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Free Jazz and Improvised Music

FM40  Duets
Greg Mills
1. cello 10:13
2. cello 4:15
3. cello 2:07
4. cello 2:32
5. inside piano 1:55
6. vibes 4:49
7. bass clarinet 4:25
8. soprano sax 3:06
9. soprano sax 2:20
10. bass clarinet 2:39
11. bass flute 2:32
12. soprano flute 2:54
13. soprano flute 2:34
14. cello 4:22
15. cello 3:22
16. cello :39
17. cello 7:14

Total time: 62:08


Recorded live at Clayton Studio: 4:49 February 11 & 25, March 11 & 25, 2015
Engineer: Tazu Marshall
Mix: Tazu Marshall & Jay Zelenka
Mastering: Tazu Marshall
Cover Art: © 2016 James Marshall
Produced by: Jay Zelenka/Freedonia Music


Tracy Andreotti: cello
Henry Claude: vibes, mallets inside piano
Dave Stone: bass clarinet, soprano saxophone
Fred Tompkins: bass & soprano flute
Greg Mills: piano
Beware of Mr. Mills: he can never be taken for granted! The music here is significantly different than his compositionally weighty solo performances or his intricate group improvisations. The 17 pieces on this CD comprise a panorama of experience in style, mood, texture & musical vocabulary, building on the fluid yet secure foundation of Mills’ improvisational playing. The piano’s role varies from piece to piece, sometimes providing supportive accompaniment and at other times engaging in a dialogue of equals. In some pieces Mills is provocative, challenging his partner to move beyond expectations; in others he plays the willing passenger, riding shotgun. In spite of his technical & imaginative skills, Mills never steals a step on his partner of the moment, never upstages even when pushing the improv beyond the inevitable. Like any great conversationalist, he has things to say and says them in his own engaging & genuine voice; but more importantly, he knows how to listen and brings an almost psychic anticipation to the moment. And while his compositional abilities help bring a solidity of form to these pieces, careful listening reveals that just as often it is his partner who provides the conception and direction of the dialogue. These conversations are made complete by a group of virtuoso players. In concert with Mills they weave a fabric that is intimate yet open, diverse and surprising. Andreotti, Stone, Claude & Tompkins are all solid performers deeply rooted in the various conventions of their respective instruments. However it is their use of the unconventional in extended technique, unusual voices and very savvy imaginative & intuitive choices that make these duets spark and crackle with electric creativity.

—JZ

Tracy Andreotti is currently principal cellist in both of St. Louis’ opera companies and has over the years played with numerous string quartets, ensembles and orchestras. She is also a seasoned improviser, co-founding the ongoing Experimental Art Night series, serving a ten year stint with free improv trio Kierkegaard Youth, and most recently leading her own group, The Vernacular String Trio. Henry Claude has been a regularly engaged percussionist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for thirty years. He founded and was director for twenty-five years of the the Nuclear Percussion Ensemble. Reed-man Dave Stone is a working Jazz musician whose award winning trio is in its twentieth year of performance. He devotes equal time to various free improv/free jazz groups, most notably The Dave Stone Ensemble. Fred Tompkins is a classically trained composer whose work is strongly influenced by jazz. He improvises on bass and soprano flute and is currently affiliated with Greg Mills’ Perihelion Ensemble as are the other musicians on this CD. Trained as a classical pianist, Mills’ decades-spanning performance history has been devoted exclusively to improvised music and while emphasizing solo piano has also included such seminal groups as The Human Arts Ensemble and Exiles. Andreotti and Mills co-founded The Perihelion Quartet in 2015.
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