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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    The most fulfilling encounters are also the most improbable ones – those we never imagined possible, either due to the many miles separating the circuits usually frequented by the individual participants in a music project or to the aesthetic differences they have. The trio with Gerald Cleaver, Nels Cline and Larry Ochs is one of those cases and the pieces inside “What is to Be Done” reflect entirely that condition. As Stuart Broomer’s liner notes point out, this music «enjoys the simultaneous qualities of nearness and distance: three musicians in a room, each stretching to the limits of one another’s material for some new richness, some sonic confluence unknown."
    With a Detroit background defining his personal style, Cleaver is a drummer of first choice by many of the greatest in creative jazz, from Henry Threadgill and Roscoe Mitchell to Craig Taborn and Ellery Eskelin.
    Considered (by the magazine Rolling Stone) one of the top 100 guitarists of all time, Nels Cline is either busy in the rock field, with the band Wilco, or appearing in more experimental contexts, like the one of “Nels Cline Singers”.
    Ochs is one of the main figures of the music created in the fissures between exploratory jazz and contemporary classical music, with Rova Saxophone Quartet, Maybe Monday, The Fictive Five or Sax & Drumming Core.
    Each one of the three has his remarkable life story, together they’re making history.

    FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2019
    Gerald Cleaver / Nels Cline / Larry Ochs - What Is To Be Done (Clean Feed, 2019)
    Posted by Tim Niland (jazzandblues.blogspot.com):

    A trio of three of the most imaginative and in-demand improvisers currently playing, Larry Ochs on tenor and sopranino saxophones, Nels Cline on electric guitar and effects and Gerald Cleaver on drums deliver an astonishingly colorful and satisfying album which was recorded in Richmond, Virginia in December of 2016. The epic "Outcries Rousing" opens the program gradually gathering form and pace with drums and saxophone lending their voices to the formation of the track, with Ochs' sounding raw and immediate and Cleaver's drumming is crisp and true. Cline joins the action, adding accents at first, then becoming enmeshed in the collective interplay. He uses his pedals and effects very well adding interesting colors and textures to the music, before pushing forth with rending chords against primal drumbeats which take the performance in another slightly unnerving direction. Ochs rejoins and the group becomes an all encompassing sound beast, with massive slabs of overdriven guitar, ripe saxophone and hammering percussion, their collective improvisation takes things to a stratospheric level that overwhelms the senses in an ecstatic way. Cline and Cleaver develop an interplay of buzzing, whirling wonder with brilliant percussion to keep the momentum going, slipping the Earth's gravity to enter the cosmos. Ochs provides the afterburner as their performance reaches extraordinary heights beyond my ability to describe them, then during the last few minutes of the performance the band powers down and glides peacefully off into the void. The shorter track "A Pause, A Rose" gives the group and the audience a much needed respite between epiphanies, as it is a spacey and graceful improvisation that uses some wonderful electronic manipulation from Cline, and gentle flutters of saxophone and percussion. "Shimmer Intend Spark Groove Defend" is the final epic on the album and it nearly eclipses the first piece in power and majesty, with tight drumming and saxophone playing framed by spikes of guitar. They build their improvisation slowly and confidently, as the volume and speed of music rises with stark calls of saxophone and passionate drumming and guitar leaving a shower of sparks in its wake, with Cline using massive grinding sounds and gales of electronic pedal work. When they come together as a whole though, the power and authority that they have over their music is unmatched. Ochs' sopranino saxophone adds an exotic and fascinating tone to the music; when played off against an explosion of colorful electric guitar and percussion the effect is nearly overwhelming. This group is a true collective, the respect they have for the music and for each other makes this one of the best discs of this young year, and an absolute lifeline amid the chaos.

    Includes unlimited streaming of WHAT IS TO BE DONE (2019) via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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Recorded live in December, 2016 at Gallery5 Arts in Richmond, Virginia.

1. Outcries Rousing (21:22)
2. A Pause, A Rose (6:04)
3. Shimmer Intend Spark Groove Defend (20:30)


released January 26, 2019

All three pieces collectively created by the trio: Gerald Cleaver (Gerald Cleaver Music; SESAC), Nels Cline (Nebsonic Music/ASCAP/admin. BMG) and Larry Ochs (Trobar/ASCAP/admin. BMG)

Recorded December 9, 2016 in Richmond, Virginia at Gallery5 Arts by James Seretis | Mixing in 2018 by J.Goody at Megasonic Sound, Oakland, CA | Mastered by Myles Boisen at Headless Buddha Lab, Oakland
Produced by Larry Ochs | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos. Musician special thanks to Lyn Hejinian, Mark Christman, Nicholas Crider, Bernard Lyons


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Larry Ochs

Ochs is primarily found in the worlds of “avant-garde jazz” or “improvised music,” composing music for bands such as Rova Sax 4, The Fictive Five, Kihnoua, Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core, Ochs-Robinson Duo. All-improv bands with musicians such as Nels Cline, Gerald Cleaver, Fred Frith, Darren Johnston, Mark Dresser, Vladimir Tarasov, Rodrigo Amado, Peggy Lee, Miya Masaoka ... more

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