For a young musician, Bobby Avey has quickly establishing himself as an emerging voice in the creative music scene. The Guardian describes him as, “a player and musical thinker with an intriguing future,” who The New Yorker asserts “[Avey is] a young pianist of invention and refinement.” In 2011, he won the Thelonious Monk Competition for Composition, following the release of his first album, A New Face , which the New York Times called “A promising debut.”
Inhuman Wilderness , the fifth recording from the esteemed pianist, promises to be a major artistic statement. The release is a multihued tapestry that eloquently portrays the tragedy of man's inhumanity to his fellow man and to nature.
Releasing June 24th, 2016, the album will be Innervoice Jazz ’s second release after pianist Marc Copland’s Zenith. Once again, Avey’s has enlisted longtime bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Jordan Perlson to support the underlying framework of his unusual concepts. The trio have almost a decade of playing under their belts.
Indeed AllAboutJazz.com proclaimed the three, “a strong, intuitive trio.” The fourth voice joining the quartet for Inhuman Wilderness is alto saxophonist John O’Gallagher . Avey met O’Gallagher in 2014 when the two played a gig together in NYC, and it was in that moment Avey knew he had found the final component to complete a new quartet. Avey says “John was simply the best fit for the repertoire. He internalized the music quickly and brought it to life.”
Avey's harmonic palette on this record is decidedly 21stcentury, with rhythmic influences including elements of Balkan folk music and Haitian Vodou drumming. Avey elaborates on his unique range of influences, stating, "Distinct Vodou traditions have been preserved in specific communities for centuries.
Many ceremonies have lots of singing and dancing, and the ensembles have a unique vocabularies; there's a lot to draw from." Each song addresses a different societal ill. For example, “ Rent the Sky ” is about the US drone campaign in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan. “Countless Voices of Unknown People ” is a variation on a point Howard Zinn made throughout his life. The "moments" that enter into the history books have their roots in the actions of many brave people whose names do not enter the canon.
Moments happen as a result of movements. “ Inhuman Wilderness ,” “ Structural Adjustment ,” and “ Land Theft ” were written as a suite lamenting the tragic state of the human species. “ I Should Have Known No Less ” is a line from Antony and Cleopatra. “When I read,” says Avey, “I often jot down phrases that connect with me.
That was one of them. It is a combination of many musical ideas I had been carrying around at the time.” Avey admits “ Composure Must Be Rare ” was “the most difficult song I've ever written. I continually shaped it with my trio over the last 6 years until we were finally ready to document it. It was commissioned by my late friend and pianist Eric Doney and was originally a piece for string quartet and piano.”
Since the release of his acclaimed fourth album, Authority Melts From Me , Avey has kept busy. A musician who counts saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Sam Sadigursky , and composer/bandleader Darcy James Argue among his frequent employers, for the past three years, he has also notably been the pianist in Expansions, the newest group from the legendary tenorman andNEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman . Liebman, who can spot talent when he sees it, has mentored Avey since he was a teenager.
He says of Avey, “Of course I'm biased about Bobby, but he's already got an individual voice, with a very advanced approach to harmony and rhythm.”
Bobby Avey piano
Thomson Kneeland acoustic bass
Jordan Perlson drums
John O'Gallagher alto saxophone (2,3,6,8)
01. Countless Voices Of Unknown People 4:53
02. Fall Not A Tear 8:06
03. Inhuman Wilderness 3:44
04. Structural Adjustment 2:19
05. Land Theft 1:42
06. I Should Have Known No Less 9:57
07. Rent The Sky 5:25
08. Composure Must Be Rare 9:38