|Other Stories [Three Suites] is the debut CD from trumpeter/composer Taylor Ho Bynum's SpiderMonkey Strings. Named after two mythic tricksters, Anansi the Spider of West Africa and the Monkey King of China, this all-star ensemble brings a genre-defying spirit and sense of humor to its eclectic extended suites.
"With SpiderMonkey Strings, I am blessed to work with many of the finest musicians and improvisers on the East Coast," Bynum writes. "In 2002, I received a commission for the recording of a film score ("The First Three Lives of Stuart Hornsley," directed by Leigh Dana Jackson) for string quartet. I was so excited by the personalities and musicianship of that string quartet, that I combined it with the guitar, tuba, and drums I had been performing with to to create a working band, and my focus for composing and bandleading. Along with composing in the Ellington tradition of writing with specific musicians in mind, I have also been particularly influenced by the concepts of Charles Ives and Anthony Braxton for musically independent sub-ensembles coexisting in one sonic space. The instrumentation gives me a wealth of different compositional possibilities."
Bynum has been called "a cutting edge trumpet phenom" (Boston Phoenix), "a creative force" (Boston Globe), "a distinct voice that never succumbs to simple paths" (Cadence) and "a marvelous cornetist with an outwardly directed post-bop sensibility (AllAboutJazz.com). The Village Voice's Francis Davis adds, “Bynum is one of the savviest trumpeters to come along in recent years, a growling sound-and-space man in the tradition of Lester Bowie.” In addition to sideman work with legends including Braxton and Cecil Taylor, he has appeared on more than 30 recordings and performs regularly with the Fully Celebrated Orchestra, the Jason Kao Hwang Quartet, the Matana Roberts Quartet, Ghanaian master drummer Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng's band and the avant-salsa group, Zemog el Gallo Bueno. He has also recently toured Europe and North America with Braxton's Sextet, Twelvetet, and Trio, with more performances coming this fall. Along with SpiderMonkey Strings, Bynum leads his own sextet and has an ongoing duo collaboration with dancer/choreographer Rachel Bernsen.
"...the best album of the year." — Paul Olson, All About Jazz
"Bynum seamlessly blends improvisation with through-composition on three suites that couldn’t be more different....an album that's sure to intrigue those unafraid to have their music travel to unexplored places and use less than conventional instrumental combinations to get there." — John Kelman, All About Jazz
"...an intriguing document of new work... sure to challenge and delight listeners for decades to come." — Michael Anton Parker, Downtown Music Gallery
Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Jessica Pavone (violin & viola), Stephanie Griffin (viola), Tomas Ulrich (cello), Pete Fitzpatrick (guitar), Joseph Daley (tuba), Luther Gray (drums), Jay Hoggard (vibraphone) with Jean Cook (violin), Okkyung Lee (cello)