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Quinsin Nachoff: Music By Any Other Name


Quinsin Nachoff: Music By Any Other NameQuinsin Nachoff takes his sense of time and place very seriously. As a saxophonist it’s clear that he has “listened” to his Bird and his Trane, but he has also listened well to his inner voice. And he has moved forward in harmony with all – his own vocalise in the lead, of course. Mr Nachoff has been known to play the clarinet as well; every journeyman must learn to master more than one instrument to put food on the table and pay bills. But on both Flux and Ethereal Trio he gives notice that he has chosen to come forward as an artist, digging ever so deep on the tenor saxophone.

Digging is what Quinsin Nachoff does exceedingly well. He is an archeologist of the tenor saxophone and an excavator too. Ever conscious of the tenor saxophone being a horn, Mr Nachoff nevertheless wields its toolbox with remarkable facility and invention – almost as dexterously as the archeologist in him would a set of pick-axes and a whole bevy of brushes with which he might dig seemingly timeless notes and dust off familiar notation to reveal something old and priceless, yet also, unbelievably, something almost never heard before – remarkably so, on both his last two albums (and counting) at any rate.

Quinsin Nachoff: Flux In the music of Flux Quinsin Nachoff naturally dwells in a dimension of youthful animation. His writing – and playing – favours music in which pulse and harmony often appear suspended. Clusters of adjacent sounds are use used to achieve slow, seamless change, unaccompanied and often accompanied the voices of David Binney on alto saxophone, with Matt Mitchell and Kenny Wollesen (the latter, with dramatic effect), in which fine gradations of pitch create a kind of warped polyphony. Quietly humourous as well, Mr Nachoff’s works here seem to combine the sound-mass textures of “orchestral” proportions within their seemingly zany theatricals – all this to disturbing effect in “Tightrope” and also to some extent in “Tilted”. However, there is no mistaking the serious nature of the music, which takes a profound turn in the two-part “Mind’s Ear” which, despite borrowing from a now-common term to describe “deep listening”, remains fresh in a strikingly offbeat way on the musicians and music.

Track List – 1: Tightrope; 2: Complimentary Opposites; 3: Mind’s Ear I; 4: Mind’s Ear II; 5: Astral Echo Poem; 6: Tilted

Personnel – David Binney: alto saxophone; Quinsin Nachoff: tenor saxophone; Matt Mitchell: piano; Fender Rhodes; Wurlitzer, Moog Rogue; organ; Kenny Wollesen: drums, tubular bells; handcrafted percussion

Released – 2016
Label – Mythology Records
Runtime – 52:10

Quinsin Nachoff’s Ethereal Trio Ethereal Trio is by name – and therefore very definition – a record that is prepared to dwell in the infinite possibilities of the light, the airy and the tenuous. Thus relationships between Quinsin Nachoff and Mark Helias, Mr Nachoff and Dan Weiss, Mr Helias and Mr Weiss (quizzically speaking) in duo situations within the trio format develop as the musicians warble, grumble, yammer and chatter; then dissociate just as easily to form new groupings always exploring instrumental combinations from which exquisite flashes of colour often emerge – like the fusion of tubular bells and tenor saxophone, a conversation shattered by cymbals but not before producing a restless, shimmering energy-burst at the end of a climactic moment. The superb expedition of “Portrait in Sepia Tones” apices in a frantic chorus of unrestrained excitement which is resolved by a serene coda behind which the ever-present ghost of Jean Sibelius seems to hover, in a manner that is dancing and delightful.

Track List – 1: Clairvoyant Jest; 2: Imagination Reconstruction; 3: Gravitas; 4: Subliminal Circularity; 5: Push-Pull Topology; 6: Portrait in Sepia Tones

Personnel: Quinsin Nachoff: tenor saxophone; Mark Helias: double bass; Dan Weiss: drums

Released – 2017
Label – Whirlwind Recordings
Runtime – 42:53


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