aoki's bass and percussion and Hunsinger's impeccable reed work. -Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune, October 28, 2002 [Jarman] frequently collaborates with musicians who deserve wider attention, like reed player Robbie Hunsinger and bassist Tatsu Aoki. The members of this trio share a particular interest in blending Asian folk themes with contemporary chamber music. 'I find many, many extraordinary musicians who don't have some opportunities, and I like their music, so I just work with them. I enjoy that much more than the intense musical industry that generally goes on.' -Aaron Cohen, Chicago Tribune, March 15 2002 TRACK CREDITS 1. Consequences Robbie soprano sax• Joseph alto clarinet• Tatsu bass 2. Larsen B Robbie silver clarinet• Joseph thumb piano• Tatsu bass 3. Cape of Needles Robbie English horn• Joseph percussion rattle, flute, Chinese small cymbals • Tatsu bass 4. Powerhouse Robbie alto sax first entry right channel • Joseph alto sax left channel • Tatsu bass 5. LD 50 Robbie shenai (Indian oboe) • Joseph bass flute • Tatsu bass 6. Dryad Robbie oboe • Joseph bass flute and vocal • Tatsu bass 7. Hornswoggled Robbie sona (Chinese oboe-starts), switch to oboe @ 8 min• Joseph handheld cymbal, percussion rattle • Tatsu: bass 8. eye to eye Robbie: oboe • Joseph bass clarinet • Tatsu bass 9. Procession Robbie sona, switch to shenai @ 3:09 • Joseph bass clarinet • Tatsu bass 10. Requiem Robbie shenai • Joseph bass flute and bass clarinet • Tatsu bass All compositions © 2003 Aoki/Hunsinger/Jarman More from the liner notes by Carl Wilson: "Think of this album as a new chapter added to Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino's 1972 masterpiece that imagines Marco Polo's descriptions to his patron Kublai Khan of the places he has seen on his journeys through Asia: -an underground city where earth stands in for air, and people tunnel through the streets like worms; -another raised on stilts above a forest, where the inhabitants travel by ladder and their feet never touch the ground;-yet another where various colours of string are tied between houses to signify relationships - the city must be relocated and rebuilt each time the web of connections becomes impassable;-a city of the dead, where skeletons are posed dancing or shaving or romancing as they had done in life...or as they wished they had; - a city that stands by a lake, which mirrors it's days so completely that people shape their actions to what will look best in the reflection; - a city that inspires such endless desire that people will work equally endless hours to remain there, like slaves; - a city hung in nets and hammocks from a rope between two mountaintops; - a city modeled by astronomers precisely on the map of the heavens, but which turns out to be full of monsters; - a city that is always only haf-built, so it's destruction can never begin. 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