Scott Amendola - Fade to Orange CD
A Coruscating Orchestral Work for The Nels Cline Singers and the Magik*Magik Orchestra, on CD Featuring Amendola's Original Commission, the Album Also Includes Wildly Imaginative Remixes By Cibo Matto's Yuka Honda, Mocean Worker, Beautiful Bells, and Deerhoof's John Dieterich & Teetotum's.
San Francisco Bay Area drum star Scott Amendola composed "Fade To Orange" after receiving a prestigious commission From the Irvine Foundation-funded New Visions/New Vistas project. The roiling work premiered to critical acclaim at Oakland's Paramount Theater on April 15, 2011. Determined to refine and document the piece, he conducted a successful PledgeMusic crowd-funding campaign and recorded "Fade To Orange" at Berkeley's storied Fantasy Studios with his original collaborators--Wilco guitarist Nels Cline and powerhouse bassist Trevor Dunn--and the great Magik*Magik Orchestra. Fade to Orange is slated for release on CD and Vinyl on Amendola's label Sazi Records on June 2nd, 2015.
"The idea was really the Singers meet the Symphony," Amendola says. "I wanted Trevor's electric bass for that big contrast with the orchestra, and I conceived of the piece as a concerto for guitar. It was an amazing experience to premiere 'Fade to Orange' at the Paramount, but it was bittersweet after all that work. Like, that's it? I wanted to see what else we could do with it."
It took several years of planning, rewriting and reorchestrating, but Amendola ended up assembling a dreamteam in the studio. Working with Minna Choi's Magik*Magik Orchestra conducted by Cheche Alara, he augmented the 12-piece string section with all-star winds featuring clarinet master Ben Goldberg, ROVA saxophonist Steve Adams on flute, Santana trombonist Jeff Cressman, veteran trumpeter Rich Armstrong, and versatile French hornist Heidi Trefethen. Percussion legend William Winant provides an array of textures and grooves on marimba, glockenspiel, timpani, concert bass drum, and tubular bells.
In many ways "Fade to Orange" represents a left turn for Amendola, who has spent the past five years stripping his music down to essentials. A groove master known for collaborating with many of jazz's greatest improvisers, he's logged tens of thousands of miles on the road in recent years with seven-string guitar wizard Charlie Hunter in a tough and sinewy duo. "Fade to Orange" reverses his trajectory. Rather than subtracting musical elements, his most ambitious composition yet builds on the volatile Nels Cline Singers, an instrumental trio with well-traveled bassist Trevor Dunn, who gained notoriety for his work in the experimental Bay Area band Mr. Bungle, and Cline, a hair-raising improviser widely revered as a supremely generous collaborator.
Amendola's experience writing for Cline dates back more than a decade to the Scott Amendola Band, an orchestra quintet with violinist Jenny Scheinman and Chicago guitar slinger Jeff Parker from Tortoise. As a composer whose tunes can attain startling emotional intensity, he devised an epic crescendo for Cline, who rides the orchestra's surging energy with an array of sonic strategies. The protean nature of the music comes clearly into focus as it's reimagined in a series of remixes (an idea inspired by hearing a Deerhoof collaboration with Konono No.1).
"That sparked the idea," Amendola says. "I immediately thought of Yuka and Adam Dorn, aka Mocean Worker, who are dear friends. That's what Adam does. His records are remixes. I've been a huge Deerhoof fan for years, and then John Dieterich turned me onto Justin Peake in New Orleans, who performs and records as Beautiful Bells. The idea of four very distinct personalities seemed really exciting to me, taking what I did and throwing caution to the wind to make something else with it. There was only one rule. Being it's also on vinyl, the tracks had to be under six minutes."
As is so often the case, the parameters provided focus for the remixes, which each zero in on a different facet of "Fade to Orange," a vivid statement by Amendola that's likely to disappear from view anytime soon.
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