Brassum | Dan Clucas | Michael Vlatkovich | Mark Weaver | Harris Eisenstadt | Live | pfmentum

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Dan Clucas – cornet | Michael Vlatkovich – trombone | Mark Weaver – tuba | Harris Eisenstadt – drumset

Tracklist: 1. Selvage (7:45) 2. The Meaning of the Word/Shade of Grey (18:14) 3. In Place Of (5:05) 4. Brown Blue (3:44) 5. Slub (3:32) 6. A Grain of Mustard Seed (10:06) 7. Pumpkin Pie (9:47) Total Time: 58:15 All compositions by Mark Weaver.

Tracks 1, 2 and 5 were recorded 04.09.05 by Ben Nead at the Mat Bevel Institute in Tuscon, AZ. Concert presented by Zeitgeist (Steve Hahn, director) Tracks 3, 4 and 6 were recorded 04.26.04 by Stephen Schmidt (Fly on the Wall Productions) at the Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque, NM (www.outpostspace.org) Track 7 was recorded 04.25.04 by/at High Mayhem Studio in Santa Fe, NM (www.highmayhem.org) Editing/mastering by Q! Productions, Albuquerque, NM. Design by Mark Jackson-Weaver/Diverge Design. Contact brassum via email mw@toast.net

Brassum

features Mark Weaver on tuba and compositions, Dan Clucas on cornet, Michael Vlatkovich on trombone and Harris Eisenstadt on drums. This is certainly a unique quartet of three brass (tuba, cornet and trombone) and drums. And the leader (or main composer, Mark Weaver) is the person I am least familiar with. Dan Clucas has a previous disc on pfMentum, while Mr. Vlatkovich has various discs out on Nine Winds, Jazz’halo and pfMentum. Drum wiz, Harris Eisenstadt, is an old friend who lives here on occasion and also has various discs out with Sam Rivers, Simon Fell, Rob Brown, Adam Rudolph and Steve Swell.

Mark Weaver does write odd tunes. “Selvage” features all three horns playing their parts in unison, as Harris plays a consistent flow of ever-shifting drum parts. Mark’s tuba and Harris’ drums make a fine rhythm team, as both Clucas’s cornet and Vlatkovich’s trombone take fine solos. I am reminded of the days when either Joe Daley or Bob Stewart, both tuba players, worked hard with the Sam Rivers Trio. Speaking of trios, there are two trio pieces here. One is for trombone, tuba and drums and it is a slow bluesy number with some fine earthy trombone. The other trio is for cornet, tuba and drums and Dan takes a grand cornet solo once more. “The Meaning of the Word” has a rather funky groove played well by Harris as the three horns play tight harmonies. Both Dan on cornet and Michael on trombone again take spirited solos. One of the things that makes this disc so fine is the great interplay between the tuba and drums, they sound as if they have been working together for so many years. I dig the closing tune, “Pumpkin Pie”, because it has such a great groove when it begins and then breaks down to freer parts for the entire midsection. Boss brass and dynamic drums from this marvelous quartet. —Bruce Lee Gallanter (Downtown Music Gallery)

brassum | dan clucas | michael vlatkovich | mark weaver | harris eisenstadt | live | pfmentum 036

Brassum Live

is cornet (Clucas), trombone (Vlatkovitch) and tuba (Weaver)with a drumset (Eisenstadt) and after a typical improv intro (a fractured searching piece) the album settles into a great set of pieces based on the brass instruments whose tones and timbres work brilliantly together, either in concord or as solo and support instruments. In some, for example, the tuba takes the traditional string bass role, others shift between more fractured and swing segments. My only concern is the percussion that at times seems less subtle than the brass – but the others do overcome that limitation and the album as a whole demonstrates pfMentum’s continuing ability to release improvised works that are entertaining and demanding. —Jeremy Keens (Ampersand, www.pretentious.net)

brassum | dan clucas | michael vlatkovich | mark weaver | harris eisenstadt | live | pfmentum 036

Does someone remember

Bill Frisell’s music circa “Rambler”, way before it became a truck driver’s wet dream? Well, Brassum sound like a cross of that – minus Frisell – and Frank Zappa’s recently rediscovered “Petite Wazoo”; but there is so much more. A quartet led by tuba player Mark Weaver, featuring Dan Clucas on cornet, Michael Vlatkovich on trombone and Harris Eisenstadt on drums, this band is a peculiar assemblage of theatrical method and half-ironic, half-dramatic lyricism. The seven compositions, all penned by Weaver, show an almost painful progression towards the core of a music which accepts no sticker and moves according to contrapuntal laws gathering funeral marching and jazz structuralism, all the way through dozens of impulsive sketches and memorable themes. Two of the pieces are indeed trios; in one of them (“Brown Blue”) Clucas delivers a gorgeous cornet solo. The leader’s bass lines are cleverly intelligible, the proper skeleton of a sound body that walks and runs without any stumbling. Vlatkovich and Eisenstadt play with the same attitude of a couple of conservatory-trained street jugglers, adding a touch of beautifully restrained freedom to the whole. The musicians’ tightness makes this release sound like a studio album, as these guys tend to cohesion rather than spread away from a center. It feels just right. —Massimo Ricci (Touching Extremes, Oct 2006)

brassum | dan clucas | michael vlatkovich | mark weaver | harris eisenstadt | live | pfmentum 036

Brassum

is Dan Clucas (cornet), Michael Vlatkovich (trombone), Mark Weaver (tuba), and Harris Eisenstadt (drums)…four modern jazz musicians with a flair for the unusual. The tracks on Live were recorded during three of the band’s performances in 2004 and 2005. The tracks on this album are spontaneous and unpredictable. What sets this group apart from others is the intriguing use of the tuba as a main instrument. But rather than sounding goofy or comical (which is what can happen when most jazz, pop, and rock bands push the tuba up front in the mix), the instrument seems to fit into this band’s equation with comfort and ease. Seven lengthy cuts are presented here…with our favorites being “Selvage,” “The Meaning of the Word/Shades of Grey,” and “A Grain of Mustard Seed.” Recommended for fans of modern obtuse jazz. (Rating: 4++++ (www.LMNOP.com) August 2006)

brassum | dan clucas | michael vlatkovich | mark weaver | harris eisenstadt | live | pfmentum 036

Here we have jazzy improvisation

at top level but with strong emphasis on some melodic lines.  And that is what distinguishes Brassum from many others improvisers or spontaneous musicians.  Here we have exploration of lines done with trombones and tubas and cornets with a certain jazz feeling but keeping main ideas through all the compositions.  This is exploration of new sounds with a lot of coherence and developing new ideas but always keeping the main structures in mind that is what gives a pure jazz feeling. –(musicextreme.com Oct 2006)

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