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Rich Woodson’s Ellipsis

Influenced by famous brands Tim Berne, Frank Zappa, and contemporary classical composer Charles Wuorinen, Brooklyn-based guitarist Rich Woodson exchanged his desire for hard rock and roll and speed steel for a mixture of creative jazz, avant steel, and contemporary chamber music textures in his Ellipsis quintet. Featuring Woodson along with drummer John Hollenbeck (Claudia Quintet), soprano saxophonist Peter Epstein, tenor saxophonist Aaron Stewart, and acoustic bassist Mat Fieldes, the group’s documented debut, Control and Level of resistance, arrived around the Cuneiform label in 2000. Across nine songs and a complete of 43 moments, the ensemble managed a herky-jerky momentum carrying out composer Woodson’s head-spinningly short and knotty multi-layered motifs in continuously permuting convolutions. The group’s sophomore recording, 2005’s individually released The Toenail That STACKS UP Gets Pounded Down, presented Woodson again became a member of by Hollenbeck, Stewart, and Fieldes, but with clarinetist Anthony Burr changing saxophonist Epstein. The Toenail That STACKS UP continuing the conceptual thread of Control and Level of resistance, packing even more of Woodson’s ever-changing thick compositional textures in to the album’s 40-minute duration. Although no more Ellipsis albums will be released, Woodson and business left enthusiasts of complicated avant and experimental music with more than enough sonic materials to warrant repeated listens for a long time to come.

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