Quinsin Nachoff - tenor saxophone
Mark Helias - double bass
Dan Weiss - drums
Recorded at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NYC by Michael Brorby (May, 2016)
Mixed and Mastered at Found.Sound.Toronto, Canada by David Travers-Smith (June, 2016)
Produced by Quinsin Nachoff
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
CD Artwork, Design and Layout by A Man Called Wrycraft
Videography by Diana Piruzevska and The Naked Eye Media
released May 19, 2017
ABOUT THE ALBUM
It was Quinsin Nachoff’s involvement in the Penderecki String Quartet’s commission ‘Stars and Constellations: Scorpio’, for string quartet and saxophone trio, which prompted the New York-based, Canadian-born saxophonist to further the idea of establishing a chord-less trio as a distinct project away from his larger ensemble successes. A stand-alone concert with seasoned musicians Mark Helias (double bass) and Dan Weiss (drums) created the conceptual spark; and following the writing of new material early in 2016, a series of concerts in New York, Toronto and Montreal neatly led to this single-session recording — Quinsin Nachoff’s Ethereal Trio.
“There’s a huge history of composing for instrumental trio, I enjoy writing this way as it gives me two distinct voices that I can really work with. As a bassist, Mark Helias is such an experienced musician – I can compose harmonically or contrapuntally and he always expands it to such an extent that we’re never missing harmony; if we play in more of an open setting, it leaves us more freedom. Dan Weiss is a master of dealing with anything rhythmically –so he can be very free within even something very structured. From a saxophonist’s point of view, I’m able to explore a greater range in the instrument; I can either be busier or leave more space. All three of us love to investigate different colors and extended techniques, so many different directions are possible. Once we’ve understood what the direction is for each composition then that’s when the magic starts to happen.”
Opening an album which blends through-composition and improvisation, each piece having its own plot and internal logic, ‘Clairvoyant Jest’ finds Nachoff's saxophone dancing across rhythmically-twisted swing, characterized by double-stopped, open-stringed bass and harmonics which highlight the harmonic motion. Yet the trio’s predominant vibe is searching and otherworldly, hence the ‘ethereal’ tag, with ‘Gravitas’ focusing on freer response and reflection as its questioning saxophone motifs are interpreted by arco bass. Suggesting a change in our imaginative picture of the world, ‘Imagination Reconstruction’s animation pairs sax and Helias’ bass harmonics magnificently, and the ten-minute progression of ‘Portrait in Sepia Tones’ ramps up into a superbly percussive maelstrom. ‘Push-Pull Topology’ possesses an underlying walking-bass thread, stretching and pulling different rhythms – fives over fours over threes – while the bristling landscapes of ‘Subliminal Circularity’ summon the leader’s equally raw and rippling saxophonic tones.
Quinsin Nachoff relishes the freedom and the opportunities this trio offers: “I’m regularly involved in projects which include a lot of composing, arranging and organizational effort to make them happen. This Ethereal Trio album became much more about simply playing the saxophone, which was extremely fun and rewarding – and these musicians are such a pleasure to play with. That’s the world I like to live in.”