for String Quartet and Improvising Quartet

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


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.



Release Date: July 26, 2019

Catalog #: BR8956

Format: Physical & Digital



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Big Round Records is dedicated to presenting world-class musicians doing what they do best: smash the walls of genre and create groundbreaking new sounds while keeping one foot firmly rooted in tradition. Overdriven bassoons, orchestra-backed swing groups, blues-inflected Zydeco, outlandish arrangements of Disney songs, and modern-protest tunes is just a small slice of what you'll hear on our releases, which feature some of today's most forward-thinking and respected artists such as John Hall (Orleans), Steve Gadd, Andy Jaffe, Eddie Gomez, Tony Oxley, Charlie Barnett, Richard Stoltzman, Tony Clef, Mika Yoshida, and many more. Out of the box? With Big Round, there is no box.

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