Nate Wooley’s Battle Pieces was conceived as a background for an improviser, working with linguistics, tape processes and aleatoric concepts to fashion an ever-shifting composition that supplies the soloist with specific musical information within the context of an ever-changing series of densities, velocities and silences. Each member of the quartet is soloist for one piece, written to highlight and push the limits of their improvising vocabulary, switching to play with the notated trio on the others. On their first recording, recorded live at Anthony Braxton’s Tricentric Festival in 2014 and released by Relative Pitch Records in 2015, the group makes its way through the first four Battle Pieces, one featuring each member of the quartet improvising over the kaleidoscopic set of harmonies, melodies, and timbral textures that the composition lays out. Between each piece, the group performs improvisations based on the idea of taking the compositional material and treating it as if it was a length of tape: looping it at different rates and different speeds, letting it disintegrate, changing its timbre or pitch, etc. These pieces become a part of the Battle Pieces oeuvre and are referred to as Tape Deconstructions even though they are performed completely acoustically and in real time by the quartet with no post-recording processing. Battle Pieces are designed to be ever-changing and always growing. For that reason, Wooley has picked three of the most interesting, capable, and expansive musicians in New York to explore the ideas contained in this expansive world. Ingrid Laubrock is quickly becoming the dominant voice on jazz saxophone, being recently named the Rising Star soprano player in Downbeat’s 2015 Critic’s Poll. Matt Moran is an under-recognized hero of improvised music and has worked with John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet for over a decade. Sylvie Courvoisier is known as a master colorist and, as this recording attests, a powerful manipulator of all parts of the piano and works regularly with John Zorn and Mark Feldman. Nate Wooley has quietly been making a name for himself as one of the mavericks changing the way in which the trumpet is perceived. His connection to jazz history is tempered by a healthy experimental side that has made him a frequent collaborator with everyone from Anthony Braxton and Ken Vandermark to Evan Parker and Thurston Moore.
Nate Wooley (trumpet), Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax), Matt Moran (vibraphone), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano)