SEMANTICS (ROTHENBERG/SHARP/BENNETT) Semantics
Semantics was a jazz supergroup consisting of Elliott Sharp, Ned Rothenberg and Samm Bennett. Elliott Sharp, born in Ohio in 1951, began playing the piano at the age of six and started to perform concerts two years later. He soon gave up the piano, first in favour of the clarinet and later for the guitar. Sharp became intrigued with all types of experimental music, from contemporary classical to free jazz and sophisticated rock. He studied anthropology at Cornell University, where he played in a band and took an electronics class with synthesizer inventor Robert Moog. Ned Rothenberg is an American multi-instrumentalist who was born in 1956 in Massachusetts. He has been internationally acclaimed for both his solo and ensemble music, presented for the past 33 years on 5 continents. He performs primarily on alto saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet, and the shakuhachi - an endblown Japanese bamboo flute. His solo work utilizes an expanded palette of sonic language, creating a kind of personal idiom all its own. Samm Bennett was born in 1957 in Alabama. In 1977 he moved to Boston, a town that seemed to offer broader possibilities for a young musician eager to play and grow and try new things. It was there that he was first exposed to African drumming styles, mostly through attending weekly drum ensemble workshops led by Boston underground percussion legend Syd Smart. In late 1980, he went to Nigeria, West Africa. Traveling with a friend who introduced him to a family in Benin City, Nigeria, he remained there as their guest for six months, making daily trips to the home of drum master Idemudia Izevbihen. Later Bennett lived in Brussels and played many solo shows. The short lived Semantics were active in the middle of the 1980s and released two albums. The self-titled debut has so far never been released on CD. It is a masterpiece of contemporary jazz with a rock attitude added for good measure. Full tracklist: 1. Terra Firma 2. Small Business 3. Direct Dial Dirge 4. Split Shift 5. Vliet's Van 6. Big Business 7. Funnel Breaker B 8. The Midst Of Other Solitaires 9. Didi! It's The Other Foot! 10. Hole In The Pocket. Price: € 18,-/copy incl. worldwide shipping.
Terra Firma is a wonderful urgent & angularly jiving blend of joint horn swim & sway, detail ethnic-to- layer percussion and tight bass darts - it moves between jarring horn swings, and slight more pared-back ethnic percussion and bounding-to snapping bass work. By track three weve come to the rolling & bounding bass clarinet, scabbing-to-waling horn & guitar work, and battering drum attack of Direct Dial Dirge. Through to the maniacally twanging & baying blues slide guitar meets swing horn grooving & cluttering-to-crashing percussion of Vilets Van, onto rapid-rushing guitar pick tones, shouting, and smokey wailing to fidgeting horn attack of Didi! Its The Other Foot. The album is a varied & largely vibrantly searing sonic trip - with each party adding both their own genre-centric & creative musical flare to the proceedings - making a barnstorm & daring record.
(Musique Machine, October 2020)