Basho Records - Contemporary JazzBASHO RECORDS


The Jigsaw





"in the realm of post bop it simply doesn't get any better than this" John KelmanALLABOUTJAZZ

"compulsively listenable". Chris Parker, Jazz at Ronnie Scott's

"as good as it gets". RAY COMISKEY, THE IRISH TIMES, 17 SEPT Five Stars*****

'Sulzmann - the classy composer'. John Fordham.

‘Copland is especially gifted, fashioning an undercurrent of swing that makes any band burn’
The Muze

Release Date: 27th September 2004
Title “The Jigsaw”
Artist Stan Sulzmann
Catalogue Number SRCD 10-2


01 Krell (Sulzmann) 5:26 (sample)
02 Evie (Sulzmann) 7:46
03 Figurine (Sulzmann) 6:11 (sample)
04 Jack Stix (Sulzmann) 9:01
05 Not a Ballad (Copland/Stewart) 8:59
06 Maudley (Sulzmann) 7:49
07 No Discussion (Copland) 5:30
08 The Jigsaw (Wheeler) 7:49

Stan Sulzmann’s music was described in the Guardian as 'ravishing, delicious, powerful, direct,…meticulously written’ and he was recently described by Marc Copland as “one of the greatest sax players in the world” and he should know. Their musical relationship goes back over 25 years and both musicians hold each other in the highest esteem. Marc Copland is without doubt one of the most lyrical and moving pianists around with “an undercurrent of swing that makes any band burn” The stellar company he keeps speaks volumes - Mike Brecker, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie, Gary Peacock, Greg Osby to name but a few.

“The Jigsaw” (Basho Records SRCD 10-2) featuring Marc Copland, Larry Grenadier and Bill Stewart and recorded in New York earlier this year represents a long-awaited landmark in Stan’s career and has put him with the world class musical company he rightfully deserves.

Recorded at The Studio, Greene St, New York City 6/7 January 2004
Recording Engineer Jon Rosenberg
Assistant Recording Engineer Eiji Takasugi
Mastered by Chris Lewis, Lewis Audio, London
Produced by Stan Sulzmann
Executive Producer Christine Allen

STAN SULZMANN is without question one of the most highly respected musicians in the UK today, admired by musicians and audiences for his instantly recognisable sound, and boundless creative imagination, and is a source of inspiration to many of Britain's emerging young musicians.
Sulzmann’s career stretches back to the 60’s, when as part of a uniquely talented crop of British musicians, he played with Graham Collier, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Gordon Beck, as well as leading many groups of his own.Since that time Stan has been at the forefront of European contemporary jazz, and his talents have been sought by a host of discerning musicians, including Gil Evans, Mike Gibbs, Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland and Michael Brecker. Constantly in demand as a guest soloist, he has appeared with bands across Europe, including the Hilversum Radio Orchestra, NDR Big Band (alongside Chet Baker), Hanover Radio Symphony Orchestra and the New York Composers Orchestra.
Further intimate and refreshingly innovative musical partnerships have developed with acclaimed British pianist Nikki Iles, American keyboard player Marc Copland and the trio Ordesa - a drumless, bassless combination with Kenny Wheeler and John Parricellli.
“An accomplished and distinguished composer, Stan's writing talents are internationally recognised, and have most recently found expression in writing for Ordesa, and the Stan Sulzmann Big Band. His music has been described in glowing terms 'ravishing, delicious, powerful and direct…meticulously written, sometimes echoing the imaginative and much missed orchestra of Michael Gibbs” The Guardian

Pianist MARC COPLAND first came to public attention with his trio with Gary Peacock and Billy Hart, later with his All-Star quintet with Randy Brecker, Bob Berg, and Dennis Chambers, and still later with his quartet with guitarist John Abercrombie
"…His harmonic sophistication, his touch, and control of dynamics with the foot pedal have all become-well-the stuff of legend. There are actually stories of young piano players who go to a Copland gig and then sit right near the stage to stare at his feet, to observe the nuance of how he works the damper pedal of the piano."
Born 27 May 1948, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Playing saxophone, Copland was a part of the vibrant music scene in Philadelphia before going to New York where he met John Abercrombie and also played with Chico Hamilton, Ralph Towner and others. He experimented with the electric alto saxophone but gradually became dissatisfied with the direction his music was taking and quit playing saxophone in order to study piano. He was gone for almost a decade but upon his return to the jazz world in the mid-80s his piano playing was a revelation. At first he might have displayed hints of influences such as Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock, but before the decade was out his own vividly original style was firmly in place. During these years he played with Joe Lovano, Jane Ira Bloom, Tim Hagans, James Moody, Wallace Roney and many others, including recording sessions at which he was reunited with Abercrombie. He also built long-lasting musical relationships with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Billy Hart. In the late 90s Copland's international fame was spreading, owing in part to several well-received albums and tours, including worldwide trio and quintet tours, and European dates which brought him once again into partnership with Abercrombie, along with Kenny Wheeler.
"Copland's playing is filled with color that especially enhances his ballad playing. On up-tempo numbers his playing not only demonstrates quicksilver thinking, but also the technical skills needed to realize his brilliant conceptions. As an accompanist Copland is especially gifted, fashioning an undercurrent of swing that makes any band burn. Copland is also an accomplished composer and teacher." The Muze.

LARRY GRENADIER was born in 1966 in San Francisco, California. He began playing bass when he was 11. As a teenager in the San Francisco Bay area, Larry played with Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, Bobby Hutcherson among many others. He graduated from Stanford University in 1989 with a degree in English Literature. In 1990, Larry moved to Boston to play with Gary Burton's band. In 1991 he moved to New York City where he played in the bands of Betty Carter, Joshua Redman, Danilo Perez, David Sanchez, Tom Harrell, Joe Henderson, John Scofield, Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau as well as recording dozens of records. Larry is also a member of the collective trio, Fly, along with Mark Turner and Jeff Ballard. Their first self-titled recording for Savoy was released in January 2004.

BILL STEWART was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1966. He attended William Paterson College and the University of Northern Iowa and moved to New York City in 1989. Since that time he has appeared with many jazz greats, including John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Larry Goldings trio, Maceo Parker, Lee Konitz, Jim Hall, Joe Henderson, James Moody, Joe Lovano, Charlie Haden, James Brown, Bill Carrothers, Marc Copland, Michael Brecker, Kevin Hays, Chris Potter and many others. He has made 3 cds as a leader, including Think Before You Think (1989, Evidence), Snide Remarks (1995, Blue Note), and Telepathy (1997, Blue Note). Snide Remarks was chosen by The New York Times as one of the top ten jazz cds of 1995. Stewart is a two time winner of the Down Beat critics poll in the category of drummer deserving wider recognition.

"In a move that, on first glance, seems more aimed at garnering him a broader audience than anything else, British sax legend Stan Sulzmann is teamed with a dream team of American players including pianist Marc Copland, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart for his latest release, The Jigsaw. But if the grouping smells suspiciously of “session gig,” one listen to this outstanding disk is enough to dispel such skepticism. Truth be told, Copland has a relationship with Sulzmann that goes back over twenty-five years and while Grenadier and Stewart may be newcomers to Sulzmann's distinctive playing and writing style, you'd be hard pressed to tell. The Jigsaw may not win any awards for breaking new ground, but in the realm of post bop it simply doesn't get any better than this.

One of the most highly regarded musicians in Britain, Sulzmann has a résumé that includes work with Michael Brecker and Gil Evans, but perhaps his most enduring relationship has been with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, whose title tune closes out the album. Sulzmann's style is, in some ways, the lyrical equivalent of Wheeler's own melancholy melodicism, and the two have teamed up numerous times, including '02's outstanding Ordesa, a trio featuring Sulzmann, Wheeler and guitarist John Parricelli. But The Jigsaw is the first record in a number of years to feature Sulzmann as leader and primary composer, and it paints a vivid picture of an artist whose solos tell compelling stories. “Figurine,” for example, is a dark ballad that would not feel completely out of place in the Ralph Towner songbook, with a sense of delicate drama that never becomes melodrama. Sulzmann, heard on soprano, delivers a solo that manages to swing in its own quiet way.

Copland continues to be a most intuitive accompanist. In the past couple of years he has recorded with artists including Gary Peacock, Greg Osby, Kenny Wheeler, John Abercrombie and Dave Liebman. In each case his own sensitive, impressionistic and at times abstract sensibilities seem to at once meld with those of the artists he is teamed with while, at the same time, asserting his own musical personality. On “Jack Stix,” which has just the slightest of Latin overtones in the theme, Copland asserts himself as a distinct personality who has evolved far beyond his original influences of Evans, Jarrett and Hancock.

Grenadier and Stewart make, quite simply, one of the best young rhythm sections around. Stewart, in particular, mines the same territory first carved out by Jack DeJohnette, but brings a sense of melody all too rarely heard from drummers.

The Jigsaw could have been just another session but instead, with fine writing from Sulzmann, Copland, Stewart and Wheeler, the interplay is all the more uncanny for the fact that this group only convened for two short days. Unquestionably one of the best post bop releases of the year, Sulzmann's The Jigsaw will hopefully hip North American audiences to what the British have known all along". John Kelman,

"Despite his (entirely justified) high reputation among musicians and close observers of UK jazz, saxophonist/flautist Stan Sulzmann has made relatively few albums as a leader; The Jigsaw goes a considerable distance towards righting this wrong. Pianist Marc Copland and Sulzmann are longtime musical partners, and their easy rapport lies at the heart of a fluently interactive band, completed by a Rolls-Royce US rhythm section, lithe bassist Larry Grenadier and vigorous, punchy drummer Bill Stewart. All in all, though, this is Sulzmann's album, his elegant, alternately warbling and pleasantly rasping sound perfectly suited to his deceptively simple-sounding compositions, to those of his bandmates and Kenny Wheeler's typically plangent title-piece. Stewart and Grenadier push things along with just the right mix of power and delicacy, but it is the main soloists, Copland and Sulzmann, who render this unfussily virtuosic album compulsively listenable". Chris Parker, Jazz at Ronnie Scott's

"Tenor-soprano saxophonist Sulzmann may be one of Britain's best kept secrets, but the fact remains he's a truly outstanding player. And on this memorable album, made in New York last January, he's among peers; pianist Marc Copland, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart are as good as it gets. Moreover, Sulzmann's compositions - five of the eight pieces here are his; the remaining three are by Copland, Stewart and Kenny Wheeler - have a very savoury, distinctive character. Likewise, his lines are simultaneously logical and full of surprise. Most of all, the quartet goes about things with compelling relish and imagination. Sulzmann is in Whelan's next Sunday with Copland and the pianist's "working" trio of Drew Gress and Jochen Rückert. Not to be missed". RAY COMISKEY, THE IRISH TIMES, 17 SEPT Five Stars*****