Excerpts from sleeve notes:
The group is called Grosse Abfahrt. This is the name I gave the project on the occasion of its first recording. In German, it means 'great departure'. The project is to take a core group of Bay Area musicians and put them together with out of town guests, usually Europeans. Always free improvisation. This recording marks the third iteration of the project.
In the spring of 2007 the San Francisco Bay Area was host to the crack improvising team of Lê Quan Ninh and Frédèric Blondy. Ninh (his given name, btw) hardly needs introduction, being solidly established as both a concert percussionist and improviser of range and sensitivity. Pianist Blondy has worked with a range of Europeans including Urs Leimgruber, Paul Lovens and the quintet Hubbub. The Lê Quan-Blondy duo recording, EXALTATIO UTRIUSQUE MUNDI (Potlatch P203), is a favorite of mine, so I was excited to learn they were coming to the West Coast.
I wanted to bring this pair together with the best San Francisco Bay Area improvising musicians in a larger context, consisting of the ‘Acme House Band’ players heard on SUPERMODEL SUPERMODEL (Emanem 4126), SIX FUCHS (Rastascan BRD 052) and ERSTES LUFTSCHIFF ZU KALIFORNIEN (Creative Sources CS 065) – Gino Robair, John Shiurba, and Tim Perkis – plus Matt Ingalls, John Bischoff, George Cremaschi and myself, for a total of nine. The music was to strive toward long structures – my sole bit of direction to the ensemble. We formed this particular ensemble just a few days after the death of Jean Baudrillard, whose book AMERICA served as the source for the album and track titles. I just picked some pages and read the first word from each line down for the latter.
John Bischoff is a professor of music at Mills College. Along with Tim Perkis, he is an acknowledged pioneer of live computer music. Gino Robair, Matt Ingalls, and Tom Djll all studied at Mills College in the 1990s. Matt now runs the modernist ensemble sfSound, which in 2006 performed at Wesleyan College and Merkin Hall in New York. Gino Robair founded The Splatter Trio and Rastascan Records and has performed with so many great people, it’s kind of silly to even start listing them. George Cremaschi’s list of playing partners is perhaps shorter but illustrious nonetheless, taking in Mats Gustaffson, Greg Goodman, Toshi Makihara, and Evan Parker. George splits his time between West Oakland and the Czech Republic. Tim Perkis recently performed a duo with Fred Frith at a local San Francisco venue and is busy promoting his movie Noisy People, which documents the Bay Area creative music scene. John Shiurba is a founding member of the ensembles Eskimo and Spezza Rotto, toured Europe and Japan with The Molecules, and in 2006 released a CD featuring Anthony Braxton playing John’s compositions for quintet, 5x5 (Unlimited Sedition / (Rastascan BRD 055).