- Artist: Crosscurrent
- Format: CD
- Release Date:1/30/2001
Crosscurrent strives to take improvised music in a new direction. Their music ranges from intricately composed to freely improvised. Each member of the group brings diverse influences to his composing and playing, from Indian music to Brazilian, Western classical to American folk. Jazz is the common language and love of the musicians, and is a discipline which gives them the ability to relate creatively and spontaneously to a wide range of musical expression. Crosscurrent has released four CD's on Laugh & Jangle Records, including their new release, Rituals. About the Musicians Ben Cook (piano/Keyboards) was born in New York City and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. He began playing piano at the age of five and composing at the age of seven. At 16 he was exposed to jazz upon hearing a Pat Metheny Group recording. He later attended the University of North Texas where he composed for and performed with numerous jazz combos and lab bands (including the Downbeat student award winning Two and Three O'clock Lab Bands), as well as his own original-based group, Spoon Factory. In addition to composing and playing with Crosscurrent he is currently working as an in demand free-lance pianist and teacher in the New England/New York area. Carl Clements (saxophones/flutes) received a BM in Jazz Composition and Arranging from the Berklee College of Music in 1987 and an MFA in Jazz Performance from the California Institute of the Arts in 1990. He performed with the Cal Arts Jazz Ensemble at the 1990 IAJE convention in New Orleans, and recorded two of his compositions on their first CD at Capitol Records. After two years in New York he moved to Bombay, India to study bansuri (North Indian bamboo flute) with Devendra Murdeshwar, having developed a strong interest in Indian classical music at Cal Arts. He has participated in jazz festivals in Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, India, and Boston, including performances with James Newton, Natraj, and Divya. He is active in the jazz and world music scenes in Boston and New York. Eric T. Johnson (guitar) graduated from a joint-degree program between Tufts University and the New England Conservatory in 1989, with Bachelor's degrees in English and Jazz Performance. In 1993 he also received a Master's degree in Classical Guitar Performance from NEC. He has studied with, among others, Mick Goodrick, Dave Holland, George Garzone, and renowned jazz pedagogue Charlie Banacos. After an active period as a sideman, leader, and composer in the Boston jazz scene, Mr. Johnson moved to New York City in 1995, where he performed with the Bryan Steele Group and his own quartet. He now resides on the island of Martha's Vineyard, with his wife and daughter. Aside from his work with Crosscurrent, Eric performs on Bryan Steele's debut CD, has a CD with his Boston quartet, featuring the late great Jazz drummer Alan Dawson, and is soon to release a CD dedicated to the music of Herbie Nichols, featuring George Garzone on tenor and soprano saxophones. Joshua Davis (acoustic bass) received a Bachelor's degree in Music Theory and Composition from the University of New Hampshire in 1994, and a Master's degree in Bass Performance from the New England Conservatory in 1996. He was bass instructor at the University of Maine from '95 to '97, and is currently on the faculty of Berklee College. He is the principal bassist in the Granite City and Fairbanks Sumer Arts Festival orchestras. He was a member of the Artie Shaw Band from '92 to '95, which toured Taiwan, Hong-Kong, and much of the the U.S. east coast. Joshua has also independently released a trio CD of jazz standards with Take Toriyama and Vardan Ovsepian, and appears on CD's with the Susanna Sifter Quartet and the Mark Kleinhaut Project. Norm Bergeron (drums/percussion) is a graduate of the University of North Texas Jazz Studies program. He was the percussionist with UNT's Grammy Award winning One O'clock Lab Band, which, during his three year tenure, recorded four albums and toured the west coast as well as Portugal, Japan, and Hong Kong. He also served as the UNT African Drumming Ensemble lead drummer, studied with Ghanaian master drummer Godwin Agbeli, and studied in Ghana, West Africa. Norm is nearing completion of an interdisciplinary Masters Degree with emphasis in ethnomusicology, anthropology, and documentary film. He was a Teaching Fellow at UNT, teaching West African, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian percussion ensembles. Bob Wiener (percussion) ------------------ Other Crosscurrent recordings and reviews: Eric T. Johnson with Crosscurrent By The Sea Eric T. Johnson, electric guitar, 6 & 12 string acoustic guitars, sequencing; Ben Cook, piano/keyboards; Carl Clements, tenor/soprano saxophones; Jim Whitney, basses; Bertram Lehmann, drums/percussion; Ernesto Diaz, shekere/congas; Luciana Souza, vocals. 'With expert support from his band... guitarist Eric T. Johnson offers a picturesque, stylistically varied effort on By The Sea. Although Johnson favors a Brazilian-breezy, acoustically layered sound on tunes like the playful album opener 'Maresia' and gently melodic 'A Biera Mar,' he is also apt to stretch out in somewhat unexpected directions - 'Miltonesque,' a lovely vocalese-driven tribute to Milton Nascimento, breaks down to a majestic club jazz-styled solo, while 'Gondwanaland' meditates in hypnotic deep circles of melody and countermelody before Johnson breaks things open with a rock-out solo. The piping 'Sand in Your Suit' finds Johnson injecting just a hint of blues in his guitar line, and 'The Devil's Bridge' features driving, full-textured 12-string strum, horns and vocals in powerful parallel strokes.' - JazzTimes, March 1998, Vol. 28, No. 2 'I can imagine Johnson being the best thing on most commercial Jazz stations. His use of Luciana Souza's vocals is reminiscent of Corea's Return to Forever, and 'Gondwanaland' evokes early Weather Report. This is proof that accessible Jazz need not be mindless.' - Cadence Magazine, Oct. 1997, Vol. 23 No. 10 '[Eric T. Johnson] is at times richly textured and chordal, then dexterous and masterful with single note lines, then spacious and supportive beind various soloists. On his recent albums [w/Crosscurrent] The Island and By the Sea, he is guitarist, composer, and producer. ' - Northeast Performer, March 1998 Crosscurrent Crosscurrent Ben Cook, piano/keyboards; Eric T. Johnson, electric/acoustic guitars; Carl Clements, tenor/soprano saxophones, flute; Jim Whitney, bass; Bertram Lehmann, drums/percussion. Eric T. Johnson with Crosscurrent The Island 'The feel is spacious and the rhythms are loose, accounting for the sense of freedom in the playing... ...an impressive example of instruments cutting out their own improvisational spaces simultaneously...' - Cadence Magazine June 1997, Vol.23, No.6.
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