Rhombal

by Stephan Crump

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about

A two-horn, bass and drums quartet convened around a body of work written for Crump’s late brother. The debut album by this group, featuring veteran explorer Ellery Eskelin with brilliant young trumpeter Adam O'Farrill in the midst of a deep rhythm team chemistry drummer Tyshawn Sorey and Crump have formed over more than a decade of collaboration.

”bristles with the unexpected and the lively” - Downbeat (****)

“his compositions possess an austere, haunting resonance” - Stereophile (****1/2)

“Best of 2016” - Los Angeles Times

“Best Jazz of 2016” - PopMatters

“constantly fascinating” - NextBop

“excellent” - New York Times

“highlights the true democratic principles of jazz” - AllAboutJazz

”(Crump’s) instrument thrums like it’s strung with coils of ship’s rope, booms like a whale’s heart, drones like a tree moaning in the wind” - NYC Jazz Record

“wonderfully unclassifiable…sounds old and new at the same time” - StepTempest


“solemn, spiritual, and, ultimately, celebratory” - Bandcamp

“O’Farrill and Eskelin engage in astute exchanges teeming with inventive lyricism, investing Crump’s harmonious melodies with a resolute emotional core” - Point of Departure

my statement about the album, from the press release:

Rhombal is not about sadness. Much more, it’s a commemoration of a death well-confronted, of a spiritual evolution I witnessed in my brother during our last days together, and of how close we left each other after what had been, for many years, a very troubled relationship.

In putting a band together, I usually look first to the spirits involved rather than particular instruments, although after years of exploring with my all-string Rosetta Trio and numerous duo projects, I knew I wanted to deal with drums and breath. I also wanted the collective freedom and challenge that comes from omitting a chordal instrument, and at times to find how the band, itself, might be that instrument.
Tyshawn and I have a deep musical and personal bond that reaches into more than a decade shared onstage and on the road, mostly with Vijay Iyer's trio and quartet. I met Adam while on faculty at the Banff creative music summer program in 2013 and immediately connected with him as a person, plus I couldn't get enough of hearing him play his horn. Ellery I'd admired from afar for years before introducing myself with this project in mind. I thought he and Adam might make an inspired team and was drawn to the generational breadth they would bring to the group. Hearing their sounds together as they warmed up before our first rehearsal, I was knocked back by the vibration. It almost doesn't matter what notes they play.
In the name "Rhombal" there is a bit of "rumble," evoking a scrum or sparring tangle, but even more, the idea of developing geometries, of shape-shifting while maintaining a powerful structural integrity and functional equality.
I began writing this music in the last few months of my brother's life, as he battled an extremely rare and aggressive sarcoma. The writing flowed through a year after his passing and was shaped by the chemistry of the band as we began to rehearse and perform. Then, this winter, we recorded the album in a two-day studio journey that was one of the most profound and moving experiences of my life, and which left me with the feeling of a new brotherhood, just formed.

credits

released September 13, 2016

Ellery Eskelin • tenor saxophone
Adam O'Farrill • trumpet
Tyshawn Sorey • drums
Stephan Crump • acoustic bass

recorded January 20 & 21, 2016 at The Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, NY
recording engineer: Aaron Nevezie
assistant engineer: Todd Carder
mixed by Ron Saint Germain
mastered by Scott Hull
art and design by Andy Friedman
photography: Craig Marsden
executive producer: Metcalf Crump
all music by Stephan Crump
Crumbletones Music BMI
a Papillon Sounds production

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