Nate Wooley

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Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Nate Wooley – trumpet, amplifier

Wooley’s solo playing has often been cited as being a part of an international revolution in improvised trumpet. Along with Peter Evans and Greg Kelley, Wooley is considered one of the leading lights of the American movement to redefine the physical boundaries of the horn, as well as demolishing the way trumpet is perceived in a historical context still overshadowed by Louis Armstrong. A combination of vocalization, extreme extended technique, noise and drone aesthetics, amplification and feedback, and compositional rigor has led one reviewer to call his solo recordings “exquisitely hostile”.

Wooley has released a number of solo recordings, starting with 2005’s “Wrong Shape to be a Storyteller” on Creative Sources and including everything from short minimalist studies (The Boxer, [EMR 2006]), to alien acoustic soundscapes (Trumpet/Amplifier [Smeraldina-Rima 2009]), laminal trumpet and tape compositions (The Almond [Pogus 2011]), and raw, abstract conceptual work (8 Syllables [Peira 2011]). Wooley’s most recent solo work is a split LP with fellow trumpet experimentalist Peter Evans on Dead CEO records.

The recordings, however, only play a role in the structuring of his live performances. Wooley strives for intimacy in his solo performances, often engaging the audience in a combination of acoustic and amplified sound that steers between virtuosic abstraction and sincere tunefulness. His solo performances are lauded as being totally “human”, a performer providing a certain sense of vulnerability and willingness to push his own physical boundaries while constantly pulling the audience into be part of the experience.

Columbia Icefield

Nate Wooley (trumpet and amplifier), Susan Alcorn (pedal steel guitar), Mary Halvorson (electric guitar), Ryan Sawyer (drums and vocals)

This electric quartet is a new direction in Wooley’s musical aesthetic. A departure from his usual electro-acoustic work, with its leanings toward harsh noise, Columbia Icefield is the first recording of compositions inspired by the geographic site which gives the band its name. This massive mountain of ice feeds the Columbia river–the same that Wooley saw every day of his youth in Oregon at the river’s Pacific terminus.

The music here, while still dealing in the intensity and humanity of Wooley’s projects like Seven Storey Mountain and The Almond, are serene and stoic; a beautiful set of “songs” that are, as the composer admits, “the closest I’ve ever come to expressing the central tenet of who I am and where I’m from.”

“The Prettiest, Most Progressive Campfire Music Ever” (The New York TImes)

Nate Wooley’s knknighgh

A new quartet of some of the fieriest and wildest of two generations. Featuring Lotte Anker on tenor and soprano sax, Felix Henkelhausen on bass, and Dre Hocevar on drums, Nate Wooley (trumpet) has assembled a crack squad of high energy improvisers to perform a new set of compositions called minimalist poetry. The short pieces act as launching pads for improvisations that find the dialectics between jazz, noise, and contemporary classical music before attempting to act outside them; creating something new in the process. Within the pieces, the players veer toward other compositions out of nowhere, swooping in and out of unisons or continuing on their own path until the others catch up. Twenty first century music.

Battle Pieces

Nate Wooley (trumpet and compositions), Ingrid Laubrock (saxophones), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Matt Moran (vibraphone)

Battle Pieces places the improviser up front. This all-star quartet navigates Wooley’s radical new compositions. .

Each member of the quartet is soloist for one piece, written to highlight and push the limits of their improvising vocabulary, switching to play with the notated trio on the others.

Battle Pieces are designed to be ever-changing and always growing. For that reason, Wooley has picked three of the most interesting, capable, and expansive musicians in New York to explore the ideas contained in this expansive world. Ingrid Laubrock is quickly becoming the dominant voice on jazz saxophone, being recently named the Rising Star soprano player in Downbeat’s 2015 Critic’s Poll. Matt Moran is an under-recognized hero of improvised music and has worked with John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet for over a decade. Sylvie Courvoisier is known as a master colorist and, as this recording attests, a powerful manipulator of all parts of the piano and works regularly with John Zorn and Mark Feldman.

A live recording from Anthony Braxton’s Tricentric Festival (the event which commissioned Wooley for these pieces) was released on the Relative Pitch label early 2015. In January 2016 they toured Europe for the first time.

Duo Nate Wooley / Paul Lytton

Wooley regularly plays together with Paul Lytton (percussion and electronics). For the past five years they have been redefining the improvising duo, taking up where Lytton and Evan Parker left off in the middle 1970s.Wooley and Lytton have played with various guests, including Fred Frith, C. Spencer Yeah, Okkyung Lee, Evan Parker, John Russell, Phil Wachsmann, Joe Morris, Marilyn Crispell, Ikue Mori and Ken Vandermark. With the last two they recorded “The Nows’, which came out on clean feed in 2012.

Website: Nate Wooley

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