Haney David Birth Of A City
Release Date: July 26, 2019
Catalog #: BR8956
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Jazz
Percussion
Piano
String Quartet

Birth of a City

For String Quartet And Improvising Quartet

David Haney composer

Jason Kao Hwang violin
Melanie Dyer viola
Adam Lane bass
Tomas Ulrich cello
Julian Priester trombone
Steve Swell trombone
Dave Storrs percussion
Bernard Purdie percussion

Even though the tracks on BIRTH OF A CITY are loosely grouped by their titles, the recording is very much a concept album. Haney, himself an accomplished pianist who also studied composition, scored the pieces for a kind of string quartet (violin – viola – cello – double bass), interspersed by varying quantities of brass instruments and percussion. Naturally, as one would expect from this kind of music, all works are scored with exactitude – for the most part, that is. Remarkably, Haney grants the performers a great amount of improvisatory freedom – indubitably owing to his own background in jazz, the genre which definitely and definitively shines through in all his compositions.

It is for this great freedom that all tracks – not only the eponymous Birth of a City, but also the Variations on a Theme as well as Improvisations on a Theme – come across as very dynamic, organic, free-spirited, occasionally even chaotic, all contributing to the impression that this is not a sterile recording of painstakingly thought-out music, but very much a living organism of several musicians’ joint forces. And it is this liveliness that rouses interest and exudes the particular charm familiar to jazz audiences.

Haney’s benevolence towards his performers pays off a hundredfold. BIRTH OF A CITY is a testament to how musical thought can take and even shift shape in the hands of an ensemble, if only it is given the right amount of freedom.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Birth of a City, Pt. 1 David Haney Julian Priester, trombone; Steve Swell, trombone; Dave Storrs, percussion; Bernard Purdie, percussion 6:39
02 Birth of a City, Pt. 2 David Haney Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Bernard Purdie, percussion 1:23
03 Birth of a City, Pt. 3 David Haney Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Melanie Dyer, viola; Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello 5:06
04 Birth of a City, Pt. 4 David Haney Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Melanie Dyer, viola; Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello 6:42
05 Birth of a City, Pt. 5 David Haney Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Melanie Dyer, viola; Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Julian Priester, trombone; Steve Swell, trombone; Dave Storrs, percussion 3:05
06 Birth of a City, Pt. 6 David Haney Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Melanie Dyer, viola; Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Julian Priester, trombone; Steve Swell, trombone; Dave Storrs, percussion 5:32
07 Birth of a City, Pt. 7 David Haney Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Melanie Dyer, viola; Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Julian Priester, trombone; Steve Swell, trombone; Dave Storrs, percussion; Bernard Purdie, percussion 6:41
08 Birth of a City, Pt. 8 David Haney Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Melanie Dyer, viola; Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Julian Priester, trombone 2:04
09 Variations on a Theme, Pt. 1 David Haney Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Melanie Dyer, viola; Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Julian Priester, trombone; Bernard Purdie, percussion 1:31
10 Variations on a Theme, Pt. 2 David Haney Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Melanie Dyer, viola; Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Julian Priester, trombone; Steve Swell, trombone; Dave Storrs, percussion; Bernard Purdie, percussion 3:14
11 Variations on a Theme, Pt. 3 David Haney Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Melanie Dyer, viola; Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Julian Priester, trombone; Steve Swell, trombone; Dave Storrs, percussion 2:36
12 Variations on a Theme, Pt. 4 David Haney Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Melanie Dyer, viola; Adam Lane, bass; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Julian Priester, trombone; Steve Swell, trombone; Dave Storrs, percussion 3:07
13 Variations on a Theme, Pt. 5 David Haney Julian Priester, trombone; Steve Swell, trombone 4:33

Track 1
Improvisation by Priester, Swell, Storrs, Purdie; Directions by David Haney

Track 2
Improvisation by Ulrich, Lane, Purdie; Directions by David Haney

Track 5
Improvisation by Hwang, Dyer, Lane, Ulrich, Priester, Swell, Storrs, Purdie; Directions by David Haney

Track 6
Improvisation by Ulrich, Lane; Directions by David Haney

Track 11
Improvisation by Hwang, Dyer, Lane, Ulrich, Priester, Swell, Storrs; Directions by David Haney

Track 13
Improvisation by Julian Priester, Steve Swell; Directions by David Haney

Recorded August 8 and October 23, 2018 at Kaleidoscope Sound in Union City NJ. Additional material recorded November 8, 2018 at Dave Storrs Studio in Corvalis OR

Recording Session Engineer Kyle Cassel
Recording Session Producer David Haney
Mixed by Dennis Carter at Falcon Studios November 28, 2018 in Portland OR

Additional recording on February 26, 2019 at Jankowski Recording Studios in Wall Township NJ
Recording Session Engineer Steve Jankowski

Cover photo Patrick Hinely

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Mastering Shaun Michaud

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming

Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

David Haney

David Haney

Composer

David Haney studied composition with Czech-American composer Tomas Svoboda and piano with jazz pianist Eddie Wied. The following artists have worked and recorded with David: Roswell Rudd, Julian Priester, John Tchicai, Steve Swell, Roy Campbell, Bud Shank, Wolter Weirbos, Han Bennink, Andrew Cyrille, Bernard Purdie, Marvin Bugulu Smith, Gerry Hemingway, Dylan Van de Schiff, Buell Neidlinger, Dominic Duval, Adam Lane, Michael Bisio, Paul Blaney, Perry Robinson, Matt Lavelle, Daniel Carter, Reggie Sylvester, Johannes Bauer.

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Notes

Here are several written sections with improvisation segments associated with or within each section. The composed work began as a piano composition and expanded to incorporate two ensembles: a string quartet and an improvising quartet of two trombones and two percussionists.

— David Haney, Portland OR, December 4, 2018

Variations on a Theme was originally written for piano. The idea was to create entirely different pieces rather than different variations on a theme. Each movement uses a segment or sense of the theme.

— David Haney, Portland OR, December 4, 2018

The string quartet plays the written sections and also plays some improvised segments. The trombones and percussion improvise based on instructions on how to play along with the string quartet. The goal was to produce an enjoyable, moving work that seamlessly combines improvisation and somewhat complex composition.

From my earliest days as a composition student, I have always been drawn to the idea of combining composition and improvisation — to be precise with musical thoughts and at the same time to be spontaneous. My composition teacher warned me years ago that there aren’t many great sight readers that are also great improvisers. I was encouraged to write out ideas and notes for the improvised passages in case the artists cannot think of anything at the time. You see, this is the problem with improvisation — there are times when the brain is stressed and has a hard time producing at such a complex level. Therefore, it is more helpful when designating a passage Improvvisare to write in some actual notes for the improviser in case he or she draws a blank.

I’d like to thank the entire group for its mental and musical contributions in developing the overall shape of this music.

For Tomáš Svoboda.

— David Haney, Portland OR, December 4, 2018.

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