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Album Song Clips

Scootin About
Jesus Maria


The Music of Jimmy Giuffre with the Joel Harrison/George Schuller Sextet

Billy Drewes (sax, clarinet)
Cameron Brown (bass)
Ohad Talmor (tenor saxophone)
Jacob Garchik (trombone, accordion)

currently in progress

This group focuses on the music of the legendary composer/multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Guiffre who passed-away in 2008.  Giuffre, is perhaps best known for his composition, “Four Brothers,” which he wrote for Woody Herman’s “second herd.” In the fifties, Jimmy Giuffre became a darling of the critics for developing what he called “blues-based folk jazz,” a new style that featured stream-lined, contrapuntal, writing.

Jimmy Giuffre was a remarkable composer who went on to completely re-invent himself. Giuffre was an early proponent of Free Improv.  His 1961 recordings Fusion and 1962’s Free Fall with pianist Paul Bley and bassist Steve Swallow are seminal recordings of the so-called “chamber-jazz” movement. This group successfully achieved an enormous variety of textures, while always conscious of beauty in sound.  Giuffre incorporated his knowledge of counterpoint into the context of Free Jazz; the trio’s use of space and the conscious overlaying of spontaneous melodies gave a luminous quality to their performances.

Schuller and Harrison and saxophonist Ohad Talmor worked with a range of Giuffre compositions, some of which hadn’t been performed in over 40 years. The music played by Whirrr is drawn mostly from Giuffre’s modern period using arrangements of music transcribed from 1961, Free Fall and Jimmy Giuffre 3. It explores a wide range of emotions, from soft, lush melodies to sustained intensities. This is not a tribute band per se . The arrangements are meant to stand on their own, honoring, yet looking forward not back.

The musicians of Whirrr are all top-level, full-time, New York-based players.  Guitarist Joel Harrison is best known for his composing and arranging skills. Harrison has one of the most unpredictable, fascinating discographies in contemporary music. His rejection of stylistic boundaries has led him to freely wander wherever inspiration is found, from inner city blues bars to the finest concert halls. Harrison has released ten cds of his own compositions and arrangements on six different record labels since 1995. Harrison has received a number of prestigious commissions and is a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow.

Drummer, George Schuller has performed and/or recorded with many of today’s leading musicians including Lee Konitz, Mose Allison, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nnenna Freelon, Ran Blake, Fred Hersch, Armen Donelian, Burton Greene, Tom Varner, Mark Helias, Tony Malaby, Dave Douglas, Herb Robertson, Peter Yarrow and The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. In 1995 Schuller appeared on Joe Lovano’s critically acclaimed album Rush Hour (Blue Note) with compositions and arrangements by Gunther Schuller. It was voted “Album of the Year” by Down Beat magazine.

While living in San Francisco in the 90s, Harrison organized concerts based on Jimmy Giuffre’s music. After moving to New York, he pressed drummer George Schuller to put together a formal group that used Giuffre’s compositions as a springboard.  Jimmy Giuffre and his wife, Juanita had been good friends with Schuller’s family.  George also studied with Jimmy at New England Conservatory, playing with him in both big band and small jazz ensemble contexts.

Billy Drewes has been making amazing music since the 70’s with Frisell, Lovano, Paul Motian, the Vanguard big band and countless others. Ohad Talmor plays regularly with his own group, NEWSREEL, as well as Jason Moran, Josh Redman, and Kurt Rosenwinkel. He can be heard playing, writing and/or conducting along his old friend and mentor Lee Konitz.  He also plays with the Steve Swallow 6tet and Trio (featuring Adam Nussbaum) and has written music for many different situations, including the Brecker Brothers. Trombonist and composer Jacob Garchik plays with the Lee Konitz Nonet, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, Slavic Soul Party!, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Joe Maneri, Josh Roseman, Don Byron, Terry Reilly, George Lewis, and Billy Martin.  Since 2006 Jacob has contributed dozens of arrangements for the Kronos Quartet; his work is featured on their 2009 release “Floodplain.”  Cameron Brown worked with the Don Pullen/George Adams Quartet, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, the George Russell Sextet as well as many other jazz luminaries who have left the planet.  At present Mr. Brown performs and/or records with Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Archie Shepp, Dave Ballou, Lou Donaldson, Marc Copland, Jim McNeely, Steve Slagle, George Cables, Joe Locke, Tony Malaby and Phil Markowitz as well as his own ensemble, Cameron Brown and the Hear and Now. He has appeared on more than 80 recordings.

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