Juan Pablo Carletti | Tony Malaby | Christopher Hoffman | NIÑO / BRUJO | No Business Records

Tony Malaby – tenor sax | Christopher Hoffman – cello | Juan Pablo Carletti – drums, glockenspiel, melodica and compositions

All compositions by Juan Pablo Carletti. Recorded on 30th April, 2013 at Systems Two (Brooklyn) by Joe Marciano. Assistent engineer – Max Ross. Mixed by Christopher Hoffman. Mastered by Liberty Ellman. Cover photo by Reuben Radding. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Produced by Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

Tracklist : Side A: 1. MIRANDA 2. BALLERINA 3. ORANGE 4. JOSÉ Side B: 5. FOLKUS 6. LATERAL THINKING (FOR EDWARD DE BONO) 7. EL BRUJO

Tenorist Tony Malaby makes some really wonderful sounds here

– but the album’s actually the brainchild of percussionist Juan Pablo Carletti – who composed all the tracks on the set! Malaby continues his wonderful sense of tone and texture here – blowing slow notes sometimes, which unfold like dark sonic flowers – mixed with lighter, tuneful passages that almost have a classic modern tenor quality – a space that seems to range from Rollins to Brotzmann, depending on the needs of the moment. Carletti plays drums, glockenspiel, and melodica – and Christopher Hoffman adds some especially great cello – which is often played at the lower, darker range of its spectrum, as a key component of the trio. Titles include “Lateral Thinking”, “El Brujo”, “Miranda”, “Ballerina”, and “Jose”. — Dusty Groove

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Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Juan Pablo Carletti

was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He grew up in a musical environment in which his father played percussion, and was instantly drawn to the drums. As he performed with a variety of bands, he focused mainly on improvised music and playing mainstream jazz. He began working with his own projects, and created a small label dedicated to new music. In 2005, Juan traveled to New York City and played with the David Haney Group at Cornelia Street Cafe. This trip was a pivotal turning point in his life, as he met influential musicians such as Mat Maneri, Tony Malaby, Mark Helias and Tom Rainey. One year later, he officially moved to America to continue his musical journey.

Juan approaches playing in unique ways, influenced by different styles of music, especially the music created in the avant-garde scene in New York City in the last decades. Using mallets, hands, different sticks and extended techniques on drums, Juan illustrates how drums can be a rhythmic instrument as well as a palette of sounds. His teaching experiences have played a key role in transforming his rhythmic visions. Juan played with Tony Malaby, Andrew Cyrille, Daniel Levin, Mat Maneri, Chris Hoffman, Angelica Sanchez, Kris Davis, Michael Attias and Rob Brown. He is working on his own music preparing to record it.

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Photo by Christian Ducasse

Tony Malaby

In his two decades as an integral member of the thriving improvised music community of New York City, saxophonist and composer Tony Malaby has emerged as a wholly unique and singular voice. Malaby was recently named one of Downbeat’s “80 Coolest Things in Jazz”, saying that, “[Malaby] is a formidably accomplished soprano and tenor saxophonist with enviable tone and an endless font of compelling ideas, yet he steers his music away from perfection,” and that “his considerable gifts as a melodist tend to sneak up on you.” Jazztimes added that Malaby is, “a hero of today’s improvised music scene”.

This praise is unsurprising given the host of projects which Malaby is involved in. In recent years, Malaby has led many of his own projects–his Tamarindo Trio with Nasheet Waits and William Parker, TubaCello with John Hollenbeck, Chris Hoffman and Dan Peck and Palomo Recio with Ben Monder, Eivind Opsvik, Dan Weiss, Billy Mintz and Ben Gerstein. In addition, Malaby is a stalwart sideman, and has lent his talents to such groups as the Paul Motian Electric Be-Bop Band, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, Fred Hersch’s Quintet, Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth, Eivind Opsvik’s Overseas and Ches Smith’s These Arches.

Born and raised in Tuscon, Arizona, Malaby’s Mexican heritage permeates his musical life, which shows itself most clearly in the Spanish names given to nearly all of his projects. To this end, Malaby remarked that: “Being a kind, in 1970s Tuscon, was very Mexican. And I don’t think it really felt like anything American. There was an atmosphere created there with music, ritual, going to mass, any type of ceremony, praying, the rosary, smelling incense…all of things, and how they would overlap, have lingered. I really think that’s who I am: that’s how I came up and put things together to grow up. And there’s really strong imagery for me, from back then. I try to communicate those experiences, with my sound and how I play.”

Hence, it’s not surprising that Malaby’s early saxophone influences would be drawn from the same source. ” In the neighborhood, everybody was playing R&B music,” Malaby said, “and people would play the really commercial Gato Barbieri records, when they would wash their cars. But most importantly, there were lots of parties, and lots of barbecues–for any sort of celebration, there was a party. And there were always live bands, and they would always have an alto saxophonist. The style of music was a Northern Mexican Polka music called nortenga. The instrumentation was 12 string guitar, accordion, electric bass, drums and alto saxophone. And I remember there was one band that my family particularly hired every time, be it for a baptism or a first holy communion. And I remember being enthralled by the saxophonist, because he could make these screeching bird things that sounded like a goat, or a chicken! I just put it together and realized I needed a saxophone.”

These impressions and images are clearly conveyed both in Malaby’s improvisational work and his sparse, folk melodies. In May of 2014, Malaby released his latest record with his Tamarindo trio, Somos Agua, which serves to further solidify the telepathic improvisational connection that he has fostered with Parker and Waits on their self- titled debut and 2010’s Tamarindo Live which added legendary AACM trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. Unlike many saxophonists who ostentatiously place themselves in front, or solo on top of, a rhythm section, Tamarindo evidences a long-held belief and practice of Malaby’s in which he texturally immerses himself within the sounds of his bandmates and the result is, what Malaby called, “an organic, self-generating whole”. In the forthcoming months, Malaby will release the debut record of his TubaCello band on Clean Feed records as well as continuing his extensive touring with Tamraindo and TubaCello in 2015. Palomo Recio will record by the end of the year and a solo record is in the works, too.

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Photo by Oleg Sozontov

Christopher Hoffman

Multi-instrumentalist Christopher Hoffman is best known as a composer and cellist to an assortment of bands, composers, film-makers, songwriters, dancers, improvisers and noisers. he is also a producer, engineer, and film composer. Christopher writes music for his ensemble Magic Wells and his escape rock band Company of Selves.He also currently plays in Henry Threadgill’s Zooid, Dimples & Double-Up Ensemble, Tony Malaby’s Tuba Cello Quartet, J Carletti Trio, Marc Ribot’s Film Noir & Song Project, Ingrid Laubrock Octet, Jeremiah Cymerman’s Pale Horse, Earl McDonald’s Creative Opportunity Workshop, the David Dorfman dance ensemble and with his brother, Ian Hoffman. Christopher is co-founder of the record label hundred pockets records.

Christopher has had the honor of working with martin scorsese, craig mcdean, marianne faithfull, christina courtin, iron & wine, ryan adams, jeff richmond (30 Rock), michael pitt, anthony coleman, devotchka, erik friedlander, jeremiah cymerman, john farris, bee and flower, michael moore, willie nile, dar williams, ryan scott, bebel gilberto, fran healy, harris eisenstadt, clare & the reasons, angus and julia stone, fred longberg-holm, olivier manchon’s orchestre dechambre, teddy thompson, rob burger, john shannon, kelli scarr, butch morris, spring awakening, haale, matt welch, nate wooley, kitsune ensemble, greybird, john zorn, voladares, umphrey’s mcgee, john ellis and many more.

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2 thoughts on “Juan Pablo Carletti | Tony Malaby | Christopher Hoffman | NIÑO / BRUJO | No Business Records

  1. For his debut album, NYC-based Argentinian drummer Juan Pablo Carletti has made some wise choices, even before one considers the music. Foremost among those is the selection of saxophonist Tony Malaby to front his trio. Malaby has a compelling track record of energising such threesomes, as evidenced by his 14 year tenure in bassist Mark Helias’ Open Loose unit, as well as the reedman’s own Tamarindo outfit. He has more than enough talent to carry a small combo as the only front line instrument. However that’s not quite what’s needed on Niño/Brujo as Carletti’s other go to guy is top drawer cellist Christopher Hoffman, who numbers Henry Threadgill among his significant employers.

    For a drummer helmed leadership date, Carletti keeps a remarkably low profile. That’s compounded by a cool school vibe to some of the tracks such as “Miranda” and “Ballerina,” where even Malaby’s overblown distortions sound restrained. Although the themes are not overly memorable, they serve well their prime purpose to launch the three musicians into the improvisational space. Attention to detail is evident in how often the theme restatements at the end of a piece are subtly different from how they started off. Carletti has taken a variety of approaches across the seven cuts, but all are distinguished by the close knit interplay. That’s most obvious on the involved “Lateral Thinking” the longest selection which links a series of discrete episodes.

    As ever Malaby makes full use of tonal ambiguity, vocalized effects and split tones to extend his emotional impact. Hoffman proves adept with the bow, when his poised arco provides acerbic counterpoint to the saxophonist’s ruminations, while his pizzicato is both nimble and melodic. Carletti shows himself to be a tuneful drummer, in the lineage of Ed Blackwell and Max Roach, although eschewing that pair’s polyrhythmic drive.

    Highlights include “Orange” which after a solo cello introduction builds, via a spacey interlude of breaths, sudden string flurries and cymbal splashes and sustained notes, into a passage of rough sawing vying with tenor skronk over roiling drums. It doesn’t end there, as Carletti reiterates the tune via Malaby’s perky tenor with a countermelody from Hoffman’s bowed cello. As a change of pace, the succeeding “José” acts as a cooling balm, as mournful saxophone and cello intermingle in slow motion atmospherics. The concluding section of “Lateral Thinking” constitutes another peak with spirited tenor grit rubbing up against cello abrasions over an abstracted funk beat from the leader. Carletti has created a strong platform and the next entry in his discography should be eagerly awaited.

  2. Sometimes it amazes me no little how much good music comes out lately. Other times I have a pile of dogs to contend with. But with a little care in selection there is much to be heard. Today’s example is as good as any, a limited edition 300 copy LP pressing of the trio of Juan Pablo Carletti (drums and composition), Tony Malaby (tenor) and Christopher Hoffman (cello) on Nino/Brujo (New Business LP 79).

    The compositions are good platforms for the blowing, the trio is in great form and everything happens as if the stars were aligned properly. Tony is of course a tenor man of consequence, someone who you know will put in a good showing for himself, and he does. Cellist Christopher Hoffman takes an active role and brings bowing, double stops and pizzicato work that ordinarily a contrabass would handle, yet of course you get that upper range here. Juan Pablo Carletti does some compositional doubling with Tony on Glockenspiel and plays some excellent group-oriented drums.

    It is the kind of free but themed improvisation that grows on you. This is new music firmly in the jazz camp, free and carefully wrought. Between the three there are always interest event-inventions and after a few hearings you start to appreciate what sort of inspiration is happening.

    Contemporary free jazz has good health today. It isn’t gasping for air. There is a marvelous flourishing of the music all over the planet. This is a good example of its primacy! 300 copies seems too little, but it’s all the more reason to grab one. The artistic merit is not at all in proportion to the maximum sales figures. No Business knows its business though, so get one of these while you can!

    A very good date! Recommended.

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