Charged Particles
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Charged Particles

Portola Valley, California, United States | INDIE

Portola Valley, California, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Latin


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Album title: Charged Particles. Schoolkids Records SK 1526.


"An electrifying, push-the-limits performance style ... A tight and enormously talented trio."
-JazzTimes Magazine

"Charged Particles is definitely dazzling."
-Jazz and Blues Report

"Fresh, energized contemporary jazz that showcases the trio's individual technical mastery as well as a cooperative, refined approach to the art form."
-Jazz News Magazine

"What dynamic music it is! A superb example of musical artistry at its best."
-This Week Newspaper

“Tight interplay was the watchword as the threesome took difficult fusion themes and applied its own twists with spark and personal flair.”
-Los Angeles Times

"A fusion of disparate elements, grounded in a valid aesthetic, and played passionately with a high degree of professionalism."
-Midwest Jazz

"I was amazed at the sophisticated musicianship of these very talented and dexterous musicians."
-Agenda Newsmonthly

"The trio's execution of difficult compositions often is breathtaking; fans of this type of music should not be disappointed."
-The Columbus Dispatch

"Smart, intricately arranged tunes. Beatkeepers all, they add swing to every track."
-The Columbus Guardian


Imagination, technique, and dedication - it takes all three for the creative process to produce a completed work of art, be it painting, sculpture, acting, or in the case of Charged Particles, music. As Miles Micawber (tenorman with the famed Charlie Dickens Quintet) was want to say, "Possess all three - artistic fulfillment! Lack even one - artistic frustration!" And who's to argue with Miles?

Imagination provides the creativity to re-arrange silence with a finite number of sounds in a way not hear before; technique provides the ability to physically manipulate the instruments to bring forth the sounds the imagination has conceived; dedication provides the impetus to overcome the numerous major and minor obstacles that can prevent the artist from completing the work and making it available to an audience - everything from finding the time and money for the project, rehearsing, performance, editing, artwork, design, copy, credits, printing, manufacturing, packaging, shrink-wrapping, distribution, promotion, bookkeeping, copyrights, and assorted legalities, to name just a few of the more obvious problems.

The minors ones can be any of the peaks and valleys encountered in day-to-day living. Nobody said making an album was easy, even if everything goes right.

Fortunately, Charged Particles, individually and collectively, has the artistic requirements to produce the music you are about to experience.

And what dynamic music it is! A powerhouse collection of acoustic and electric contemporary jazz that includes Latin, funk, mainstream, pop, and classical elements - performed by three superbly talented musicians.

Caleb Hutslar, keyboards, taught himself to play french horn so he could perform with his high school marching band and orchestra. Serious classical piano lessons started at age 16, with jazz piano following a year later. He enrolled in the Ohio State University School of Music in 1988, as a piano performance major, studying both classical and jazz. He received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1993.

Equally proficient in an acoustic or electric setting, Caleb's playing reflects the influence of Chick Corea, Art Tatum, and Oscar Peterson. His skills as a composer/performer are evidence on the complex, funky, and intense "Soko Ban," which combines unconventional rhythmic patterns with fusion and a classical approach. His solo on "Spaceships" is a superb example of imagination and technique, while his beautifully-light touch on "Autumn Leaves" illustrates his (and the group's) admiration, love, and abilities in bringing new life and beauty to the most familiar mainstream standards.

Michael Rak, bass, began his musical odyssey as a trumpet player at age 11 but soon added tuba, bass, guitar, and euphonium, all of which he played through high school, in both concert and jazz band. His musical education continued at OSU, with courses in music theory, history, ear training, arranging, and bass. He performed regularly as a member of the renowned OSU Jazz Ensemble at such prestigious jazz events as the Notre Dame Jazz Festival and the Mexico City International Jazz Festival. His outstanding musical accomplishments were recognized when he was awarded the Tom Battenberg Jazz Scholarship.

Mike's playing mixes the light touch and technical wizardry of such contemporary jazz players as Jaco Pastorius and John Patitucci with the high energy and aggressive pulsing of such exciting rockers as Geddy Lee, Billy Sheehan, and Stuart Hamm. The range of his sound can be heard on the gently-quite "Portrait of Tracy" and his original composition, the brightly-energetic "Latina Una." When not rehearsing or performing on the instrument, Mike teaches it, which bo



The most exciting and creative music being made today crosses stylistic boundaries and blends multiple traditions to create vital new sounds. Charged Particles features three of the country's young virtuosos doing just that for contemporary electric jazz. Murray Low is a keyboard wizard whose classically trained technique and imaginative improvisational skills boggle the mind. Jason Muscat is an inventive and sophisticated electric bassist. Along with fiery drummer Jon Krosnick, these players are making some of the most electrifying jazz in the country today.

All of the trio's music has a distinctly acoustic sensibility, despite the fact that the members play both electric and acoustic instruments. The group's small size allows for great sensitivity and spontaneity among the players, making each performance an enchanting improvisational exploration. The band's energy level is always high, even when they are cooking at a volume no louder than a whisper, or floating through the melody of a romantic ballad. Each piece they play brims with the fun the players have together and with the admiration they have for each other. Charged Particles are a treat to hear!

The trio's repertoire blends jazz styles with elements from Latin music, classical music, funk, and more. The group's original compositions are mixtures of elaborate orchestration and opportunities for creative improvised solos. And they bring a similar approach to playing arrangements of tunes by other jazz artists and traditional jazz standards, including favorites by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Richard Rogers, and other composers of America's most popular songs from decades ago, each played with a new twist.

Charged Particles made its public debut on National Public Radio's live performance program, "Detroit Jazz Alive", originating in Detroit, Michigan. The group's one-hour live performance drew wide attention. Performances since then have been at festivals and clubs around the country. In addition to its own headline performances, the band has opened for national recording artists such as Stanley Jordan, Yanni, and Al DiMeola, and the group has had such international mega-star drummers as Peter Erskine and Dennis Chambers sit in with them.

In 1994, Charged Particles released its first compact disk, on Schoolkids Records. The CD received airplay on over 200 jazz radio stations nation-wide and was praised by national jazz critics in such outlets as Jazziz Magazine, Jazz Times Magazine, Jazz and Blues Report, Pulse! Magazine, and many more. A performance by the group was included on the compilation CD, The Columbus Collection, featuring outstanding jazz artists from Columbus, Ohio, and released in 1996. The group’s second CD, “Sparks”, was released in late 2002 on BOPO Records, received airplay on nearly 100 radio stations within two weeks of its release, and has gained attention from critics in many American publications and in magazines as far away as England, Denmark, and Japan. “Sparks” was named one of the eight “must-hear” jazz releases of 2002 by The Other Paper, and the opening track from “Sparks” was included on the “Jazziz on Disc” sampler CD mailed to 85,000 subscribers of Jazziz Magazine in March, 2003.

In 2001, Charged Particles added a fourth member to its performing ensemble: master percussionist Ron Hope. Ron brings a sparkle to the band's performances and has added strong elements of African and Latin musical roots to the group's performance repertoire. Ron consistently delights audiences with his charismatic on-stage personality and propulsive drumming.

When Caleb Hutslar moved to Sweden, a new generation of Charged Particles was born, featuring the world-renowned Kim Pensyl on keyboards and the amazing Andy Woodson on bass. Twice named one of Billboard's Top-20 Contemporary Jazz Artists of the Year, Kim is a prolific composer and an amazing performer. Andy is also a great composer and band-leader who brings energy to the electric bass reminiscent of Jaco Pastorius. With this personnel, the band performed around Ohio and toured the country as well, including performances in North Carolina, Michigan, and Chicago.

In 2011, the third generation of Charged Particles was born in California. Murray Low is firing up the keyboards, and Jason Muscat is blazing on the electric bass. Bringing alive the long-time original repertoire of the band and compositions by their favorite contemporary composers, Murray, Jason, and Jon have already made a new recording and are bringing the band alive and preparing to tour.


Murray Low is a veteran pianist of the Bay Area jazz scene and has been playing, composing, arranging, recording and teaching professionally for over thirty years. His fluency in all forms of jazz and its blending with other idioms has led to a multi-faceted career spanning a wide variety of musical contexts.

Murray is perhaps best known for his contributions to Latin