Iconoclast composer, improviser, and trumpet player Nate Wooley continues to define his place in American music with two radically different recordings of ecstatic and psychedelic compositions. Firehouse 12 Records and Pleasure of the Text Records are each releasing CDs of his long form works for all-star improvising large ensembles: Argonautica (FH12-04-01-023) – a jazz double trio channeling 1970s psychedelia and Seven Storey Mountain V – (POTTR1305) part of Wooley’s epic noise song cycle.
Argonautica, released by Firehouse 12 Records, is a sonic analog to the epic poem of the same name. Built in three parts, or chapters, the music makes oblique reference to dodecaphony, ambient tape music, and the driving minimalist rock of Terry Riley. It was conceived and written as a tribute to Wooley’s mentor Ron Miles, who plays the lyrical cornet role to the leader’s more caustic trumpet voice. The rhythm section is equally balanced with Grammy award winning new music pianist Cory Smythe in tandem with Belgian Fender-Rhodes legend Jozef Dumoulin and the brash upstart free jazz drumming of Devin Gray interlocking with the fiery precision of Rudy Royston. The group is compositionally set in different duos and trios, working together and separately throughout the fifty-plus minutes of music to slowly build to a shattering climax that raises the question of what jazz-rock can be in the twenty-first century. In addition to CD and digital versions, Argonautica will also be available in an audiophile 5.1 surround sound Blu-ray special edition.
Seven Storey Mountain V, released on Wooley’s Pleasure of the Text label, is the fifth of seven evening length works that began with a Festival of New Trumpet commission in 2007. Recorded live at Abrons Art Center in New York City as part of the 2015 Tectonics NY festival, SSMV continues Wooley’s idea of creating an ecstatic and communal music that is non-religious and non-genre based. The massive collective group includes international stars from the jazz, new music, electronic, and noise worlds–working together to realize Wooley’s singular musical vision. The group, which is the largest to date, features Wooley on amplified trumpet alongside C. Spencer Yeh and Samara Lubelski on amplified violins, Ben Vida on electronics, Ben Hall and Ryan Sawyer on percussion, Chris Dingman and Matt Moran on vibraphone, Colin Stetson, Josh Sinton, and Dan Peck on amplified reeds and brass, and the TILT Brass octet (Chris McIntyre, Gareth Flowers, Mike Gurfeld, Tim Leopold, Will Lang, Matt Melore, Jen Baker, and James Roger).