***CAVEAT EMPTOR: These are live recordings initially captured for documentation purposes only; sound quality is suboptimal, hence the pay-what-you-want option. I grew up listening to lots of bootlegs, so this doesn't bother me much, but individual mileage will vary! Take a listen and see what you think!***
In spite of the low fi nature of the recordings, I have been intending to share these 2 one-time-only performances for some time. Both were projects that I had hoped to return to, sooner or later. However, a festival offer for 'The Seamless Sea' fell through and I got busy with other projects, and Michael moved to New York, so both projects were, regrettably, left as evolutionary dead ends.
I’ve long been in the habit of putting together small side ensembles to play new tunes and drastically altered arrangements of tunes from the books of my other working bands, and the trio with Kasey Knudsen and Michael Coleman featured here stands as one of the more enjoyable examples. The 3 pieces included here are from the only set that this trio has performed to-date. Our set list was made up of drastically rearranged tunes from the repertoire of the Clevenger Group -- you can hear the original versions of some of these pieces elsewhere on my Bandcamp page: ‘Low Resolution’ is on ‘The Evening Earth', ‘Port o’ Nine Tails’ is on ‘Observatory, and 'The Ballad of Bruce Bochte' is on last year's 'Stateless' -- as well as some odds and ends I'd written for other ensembles. The always astounding Kasey Knudsen is the longest running member of my primary band, and probably the musician with whom I have played the most shows in my career. Michael Coleman is one of my favorite composers and a wildly talented pianist, and it was a pleasure to recast my tunes with him in mind. Had Michael not switched coastal allegiances soon after this gig, I would have tried to keep this as a working ensemble.
‘The Seamless Sea’ was my first proper experiment with a long form, programmatic chamber piece. It was also one of my first opportunities to work with the great Jordan Glenn, along with another opportunity to play with ridiculously versatile Nathan Clevenger Group stalwarts Cory Wright & Sam Bevan. The SFCNM has a beautiful grand piano, so this was also a chance for me to double on my first and still-favorite instrument. Listening now, this also feels somewhat of a piece with my recent long form piece, ‘For David Berman’ (probably no accident that Cory and Jordan were both part of the ensemble for that piece as well). I was sorry never to return to this piece, but delighted that the premiere was documented.
Thanks to the Coronavirus, I've had some time to revisit these projects and thought it would be worth putting this compilation out into the world. If you take a listen, I hope you will enjoy. Any proceeds will be split amongst the musicians involved. Thank you for listening and good luck to everyone.
Oakland, March 2020
released March 20, 2020
KASEY KNUDSEN: alto sax
MICHAEL COLEMAN: piano
NATHAN CLEVENGER: guitar
Recorded live, 6/18/14, at Berkeley Arts Festival.
CORY WRIGHT: clarinet, tenor sax
SAM BEVAN: bass
JORDAN GLENN: vibraphone, drums
NATHAN CLEVENGER: piano, guitar
Recorded live, 7/24/14, at the San Francisco Center for New Music.
All compositions by Nathan Clevenger.
Thanks to our friends and original presenters, Phillip Greenlief (BAF) and Lisa Mezzacappa (SFCNM), and fellow musicians on these shows, Aaron Novik, Jon Arkin, Ben Goldberg, and Lorin Benedict.