Paul Stranahan
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Paul Stranahan

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | SELF

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Jazz Avant-garde




"Paul Stranahan Trio" Review:
Featured Artist: Paul Stranahan

CD Title: Climbing Somewhere

Year: 2003

Record Label: Stranahan Productions

Style: Fusion

Musicians: Bob Fraser, Mike Barna, Chris Bober (guitars, various tracks), Aidan Plank (acoustic bass), Jeff Scott, Wilbur Krebs (electric bass), Paul Stranahan (drums)

Review: Paul Stranahan's fusion band has everything that the aficionados of this type of music could possibly want.

From the delicate to the bold, Stranahan has composed 11 tunes that epitomize the fusion movement with a nod to the edginess that seems to permeate his music.

The musicians on this disc complement each other with deference to the messages inherent in Stranahan's songs. They do not rush headlong into individual statements, but rather adhere to the feel that the piece engenders.

The drums do not try to overpower the ensemble, they tend to soothe rather than bombast and that is the gist of the percussionist's role and Stranahan achieves this with soulful discretion.

One could say that this recording is fusion rather than con-fusion and certainly will be a welcome addition to the collection of the heartiest of fusion-o-philes.

Tracks: Climbing Somewhere, Neptune, Closing Time, Fifty Four, Mellow Tune, Get Off The Sofa!!!, 5/8 Tune, Hot And Humid, Corinne, Charlie, Fungus At 5:00 / Don't Fall Down

Artist's Website:

Reviewed by: John Gilbert

Copyright© 2004®. All Rights Reserved


"Paul Stranahan Trio"

Paul Stranahan Trio
Climbing Somewhere

Drummer Paul Stranahan plays with the fusion band Rare Blend, the experimental trio Barna, Charmek and Stranahan and the techno band From Within. Given the wide range of Stranahan's repertoire, Climbing Somewhere is his most conventional outlet. This is a guy, after all, who cites John Coltrane, Frank Zappa and Meshuggah as influences. But this is jazz you can put on for a dinner party — not that that takes anything away from it. The compositions are all terrific and the playing is top-notch. Guitarist Bob Fraser is prominent on most of the arrangements. He's a fluid player who goes more for tone than flash, though his solo on “Closing Time” has some bite to it. Stranahan's drumming is never obtrusive but it's dynamic enough to sustain the songs, and bassist Aidan Plank is solid as well. The final track, “Fungus at 5:00/Don't Fall Down,” stands out for its prog-rock overtones and wacky title, suggesting maybe a little Zappa found its way onto this album after all!

— Jeff Niesel - Cleveland Free Times
- Free Times

"Paul Stranahan Trio"

Paul Stranahan Trio: Climbing Somewhere

Not quite fusion, at least not all the time, this might be more properly called loud jazz. Or maybe power trio jazz, because though both trios are led by drummer Paul Stranahan, the unquestioned stars of the disc are the guitarists. Bob Fraser plays eight of the eleven tracks, while Mike Barna plays on two and Chris Bober one. Their styles are not all that dissimilar, perhaps because all the tunes were written by Stranahan.

Actually, the disc doesn't start out all that loud, though it's a bit on the avant-garde side on "Climbing Somewhere," before going a little more straight ahead on "Neptune." Bassist Aidan Plank gets in a brief solo, while Stranahan keeps things moving along. The tempo picks up on "Closing Time," with Fraser again front and center. The tunes featuring Barna veer more toward the rock side of the equation, the second featuring Stranahan on marimba. The concluding track is the lone sampling of Bober with Wilbur Krebs on electric bass getting in a melodic solo. Uneven, but engaging.
Review from Progression Magazine in Issue 49, Winter 2006
- Ross Boissoneau - Progression Magazine

"Broadview Collective"

Broadview Collective

There must be a reason this trio of fusioneers hasn't picked up a bass player. Perhaps guitarists Mike Barna and Jeff Charmek and drummer Paul Stranahan don't think it's too likely that there's another player out there who could easily find his way into their intimate and engaging set-up. Whether each player is strong
on instinct or through listening to his partners, or some mix of the two, the three consistently navigate the twin paths of structure and spontaneity with a well developed personal lingo.

The compositions, mostly quirky in character, succeed in creating varied improvisational scapes. Both fleet-fingered guitarists provide abundant tonal change-ups as well. While it may be contrary to the band's collective nature to single out one player, it's Stranahan's gift for coloration and for firing up the proceedings that most often emerges as BC's most interesting element.
A worthy effort.
-- Scene Magazine (November 2005)
- Scene Magazine

"PSI- Paul Stranahan's Insomnia"

Paul Stranahan’s PSI finds the drummer in a rotating trio setting revisiting and trudging the path of the sometimes ethereal, sometimes aggressive modern jazz idiom.

With compatriots Jeremy Bleich (bass) and guitarists Chris Bober, Mike Barna and Jeff Charmek, the Insomnia ensemble blurs the line between composition and improvisation while seamlessly moving between consonant and dissonant textures.

The first half of the album supported by seven-string axe maestro Bober treads the textural territory blazed in the past by intellectual, introspective and at times aggressive guitarists like Bill Frisell, or David Torn on their earlier ECM releases. That said, it also shows some influence of modern cats like Ben Monder or Wayne Krantz.

Melodies on tracks like “Question Mark” and “Prescient” float around Stranahan’s gentle ride but on tracks like “Free Form Freak Out,” (which is more than just a clever title) and “Who Knows?” Barna and Charmek go from Hendrix styled jagged fuzzy madness to atonal avant garde madness. The closer “Cold And Distant” brings to mind some of the first Tony Williams’ Lifetime sound with its incessant drumming aggression and lilting melodies. As a drummer leading an ensemble with self-penned compositions he is occupying a mantle that few can approach.

As such, PSI is another step in the elevation in the drummer as an integral voice in modern improvised music and a very worthy listen.
Joe Lang-Abtract Logix 04/12/20010 - Abtract Logix

"PSI- Paul Stranahan's Insomnia"

Cleveland Free Times
Review of PSI-Paul Stranahan’s Insomnia

This hard-working local jazz drummer also plays with Rare Blend and the Broadview Collective. With this collection, he mixes prog rock and jazz with unusual aplomb. Despite reference to insomnia, these tunes are a wake-up call. That's apparent from the opening track, "Blue," which features wicked guitar work and spacey interludes that are mind-expanding to say the least. That energy also drifts through "Mann, wo ist mein Auto?" and the Crimson-like "You're Getting on My Nerves." With progressive jazz acts like the Bad Plus getting national acclaim for expanding the genre's boundaries, these local heroes deserve significant praise, too. - Jeff Niesel

- Free Times

"PSI- Paul Stranahan's Insomnia"

He's a tenacious jazz drummer, instructor and the rhythmic anchor for local acts Rare Blend and Broadview Collective. He's Paul Stranahan and he's got a flair for jazz fusion and King Crimsonesque progressive rock; in this new collection of tunes on PSI, he synthesizes all of it in a wakeful bit of melodic prowess. From the thrilling opening cut "Blue" -- with some exceptional Chris Bober guitar leads and space-rock nods -- the sonics suggest you leave that Ambien in the medicine cabinet. That energy informs/powers "Free Form Freak Out" (with its shades of Zappa), "Sojourn," "Mann, wo ist mein Auto?" and "You're Getting on My Nerves," which clearly owes a cup of espresso to Robert Fripp and the 80s "quartet Crimson" lineup.
Does PSI abbreviate the band's name or stand for pound per square inch? This 11-track disc is compelling and forceful enough to suggest the latter in some parts. Fans of prog and fusion will love the peaks, valleys and iconoclastic shading -- not to mention the fact that each member of the virtuoso band manages to avoid stepping on the others' toes. With experimental jazz acts like John Scofield, the Bad Plus, Alex Skolnick Trio, Charlie Hunter, Esbjörn Svensson Trio and Medeski Martin & Wood hitting their collective strides, it's hard not to think of PSI and Stranahan's offbeat angles. Whoever's booking him locally should be losing sleep... looking for an opening slot on an upcoming tour for one of those acts, that is.
Experience Paul Stranahan’s Insomnia this Saturday, June 14 at 9PM at Pete’s Tavern, 1318 Warrensville Center Rd., Cleveland Heights. The drummer, composer, band leader, marimba player and teacher leads his act through two mind-bending sets (and while you're at Pete's, get dinner. Their food is excellent). Call 291-0400 for show details or visit Stranahan online at
From Cool Cleveland Managing Editor Peter Chakerian - Cool Cleveland


PSI-Paul Stranahan's Insomnia
Paul Stranahan Trio- "The Art of Knowing"
Paul Stranahan Trio-"Climbing Somewhere"
Paul Stranahan Trio-"Solar"
Red Side Visible- "Enter Entrophy"
Broadview Collective- "Collective Subconscious"
Broadview Collective-self titled
Rare Blend-"Infinity"
Rare Blend-"Evolution Theory"



Paul Stranahan is a drummer, composer, band leader, marimba player and teacher.

He leads two different groups: The Paul Stranahan Trio (PST) and Paul Stranahan’s Insomnia (PSI). The instrumentation is usually guitar, bass and drums and sometimes saxophone. Both groups strive for a creative, interactive style but in different ways. Paul is also involved with the avant-metal band Red Side Visible. Please check out to find out more.

The Trio plays original compositions, jazz standards, and some jazz-rock-fusion. The band has two CDs. One is called “Climbing Somewhere” which features eleven songs all written by Paul. Some songs are more in the straight ahead jazz vein and some others are more on the fusion side. The other CD is called “Solar” and has seven jazz standards and two originals by Paul.

Paul Stranahan’s Insomnia (PSI) is an offshoot of the Trio and is dedicated to adventuresome, all original compositions. It will mix everything from free form avant-garde to progressive rock to jazz-fusion and whatever else it wants to on any given night. PSI has a NEW CD out, which features Jeremy Bleich on bass and Chris Bober on guitar on most of the songs. Mike Barna and Jeff Charmek play guitar on an additional two songs. The latter have also teamed up with Paul in the band Broadview Collective and released a self titled CD.