Jeff Marx/Jeff "Siege" Siegel Duo

Jeff Marx/Jeff "Siege" Siegel Duo

 Shokan, New York, USA

A dynamic and creative duo performing original material that reflects the entire scope of Jazz. A unique chemistry of passion, sensitivity, originality, humor and friendship.

Band Press

"Dreamstuff" – Jazznett By: Henrik Kaldahl

This new download-only release from the ever amazing Ayler Records is a duo recording by the two free minded musicians, Jeff Marx who controls the tenorsaxophone and the drummer Jeff ”Siege” Siegel. The release consists of ten incredible tight played numbers which was recorded at NRS Recording Studio, Catskill New York on August 18 and december 11 in 2005.

The interplay between these two great artists are really something out of the ordinary. The way the numbers are played brings the thoughts back to the work between John Coltrane and Rashied Ali in the sixties – at times sounding like a updated version of these two old masters and their work together. On this record there is no leadman who stands in front of the other. Both musicians stand together like partners in crime and the result is one strong unit moving forward on a collective mission into the amazing world of free jazz. Marx pushes his saxophone to the limit with convincing and breathtaking results and Siege bangs the drums with great skills and foreward thinking playing on the drums.

The music here is extremely well played by two great musicians, who plays like there was no tomorrow and like this was the one thing they just had to do before the world ends as we know it. As on all of the other releases from Ayler records I have reviewed, the quality is very, very high and I can only give it my most sincere recommendation

"Pick of the Week" – WNUR Chicago - Program Mgr.

Jeff Marx & Jeff “Siege” Siegel
“Dreamstuff” (Ayler, 2007)
Jeff Marx (ts), Jeff “Siege” Siegel (dr)

Recorded in the summer and winter of 2005, here is a set of 10 relatively short pieces which explore the more swinging, bouncy side of free jazz in a sax/drums format. Marx proves to be a powerful player, more than carrying his weight as the sole tonal voice of the album. He takes a basic idea in each piece, and introduces a series of turns and variations, creating a lively overall feel. Siegel’s drumming is deceptively free; despite being of a traditional time signature, each phrase seems to be perfectly in place, which speaks volumes about the communicative ability of these two as a pair. The duo also collaborated together on the Jeff Marx Quartet album Great Unkown, recorded in 1999, which also featured Michael Jefry Stevens on piano and Santi Debriano on bass. Marx, now located in Chicago, has seen his career take him through New York, Detroit, and San Francisco as well, and most notably collaborated frequently with Dave Douglas and Reggie Workman. He also released Treading Air, Breathing Fire on Soluna Records, which was recorded in 2002. Currently the leader of his own quartet, Siegel has more of a background in straight-ahead playing, which speaks more of his influences than his capabilties.

- Mike Szajewski

"Dreamstuff" – All About Jazz - October '07

Duo performance is one of the most revealing venues for a performer. While as exposed as if performing solo, the inclusion of another musician into the creative process forces accountability. Many great musicians have been stretched by the process to create some of their best performances, whether it is Duke and Jimmy Blanton or Hank Jones and Joe Lovano. The drum/sax duo is one that can very easily lend itself to a dizzying flurry of squeaks and honks and it is nice to hear on Dreamstuffmelodic ideas fleshed out with plenty of space lining the walls. Drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel has a definite reserve on the drums as well, setting up long drum fills on the snare only, dropping in the bass kick at the end of a phrase. Without bass, the performers utilizing the full range of their instruments is very important in creating drama; Siegel’s careful implementation of flourish with a snare here, booming bass kicks over there and gap fills with ride cymbal and high hat surround saxophonist Jeff Marx’ sax lines with a sense of orchestration. There is a consistency of improvisational material from song to song. Even the more exploratory tracks make use of a very singular style of free communication throughout.
- Jake Harper

"Dreamstuff" – Le Son du Grisli August 07

On Dreamstuff, the saxophonist Jeff Marx and the percussionist Jeff " Siege " Siegel go back to the intensity of a minimalist, play free as much as decisive.

If it often names John Coltrane or Sonny Rollins in reference, it is younger saxophonists that Marx recalls here: Arthur Blythe on Little Elliot Lloyd, Jimmy Lyons elsewhere, helped by the shape taken by a meeting which reminds of other one, more ancient: that of Lyons, therefore, and of Andrew Cyrille. In the game of comparisons, Siegel Siegel submits to the sound of practical jokes able of making the tenor turn on him same (Esposition), of developments full of flowers or roguish proposals (Rag Tag)

Sometimes taking after the delightful draft (Kind Of Like Talking), Dreamstuff sees therefore Marx and Siegel to succeed with subtlety in the financial year of the inventive duo, and to give again colours in a fashion unfortunately a bit crossed.

Best of 2007 –

Best of 2007

"Treading Air, Breathing Fire" – Allaboutjazz - Mark F. Turner
Treading Air - Breathing Firepad
The sixteen minute live piece? "Scare 'Em Stupid" could almost be worth the price of Jeff Marx's new recording alone. It begins with a complex tenor sax and piano dialogue that gives way to an evolving and simply killer sax solo mirrored by equally open piano and bass solos that change in tempo and mood. All of this is held together by some extremely tight drum work. The composition is a good reflection of the overall flow of his new recording, Treading Air, Breathing Fire.

The Chicago based saxophonist influences show hints of greats John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. His voice is throaty with rapid bursts of notes and highly developed control. The eight selections are “straightahead modern post bop” if you're into labels, but the main consideration is the extremely tight performance of Jeff Marx's band. The group performs with a looseness that allows the music to be spontaneous and free in a variety of modes.

Two of the more notable names on the ticket are pianist John Esposito, who has worked with Pharaoh Sanders and Dave Douglas; and bassist Ira Coleman, who has performed with Herbie Hancock and the Tony Williams Quintet. Their performances, along with Marx and drummer Peter O'Brien's, are simply inspired. Esposito's talent pours out freely in the blissful 'Treading Air' and the stirring 'Song of The Trees' with elaborate and artistic solos. Ira Coleman is simply "the man" and delivers terrific bass lines that swell, dance, and ignite each piece. His solo on the odd metered 'Forsaken' is a thing of beauty. All of this is kept in check by the sharp drumming of O'Brien.

Marx starts and finishes with the same vivid tenor sound that is not just about high style but more of feeling and earnest playing. With inflections, guttural tones, spiraling notes, and just simply playing his horn off, he's created quite a memorable recording. Highly recommended.

"Magical Spaces" – Jazz Improv - John Patten

You gotta love a drummer who goes by "Siege," as in Jeff "Siege" Siegel -- it seems to convey a certain attitude. To be honest, though, there isn't much "attitude" on the CD "Magical Spaces," only the results of some serious musicians working hard to make a decent recording.
You'd think a drummer called "Siege" would make sure his work was up front in the mix, especially when it's his date, playing his tunes. But Mr. Siegel is fine with keping his work behind the soloists, where he can keep the beat and add fills without overpowering the sensitive compositions.
He takes a few solos - along with saxophonist Erica Lindsay and pianist Francesca Tanksley - as well as three compositions for solo drums, "Opening Statement," "Twilight," and the closing "Postcard to Arthur Rhames."
The release's liner notes mention Mr. Siegel's work with saxophonist Rhames, as well as Sir Roland Hanna, and his work teaching to convey a sense of Mr. Siegel's experience, which is well displayed on his compositions.
One can divide the compositions between upbeat boppers, like "Graz is Greener on the Other Side," "Magical Spaces," and "Africa"; ballads including "M Song," "Mourning for Kevin O'Connor" and "Lenny", and his three solo pieces, "Opening Statement," "Twilight" and "Postcard to Arthur Rhames."
When driving the group on upbeat tunes, Mr. Siegel keeps great time with his cymbal work and uses snare and tom fills to add energy and drive. His playing on "Africa" and "Threads" is really outstanding: sensitive to the music but still original and compelling.
In the ballads, Mr. Siegel uses a variety of percussive ideas to add to his melodies without overrunning the other musicians. His ideas are further displayed on his solo turns, where a wide variety of percussive instruments are used to create rich textures of sound.
The liner notes by Bill Shoemaker discuss the decades of work done by musicians like Mr. Siegel, who have been thwarted in releasing their own music earlier due to the consolidation in the recording industry. Mr. Siegel's first release, then, comes to us as a fully conceived set of tunes from a mature jazz musician. He seems to be full of ideas both for his instrument and his compositions.
He's accompanied on "Magical Spaces" by delightful work by pianist Francesca Tanksley, whose skillful accompaniment is never out of place. She uses very nice voicings to compliment the melody, and her solo work is well done. In tandem with bassist Danton Boller, the rhythm section is always right on target on the compositions. Saxophonist Erica Lindsay gets most of the melodic workout, stating the heads on most tunes before solo turns. Her breathy and slurring style works nicely on the ballads, but is seemed she was running out of air on some of the other up-tempo tunes. Her solos, however, are well planned and played, with clear ideas evident throughout. Vocalist Tim Strong adds a rich sound to Mr. Siegel's "Peaceful."
The CD times out at about an hour and 17 minutes -- that's a lot of music for your money, and it's a lot of music for your ears. Despite the length, Mr. Siegel's compositional talents and tasteful drumming will leave many listeners wanting more.

Dreamstuff – Roll

Jeff Marx and Jeff "Siege" Siegel | Dreamstuff
Ayler Records
Review by Peter Aaron

The photo of tenor saxophonist Jeff Marx and drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel inside the printable booklet of this download-only release is certainly well chosen. A candid shot taken on a sunny afternoon in a Manhattan city park, it depicts the duo caught up in friendly game of chess—the perfect metaphor for the rewarding musical tête-àtête Marx and Siegel have been involved in for nearly 30 years; first as members of the Brooklyn Jazz Quartet, then of Second Sight, a band that also featured revolutionary trumpeter Dave Douglas and Hudson Valley pianist John Esposito, who contributes liner notes and four compositions to Dreamstuff.

The tenorist and percussionist have since moved on from the soul-devouring grind of the New York scene—Marx to Chicago, Siegel to Shokan—and these days don’t get to play together as often as they [or we] would like. But mere geographic separation has done little to quell the duo’s deep psychic rapport, as these 10 improvised and through-composed tracks make copiously clear. “Esposition,” a cleverly named tribute to the twosome’s friend and former band mate, and the appropriately titled “Kind of Like Talking” are representative of the high level of engaging conversation played out over this set; masters of tension and release, Marx and Siegel always know exactly when to let the music breathe and when to prod each other on. Recorded in 2005 around the time of a concert the pair gave at Bard College, Dreamstuff will have lovers of inventive jazz counting the days until Marx and Siegel’s next convergence. Let’s hope it’s soon.

Dreamstuff –

JEFF MARX & JEFF SIEGEL Dreamstuff (Ayler Records)

by Jeff Waggoner

From the first note of the CD “Dreamstuff,” the listener can tell you are being engaged by a serious tenor saxophonist.

Anyone who takes such care to deliver great, throaty blasts out of the sax like Chicago-based Jeff Marx does, you know he is a meticulous craftsman.

Listen further, to “Dreamstuff,” the newly released duo CD on the Swedish Ayler Records label with drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel, you know you are listening to art, not just craft.

Hudson Valley resident Siegel is much more a collaborator in this duo session than he is an accompanist or rhythm keeper. While Marx takes center stage on most of the 10 songs on this CD, Siegel’s presence and counterpoint to Marx is what makes this CD a keeper.

It’s a rare delight to hear a drum set player who is a total percussionist. Someone who doesn’t let any clank, thunk or tinkle go unused.

This is especially the case on the beautiful improvisation, “Bird’s Sancutary,” whistles, flutes and jangles make it float.

All 10 songs are originals written by Marx, Siegel or producer John Esposito and it is one of those albums that really should be listened as a whole.

It says a lot about the level of musicianship in this region when a label such as Ayler Records produces one of our own. Ayler Records has put out recording of some of the most important free jazz musicians performing today, including Peter Brötzmann, Henry Grimes, Hamid Drake, William Parker, Assif Tsahar and Charles Gayle.

But ‘free jazz” shouldn’t put off potential listeners of this CD. It occasionally teases with free jazz concepts, but the players/composers always find some kind of organizing principle that shape the music. Every note here makes sense.

Personally, this is one of my favorite CD acquisitions so far in 2007. Recommended.

Jeff Marx/Jeff Siegel – Jazzwise Magazine (England) 2/08

Generally speaking, the jazz duet format is about expansion and extended improvisation. Pieces tend to be long. Preludes, mid sections and codas are usually anything but condensed. Here the Marx-Siegel tandem takes the opposite tack. Concision is the order of the day and there are as many as 10 pieces - what one might find on a pop album - the longest of which lasts no more than seven minutes. The rub is that musicians aren't hamstrung by this reduced timeframe and on the opening salvo 'Harps", their free flowing investigations of a loose tonal centre and shifting meter announce an undimmed creative drive. Thereafter the two men wheel liberally through all manner of stylistic escapade, subverting swing and blues and provactively playing with form in general, emphasising a snappy melodic theme here or puckerishly shuttling from rhythmic eruption to silence elsewhere. Marx's horn, touched equally by Henderson and Trane, is a subtle but penetrating presence and Siegel's percussive, quasi-hand drum sensibility serves as both effective complement and counterpoint to his partner. The note-bending, barline-surfing, time-stretching but ultimately very disciplined nature of the performance is impressive.
--- Kevin Le Gendre