Pomegranate

by Stephen Haynes

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about

New Atlantis Records is honored to present Pomegranate, a new offering from cornetist Stephen Haynes. This quintet is an extension of Haynes’ lauded trio, Parrhesia, with guitarist Joe Morris and percussionist Warren Smith augmented by bassist William Parker and tubaist Ben Stapp. Pomegranate was conceived as a posthumous dedication to the monumental spirit and influence of trumpeter Bill Dixon, Haynes’ longtime (40 years) mentor and collaborator. Bill Dixon left specific instructions with regards to tributes... “If you want to pay tribute to me, you should (be) do (ing) your own work. If you have really paid attention to me, then you will understand that.”

From Dixon, Haynes learned much, beginning with how to play the trumpet based upon Dixon’s unique technique; unquestionably a moving target, across the years. Haynes had his last lesson with Dixon in 2010, three weeks before his passing. Dixon was a model organizer in the music, and Haynes has picked up and carried Dixon’s commitment to redefining artists’ working conditions through an emphasis on community and local work.

Pomegranate is fundamentally refreshing listening, deeply imbued with the free-ranging, iconoclastic spirit inherent to Haynes’ work - a sensibility/aesthetic central to Dixon’s oeuvre. The sound of the ensemble is devoid of the typical trappings of style and genre and defies easy categorization. A bracing, percolating rhythmic foundation shifts like tectonic plates, transmuting, in constant motion; gradually, climactically rumbling into periods of wonderfully rollicking intensity. Haynes’ partnership with Joe Morris - musically, and as co-curators of the long-running Improvisations concert series in Hartford, CT where Haynes lives and works - is a steady, grounding singularity throughout the music. The two knit and unfold a rich, endlessly transmuting lexicon, each somehow furthering the expressive orbit of the other in equal measure.

Bill Dixon loved the low end, and he would have dug this instrumentation. It is worth noting that a key part of making the music work – the orchestration, a la Ellington – is in the selection of players. Who is playing the instrument is, perhaps, more important than the instrument itself. This is a stellar ensemble, and the results are alternately propulsive and contemplative, angular and lyrical. The unit finds its footing from the outset, realizing a dynamic, bracing new aesthetic in Free Music.

Pomegranate has landed in our arms here at New Atlantis Records, and we are beyond thrilled to help bring this record into the world. Find it in your area on June 9, 2015.

credits

released June 9, 2015

Stephen Haynes - Cornets
Joe Morris - Guitar
Ben Stapp - Tuba
William Parker - Contrabass Violin, Sintir, Bass Shakuhachi
Warren Smith - Drums & Percussion, Marimba

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New Atlantis Records Yellow Springs, Ohio

New Atlantis Records is an independent record label documenting exceptional creative music, from avant jazz and free improvisation to vanguard rock music, and beyond. The ever-blossoming catalog features contributions from Elliott Sharp, William Hooker, Microwaves, Paul Dunmall, Blind Thorns, Dave McDonnell Group, Thollem McDonas + Sara Lund (Unwound), Hyrrokkin, Haitian Rail, Keir Neuringer, etc ... more

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