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Empty Cage Quartet – Stratostrophic (CF 103)

Jason Mears: alto saxophone, clarinet / Kris Tiner: trumpet, flugelhorn / Paul Kikuchi: drums, percussion, electronics / Ivan Johnson: double bass

Recorded at Luna Records in Los Angeles, CA, August 13-14, 2006 by Jamieson and Roxy Trotter, assisted by Bryan Pettibone / Mixed and mastered by Wayne Peet at Newzone Studio in Los Angeles, CA / Cover art by Kio Griffith / Band photo by Allen D. Glass II /
Produced by The Empty Cage Quartet / Executive production by Trem Azul / Design by Rui Garrido

The Empty Cage Quartet consists of four musicians — saxophonist Jason Mears, trumpeter Kris Tiner, percussionist Paul Kikuchi and bassist Ivan Johnson — who have been praised consistently by critics as one of the most powerful and substantial new jazz groups to emerge from the American West Coast. Recorded during a hot summer in Los Angeles, Stratostrophic is a fiery set of original compositions that ranges from shuffle swing to free jazz blowouts, minimalist percussion loops to complex modernist gestures, funky stomps, odd-meter marches, robotic grooves, heavy rock, and nearly everything in between. The music is vigorous and methodic yet tender and reflective, dead-serious yet open to the occasional wry, sideways irony. As Wadada Leo Smith expresses in his liner notes, these young musicians are certainly on a path “to reach the whole truth of a creative music”.

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