Upbeat high energy free jazz improvisations: Fanfares for the Noh Age
is a free jazz suite for wind ensemble and guitar. The emphasis is strongly on collective improvisation with very little isolated soloing. The tunes range from the jazzy & lightly humorous (Yer Fly's Wide Open...
) to the introspective (Requiem
) from the lyric (Current Again
) to the volcanic (Noh
The Free Jazz Posse plays uncompromising 100 percent free improvisation without gestures towards other music genres or cliché formats. Formed initially as a wind ensemble in the late 90s, the core group of Zelenka, Melsha, Stone and Khanna has recorded extensively over the last decade. The FJP is nominally led by Zelenka, a veteran improviser whose free jazz roots go back to the 70's & 80's with such seminal St. Louis "free music" groups as The Human Arts Ensemble
(On Leo Records
: Stranded In Paradise
) & Malik King's Emerging Forces
. Years of playing together have honed a characteristic style of improv, high on communication & interplay, totally freewheeling in structure.
is the first of several CD projects covering these years. Various musicians have come and gone and the initial format of an all-winds ensemble has evolved like the music itself in unpredicted ways. While the original conception has long been abandoned, the group still operates in most incarnations without a rhythm section. Often the drive or pulse comes from electric guitarist, Leu or laptop synth player Khanna. Stone, a working Jazz musician (The Dave Stone Trio, St. Louis Jazz X-Tet) is well known locally as a tenor player and in the FJP is heard on his other horns as well (baritone & soprano sax; bass, alto & soprano clarinet). Melsha, with roots as a heavy metal electric bass player, is heard on trombone. Zelenka plays alto sax & flutes on Fanfares
, adding on more recent recordings soprano and C-melody saxophones.
The Free Jazz Posse represents through its music a total commitment to freedom & choice and the requisite responsibilities, socially and artistically. A newly recorded Cd, City of Light
featuring the wind trio of Melsha, Stone & Zelenka, with Khanna on laptop synth and Leu once again on electric guitar documents the Free Jazz Posse's most recent work and will be available in mid '08 from Freedonia Music.
Accolades for Fanfares For The Noh Age
"(Free Jazz Posse) gambles on music that is honest, direct and most of all, highly creative…When the band slows down their break-neck pacing for a few minutes, they begin to resemble a contemporary new music ensemble. Forget about tempos, charts or written music, this is some serious, fully improvised music from the get-go. The knack that each of these seven members possesses is a set of keen ears that closely listens to what the others are playing. The fervor, the drive and the passion is heard from beginning to the record's end. In chaos, there is light. Structure comes to life when you least expect it. Free Jazz Posse holds the key to this multi-faceted world."
--Tom Sekowski, The Live Music Report, May, 2008
Early Goodies From Freedonia Music
"An underrated (…ignored?) label that has consistently been releasing electrifying records. Do yourself a favour and check them out. These are serious artists who work outside the disgraceful circles of "officially sanctioned" improvisation, expressing fun, excitement and huge heart.
"…The above mentioned Zelenka and Stone are two members of this extraordinary septet, which also includes Jeremy Melsha (trombone), Derek Leu (guitar), Aaron Smith (soprano clarinet), Ajay Khanna (Eb clarinet) and Mike Fitzgerald (trumpet). Now, to give you a vague idea of how this work sounds like, forget the band's name and think instead to an expanded version of ROVA, featuring the accompaniment – and several more independent incursions – of an electric guitar, and the sometimes outlandish yet ever clever insertion of brass inside the general structure. Exactly as I said for Premonitions, we're in presence of improvisation of the finest calibre, the kind of stuff whose clarity-in-chaos articulation level is so high that many of these enthusiastic bursts really sound composed. The performers push their own vision forward determinedly as if ostracized by the establishment, trying to persuade us about the utter artistic validity of the concept. They fill the air with notes, but saturation is not reached; the geometries can be fractured, or entirely delineated. Every move appears well-considered, the sense of liberation perceived throughout regulated by the awareness of the necessary room for each player to express a diverse mental picture. A collective texture designed by distinctive entities, exhilarating music for splitting the brain into seven imaginary scores to follow. All of this leads to sincere esteem on this side of the speakers."
--Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, February 23, 2011