Ned Rothenberg bass clarinet, alto saxophone, clarinet | Sylvie Courvoisier piano | Mary Halvorson guitar, effects | Tomas Fujiwara drums
Crossings – points of convergence, loci for decision-making, determination and daring resolve. For more than four decades, New York multi-instrumentalist and composer Ned Rothenberg has operated at the stimulating nexus of no-return, working with challenging artists such as Evan Parker, Fred Frith, Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, Julian Sartorius and Sainkho Namtchylak in his bold pursuance of a unique and intimate musical voice liberated from all idiomatic fetters.
His latest quartet finds him accompanied by three other like-minded musicians – Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara and regular Rothenberg associate, Sylvie Courvoisier – close friends whose equally boundary-busting careers have seen them ferment vital connections between the hook-laden audacities of New York’s downtown jazz scene, the detailed intricacies of European chamber music and the chaotic ruckus of experimental rock alongside musicians including Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock and Tomeka Reid. Such pedigrees make them obvious allies for a set of audacious explorations where daring composition and fearlessly inventive improvisation tandem together as complementary conceptual agents.
With Crossings 4, Rothenberg plots and juggles his compelling coordinates, flagging up a succession of shifting signposts and pivots around which his accomplices extemporise, each of them committed to pushing the music into lesser explored terrains, intrepidly transitioning between contrasting sections in elaborate interplays of unconventional rhythm and timbre.
Whether its Halvorson’s signature pitch-shifted guitar paroxysms, Courvoisier’s playful ivory tumbles or Fujiwara’s singular stylistic beat synthesis, each component of Rothenberg’s crack quartet contributes to its ever-evolving hive mind. Here, the group is all. Even elaborate solo deviations are pledged to the benefit of collective ensemble expression, while also allowing each player ample opportunity to stretch out and articulate, individual sounds unfurling like probing tendrils over remote alien outposts, reaching out, seeking surprising footholds within the great unknown.
All music by Ned Rothenberg (Thenro Music ASCAP) except Seersucker by Ned Rothenberg and Sylvie Courvoisier (SUISA), Sheets to the Wind and Breather by Crossings Four
Recorded at Octaven audiO, Mount Vernon, NY by Ryan Streber on August 23rd 2022 | Edited by Owen Mullholland and Ned Rothenberg October 2022 | Mixed by James Farber at Reservoir Studio, New York City on November 9, 2022 | Mix assistant Thom Beemer | Mastered by Denis Blackham, Skye Mastering
Produced by Ned Rothenberg | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos