Alt Tal

Alt Tal

 San Francisco, California, USA
BandJazzAvant-garde

Alt Tal is a hard-hitting acoustic jazz trio, whose latest CD features memorable melodies and arresting compositions. Based in the vibrant San Franciso Bay Area, their influences range from Johnny Hodges to Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane to Steve Lacy, as well as Hindustani (Indian classical).

Biography

Alt Tal is a hard-hitting acoustic jazz trio, whose latest CD features memorable melodies and arresting compositions.

Based in the vibrant San Franciso Bay Area, their influences range from Johnny Hodges to Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane to Steve Lacy, as well as Hindustani (Indian classical).

THE EVOLUTION OF ALT TAL

"During my first decade of composing, I kept increasing the size and complexity of the ensembles for which I wrote. I lived on the East coast, and had a great wealth of exposure to classical and schooled Jazz players who liked to read my work—from big band charts to contemporary orchestra compositions.

However, when I moved to SF, it took me about a year to figure out who to play with. People don't follow the same kind of traditions on the West coast. Here, it is less about leaning on particular genres, than it is about bringing something new to the table. Musicians, audiences and venues are much more fluid here in terms of what they will listen to.

So, I played with people studying at the Ali Akbar College of Music, including Kenny Annis, who was studying sarod at the time. Thus, Alt Tal was formed by playing original Jazz with an Indian sensibility of time and scale.

It took another year for us to figure out our instrumentation. On the one hand, our chord-less trio format was imposed by the austerity of life in the real world, where flexibility and logistics often define the success of a continuing project. But I approached this limitation as a challenge: I had to figure out how to play melodically while also presenting the chord structure.

Finally, we called on Andrew Ryan, who we had collaborated with in a whimsical Rock side project (Little Effie's Head, http://myspace.com/littleffieshead). Andy made the band more hard-hitting, and we shed some of our overt Hindustani references in favor of a more powerful, demanding approach. Around that time, I started playing Soprano Saxophone and new material followed. After another year, we were comfortable with this approach and took it to the studio.

All the while we've been playing, gigging and learning more. Much has changed since then—like Kenny has been playing upright—and I decided this project was worth sharing. So, we re-mixed a few songs, mastered it and voila here it is."

Discography

DISCOGRAPHY
- Open the Gates!
- DEMOlish the Wall
- tri

Set List

We typically play three 50 minute sets.

We don't have fixed setlists, but here are the three categories of tunes that we choose from.

ORIGINAL TUNES from Open the Gates! that we regularly play:

Force of Nature
Frivolity
Mark Time
Elaine
Seven O'Clock Tune
The Nymph
Mossad
News from Milan

OTHER ORIGINALS we also play:

l'Amoureuse de mon Père (From Open the Gates!)
Catch Me (From Open the Gates!)
Bike Lanes
The End of Bebop
Spring to Mission Hill
Three Out of Four Nights (From tri)
Just a Cup of Coffee (from tri)
Presque Tire Sale in God's Country (from tri)

COVERS:

Gospel (Steve Lacy)
Promises Kept (Sonny Sharrock)
India (John Coltrane)
Turnaround (Ornette Coleman)
Blues Connotation (Ornette Coleman)
Opus 4 (Charles Mingus)
Fables of Faubus (Charles Mingus)
Peggy's Blue Skylight (Charles Mingus)
Take the Coltrane (Duke Ellington)