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Phalanx Ambassadors

Phalanx Ambassadors

Matt Mitchell

Label: Pi Recordings
Format: CD
Barcode: 0808713008128
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Catalog number: PI 81
Releasedate: 02-08-19
- Phalanx Ambassadors is the latest release from pianist/keyboardist/composer Matt Mitchell, whom PopMatters calls “the most complete and well-integrated improvising pianist of the last 15 years.
- His bold new release features works that burst forth with intricate detail, featuring precise execution of complex polyrhythms and irrational meters, adventurous harmonic exploration and otherworldly melodies.
Phalanx Ambassadors is the latest release from pianist/keyboardist/composer Matt Mitchell, whom PopMatters calls “the most complete and well-integrated improvising pianist of the last 15 years.” They also called his prior release, A Pouting Grimace, “brilliant and varied… animated by breathtaking compositional imagination and startling arrangements.” His bold new release features works that burst forth with intricate detail, featuring precise execution of complex polyrhythms and irrational meters, adventurous harmonic exploration and otherworldly melodies. While rigorously structured, the music leaves ample room for varied layers of improvisation. The eponymously-named band – with Mitchell on piano and keyboards, Miles Okazaki on guitars, Patricia Brennan on vibraphone and marimba, Kim Cass on bass, and Kate Gentile on drums, along with producer David Torn – immerse themselves completely in Mitchell’s idiosyncratic sound world, creating music that eludes genre boundaries and comparisons.

“A pianist of burrowing focus and an indispensable fixture of the contemporary vanguard” – Nate Chinen, The New York Times

Matt Mitchell is a pianist and composer interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. He currently composes for and leads several ensembles featuring many of the current foremost musicians and improvisers, including Tim Berne, Kim Cass, Caroline Davis, Kate Gentile, Ben Gerstein, Sylvaine Hélary, Jon Irabagon, Travis Laplante, Ava Mendoza, Miles Okazaki, Ches Smith, Chris Speed, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Tordini, Anna Webber, Dan Weiss, and Katie Young.

He is an anchor member of several significant creative music ensembles which integrate composed and improvised music, including Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls, Jonathan Finlayson’s Sicilian Defense, Dan Weiss’s Large Ensemble, Steve Coleman’s Natal Eclipse, the Darius Jones Quartet, Kate Gentile’s Mannequins, Mario Pavone’s Blue Dialect Trio, Anna Webber’s Simple Trio, Ches Smith’s We All Break, Michael Attias’ Spun Tree, Ohad Talmor’s Grand Ensemble, and Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux. He is also among the core performers of John Zorn’s Bagatelles.

Musicians with whom he performs and has performed include Jon Irabagon, Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth, John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet + 1, JD Allen, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green’s Apex, Rez Abbasi’s Invocation, Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Alessi’s Baida Quartet, Dave King’s Indelicate duo, Amir ElSaffar, Marc Ducret, David Torn, Vernon Reid, Clarence Penn and Penn Station, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston, Allison Miller, Donny McCaslin, Brad Shepik, and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.

He has taught extensively with the Brooklyn-based School for Improvisational Music, as well as at the New School, NYU, and the Siena Jazz Workshop. He is also a 2015 receipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award and a 2012 recipient of a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.