A founding member of the Rova Sax Quartet, Larry Ochs has worked with many of the greatest musicians in Creative Music—Steve Lacy, Fred Frith, Wadada Leo Smith, Terry Riley, Marilyn Crispell, John Zorn, Nels Cline, Anthony Braxton and countless others. His newest ensemble is an update on the classic New York Contemporary Five and features Larry’s Shepp-tinged tenor sax along with some of the best young players out of New York’s Downtown scene. Ochs is particularly excited by both the ensemble sound and the music, a set of pieces inspired by the works of visual artist William Kentridge and film-makers Wim Wenders and Kelly Reichardt, which he considers to be among his strongest and most successful blendings of composition and improvisation. Fabulous and soulful, The Fictive Five is a tremendous achievement by this West Coast master of surprise!
Saxophonist Larry Ochs flew in from San Francisco to give the European premiere of his band The Fictive Five (Aug. 4, 2017, at Jazz em Agosto, Lisbon). The band features a mostly New Yorker lineup of Nate Wooley (trumpet), Harris Eisenstadt (drums), with the twin bass “orchestra” of Ken Filiano and Pascal Niggenkemper (the latter a Franco-German who has lived in New York for several years). This bass team switched roles at an alarming rate, swapping between bowing, strumming, attaching objects and creating real-time loops. Ochs opened on sopranino, as Niggenkemper clanged a large, resonant metal bowl that he’d inserted between his strings. Wooley emitted a deep, muted growl, maintained via circular breathing, making a fanfare together with Ochs, who had switched to tenor.
There’s an old-school free-jazz sound at this music’s core, but the graphic scores prompted a fixed pattern to the freedom spurts. Ochs says that he had landscapes in his mind’s eye while playing these pieces, seeing his bandmates as visual realizers. By the end of their set, the Fictive Five reached a thrilling crescendo, calling up Ornette Coleman and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra as stylistic sympathizers. – Downbeat, September 2017
The Fictive Five conjures wildly imaginative stories in sound; a collective music by a quintet of veteran improvising musicians, all framed by the structures composed by Larry Ochs… In September 2013, Ochs was in residence at The Stone. On two nights that week he premiered this quintet to enthusiastic acclaim. But most importantly, all five musicians were really excited by what happened at The Stone. The music was on fire; the compositions sparked their imaginations and left plenty of room for continued exploration.
Because Ochs lives in San Francisco Bay Area, and busy schedules made it difficult to connect, The Fictive Five did not perform again until December 2014, immediately followed by a really focused recording session. The music from that session released October 2015 on Tzadik, the label curated by John Zorn. A new recording, Anything Is Possible, released on Clean Feed in March 2019, in time for all concerts on the March 2019 European tour.
Bring your imaginations and be ready for anything, and you won’t be disappointed.
A second CD Anything is Possible released on Clean Feed in time for a March 2019 European tour. Reviews here:
1. Fictive Five – Anything Is Possible (Clean Feed, 2019) ****
Excellent reviews of the first CD called The Fictive Five (Tzadik) - which speak to the music - can be found here:
Since 1978, LARRY OCHS’ professional activities have been primarily centered around the Rova Saxophone Quartet, which has made over thirty-five European tours plus numerous concerts throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as recording over 30 CDs/LPs as a quartet and/or in collaboration with other artists. In addition Ochs currently composes for and leads Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core with Scott Amendola, Don Robinson, Satoko Fujii, and Natsuki Tamura (“Stone Shift”- 2009 CD; next CD in early 2016) and Kihnoua with vocalist Dohee Lee, Scott Amendola and special guests (“The Sybil’s Whisper”- 2012 CD – music samples here). He is performing in and composing for more “collective” bands such as: East-West Collective - with Didier Petit, Sylvain Kassap, Miya Masaoka, Xu Fengxia (“Humeurs” – 2014 CD – music samples); Ochs-Robinson Duo with drummer Don Robinson (The Throne – 2015 CD) (; Jones Jones - with Mark Dresser and Vladimir Tarasov (“We All Feel the Same Way”- 2010 CD- music samples); Trio Dave Rempis- Darren Johnston- Larry Ochs (“Spectral“- 2014 CD – preview track).
NATE WOOLEY is one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz, improv, noise, and new music scenes. He has performed regularly with such icons as John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith, Evan Parker, and Yoshi Wada, as well as being a collaborator with some of the brightest lights of his generation like Chris Corsano, C. Spencer Yeh, Peter Evans, and Mary Halvorson. Wooley’s solo playing has often been cited as being a part of an international revolution in improvised trumpet. Wooley has been gathering international acclaim for his idiosyncratic trumpet language. Time Out New York has called him “an iconoclastic trumpeter”, and Downbeat’s Jazz Musician of the Year, Dave Douglas has said, “Nate Wooley is one of the most interesting and unusual trumpet players living today, and that is without hyperbole”. His work has been featured at the SWR JazzNow stage at Donaueschingen, the WRO Media Arts Biennial in Poland, Kongsberg and Copenhagen Jazz Festivals, and the New York New Darmstadt Festivals. Since 2008, the Nate Wooley Quintet has been involved in recasting the hard bop and free bop jazz traditions of the 1960s and 70s. Their first album, (Put Your) Hands Together, released in 2011 on Clean Feed Records was released to rave reviews in the New York Times, Jazz Times, Down Beat, Paris Transatlantic, and Signal to Noise magazines. The recording was voted one of the best records of the year by the New York City Jazz Record in 2011, alongside Wooley being voted Musician of the Year.
Most active in jazz and improvised music, as both a bandleader and in-demand sideman, HARRIS EISENSTADT has performed all over the globe, been awarded grants from organizations such as Meet The Composer, American Composers Forum, Canada Council for the Arts, and appeared on more than 50 recordings since 2000, including 15 as a leader. Recordings of his compositions since 2002 often appear on the Songlines, Clean Feed, and 482 Music labels, and are consistently included on critics’ best-of lists. A live Golden State concert recording from the 2014 Vancouver Jazz Festival was released on Songlines in early 2015. Eisenstadt’s album Woodblock Prints (No Business) was named album of the year (2010), and he was included on the short list for composer of the year (2010 and 2012) and drummer of the year (2013) in the El Intruso international critics poll. Other recent honors: nominations for Up and Coming Artist of the year by the Jazz Journalists Association (2009), included in Rising Star Composer (2009), Arranger (2015) and Percussion (2012-2015) categories of the Downbeat international critics poll. He is a visiting instructor in the humanities department at SUNY Maritime College, and in 2014 became an instructor in New York University’s McGhee Division. Recent performance/research/teaching in: NYC, Cuba, Brazil, across Canada & Europe.
Active since the early '80s, bassist KEN FILIANO has since contributed to dozens of albums, most of them pertaining to creative jazz -- from post-bop to free improvisation. Despite his commanding level of activity, he has arguably yet to meet the recognition he deserves from the jazz press. Based in Brooklyn, Filiano keeps strong ties with the West Coast. He has recorded for Nine Winds, CIMP, Knitting Factory, and Clean Feed, among other labels. One of Filiano's first regular partners was saxophonist Steve Adams, with whom he started playing in 1980. Formative years took him through classical and jazz repertoires, which allowed him to develop formidable technique. His participation in Richard Grossman's 1989 LP In the Air brought him the first shards of critical acclaim. At the onset of the 1990s he began to appear alongside Vinny Golia and Rob Blakeslee. A member of the Aardvark Orchestra, he has also performed with Bertram Turetzky, Barre Phillips, Joëlle Léandre, Bobby Bradford, Rova Saxophone Quartet, and Paul Smoker, with whom he has recorded regularly since the late '90s. An educator, the bassist has taught at the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque), New York State University (Buffalo), UCLA, and Rutgers University. In 2002 Filiano finally released his first solo album, titled Subvenire. The November 2010 release Dreams from a Clown Car marked the recording debut of Filiano’s Quantum Entanglements quartet, featuring saxophonists Tony Malaby and Michaël Attias and drummer Michael T.A. Thompson.
New York City-based German-French bassist, composer and improviser PASCAL NIGGENKEMPER is a performing and recording artist active on the creative music scene in the US and in Europe. In 2005 he received the DAAD award and moved to New York. From 2008 to 2010 Pascal led the PNTrio with Tyshawn Sorey and Robin Verheyen. (CD "pasàpas" Konnex 2008 & “urban creatures” JazzHausMusik 2010). The trio toured extensively in Europe. Performances at the Jazzcologne Festival, Jazzherbst Konstanz and at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Recordings for the WDR and the BR Radio. In September 2011 Pascal released with Simon Nabatov and Gerald Cleaver the CD/LP upcoming hurricane on NoBusiness Records which is listed among 'Albums of the year' 2011 in the 'The New York City Jazz Record'. He recently recorded a new solo program called: ‘look with thine ears’ music for bass & preparations was premiered at the Jazzdor Festival in Strasbourg in November 2013. The CD was released in March 2015. Pascal is co-leading the groups baloni with Frantz Loriot viola and Joachim Badenhorst clarinets (CD ‘fremdenzimmer’ 2011, ‘Belleke’ 2014 & ‘Ripples’ 2015 clean feed records. Festival shows includes: Jazzdor Strasbourg-Berlin, Vision Festival New York, Umbrella Festival Chicago, Banlieues Bleues Paris, Strade del Cinema Aosta, météo Mulhouse, Jazzcologne, JIGG Lisbon, Taktlos Zurich, Jazz à la Cité in Paris, ESCUCHA Madrid, DC Jazz Festival Washington, Pori Jazz Festival, Middelheim Antwerp, Grenzenlos Köln, undead Jazzfest NYC, D’Jazz Nevers, NewAdits Klagenfurt, Font New York, Music Unlimited Wels, Vive le Jazz Cologne, Konfrontationen Nickelsdorf etc...
P R E S S - Q U O T E S
Ochs outlined his kinetic approach to composition, saying, “I’m imagining I’m making a
movie with a director I admire, so just sit back.” He then introduced a new piece called
The Others Dream and it featured trumpeter Wooley making his horn scream, sputter,
and even talk as Ochs joined in on sopranino. It ended much as it began – lovely
melodies in an avant setting, with inspired and motivated musicians carrying the music
forward with instant and appropriate creations. The crowd loved it, among the most
artful and original of the festival. — Irwin Block, Jazz em Agosto Festival Review
One of the most striking features of the sound are the two basses, which lay a great sonic
foundation for the music, not rhythmically, but in terms of the overall color of the pieces,
acting in concert, or alternately, challenging each other or reinforcing the sound. Yet the
entire band is stellar, five musicians who live in their most natural habitat of free flowing
sounds, joining the short themes that pop up once in a while, then take off again on
different paths but in the same direction. It's the way I like music, beautifully free,
sensitive and deep. — Stef Gjissels, The Free Jazz Collective
Like a choreographer working without music, Ochs is playing the role of soundtrack
composer without a film. While it’s common for an improvised piece to develop a
particular character, what follows in The Fictive Five are well sculpted pieces that do
indeed feel like narratives. Ochs is good at this; he’s frequently convened improv groups
that work from compositions or skeletal structures that guide the impulses of the
moment toward a common goal. — Craig Matsumoto, Memory Select
“By Any Other Name (for William Kentridge)” has a modal “Spanish tinge” (Jelly Roll
Morton’s term), something that will link this to figures from Morton through Miles and
Coltrane, but, like all the music here, it’s consistently fresh. It breaks new ground while
working through the deep roots of Ochs’ conception, invoking Archie Shepp and Albert
Ayler to achieve a depth of expression reaching back to New Orleans primitives
(according to Jerome Rothenberg, “primitive means complex”) like the Eureka Brass
Band. — Stuart Broomer, NYC Jazz Record
Clues to saxophonist Larry Ochs’ expansive cinematic approach to composition are that
three of four lengthy tracks here salute filmmakers Wim Wenders, Kelly Reichardt and
William Kentridge. Just as those cineastes advanced diverse takes on the language of
film, so Ochs references the free music breakthroughs of John Coltrane and Albert Ayler.
More crucially though, in the same way that none of these filmmaker’s work replicates
earlier productions – or each others’ ideas – so too is The Fictive Five project a step
beyond the visions of Ayler and Trane. Plus like film making this project is a group effort [… ] Like the themes engendered in a well-made film, the sounds here highlight
affinity, as well as agitation, for proper dramatic effects. — Ken Waxman, Jazzword, WholeNote
Ochs und Wooley finden beklemmend schöne und berauschende Farb- und
Fanfarentöne neben flackernd zuckenden Linien, die intensive Arcotechnik hält den
Hitzegrad hoch. 'Translucent' wartet zuletzt noch mit besonders großen Freiheiten und
starken Kontrasten auf, als Good, Bad & Ugly-Duell von Tenor, Drums und Trompete, die Bassisten verblüffen mit Plinkplonk, als wären sie ein Herz und eine Seele, Wooley
erstaunt mit einem schnarrenden Halteton und schlapprigem Gebrodel. Wie man es auch
nennt, rosenfingrig oder feuerzungig, der Ton macht die Musik diese Musik zu einem
prachtvollen Beitrag in Ochsens Diskographie und zu einem gefundenen Fressen für
Liebhaber irrwitziger Bassologie. — Rigobert Dittman, Bad Alchemy
MARCH 2019 EUROPEAN TOUR
March 7 – Poitiers: Confort Moderne
March 9: Schorndorf, Germany : Club Manufaktur
March 10 – Weikersheim, Germany: Club W71
March 12: Vienna: Martinschlossl
March 13: Villach, Austria: Kulturforum Villach
March 14: Padova: Centro D’Arte
March 15: Ferrara: Jazzclub Ferrara
March 16: Mantova: DanzArea
March 17: Forli: Area Sismica