Jason Robinson • Liberty Ellman • Drew Gress • George Schuller • Marty Ehrlich • Rudresh Mahanthappa • JD Parran • Marcus Rojas • Bill Lowe • Ches Smith
"Saxophonist Jason Robinson isn’t one to shy away from his cerebral side. On Tiresian Symmetry, the daring musician incorporates mythology, odd meters and complex, contrapuntal writing with abandon while leaving ample room for his brilliant bandmates ... to improvise freely and at length.... Robinson and his unorthodox band manage to inject abundant soul, humor and bravura into every track, in the spirit of bandleaders like Charles Mingus, Anthony Braxton and Henry Threadgill. “Of course, in the end there’s the litmus test,” Robinson explained. “The music has to sound good and feel good.”.... It’s a strategy that strikes a strong note of balance with the knotty ensemble passages that abound throughout the album and yet another thing to love about this uniquely compelling effort." New York City Jazz Record
"Drawing inspiration from Henry Threadgill’s Very Very Circus ensemble of the ’90s, the volatile tenor saxophonist and inventive composer Jason Robinson has put together a two-tuba aggregation for his followup to The Two Faces Of Janus...the result is a collection of dense, multi-direction material that artfully straddles the composition-improv divide while weaving counterpoint lines, provocative harmonies and a well-grounded sense of groove." DownBeat
"Its hard to find anything not to love about this record. Great band, great tunes, instrumental range, and spirit." Cadence
On saxophonist/composer Jason Robinson’s polydirectional masterpiece Tiresian Symmetry, he’s gathered an extraordinary cast of improvisers to investigate and embellish the framework of his compositions. The music’s richly suggestive harmonic and metrical relationships elicit a wide array of responses, but ultimately listeners find their own sense of order and meaning amidst the sumptuous sounds. For Robinson, a capaciously inventive artist who has flourished in a boggling array of settings, from solo excursions with electronics and free jazz quartets to roots reggae ensembles and multimedia collectives, Tiresian Symmetry represents his most expansive and exciting project yet.
"I was attracted to the myth of the soothsayer, who tells the future even when it’s not welcome information," Robinson says. “But on a more technical level I was intrigued by the numerical relationships. Tiresias lived seven generations and spent time as both male and female, which gives you 7/2. The pieces I wrote for the album embody those numerical relationships in a variety of forms. Of course, in the end there’s the litmus test. The music has to sound good and feel good."
The nine-piece band features some of the most inventive and vivid players in jazz today:
Jason Robinson tenor sax, alto flute, soprano sax
JD Parran - alto clarinet, contra bass clarinet, tenor sax
Marty Ehrlich alto sax, bass clarinet, flute
Marcas Rojas tuba
Bill Lowe - tuba, bass trombone
Liberty Ellman guitar
Drew Gress bass
George Schuller drums
Ches Smith drums
Above is the promo video/electronic press kit for the album!
THE TWO FACES OF JANUS
"Tenor saxophonist Jason Robinson marries intellect to seat, brains to bawdiness, narrative to sidetrack, straight line to detour, familiarity to surprisethe dualities peppering this long, exciting disc go on. The tunes shift meter, texture and voice...the nine tracks here roil, burn and involve. Parsing each track would spawn an article far longer than a magazine can bear. To appreciate its ambition, daring and execution, listen to Robinson's ambitious, boundary-busting album. Then listen again. Modern, oracular and communal, it stretches the limits of improvisation." JazzTimes
"The ensemble that Robinson assembled for the session is composed of several of modern jazz's most individualistic players...Robinson's compositions manage to draw a straight line through bop, Duke Ellington, Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy straight into the modern day with acute-angle swing, blues-bluster and memorable themes that seem to scratch at the back of the mind with familiarity without resorting to quotation or imitation....Robinson's pieces straddle the timeline in a way that sets each musician off on his own exploratory path." Downbeat
The Two Faces of Janus - one face looking at the past, one face looking towards the future. Borrowed from Greek mythology, Janus is an apt metaphor for the latest release by accomplished reedist and composer Jason Robinson. Robinson first appeared on Cuneiform with the long-running collective ensemble Cosmologic. Now he steps forward with a solo album that features a stellar band, all of whom are distinguished figures in jazz and improvised music as well as all being top-drawer bandleaders in their own right:
Jason Robinson - tenor and soprano saxes, flute
Marty Ehrlich alto sax, bass clarinet
Rudresh Mahanthappa alto sax
Liberty Ellman guitar
Drew Gress bass
George Schuller drums
The music is angular, expressive, emotional and virtuosic. Using Robinson's compositions as a base, all the players dig in and with their solos and ensemble interplay raise the stakes to make an outstanding contemporary work. The album seamlessly moves from hard swinging grooves to beautiful abstraction and features great work from all of these great players. Robinson’s playing and composing embodies the duality of the Janus metaphor; his music draws from the rich historical and modern traditions of jazz and he creates a decidedly modern and unique musical vision. The Two Faces of Janus also positions Robinson originally from the West Coast within New York’s most innovative community of creative and visionary jazz musicians. With the release of this modern classic, Robinson has arrived!
“…the saxophonist himself has a warm expressive tone, occasionally dipping into freer realms yet always staying true to the structure of his compositions.” Signal to Noise