Julian Siegel Trio with Joey Baron and Greg Cohen
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Julian Siegel Trio with Joey Baron and Greg Cohen

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Nov
17
Julian Siegel Trio with Joey Baron and Greg Cohen @ Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank Centre

LONDON, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

LONDON, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

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"This Trio is full of Music and Magic and will capture you as it did me with repeated listening..Bravo !!!" Joe Lovano

“For me, contemporary jazz doesn’t get any better than this” Peter Bacon, The Birmingham Post 5 Stars *****

“it’s jazz at close to its inventive best”. Ray Comiskey, The Irish Times 4 Stars ****

“the appetite for adventure of all three players means that almost every piece has an intriguingly evolving, spontaneous narrative”. John Fordham, The Guardian 4 stars ****

“The chemistry between sax player and composer Julian Siegel, drummer Joey Baron and bass player Greg Cohen is almost uncanny”. Ivan Hewitt, The Daily Telegraph

"Dazzling" Observer

“This latest trio project seems once again to have struck gold" Jazzwise

“Kept an awestruck audience on tenterhooks” JazzUK

“Musical bliss” Birmingham Post - Basho Music


Review: Carla Bley's Lost Chords plus Julian Siegel Trio

(Queen Elizabeth Hall, London Jazz Festival, November 17th 2009)

I definitely feel the need to spare the reader today, to distil the strongest impressions from four-and-a-half hours spent at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last night into something crisp. If not quite Bridget Jones telegramese, then let every word from now on today fight for its place.

Joey Baron, the drummer in Julian Siegel 's trio needs to be seen. He is something else. He gives the impression that every single percussive hit on a drum or rim or cymbal is precisely, even superhumanly placed. He is intent and concentrated on his own performance, but those eyes, moving from left (to look at Cohen) and right (Siegel) are so alert and watchful. There's linkedup energy in the stick movement and in the smile. Unbelievable. As one musican remarked to me, it must be completely daunting, because it feels as if Baron is never, never wrong. Alternative profession: tennis umpire, perhaps.

This trio is world-class. There is nothing Siegel cannot do on a tenor saxophone, the CD they recorded Live at the Vortex (Basho) is stunning, but they're getting better. There was an accident. Baron suddenly found his stick disintegrating. Two, three bits flew off, and drumstick became a pencil stub. Without a single hit going astray.

Carla Bley has what the lonely hearts columns call GSOH. (A good/quirky/understated sense of humour like Bley's should be available on prescription during the next six months of grubby electioneering which Britain is about to undergo.) The Lost Chords are what we need: a band where they are all constantly looking around for where the next laugh might be coming from.

In the interview before the gig Bley was remembering being a cigarette girl in Birdland, selling Paul Bley a packet of Luckies - that was the lonely heart sorted out with her GSOH once- writing for Paul Bley's band , meeting Steve Swallow - that makes twice- and then musically building out a duo into the current quartet.

Highlights of ECM-ish beauty were the moody modal and Miles-y Lost Chords , and a sublime encore Útviklingssang. I loved the Weill-ish digging-in of Valse Sinistre. Drummond was ever-lively, Swallow impeccable and warm-toned, Sheppard fluent. But what I will remember- especially for when the politicians drone- is the anarchic chuckle of this band.
On Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - London Jazz /Seb Scotney


"This powerful international trio, led by UK reeds-player Siegel and featuring sometime Ornette Coleman bass partner Greg Cohen and New York downtown drummer Joey Baron, starts a UK tour next week. This double album (all Siegel originals apart from a radical remake of Alfie and a smokily bluesy One Mint Julep) was recorded at London's Vortex in January 2007. It triumphs in the tricky pursuit of making an unplugged horn-led trio sound varied (helped greatly by Siegel's rich resources on clarinets as well as tenor sax), and is a spectacular flyer for the upcoming gigs. Siegel's tenor inventiveness (reflecting, among many things, Coleman's dancing phrasing, the unflurried melody-building of Warne Marsh and the tonal range of Joe Lovano) is teased by Cohen's melodic twists and racing four-four pulse, and by Baron's fizzing cymbal-patterns and peremptory rimshots. The tunes are strong (from Siegel's dark and rugged Atlantic to the captivating rhythm-shifting swinger Stop Go Man, the frisky MAB or the abstract Haunted Waltz), and the appetite for adventure of all three players means that almost every piece has an intriguingly evolving, spontaneous narrative." John Fordham - The Guardian newspaper


2009 was a lively year for live jazz in Birmingham and the Midlands over the last 12 months but some gigs stand out more than others. And then there were the ones I travelled a little further for.

The year started strongly with two great gigs in its first few weeks. First was the second visit to Birmingham of Julian Siegel’s trio, matching his tenor saxophone and clarinets with the double bass and drums of two renowned US players, Greg Cohen and Joey Baron. They played close up and unamplified, and whether improvising on original Siegel tunes or on standards like Moonlight In Vermont, their close understanding and shared sense of musical exploration was mesmerising. - The Jazz Breakfast, Peter Bacon


Live At The Vortex
Julian Siegel Trio | Basho Records (2009)


By Chris May
Chris May
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Senior Editor
Joined AAJ in 2004

Chris May edited Black Music & Jazz Review (UK), and has written books on jazz, African and reggae musics.

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He may or may not be "mad, bad and dangerous to know," as a female contemporary famously described the 19th century poet Lord Byron, but there is something distinctly Byronic about British reeds player Julian Siegel. His cascading curls (an early nickname was Wig), penchant for black clothing, and the intense lyricism of his playing combine to suggest a latter day Romantic, striving to find beauty in an often ugly world.

Siegel's first instrument is the tenor saxophone, though the bass clarinet comes a close second, and with Live At The Vortex, a double CD recorded over two nights at the north London jazz club, he's produced one of the two most absorbing reeds albums of the first half of 2009, the other being saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock's Sleepthief (Intakt, 2009). Laubrock's disc explores the outer limits of timbral invention and free improvisation, boldly going where neither man nor woman has gone so completely before; Siegel's set is of similar weight, within its more structured and in-the-tradition parameters.

Since 2001, with guitarist Phil Robson, Siegel has co-led London's in-your-face, post-electric Miles Davis band the Partisans, while developing a simultaneous career as an acoustic band leader and featured soloist. In addition to Laubrock, the other leading lights of British and European jazz Siegel has worked with include keyboard player Django Bates, pianists John Taylor and Gwilym Simcock, and trumpeter and flugelhornist Kenny Wheeler. Not before time, Siegel was recognized by the annual BBC Jazz Awards when he won the 2007 prize for Best Instrumentalist.

Live At The Vortex finds Siegel in the company of two equally distinguished American musicians—bassist Greg Cohen and drummer Joey Baron. Cohen includes work with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, trumpeter Dave Douglas and singer Tom Waits among his varied curriculum vitae. New York downtown luminary Baron worked alongside Cohen with reed player Ken Vandermark.

The trio was unveiled at Britain's 2006 Cheltenham International Jazz Festival, and has since toured the UK twice, most recently in January 2009. And it cooks. Most of Live At The Vortex is up-tempo and gritty. Cohen and Baron are adepts of "intelligent groove"—keeping things throbbing while also evolving—and they lift Siegel, who's clearly having a ball, into torrents of invention. His tenor, by turns full-throated and velvet, roughly multiphonic and caressing, is mesmerizing from start to finish, and particularly so on "Atlantic," "Wigsworld" and "Stop Go Man."

All but two of the tunes were written by Siegel. The covers are Rudy Toombs' "One Mint Julep," which closes disc two, and Burt Bacharach's "Alfie." The latter is the bass clarinet highlight of the set, an entrancing dissection of the familiar tune, in which Siegel unpicks the inner harmonies with forensic precision, reassembling the melody over Cohen's spectral ostinato and Baron's singing cymbals.

Utterly compelling from start to finish, and superbly recorded, Live At The Vortex is as good as it gets.

Track listing: CD1: Atlantic; Wigsworld; Alfie; Stop Go Man; Night At The Opera. CD2: Incantation #1; M.A.B.; Haunted Waltz; Sandpit; One Mint Julep.

Personnel: Julian Siegel: tenor saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Greg Cohen: double-bass; Joey Baron: drums.


Published: May 18, 2009
Style: Modern Jazz

[Follow Julian Siegel Trio at AAJ] Julian Siegel Trio at All About Jazz - All About Jazz, Chris May



Concert review: Julian Siegel Trio
2009 January 27
tags: Birmingham Jazz, CBSO Centre, greg cohen, joey baron, julian siegel
by peterbacon

Julian Siegel Trio
CBSO Centre
23-01-09
*****
A certain feeling of déjà vu would have been correct. It was January, the CBSO Centre, the same players and the same opening tune: Siegel’s composition A Night At The Opera. Had we jumped back two years? Quite a bit of the material was repeated from the ’07 gig: Atlantic, Stop Go Man, Alfie, Haunted Waltz, Sandpit.

It didn’t matter, of course – the tunes and arrangements might have been familiar, but jazz is forever fresh, especially when three such creative spirits as Siegel (saxophone, clarinets), Joey Baron (drums) and Greg Cohen (double bass) are at work. The change was one of development and maturity, a sense that now these three knew each other even better, that what had started out as a festival commission and a transatlantic project had grown into a deeper musical friendship.

The acme came immediately after interval. In Seven Days, one of several new pieces, Siegel took a cryptic and persistent motif of four or five notes, repeating and reworking it both in order and timing. His solos shared the motif’s urgent material and pulled and pushed it about, while Baron and Cohen fired away underneath him. The result swept the listener along in high excitement, as if caught in a raging river.

Siegel just gets better and better, his tone rich and burnished, and heard to great effect in this unamplified way. He doesn’t write simple “head and solos” pieces but incorporates the improvisations more organically, returning regularly to the theme. He also manages to indulge himself and the band in some personal and quirky harmonic twists and turns while still incorporating enough melodic content to ensure his listeners have a strap to hang on to. And all that goes for his improvisations as well as his compositions.

Baron is simply my favourite drummer – enthralling, whether supporting, leading or responding in the group, or in his own intensely musical solos. Cohen’s mastery is less obvious, and at the start he suffered from being too quiet, but his tuneful solos, incorporating rich chords into the logical lines, and his effortlessly spot-on timing are equally rewarding.

The other new tunes, one untitled, were all strong, with Baron and Cohen having particular fun showing how seemingly conventional swing drums and walking bass can still sound fresh and new on Trent Lock.

The inclusion of another standard – the perenially wonderful Moonlight in Vermont – was one more treat in a whole evening of them. And isn’t it great to hear a band playing without amplification? It reminds us that when we have to lean forward and concentrate hard to catch every nuance, every subtle shift of tone and beat, that we get so much more out of the experience because we have put so much more into it. For me, contemporary jazz doesn’t get any better than this. - Jazz Breakfast/Birmingham Post


Discography

Julian Siegel Trio 'Live at the Vortex' Basho SRCD 26-2
Clips available to hear on http://www.juliansiegel.com/pages/listen.html

Photos

Bio

The trio arose from a major commission from the Cheltenham International Jazz Festival UK in 2006 and based on the success of this concert, toured the UK in 2007 and 2009. The tour proved hugely popular with both audiences and press and resulted in a live recording, which was released on Basho Records in November 2008.
In November 2009 the Trio played a sold out double bill at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the London Jazz Festival with Carla Bley's 'Lost Chords'

Julian Siegel has played with Hermeto Pascoal, Bill Frisell, Andrew Hill Anglo american Big band, Partisans, Django Bates and Steve Lacy; Greg Cohen has played with Ornette Coleman’s Quartet, John Zorn, Lee Konitz and has been featured on many of Tom Waits classic Records; Joey Baron has played and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae, John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, the Bill Frisell band, John Taylor and John Scofield to name a few.

Julian Siegel received the award for Best Instrumentalist in the 2007 BBC Jazz Awards.