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Hello the Damage

Artist: Empty Cage Quartet
Empty Cage Quartet - Hello the Damage CD
Label: pfMENTUM
Regular Price: $16.95
On Sale For: $8.48 
Year: 2006
Format: CD


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Going from an acronym to a personalized license plate, the Empty Cage Quartet releases their latest juxtaposition of the path and pathlessness with Hello the Damage! featuring live performances from Café Metropol. Each of the two CDs features a set from that evening in Los Angeles documenting the madness of their method (weaving freedom loving solos around spontaneously chosen themes). This fresh evidence of their growing empathy and prowess also documents their palpable delight in sonic expansion. Beginning with Jason Mears' angular "Attack of the Eye People," Paul Kikuchi and Ivan Johnson (drums and bass respectively) pursue a shared pulse as Mears' alto scorches and soars. Kris Tiner drops flares, staying understated until ripping vivid lines lead into a dissolve that births "Who Are They If We Are Them." Trumpet and clarinet play inquisitive lines, soon joined in the lurching mode by the rhythm section. Mears snakily threads melody, then tears into the reed, taking the clarinet into the otherworld. Tiner spaciously duos with Kikuchi, the quartet returning to full voice for "The Mactavish Rag," with Tiner muted for the somewhat sideways rag. The second set/CD opens with Kikuchi's "Swan-Neck Deformity," the sly theme giving way to Johnson's playful tag with Kikuchi's sedate rhythm. Sedate until Tiner stirs up the rhythm section with a gritty push. The bass continues to finger pop around Mears' building alto momentum. From its graphics by artist Kio Griffith, to its liners by poet Dottie Grossman, Hello the Damage! adds to the Empty Cage's small, but sizzling discography, further underlining their place as crucial new millennial jazz essentials.
– Rex Butters, All About Jazz Los Angeles
Jason Mears: alto saxophone, clarinet, wood flutes
Kris Tiner: trumpet, flugelhorn
Paul Kikuchi: drums, percussion
Ivan Johnson: contrabass
Disc 1: First Set (24:20 / 21:17)
1. Attack of the Eye People (Mears) Who Are They If We Are Them? (Mears) The Mactavish Rag (Tiner)
2. And Who Is Not Small (Tiner)
Function-3 (Tiner)

Disc 2: Second Set (42:57)
1. Swan-Neck Deformity (Kikuchi)
The Empty Cage (Mears)
Swim Swim Swim, Eat Eat Eat (Mears)

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