Featuring: Jason Stein (bass clarinet), Paul Giallorenzo (synthesizer and piano), Chad Taylor (drums).
Firehouse 12 is pleased to present Chicago-based bass clarinetist Jason Stein with his new trio Hearts & Minds. This stop in New Haven is part of the group's album release tour in support of their new record, Eletroradiance. The band is made up of Stein, frequent collaborator Paul Giallorenzo on synthesizer and piano, and renowned Chicago drummer Chad Taylor. The music reverberates with memories of Sun Ra and the jazz fusion of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, presenting a true fusion of avant-garde acoustic music, electronics, and funk.
Stein and Giallorenzo, met in grade school almost three decades ago and have remained friends since - this trio is the latest in a string of collaborations. With the unusual instrumentation, they make music that is comfortable in the outer reaches of improvisation but maintains an irresistibly grounded pulse. Giallorenzo’s keyboard work reaches back to the fledgling electronics of the 60s to encompass synth lines as well as asymmetrical tones and textures. His playing embraces and surrounds Stein’s rangy command of extended bass clarinet techniques. Drummer Chad Taylor simmers or percolates, utilizing his wealth of experience with such artists as Chicago tenor-sax legend Fred Anderson and his Chicago Underground cohorts Jeff Parker and Rob Mazurek. Writing in the Chicago Reader, Peter Margasak said Hearts & Minds draws “inspiration from the astral explorations of vintage Sun Ra but relocat[es] them in gritty Chicago”. In a review of the band's 2016 debut for Jazz Times, Nate Chinen characterized the band and their music as "raucous and scintillating.”
Jason Stein is among the mere handful of improvisers who play the bass clarinet exclusively (rather than doubling on it as a change of pace). His free-jazz trio Locksmith Isidore has opened arena shows for comedian Amy Schumer (his half-sister). In addition to that trio and his own quartet, he contributes to several of the leading bands on Chicago’s new-music scene, and has brought a vital voice to the freest of free-jazz jams. But he has also stated a fondness for playing actual tunes, such as those that fill the repertoire of Hearts & Minds. Chicago writer Neil Tesser notes that his playing has “a rawboned swagger particular to Chicago jazz in all its manifestations – from the trad playing of Bud Freeman and Jimmy McPartland in the 20s, through the tenor titans of the 50s, through the adventurers who formed the AACM in the 60s, and right up to the city’s renowned modern cadre of new-music improvisers.”
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