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Third Story (2011)
Featuring guitarist Jeff Miles (winner of 2008 Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition), pianist Joshua White (2011 Monk Competition Finalist), and Los Angeles drummer Jens Kuross – Third Story is a new voice in modern jazz. A venture into lush piano ostinatos, ambient guitar fills, aggressive rhythmic interplay, and haunting melodies, Third Story’s debut album features original compositions ranging from straight-ahead swing to Latin, fusion, and “straight-eighths” rhythms influenced by 1970’s ECM recordings. The band plays with melodies of different colors and shapes; sometimes nobody solos, sometimes everybody solos simultaneously. Walls of sound interrupted by moments of pristine simplicity. Third Story explores a realm of sound and force that reads like a favorite book: clear, powerful, and sometimes true.
… And Lovely (2009)
Bob’s follow-up to Tree of Thorns further explores his piano trio sound, with Dave Marr on bass, and Danny Campbell on drums.
Point of Contact (2007)
Point of Contact is an intimate collaborative project led by multi-reedist Ellen Weller in her second major album. Centered on Ellen’s long-standing musical relationship with husband/pianist Bob Weller, Point of Contact explores the various intersections that occur during real-time composition given the diverse musical paradigms of the players. This essential concept grew out of a suite of graphically notated pieces (Point of Contact, Point of Departure, Point of No Return and Point of Impact), which set up possible contrast/variation/mutation dialogues. Solo and duo improvisations by Bob and Ellen reveal their jazz and classical underpinnings, and the quirky prepared piano sounds coupled with jaw harp, ocarina and recorder wistfully suggests both lost childhood and the absurdity of war. Three trios and a duo mix in the mastery of internationally acclaimed bassist Mark Dresser, each ranging from quiet, introspective linear textures to explosive, in-your-face bursts of spicy dissonance and extended techniques.
Tree of Thorns (2005)
Tree of Thorns combines elements of contemporary jazz with experimental improvisation and 20th century harmonic language. Featuring Bob on piano, Danny on bass, and Cliff Almond on drums, the album showcases Father and Son in a series ofstraight-ahead jazz tracks, experimental think tanks, groove machines, and introspective melodic paintings.
Tree of Thorns is filled with dark energy. The first track, “Cranning Call,” features a rumbling 5/4 groove, haunting melody, macabre harmony, and improvisational exchange which borders on malevolent. An addition to a series of original compositions by Danny, the trio also takes on some standards such as “Footprints,” “Yesterdays,” and “Stella by Starlight.” The album is also interspersed with free transitory improvisations, featuring Ellen Weller on woodwinds.
Spirits, Dreams and Improvisations (2004)
Judaism, like Christianity and other religions, developed its own possession myth during the Middle Ages – that of the dybbuk. Weller’s project explores the powerful place of the dybbuk in explaining aberrant human behavior, and to connect such explanations to musical creativity, especially improvisation. Many cultures throughout the world acknowledge the power of music to summon spirits, human or otherwise. Other myths connect various mental illnesses with spirit possession. Weller connects these concepts of spirit and possession to the mental and physical state of the improvising musician. According to Weller, “there are moments during an improvisation when one feels like a conduit, merely enabling the music to happen, as if it is flowing through you, not coming from you. When that happens in a group performance, your own personality is subsumed to the larger spiritual flow. To me, that’s when the music seems the most inspired – a word that comes from the Latin inspirare [to breathe], and implies being guided by a supernatural force.” The very word spirit also comes from this same root – to blow, to breathe – and can mean ‘an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms.’ (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary tenth edition).