Steven Lugerner | For We Have Heard | No Business Records

Steven Lugerner – Bb Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Oboe, English Horn, Soprano and Alto Saxophones, Flute, Alto Flute | Darren Johnston – Trumpet | Myra Melford – Piano | Matt Wilson – Drums

All compositions by Steven Lugerner. Recorded on 11th September 2011 by Jacob Bergson at The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn, New York. Mixed and mastered by Jacob Bergson. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Produced by Steven Lugerner, Jacob Bergson and Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

Tracklist Side A: 1. Us and Our Fathers 2. When a Long Blast is Sounded 3. Drove Out Before Us 4. Be Strong and Resolute  5. Before Our Very Eyes

Tracklist Side B: 1. Through Whose Midst We Passed 2. For We Have Heard 3. Up From The Land 4. All Those Kings 5. Our Children in Time

Tracklist CD: 1. Us and our fathers 2. When a long blast is sounded 3. Drove out before us 4. Be strong and resolute 5. Before our very eyes 6. Through whose midst we passed 7. For we have heard 8. Up from the land 9. All those kings 10. Our children in time

Steven Lugerner

Multi-instrumentalist // Composer,  maintains an active bi-costal schedule between San Francisco & New York City.

As a band leader, Lugerner has released multiple albums to critical acclaim – Narratives (2010) These Are The Words (2010) & Live at The Bunker (2012). His compositions have been described as “a textured, nearly seamless blend of composition and improvisation” by Francis Davis of The Village Voice – while the New York Times calls him “an impeccably trained multi-reedist, with an emphasis on ‘multi’ — he plays clarinet, bass clarinet, oboe, English horn and flutes, along with saxophones…”

While in New York City, Lugerner has fostered contacts, study and collaboration with such artists as: Grammy nominated pianist Fred Hersch; percussionist Matt Wilson, trumpeter Ralph Alessi; pianist Jason Moran; saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom; composer Jamie Baum & percussionist/composer John Hollenbeck. In San Francisco, Lugerner maintains active ties with pianist Myra Melford, trumpeter Darren Johnston & the rest of the Bay Area creative music scene.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Steven Lugerner is the product of a multicultural, artistically nurturing family. In his youth, Lugerner performed on clarinet, oboe & saxophone with college orchestras & professional pit orchestras while simultaneously organizing and performing local jazz performances. In 2006, Lugerner moved to New York City to attend The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where he graduated with honors four years later. Since relocating to Brooklyn, NY in 2010, Lugerner has maintained an active schedule recording & performing throughout the country with ensembles under his own name as well as being a touring member of experimental-pop group In One Wind, jazz-trio-collective CHIVES & post-core quartet killerBOB.

Last summer I previewed a concert

by an excellent New York jazz trio called Chives, led by the reedist Steven Lugerner, an ambitious composer, arranger, and conceptualist who seems to be overflowing with ideas. That impression is only reinforced by his strong new album, For We Have Heard (due May 14 on No Business/Primary), his second session with pianist Myra Melford, trumpeter Darren Johnston, and drummer Matt Wilson. Lugerner used texts from the Book of Joshua in the Torah to title each piece, and he further composed the music by usinggematria, a traditional rabbinical system of assigning numbers to particular words or phrases. In the album’s press materials he writes, “I devised a couple of ways of turning those numbers into music. For instance, if I had a series of five or six numbers, I could stack them in terms of harmony and build chords out of that. Or I could use those numbers in a time signature or meter of music. The numbers could be reflected in the melody or the duration of a note.” But don’t let that dissuade you from checking the actual music out, because this is no theoretical trip—the sounds stand easily on their own, as you can tell from today’s 12 O’Clock Track, “When a Long Blast Is Sounded.” – Peter Margasak – The Chicago Reader



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3 thoughts on “Steven Lugerner | For We Have Heard | No Business Records

  1. In something of a departure for the Lithuanian No Business label, young San Francisco-born, NYC-based reedman Steven Lugerner presents a LP of his thoughtfully arranged charts. To breathe life into the notation, Lugerner has assembled a talented crew, which he carefully deploys in varying combinations across the ten cuts. Not only that but he also overdubs himself in places to create a woodwind chorus and orchestral scale touches.

    On trumpet, Bay Area resident Darren Johnston veers between melodic extemporizations and timbral effects, while pianist Myra Melford reminds us why she is such an in-demand performer, taking cameo roles on two numbers which bookend the bulk of the 33-minute program: the concise but sprightly “Us and Our Fathers” and magnificently dashing “Our Children in Time.” However drummer Matt Wilson proves the key figure, as his tuned cadences and pinpoint meter provide the main unifying features. It’s harder to get a fix on the leader, as he switches between a battery of horns, ranging from pure-toned soprano saxophone to gallumphing bass clarinet.

    In fact Lugerner’s conception furnishes the prime talking point. He has fashioned a suite-like work, comprising multiple short tracks, best appreciated as a whole. It’s not about wild solos. Most are pithy, tuneful and fitted to the contours of the piece, as exemplified by “When a Long Blast is Sounded” which begins with martial drums and stately piano. A lilting trumpet statement emerges from a unison with clarinet, but quickly merges with looser drum rhythms, before the drums take the piece out. When a brief passage of edgy interplay transpires on “All Those Kings” it signals a departure and indicates a potentially fertile sphere for future investigation, whereby the talented crew exert more leeway within the attractive arrangements.

  2. Multi-woodwind expert Steve Lugerner’s solo outing for this Lithuania-based progressive/avant-jazz record label enters the market as a limited edition of only 500 LPs. Get them while they last, as some would say. And it’s a very distinctive performance, duly capturing the earthy attributes of this all-star lineup’s contrasting song forms and extraordinary synergy, clocking in at 32 minutes and recorded with analog equipment.

    Drummer Matt Wilson establishes a march-like progression during the album opener, “Us and Our Fathers.” Here, trumpeter Darren Johnston escalates the proceedings with his resonating notes to spark a tightly knit vibe that projects clarity of execution amid playful passages within a regimented flow. Wilson kicks it into overdrive with a poetic, medium-tempo solo that restructures the primary melody. With chamber-like moments or offbeat tonal swashes, the program’s variable outline skirts avant metrics, spanning austerity and introspection, along with Lugerner’s manifold phrasings, executed on an arsenal of woodwinds.

    Pianist Myra Melford ignites a delicate ballad on “For We Have Heard,” as Johnston’s extended notes and animated runs paint a broad backdrop for Lugerner’s meticulously rendered lines, often casting a sense of isolation. The band revisits a less-pronounced march motif on “All Those Kings,” featuring Lugerner’s soulful alto sax choruses and counterbalancing output with Johnston as they engage in a moderately heated dialogue. Meanwhile, Melford constructs a rumbling undertow as the musicians navigate off-course, rendering linear unison lines and odd-metered time signatures. They uncannily articulate a malleable soundscape that proposes an additional source of interest.

    Indeed, Lugerner is a wise soul who possesses a deep-rooted artistic persona via his markedly unique compositional style, paralleling his astute leadership.

  3. Steven Lugerner? After hearing his limited edition LP For We Have Heard (No Business NBLP 64) I KNOW. Before I did not. He plays all manner of winds on the album and plays them well. But most strikingly he is an avant jazz composer of talent. The music is post-Weill, post-Carla-Bley, if you want some forebears. There is the slightest hint of the hoary cabaret or old march music in there faintly, yet there is so much more, and it is quite modern. Blocks of structure vary and repeat but not typically minimalistically.

    He’s put together a quartet pretty ideal for the music he writes. These are players who can work inside structures (as they do in their own music) and when called upon to solo reflect freedom-in-structure. It’s the wonderful Myra Melford on piano, Darren Johnston on trumpet, and Matt Wilson on drums, all composers in their own right, master instrumentalists, and for lack of a better term, structuralists in the Lugerner manner.

    The music has plenty of rhythmic and harmonic twists and turns of an original sort. It’s highly arranged quartet music, and in that it also reminds favorably of Jimmy Giuffre’s early work, not as especially an influence, but a sharer in essence.

    The time limits of the LP translates into very compact and meaningful programming. There isn’t a moment that doesn’t count.

    Beyond that I give this one lots of kudos. Seriously well crafted, excellently refreshing quartet music! Lugerner is a name to remember. Get the album.

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