Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Junk Media Review of 7 Storey

The Seven Storey Mountain is trumpeter Nate Wooley’s improvisational enactment of spiritual catharsis. Taking its title from Thomas Merton’s biography of the same name, the record also features Paul Lytton on percussion and David Grubbs on harmonium. The three musicians commit themselves to the paradoxical (and perhaps impossible) task of implying a narrative of spiritual struggle with a minimalist or ‘lowercase’ improv that, strictly speaking, goes nowhere. Although the gestures are largely restrained and the performances subtle, The Seven Storey Mountain is able to evoke a pensive yet at times agonized experience of ecstasy, making explicit what in other performances tends to be a merely suggested spirituality.

Give credit to Wooley for assembling this less-than-obvious lineup. Grubbs is better known for the skewed avant-pop of Gastr Del Sol, and while Paul Lytton may be considered a legend in freely-improvised music, his work tends toward the noisy and manic. The contrasts between the approaches of these musicians are the story here: a group of lowercase all-stars would be less likely to generate the tensions, and therefore suggest the spiritual agonies, endemic to Seven Storey Mountain.

Commissioned for Dave Douglas’ FONT festival in New York, the record consists of one 38-minute piece, performed without pause (and subsequently given the four subtitles “Your Lips,” “Tip,” “Sleep,” and “Turned to Sand”). While the music focuses on the minute gesture, it simultaneously suggests a broader movement. According to Wooley this is a journey through the “dark night of the soul” toward ecstatic knowing, not so much moving as being moved, like existing on a planet that spins underneath you and carries you with it. The sonic field is occupied by a series of drones, consisting variously of Wooley’s electronics, a recording of his A/C unit, Grubbs’ harmonium or a combination of the three. These drones alternate in texture and volume, generating moods of anguish and calm as they do so. The harmonium plays a diminished chord, but these pitches enter the piece as a present fact only, suggesting no movement toward resolution. This is a music of large forces, but Lytton’s junkyard percussion is able to pierce the drones and suggest that they occur in a real (rather than ideal) space. Even though Seven Storey Mountain tells a story of spiritual and mental anguish, this anguish occurs to someone living somewhere, whether that be Merton in Rome or Wooley, Lytton, and Grubbs in New York. Lytton’s percussion also serves as a link between the mechanical drones and the human voice, which serves more as an instrument for producing sound than for articulating words. This muted, but often insistent, voice intones throughout the piece, occasionally becoming a kind of drone itself, but also punctuating the moments of stasis with urgent (if incomprehensible) declarations.

The music on Seven Storey Mountain alternates between moments of charged calm and moments of sturm und drang, the latter serving as instances of crisis largely established through the scattershot pulses of the percussion and voice. Although it’s a cliche to say it, the album demands a close listening (preferably through a decent pair of headphones) in order to focus on the subtle changes that initiate a change in the piece’s mood. The attention that wanders will fail to pick up on the force of the piece, and for good reason: Seven Storey Mountain is the story of intense self-examination, and in such meditation, wandering recovers its etymological relation with sin. Wooley, Lytton, and Grubbs have exemplarily created a space for the reflective and attentive listener, but they make no concessions. Seven Storey Mountain is the greater for their efforts.

Brent Mix
December 21, 2009

Holiday Greetings

So, here is a little holiday reading for you, was going to go with something between Miracle on 34th street and the Peanuts Christmas special, but just had this conversation and it seemed like I needed to write it down....oh, and there is some shameless plugging at the bottom, as always.

Keep in mind that this is a bit long and ranty, so please feel free to delete or skip to the bottom (not that you have to have my permission)

The Players:
Toby (a twenty something idealist in a big puffy down jacket conveniently zipped up to "almost" cover his Greenpeace t-shirt, and hiding his clipboard behind his back, standing right in front of my office building)

Nate (a thirty something pessimist in a big puffy amy surplus jacket zipped up to the top of his nose and thinking nasty, nasty thoughts, trying to go into my office building)

Toby: Hi! My name is Toby! What's yours?
Nate: What?
Toby: My name is Toby (extends hand for warm and meaningful shake). What's your name?Nate: Don't do that, man.
Toby: Don't do what?
Nate: Don't be disingenuous to sell me a bunch of shit.
Toby: Excuse me?
Nate: Don't pretend that you are interested in me, just to get me to buy whatever you're selling. It's dishonest. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Toby: I'm not selling anything
Nate: Oh, really? I'm sorry, my mistake. So, you're just standing out here in front of this building in the asscold to make friends?
Toby: Yup! (extends hand again)
Nate: Cool, so we're friends now?
Toby: As soon as you tell me your name
Nate: Awesome, my name is Nate. Hey, since we are friends now, would you mind if my wife and I came over for Christmas eve? Our family isn't in New York and it would be nice to spend it with some good friends.
Toby: Oh, I don't think we're quite that close (winks)
Nate: Oh, really. I thought we were friends, maybe we are more of friendly acquaintances?Toby: Yeah, that's it.
Nate: Cool, hey what do you say we shoot the shit about girls, huh? That girl is hot, eh?
Toby: That isn't really appropriate
Nate: You're right. You're absolutely right. I guess I got carried away with some locker room talk because I was just hanging here with my friendly acquaintance Toby
Toby: Yeah, well...
Nate: So, maybe we are just acquaintances.
Toby: Yeah, it seems that way.
Nate: Right, hey, what is your last name, where do you live?
Toby: Excuse me?
Nate: Well, I know the last name and general neighborhood of most acquaintances, that's usually the first things you make small talk about
Toby: I don't really want to tell you that
Nate: Oh, I see, so you know what it sounds like to me, Toby? It sounds to me like we are strangers. Would you agree? This is fine, but you see, I don't like strangers forcing their way into my personal space in front of my place of work and trying to sell me shit. I also don't like when they try and be sly and cover up their Greenpeace t-shirt and hide their clipboard. You have to admit that that is pretty disingenuous behavior. Don't you? Don't you think that maybe all the people on this street are sick of people with fake good will trying to sell us shit, like some kind of psycho-economic bait and switch? "Here, I want to be your friend, will you sign this sheet to keep whales alive?" I love whales, but I don't want to be coerced or guilted or otherwise bamboozled into anything with the promise of human warmth. Does your grandmother know you are doing this? I bet she would tan your ass. This is not the way that people interact. I have no problem with your job, I know you probably need the bread, but don't bullshit us. Just stand up with your whale flag flying and ask if I want to give money to Greenpeace, you chickenshit.
Toby: Okay, do you want to give money to Greenpeace?
Nate: Not to you
Toby: Fuck you Nate
Nate: Fuck you too Toby.

Ahhhhh, I love Christmas. Admittedly, I may be becoming a curmudgeon. My deep apologies to Toby wherever he is.

Now, I'm going to take my own advice and say this:You should listen to Scott McDowell's Long Rally. He'll soon be posting the complete live sessions that I did with Chris Corsano and C. Spencer Yeh, including a live version of the second installment of Seven Storey Mountain. You can find him at

I love you guys,


Monday, November 9, 2009

Reviews of Transit/Seven Storey Mountain!

From All About Jazz-New York, written by Clifford Allen!

The work of trumpeter Nate Wooley falls into a number of camps: free improvisation, experimental noise or restructuralist postbop. It would be easy to lump him in with a young trumpeters/ extended techniques setting but Wooley is decidedly an individual. And while brass players tend to elicit an expected bravura, Wooley is very much at home in collective exploratory endeavors as one color in a very broad palette.

Transit is one of the first outfits that Wooley began working in when he arrived in New York from Denver and Quadrologues is the quartet's second disc. Here, Wooley is joined by drummer Jeff Arnal, bassist Reuben Radding and altoist Seth Misterka on ten collective improvisations. While the group structurally hints at a piano-less quartet and attachments to post-Ornette non-chordal bop, such a model couldn't be further from what Transit actualizes. A piece like "Time isn't what you think" explores the cycles of breath, anguished whispers and near shrieks peeling away spatial layers as Misterka's mournful, wide vibrato keen rises out of hums and sighs. Plodding pizzicato and rattling percussion mark intervals and like many of the improvisations here, there's an airy pause that signals the end of the experience, giving one the feeling that a window on activity has shut while the foursome continue onward. That's not to say that there aren't moments of infectious, swinging rhythm—Arnal has a penchant for funky, flitting cross-rhythms that echo John Stevens' Ed Blackwell-ian moments. "Speaking in Tongues" features a soulful, throaty Radding solo interwoven into a light polyrhythm and piercing golden unison.

Seven Storey Mountain is an exploration of (and creation of) environment, which finds Wooley joined by semi-regular partner Paul Lytton on percussion and David Grubbs on harmonium, as well as the inclusion of field recordings made in Jersey City. The landscape as it is initially defined here is restive, ultra-low tones bubbling only slightly to the surface. The nature of their production is unclear, perhaps electronic or a low-tone gong. Metallic breaths and gravelly burble seem assigned to a trumpet or a contact mic, while crinkling footsteps and swaths of air might signal taped Jersey environs. Though extremely subtle, the play of low tones and breaths and the introduction of rattling percussion and Grubbs' droning harmonium enter and recede cyclically: Ten minutes in, electronic and breath palettes become dense as a clear, rolling patter of snare, cymbals and sticks generate an active blueprint toward present, immediate speed. Wooley notes, "My internal rhythm is really, really fast actually. Lytton and I have talked about this a little, because we have very similar at rest tempos, meaning the velocity that we tend to be most relaxed in." In other words, the pensive and subtle cycles at the piece's outset become almost closed-in, allowing environmental self-awareness to move from slow realizations to those of hyper-speed, fierce futurities.

Week of Magic

You know there are a lot of things going on this week and in the interest of saving bits and bytes and other suches, I'm jus' gonn' givittoya.

Wednesday 11/11
20 Greene Street
Tilt Brass and Sixtet
8:30 pm

I'll be performing with the Sixtet, lovely music including a brand new one from Anthony Coleman.
The Brass Group will be performing my piece "There Was This Shadow This Double" which they premiered a couple of years ago. It is dedicated to a great friend of many of ours that we lost about that time, Take Toriyama.

Thursday 11/12
330 Ellery St. #3 Brooklyn, NY 11206
JMZ to Flushing Avenue. Continue east on Broadway for several blocks. Take a left onto Ellery Street. The Schoolhouse is the second building on the right. Call 718 710 3095 to enter the building (buzzer does not work.)
Heave and Shudder (Audrey Chen/Nate Wooley)
show starts at 8:30 pm, we go on at 9:45

I haven't played with Audrey in a long time, so it should be a great time. Also on the evening is a great duo with Amsterdam badass Seamus Cater, also Andrew Lafkas and Bryan Eubanks which is always great. Should be a really nice night.

Friday 11/13
Flushnik Studios
698 Flushing Avenue #1B
An Evening of Solos
8 pm

I haven't played a solo set in about a year after working on a solo LP that has kind of sucked my soul dry. Well, it's time to get back on the horse, so this will be my first in a while. Adding to the pressure will be a solo set by Josh Sinton (all new stuff!) and the great unsung Oregon trumpet player/composer Doug Detrick. At the very least, 2/3 of this evening should be great, and let's hope for 3/3.

Sunday 11/15
Douglass Street Collective
295 Douglass Street
Crackleknob! (mit Mary Halvorson and Reuben Radding)
8 pm

Man, I love crackleknob, so I'm very excited to do this show. Also, that evening will be a duo of Tom Blancarte/Brian Osborne, and yet another chance to see Mr. Sinton.

good times, oh, and remember that 7 storey mountain with David Grubbs and Paul Lytton is out now. There was a nice review in the ol' AAJ this month, along with good times about the sleeper hit of the year, Transit "Quadrologues" on Clean Feed. Christmas is coming up!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Seven Storey Mountain Dropped.......

Well, well, well......

Ain't nothing like a little capitalism to stir the warm glow of the heart.

Nate Wooley/David Grubbs/Paul Lytton
Seven Storey Mountain
on Important Records with artwork by the Wyvern!

out now.

grip a will darn your will make you tea when you are is the perfect, most sensitive doesn't judge will drive late at night when you are picks up the tab.......

And, on top of it as usual, Massimo Ricci has written the first review:

Nate Wooley / David Grubbs / Paul Lytton
Originally commissioned for Dave Douglas' FONT Festival in New York and based on the namesake book by Thomas Merton, Seven Storey Mountain is a record whose layers, superimposed and stretched, disclose an underworld of unexpected revelations while also fulfilling Nate Wooley's intention of making "a piece that had a certain feel of the ecstatic to it". This is the first of what Wooley has planned as a seven-part project using this instrumentation, namely a trio plus taped sources (on this occasion an air conditioner, a piano and mostly unintelligible voices); yet it's anybody's guess if it will reach completion, given these artists' exceedingly busy schedule. What's truly impressive here is how "composed" this 38-minute performance sounds, despite the virtual nonexistence of rehearsals prior to the trio's debut performance, except for the soundcheck. The musicians worked with a few sketchy directives concerning Lytton's percussive drive (when applicable) and Grubbs' droning harmonium, but basically the music is a simple arc structure. It begins in extreme calm, as low vibrating hums emerge from bushes of humid whispers; movement gradually increases in the central section, first with sparse notes, delirious mutterings and sinister noises, then with Lytton swinging furiously over Grubbs' static chords, while Wooley brings a touch of madness to the situation, roughening the textures with his gargling hoarseness and abraded clumsiness. The finale brings everything back to (still charged) peace, giving us a chance to cauterize any bleeding wound with a relatively balmy ending. What about the aforementioned ecstasy? Not sure that my immediate desire to repeat the listening experience to better focus on the murkiest particulars qualifies as such, but what I do know is that any release which raises more doubts than it offers certainties is music to my ears.–MR

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Worst Post Ever

I don't know. It's cold in my office and I'm tired.......

here are some gigs.


Vox Populi
319 N. 11th Street
(3rd Floor)
Philadelphia, PA

Phantom Limb and Wooley
(Jaime Fennelly, Chris Forsyth)
Sharks With Wings
Sanguine Vessel

8 pm

58 N. 3rd Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Phantom Limb and Wooley

8 pm
(make a reservation.....make Monty happy)

Saturday and Sunday

Cornelia Street Cafe
29 Cornelia Street

Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day
(Matt Bauder, Chris Dingman, Eivind Opsvik)

8:30 and 10 pm
(show up, make us all happy)


Monday, October 12, 2009


I have anxiety dreams. Usually when I have to do a lot of travel, but we'll get to that in a second. The one I've been having lately consists of me playing a wedding. A nice quartet, playing Stella by Starlight and the Chicken Dance, but.....with Cecil Taylor.....playing piano......with me.......yeah. So, I get caught, trying to figure out how to negotiate the changes to April in Paris with one of the legends of jazz playing all these huge clusters behind me. I really want to go with him, but the caterer is giving me dirty looks. Why do I care about the caterer? I don't know. Protestant work ethic and the guilt surrounding that? Perhaps. Anyway, just as I turn around and see how disgusted Cecil is with me, I wake up.

Why have I been having this dream? It might be because I'm more than a little nervous (and ultimately super excited) about this:


10 PM

Both Evan and Chris have spent a looooooooooot of time in my stereo over the past 5 years and have had a lot to do with my playing whether they know it or not, so I am really excited to be a part of this show. I mean, what can you say about them? I don't know. You tell me. Maybe after the show. That'd be great.

Also, I'll be travelling to Winnipeg this week for the send and receive festival. I'm closing out the festival this year with a nice set of solos/duos/trios with Canadian percussionist Jeffrey Allport and Japanese vocalist Ami Yoshida, so if you feel like a roadtrip.............



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

15th Floor

The 15th floor of my office building has only three inhabitants that I have ever seen.

Two very tall, and from what I can gather from my limited German, very very sexually liberated young German women, and a small troll of a man who always is muttering at the elevator control panel. I am fairly certain this man will kill me using only a pocket knife and coffee stirrer if I am left alone in the elevator with him.

The 15th floor of my office building also smells strongly of donuts.

That's quips, no insights, no flowery language, I just want to know what the fuck they are doing down there.

Oh, and I have a gig tonight:

Tuesday, September 22, 8:30pm
Roulette, 20 Greene Street (btwn Canal and Grand), NYC
Reservations/Tickets: 212.219.8242
Admission: $15
Harvestworks & DTW members, Students, Under 30s & Seniors: $10
Roulette members : FREE

Music for an IMAGINARY BAND, led by composer-pianist Gordon Beeferman, is a (real) 7-piece group comprised of some of New York's most uniquely creative musicians. The band explores the territory where classical 'new-music,' jazz and free improvisation intersect. Beeferman's compositions range from the gnarly to the operatic, and are both incredibly detailed and very free; the band's intensive improvisational explorations are tethered to highly structured frameworks. The music spans varieties of melody, rhythm, and sound.
"[A] commanding avant-jazz ensemble..." Time Out New York

Gordon Beeferman - piano & compositions
Nate Wooley - trumpet
Evan Rapport - alto sax
Matt Bauder - tenor sax
Josh Sinton - baritone sax, bass clarinet
James Ilgenfritz - bass
Michael Evans - drums

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Crackleknob Review from Massimo Ricci!!!!!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009



Can impavid fighters against remunerative compromise sound so intelligibly sweet while improvising, to the point of having us wondering where the score is? Does artistic significance automatically imply inhospitable counterpoint? Is procedural sharpness a necessary negation of the magnification of conterminous instrumental details?

Crackleknob is a fully grown, moderately aerated recording combining brilliantly unique representatives of the modern jazz/free music scene gathered under the umbrella of respect, both reciprocal and for the audience. Mary Halvorson’s rational approach to the fingerboard is nirvana for those, like yours truly, who are tired of listening to trite versions of standards and/or incoherent finger-babbling aptly described as “spontaneous abandonment of technique” to hunt hypothetical liberties, a smart translation for “absence of ideas”. Reuben Radding is a lyrically composite bassist, his timbre a balanced mixture of demulcent harmonics, visionary abstractions and immediate mutability, cogent insertions permanently at the service of a pre-established cooperative cleverness. Nate Wooley is still able to extract drops of vital juice from the ghosts of famous men with the horn to transform those essences in invigorating fumes of timbral disintegration and not-exactly-diplomatic excrescences, halfway through a caustically refined helpmate and a coroner analyzing the corpse of a hermaphrodite variety of jazz.

“Quavering Voices Of The Mutilated” is the ultimate explanation of what these people do together: as Halvorson seams obstinately angular patterns and logically articulated spikes of anti-melodic percussiveness tinged by her strings’ nudity, at times deciding to dish up the companions with solitary chordal shards and Fripp-ish dissonant arpeggios, Radding punctuates the interplay with a considerable degree of ascendancy on the trio’s essential sonority, appearing as a man who has finally decided to settle for a somewhat regular way of life after having tasted the assorted facets of sonic intemperance, Wooley observing, taking notes and – often unexpectedly – coming out with cloudy lines that might occasionally manifest anomalously, yet maintain that quid of prosperousness guaranteeing auditory fulfilment even to the less expert recipient. “Caldwell, 1925” is a remarkable pictogram of how delicately acoustic this collaboration reveals itself to be, Wooley placing stripes of lament adjacent to Halvorson's clean-sounding whirlwinds, Radding choosing the right strokes to collate the parts in a total unity, potential breakup tendencies absorbed by a wonderfully emotional, only apparent fragility that - on the contrary - defines once and for all the genuine soul of this human combination, which indeed inhabits a superior responsiveness.

Explains the trumpeter: “In general, we work at making the cleanest, most elegantly simple piece of music that we can”. But it’s not stylishness or minimalism we’re dealing with. Crackleknob is one of those albums where skilled ears notice the presence of something much deeper, the sense of almost supernatural intuition that distinguishes a masterpiece from a mere “good job”. A record that hopefully won’t remain covered by the soil of ignorance, shining bright amidst the diverse intriguing challenges that these musicians have tackled in their respective careers to date. Let’s use the word: a classic.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hello New York,

have a seat
can I get anyone something to drink?
no, huh....none of you?
okay, well, let's get started then. First of all thanks for coming on short notice. I appreciate that all 8 million of you could get the morning off of work.

The reason I asked you all here to my office is...oh, excuse me, young man, can you give up your chair to that pregnant lady? yes, you....thanks, I appreciate it. Anyway, as I was saying, the reason I brought you all here is because it is that time of year again, summer....deeeeeeeep summer and I thought maybe you could use a pep talk.

Listen, I'm right there with you, summer sucks, it's hot and humid and everything smells like pine forest urine and no one looks good because they are all sweaty and grimy and it is so muggy that your new skort doesn't fit right and you can't find a mr. softee when you want one and you start wondering where the guy pees in there and now there is no way you could ever eat that ice cream......okay, so yes, I get it.

But, I've been noticing that a lot of your frustration is being taken out on some very innocent bystanders, tourists. Yes, it's easy, and yes, they can be annoying, but there is something I thought it might be good to bring to your attention.....with very few exceptions none of you are from New York!!!!! All I'm proposing is that once a day until the first day of coat wearing (probably about Sept. 15th or so) you make a concerted effort to show just a little bit of empathy. Maybe take a moment to remember that you are from Oregon or Nebraska or California or Japan or wherever and well, if you were just here for a week and saw the Wall Street bull for the first time, would want a picture of yourself next to his giant brass testicles too....and then you would want a pic of your grandma next to the giant testes and then your sister and her kids.....New York is full of family wonder like this and we have an obligation to let the people of this great Earth take advantage of it. You would want the same if you were taking a stroll through Ellis, Kansas for the first time, wouldn't you? Yes, you would. You would want to take it all in without a bunch of douchy, sweaty locals rolling their eyes at you or throwing their hands up in disgust. I know it is hard, but I am asking just for one time a day, the rest of the time, douche away to your hearts content, it's part of what makes NY so great (?). I think the change would be palpable. Oh, and if you are actually FROM New York, once every other day, you deserve it.

And just to show you that I"m not a tyrant, I've prepared a magical festival of brother and sisterhood for your listening pleasure. It stretches through next week, so please pay attention.

Starting Thursday!!!!!

Douglass Street Music Collective

8/20/2009 8:00 PM at Two is the Loneliest Number
295 Douglass, Brooklyn, 11217
Cost: $10 suggested donation

An Evening of Duos curated by Jacob Wick. Featuring: -- holus-Bolus the duo: Jon Irabagon + Josh Sinton (woodwind reeds) -- pianos: Denman Maroney and Carl Maguire -- mouthpieces: Nate Wooley + Jacob Wick (brass)

Now, on the weekend, I'll be out of town at my sister-in-law's wedding, so we are going to have to be on an honor system, can we do that....excuse me? more time and louder...thank you, I knew we could.

The Stone
Ave C and 2nd street
10 pm

In Medias Res

Tyshawn Sorey (drums, composition) Nate Wooley (trumpet) Steve Ruel (woodwinds) Terrence McManus (guitar) Christopher Tordini (bass)
A concert-length composition composed during the spring of 2009. This will be the first and only performance of this composition for the year.


20 Greene Street
8 pm

Sparks Orchestra Slays Again!

Peter Evans, Tom Blancarte, Okkyung Lee, Brandon Seabrook, Dan Blake, Sylvie Courvoisier, Dan Peck, Nate Wooley create buckets of delicious blood.


Tea Lounge
9 pm
too lazy to look up the address for the millionth know where it is.


Stephen Gauci, Isabel Pupo-Walker, Tom Armstrong, Tim Lefebvre, Nate Wooley Latin experimental magic carpet ride?

take Friday off, see your family, then let's finish it up with a nice picnic!

Saturday, August 29, 2009, 4pm

on Roosevelt Island
Presented by Generate Records, celebrating its 10th anniversary with an afternoon of performances, and new recording release!

Music for an IMAGINARY BAND is a (real) 7-piece group led by Gordon Beeferman and comprised of some of New York's most uniquely creative musicians. The band straddles the fertile and still not-totally-charted territory where classical 'new-music,' jazz and free improvisation intersect. Beeferman's compositions range from the gnarly to the operatic, and are both incredibly detailed and very free; the band's intensive improvisational explorations are tethered to highly structured frameworks.

Gordon Beeferman - piano & compositions
Nate Wooley - trumpet; Matt Bauder, Evan Rapport, Josh Sinton - saxophones; Brad Kemp - bass; Alex Lambert- drums

Hey everyone, thanks a lot for hanging in there for the whole talk. I"ll let you guys go now, but I've told all your bosses that you wouldn't be back until noon, so take an hour and have a nice lunch. Oh, and there are cookies on the way out.....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I've been on a kick lately regarding "general knowledge". After years and years of being honed in on one or two subjects, trumpet, vegan food, Proust and/or Melville (depending on what was lightest to carry), the Muppets, I had realized that a good, round, broad set of skills could be very rewarding. I don't know anything about geology, physics, expressionist art, or agriculture for example. I was jumping head deep into a ton of topics willy nilly, hoping to glean enough to become some sort of second coming renaissance man. I would be lying if I said that I had not fantasized about being a experimental music James Bond that walked around quoting Rilke and could fix HVAC units with a well placed smirk all while fixing the world's psychological problems with superhugs and a damsel in distresses broken heel with a compound made of crushed waterbug and wheat gluten. When you fantasize, fantasize big. I had a little bit of an epiphany today when I went to the doctor. I have only made it through the blood-letting process twice in my entire life without passing out like a giant, hairy rag doll. I wake up every time hearing the most beautiful nurse in the room say "It's always the big ones that pass out". Beyond this not being very physically comfortable it is quite a blow to my all too fragile ego. Needless to say, I put off the doctor whenever I can. Shanda was behind this visit, so I knew there would be no chance to back out. A new woman took my blood, a 50 year old Jamaican woman named Darliss with bright red hair. Her husband and her were born on the same date as me and she was very sad about his recent passing. I don't know why I found all of this out, as I just sat there passively with the tourniquet turning my right arm into a sweaty pulsing sausage, but before I knew it....PLUNK....right into the vein, blood everywhere, UNPLUNK....out again and she had a bandaid on me and was ready to pat my little white butt out the door. As I walked out the door onto Union Square, I thought how beautiful it is when someone can do something really well, something that they have done a million times, and have raised to an art form. I'm still interested in finding out what birds live in my neighborhood or the history of the Oregon Territory, but I kind of like where I am, with my few specialties, and I hope that some day I can bring someone as much comfort as Darliss brought to me today. Speaking of specialization, Clifford Allen, has used his specific talents to a horrible end, and has decided to interview me for The interview went up today and is much different from the PT kicks of a couple of weeks ago. I consider my 15 minutes up at this point. And, to follow the thread further, I will be performing a series of new compositions with two fine specialists this weekend: Johannes Lauer (trombone, piano, composition)Tyshawn Sorey (drums, trombone, piano, composition)Nate (I just play the trumpet)maybe someone else doing something else? Saturday August 1st8 pmThe Stone2nd street and Ave C 10.00 mugs.

Friday, July 10, 2009

PT Interview!

Oh, for the love of Pete, someone actually wanted to know what I thought of trumpet and stuff. Man, was that a mistake. Also, check it my "attempt to look serious like I'm in a Ukrainian jail" photo that I took of myself in my friend, Bojan's bathroom. If you look at my picture next to Mattin's (a double interview issue!) we look a lot alike, something that I am sure will make him very sad.

Here's the link:

I'm pretty sure it is great reading while waiting for your TP reports are loading or during the commercials in Judge Judy, or whatever it is that you do on a Friday afternoon.

have a great weekend and give yourself a kiss from me!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What Ifs.

I often indulge myself in a little wonderlust about the subtle and important phenomenological quandries of the day. In other, flowerier words, I enjoy having a raucous tea party with the butterfly effect. Now, of course, we have all George Bailey'd ourselves and daydreamed how awful the world would be if we had never been born (for me there would have been no one to watch City Confidential or silently catalog all of the regional toppings at Subway, not too much of a loss). I, in my great benevolence, have decided to eschew (someone got a thesaurus for christmas!) the negative aspect of this game and concentrate on the positive.

In that spirit, here is the dream I had last night. It is the 1989. Albert Ayler has not succumbed to the devil in his beard and never washed up in the Hudson. He, in fact, has gone in slightly the same route that Pharoah Sanders did, the route that he presaged in his last record (his best in my opinion and I am fucking willing to fight about it too), New Grass. This leads to a monumental genre hopping circle jerk album with him screeching "New Generation" over the top of some Terminator X beats in a Public Enemy/Albert Ayler blockbuster. I am 15 and play the trumpet. One day I go down to the Hi-School Pharmacy in Clatskanie 7.99 in pennies in the pocket of my carhartts and am going to buy a new cassette tape from Mrs. Carman to play in my rad new boombox. The choices are there, same as in the reality we have now.....Miles Davis "Sketches of Spain", KISS "Animalize" and "The Best of George Jones"....but wait, there is a 4th choice...."Sunshine Riot" by Public Enemy/Albert Ayler. Well, I have the Jones and KISS, so the choice is clear. I buy the cassette, pop it into my TEAC and everything becomes very clear to me. The trumpet is put under my bed and the next 19 years are devoted solely to a Mishima Sun and Steel type of militance. I drop out of high school and punch frozen sides of beef in the local abattoir while reciting Baudelaire and Lao Tze. Slowly, the followers come around. I take over Longview, WA on the platform of year round McRib Sandwiches at McDonalds. We press forward to Portland, leaving Kalama in flames. By the millenium, I have created the bloodiest fascist regime the US has ever seen. My new country is called Emeraldia and encompasses all of the west coast, plus Vancouver BC, Mexico, Rhode Island, and Bangor, ME. Inevitably, in 2004, I start a war to take over the rest of the "heathen confedaracy" and.....

nuclear holocaust.

so see, things happen for a reason.

Be thankful that I'll just be playing at IBeam on Saturday with another possible tyrant, Peter Evans.

Ibeam Studios
168 7th StreetBrooklyn, NY 11215
SUBWAYTake the F or R trains to 4th Ave & 9th Street. Walk down 4th ave to 7th street. Make a left on 7th and walk past 3rd ave. We are located on the ground floor, the grey doors to the right of the stairs of #168.
Nate Wooley and Peter Evans DuoNate Wooley – Trumpet/EffectsPeter Evans – Trumpet/EffectsYou could refer to Nate Wooley and Peter Evans as trumpet extremists. No matter how they wield their horns, both tend toward the boundary-straining end of the spectrum. (Shaun Brady)10:00 pmDan Peck TrioDan Peck (tuba)Tom Blancarte (bass)and Brian Osborne (drums)Come hear the soundtrack to the end of the world as the trio explores the lowest thresholds of human hearing. Combining compositions that evoke Doom metal and improvisations that suggest Braxton, the trio focuses on the tuba and bass as a sub-sonic duo, with the percussion adding punctuation to their down sounds.

power to the people.....for now.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thank you Dave!

I feel incredibly honored to be part of a short list of solo trumpet players talked about in Dave Douglas' article for the great destination:out website. Not only is it a treat for me to even have my name mentioned by Dave (tickling my memory bones of driving around Denver in my Subaru Wagon driving Shanda nuts with my cassette of Constellations), but to look at the list and have some of my very favorites (Greg Kelley, Toshinori Kondo) is too much. I'm trying not to beam too much, but ultimately it is an interesting article with a lot of great and hard to find solo trumpet.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I grew up in Oregon. I think we all know at this point. Oregon is rainy. Check. This brings out slugs and worms. Gotcha. This, however, does not bring out waterbugs. Strange, I know. I did not encounter a waterbug (what I thought of as a giant mutant cockroach until someone was kind enough to explain the subtleties) until moving to New York. I wouldn't say that I have a fear of them, or a hatred even. It is more that when I look at one I am morbidly fascinated by my own capacity for gut-wrenching disgust. I physically start to seize up like I am going to vomit, and yet I continue to gaze upon the little prehistoric critters. I have a similar reaction to the thought of chewing on a popsicle stick or a bit of an aluminum foil gum wrapper.

This is all just a precursor to the fact that above the urinal in my place of employ, there has been a dead waterbug for at least a year. The little mother walked in the cracks between the ceiling tiles and hit a dead end..... literally. My guess is that it just swung its mad little legs until it died from overexertion. I think a lot about this waterbug, which I have named Wanda. I don't know why, it just seemed right. I have to look at Wanda everytime I use the urinal, not because of any kind of intellectual curiosity or to overcome my disgust, but because I am convinced that one day, as the decomposition process proceeds, Wanda will fall on the head of some poor office sucker and that person will wet themselves. Well, that sucker is NOT going to be me. I drink a lot of water at work, so I see Wanda about 5 times a day and have started identifying with her a little. I mean, sometimes you're just going along all fine in one direction and everything is peaches and ice cream cones and The Carpenters on the radio and POW, dead end. I mean, if you're lucky, you can back up, or turnaround, but what happens when you get in that metaphysical ceiling tile joint? Absolutely scares the bejeezus out of me.

Recently, upon returning to work from tour, I noticed that there is now a second waterbug nestled up snug behind Wanda, also dead. I have named him Bill. I am now thinking a lot about Bill and how he didn't learn from the example immediately set out before him. This is a new level of anxiety for me. Good times. Wow. I have a lot of time on my hands at work.

Three gigs coming up with a load of musicians known for their inability to be pigeonholed and actively avoiding dead ends.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday
(if you try and imagine that in the voice of Al Roker, it is mildly funny, but only it, don't do it, I don't care, it really depends on how bored you are)

6 pm
Magical Listening Hour
Steve Swell
Louie Belogenis
Michael Attias
Nate Wooley
Downtown Music Gallery
13 Monroe Street

We're doing an early show at DMG, who are now fully underway with the Sunday shows again! Come in, buy a million records, maybe pick up a copy of Crackleknob!!!
then, I will take a train, plane, car, rickshaw, tricycle and megalodon with a saddle to quickly quickly quickly get to:

8 pm
CRACKLEKNOB CD RELEASE PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mary Halvorson
Reuben Radding
Nate Wooley
Issue Project Room
232 3rd Street

This is one of my favorite groups and two of my favorite people who happen to be amazing musicians in the world. Crackleknob was released on HatHut Records and is being favorably reviewed by the media machine, so come see us play, give us hugs and let's drink! The next day is a holiday!

please note that both of these gigs are on Sunday. If you come to both, I will give you a handshake, manhug and say something really positive to you (you gotta love that deal)

Take a day off, you deserve it.

8 pm
Nate Wooley Quintet Premiere
Matt Moran
Josh Sinton
John Hebert
Harris Eisenstadt
The Stone
2nd Street and Avenue C

This is a new group that I'm trying out. Wrote some new music. Will try playing something different on the trumpet. Let's see how it goes!

Here's hoping that we all scurry on the floor in the sun this summer and don't find ourselves in a ceiling joint with no escape in sight!


Friday, May 1, 2009

When it Rains it Pours: Two New Releases!


soccer Committee & machinefabriek remixed and covered

Well, the subtitle says it all.

80 minutes of music, and one hell of a trip.

The cd is housed in a stylish grey tone carton sleeve, and it's mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi.

The tracklist:

Andrea Belfi High Jacked Drone 1

Holden Goldmund Di-o-day

Taylor Deupree For I Am Distant

Mark Templeton Landslide

The Puddle parade Magpie

Nate Wooley Mees

Tori, Reiko & Namio Kudo Thole

Francisco López Untitled 221

Németh Very Well Drawn, re-edited

The north Sea Di-o-day

Steinbrüchel Seem

Squares on Both Sides Very Well Drawn

Gary Smith Klauwier Materials, solo guitar into a duo

Lawrence English A Reversion to Thole

Kenneth Kirschner Di-o-day

Annelies Monseré For I Have None

The Fun Years The Fun Years Scribble with Crayons

Stefano Pilia Mees

Peter Broderick Christopher (for Suzanne)

Xela Low Drone 2

15 euro including worldwide shipping.

Machinefabriek is one of my recent favorites, especially his solo album "Dauw", so I was honored to be asked to tear apart one of the pieces he worked on with visionary trumpet player Franz Hautzinger, lots and lots of slow tape and maybe a little more nightmarish than the original. I'm really looking forward to everyone else's contributions!

and.......along the lines of a Crackleknob like patience!


"Quadrologues is the second Clean Feed release by the New York based quartet Transit. This collection of pieces integrates the tradition of jazz and the never obvious approaches to music. Each piece reveals an intelligent design with a clarity of purpose. Static and the hyper activity of free-jazz are equal partners in Transit's compositions. Falling in and out of tradition - Transit has created it's own "thumbprint" that reveals an individual sensitivity within a group consciousness. Jeff Arnal (percussion), Seth Misterka (alto saxophone), Reuben Radding (double bass) and Nate Wooley (trumpet) contribute choices in the moment - Impulse - Silence – Response - from a rich palette of individual style within a non linear structure. Each moment is unique and unpredictable. Quadrologues can count itself as apart of a new emerging music - unknown sounds of the 21st century. This collective is informed by decades of experimentation in the trenches of the Avant Garde. Full of risk but quick to reveal the importance of cooperation and the synergy of true dialogue. In conclusion: this music creates an innovative landscape that mirrors the complexities of the environment from which it emerged."

This is a great band that doesn't get to play often enough, but always seems to make some magic when it does. I'm really excited for this one. If you have the first eponymous release, get this and be a completist!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Intention Vs. Reality (Shows this Week)

So, this morning while I was coffee deprived and generally crabby, I had an interesting conversation with a young stock trader at the Starbucks on Wall Street. The conversation had to do with one's intent versus one's reality in relation to the outside world. This is something I've thought about quite a bit over the years, starting as early as age 12 or so. Let's take the time machine back, shall we? I was a ruddy youngster and salty as hell. I fancied myself quite a "speed demon" on the skateboard and in relation to the other 3 skateboarders in Clatskanie, Oregon, I was pretty damn good. I entered a regional competition, regional meaning Clatskanie and it's suburbs (yes, we had suburbs) and Longview (the big city, at least 10,000 people and two paper mills). So, my intent was to win the competition, show some young ladies how strong, graceful and gazelle-like I was and become a national hero, travelling the globe with a small entourage of like minded youth in search of the mystical Animal Chin. Now, again, that was my intent. Luckily, someone videotaped the competition, and I realized that the reality, my reality in relation to the rest of the world (in this case NW Oregon and SW Washington) was that I was a slightly tubby Swedish kid flopping around on a plank of wood with rubber wheels, spending more time off of it than on, that there was nothing gazelle-like about me, and perhaps manatee would be a more apt anthropomorphization (it's my intention that this is a real word). Okay, so good lesson, thank you technology, I started practicing trumpet more.

Okay, back to the present, there are times, beautiful still moments when intention and reality meet, like this morning, when my intention was to get a delicious cup of coffee (okay, it was starbuck's, but I'm still drinking it, so just let me believe for another couple of ounces), and I had completed the real world process of standing in line to pay for said coffee. This is what I was trying to explain to our dear friend the stock trader in very reserved tones. See, he also had the intention of getting a delicious coffee, but instead of dealing with the reality of his surroundings, he thought it would magically appear if he stood in front of the bagels fridge and yelled into his iphone, silly stock trader. I guess he never had someone videotape him at a skateboard competition. poor guy.

And some other moments of intent meeting reality this week!

Tonight: Bar 4
Pete Robbins Quartet:
Pete Robbins alto saxophone
Jeff Davis drums
Daniel Levin cello
Nate Wooley trumpet
7-10 pm
444 7th Avenue
Free! (tips graciously accepted)

The Stone
Magical Listening Hour Record Release Party
Louie Belogenis tenor and soprano saxophones
Michael Attias alto saxophone
Steve Swell trombone
Nate Wooley trumpet
Sets at 8 and 10 pm
2nd street and Avenue C

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

And the Heavens Opened.....

Every day I walk from Vesey and Church to Wall Street for work. I thread my not so slenderness between the teeming hordes of macabre Nebraska high school girls basketball squads trying to snap a picture of the World Trade Center pit, the sweaty Wall Street traders looking on the edge of jumping out a window, Ben Bernanke and his phalanx of NYPD that, for some reason, are always dressed like a Tom of Finland recruitment poster and the botoxed PR guys rushing to their offices to work on convincing the idiot masses that Miley Cyrus is more than what she should be (a cute Tennessee diner waitress with dreams of hitting it big). Okay, so not really any different than the average NY commute, and I've learned to take a certain Taoist approach, becoming the stream that rushes quietly around the intervening craggy rocks, but one thing drives me completely insane....makes me grit my teeth, immediately upon hearing it, and that is car horns. I'm all for sound, addicted to it actually, but the pointless honking in New York is maybe my second biggest pet peeve (after umbrellas), and lately I have been having this little day dream, that I would like to share in hopes that if it is said out loud it will somehow come true. Thank you for your patience. If you would like to skip down to the gigs, please feel free at any point, I don't mind.

My day dream starts pretty grounded in reality, walking down Church to work, but then some jackass (re: livery driver) lays on the horn because he is shocked that there is a red light and this seriously inhibits his ability to do his job which is to drive a car in New York City, which has red lights in it. I walk over to his car, gently open then hood, and proceed to rip out the horn with my bare hands. Now this is where things start to get a little testosterone, so if there are kids around, please make them jump to the gigs now. As I'm standing in the viscera of the handily dispatched car horn, a red film covers my eyes and I move to the next car and repeat the process, and the next, and the next, and the next, until I am a whirring mass of silent destruction, stripping electrical cables with my teeth, flinging small plastic air horns hundreds of feet into the air as I move quickly up town in a crisscross pattern, leaving no horn unturned. Finally, it is dusk and I am laying in a pile of shredded cheap plastic, gasoline, and well, it's new york, so probably urine of some sort. My fingers are nubs and I am breathing in short but thankfully quiet gasps. The people of New York lift me gently on their shoulders and carry me to midtown. They sing William Basinski's tape loops using the syllable "lu" as a Norse chariot comes flying out of the sky pulled by a million unicorns. Leif Erickson, Zeus, Don Knotts and Alyssa Milano (of course) gently lift my depleted carcass into the chariot and kiss my brow as we fly heavenward to an eternity of rest, relaxation, indian food and matlock reruns. The people cheer and all is right with the world.

Shanda thinks that this wouldn't actually happen if I dismantled every car horn in New York. She runs on a different set of religious principles than I do. However, since I usually blindly believe anything a proven pragmatist tells me, I will learn to live with it and maybe even become friends with the cacophony. Maybe I'll start this week with these two gigs:

Brooklyn Lyceum
227 4th Avenue
8 pm

Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra
Taylor Ho Bynum/Nate Wooley-cornet/trumpet
Reut Regev/Tim Vaughn-trombone
Avram Fefer/David Bindman/Matt Bauder-saxophoneAdam Lane-bass
Igal Foni-drums


IBeam Studios
168 7th street
8 pm

Tilt Sixtet
Rich Johnson/Nate Wooley-trumpet
Chris McIntyre/Ben Gerstein-trombone
Joe Exley/Jay Rozen-tuba

Also, Crackleknob is out!!!!!!! The new disc with Mary Halvorson and Reuben Radding on Hatology. Please go to your local sounderie and buy 9 copies. Seriously, you will break the first 8 with glee upon listening.

and finally, some folks have asked me to post these announcements on my blog ( so that the whole world can know what a doofus I am. So, there you go. This will be up today. Tell your friends, especially if you've been having an argument about what a doofus I am.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Behold the Coming of Crackleknob!

I can only assume that somewhere, somehow, someone laid waste to a chicken while chanting at the moon with a cajun accent because Crackleknob is finally out! That's right boys and girls, I have a copy on my desk right now. HatHut did a beautiful job, as did Reuben Radding in the mixing and mastering of the disc. For those of you not in the know, Crackleknob is the most delightfully underheard trio in modern times. Comprised of Mary Halvorson on guitar, Reuben Radding on bass and Nate Wooley on trumpet, the trio has been hard at work playing for millions and generally staying humble about it. Well, no more. The disc is out, it is great, and I'm guessing you will want it. Drop me a line here for info on getting a copy, or find it yourself at all the fine record stores that specialize in improvised music (i.e. downtown music gallery)

Magic Listening Hour on Cadence

Just released!

Steve Swell on trombone

Michael Attias on alto sax

Louie Belogenis on tenor sax

Nate Wooley on trumpet

recorded live at South Street Seaport in 2007. You may have seen this disc floating around as a DIY project, but it was just released by Cadence with a new cover featuring another painting by Steve!

All About Jazz

Finally back in some sort of work stasis after travel, recording and the typical Easter trumpet madness. A little behind, but here is a great review for "Hammer" by Lyn Horton from

Seemingly the most complicated music is really the most simple; complexity might stem only from the mindful choices the performers make when they play. Yet, when the vocabulary of each performer is so well attuned to the possibilities of an unusual instrumental setting, then the choices for improvising, even though they might sound oddly pressured, are instinctual. What the musicians give each other musically and how each responds, generates the music.
This concept holds true on Throw Down Your Hammer And Sing, featuring the trio of Nate Wooley on trumpet, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and electronics and Jason Roebke on bass. How they relate to each other is through pure sound-making— where the sounds are discrete, but tend towards surprising fluidity ("Southern Ends of the Earth"), or what might seem to be total cacophony ("Tacones Altos") is totally sensible. It would be difficult to suggest that the music could be any other way than it is. The journey takes only one road and it is fascinating to follow it.
Five tracks, each lasting over ten minutes, give unquestionable substance to this recording. The textures are constantly changing. They metaphorically evoke auditory images that are mechanical ("Sans Aluminumius"), digital ("Saint Mary"), or are downright spacey and environmentally natural ("Anywhere, Anyplace at All"). Even though Lonberg-Holm steers the electronics, it is often the acoustic instruments that are tonally blending so well that how they merge seems electronic ("Sans Aluminumus"). Sometimes the question could be asked: where is the percussion? And the answer might be anywhere, anyplace or at none all.
The activity of singing, implied in the title, occurs where the song is the subtle, nuanced conversation among instruments ("Southern Ends of the Earth"). When the trumpet and the cello merge in timbre ("Sans Aluminumius"), the resulting surge ushers in a sinking sensation not without a deep bass tone, as if to eradicate all that annoys, leaving a state that allows for aberration to pass through aurally, as unavoidable but not untenable gestures from the outside world.
When the trumpet, cello and electronics interact ("Southern Ends of the Earth"), there is no contest; Wooley's tone often matches that of the cello so that its timbral quality disappears. The sound of the trumpet intercedes sometimes as accent ("Tacones Altos," "Saint Mary") or to embellish the fullness of the overall sound ("Sans Aluminumius" and "Southern Ends of The Earth"). The entire recording attests to Lonberg-Holm's genius as he advances his adventures with the bow as it scrapes, tweaks, scratches, twists, grinds, saws or broaches melody on the cello strings. Roebke's curious pizzicatos and well-placed arco consistently supports predominate textures whether they be electronic or from the cello ("Anywhere, Anyplace At All," "Southern Ends of The Earth").
This music induces a magical meditation—so abstract, so non-melodic, and so persistent in its vagaries that its appreciation is subject to transcendence, the skirting of analysis and just going with the flow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dusted Review

Marc Medwin reviewed "Throw Down Your Hammer" in Dusted Magazine today. A beautiful, well thought out review, and not just because he likes the record! I especially love the shout outs to Jack Wright (who really should get more!) and Tony Fruscella who has been on my "favoritepeopletostridetheplanet" list since Axel Dorner hipped me to him 3 or 4 years ago.
Thanks Marc!

In these days of post-everything mixtures of allusion and accidental reference, a real surprise is always welcome. The opening gesture on Throw Down Your Hammer and Sing affords such a moment. It’s a long, multi-registral downward sweep from trumpeter Nate Wooley, and it ushers in five strong group improvisations that blend experience with vitality and a refreshing sense of discovery.
The instrumentation itself is novel, as Wooley is joined by cellist/electronics wizard Fred Londberg-Holm and bassist Jason Roebke. Reference is certainly one component of the trio’s shtick, as can be heard in the long-toned wavering gravel of “Sans Aluminumius,” where AMM’s innovative 1960s work certainly informs each ghost-tone and half-filled space. Here, the group sounds bigger than it is, thanks to tasteful electronics and strident but introspective drone. Yet, acoustic passages have an almost musique concrete feel to them, as can be heard in “Southern Ends of the Earth,” where (I’d assume) non-existent jump-cut edits are effected purposely and dynamic control affords the illusion of sounds emerging backward.
All that being said, sound and its referential manipulation is only one area in which these three improvisers excel. Pitch is handled throughout with delicacy and extreme care. Londberg-Holm and Wooley engage in gorgeously rapt multi-toned stillness in “Southern Ends,” as crunchy dissonances take on a raw beauty. In these moments, Roebke often provides tiny gestures of rhythmic intrigue, bowing brief harmonics, sometimes in an altogether different register, filling the sound almost to a quiet breaking point
One of the most riveting aspects of the date is the amount of space and near-silence throughout. The opening minutes of “St. Mary” exemplify the aesthetic with clarity, taking place largely in higher registers but rarely rising above piano. On one level, such timbral control should be expected, given Wooley’s apprenticeship with master musician Jack Wright some years back, but the sheer range of timbre, dynamic contrast and pitch variation these musicians pack into every moment is rare indeed. “Anywhere, Anyplace At All” sums up the trio’s accomplishments, combining hugely diverse pitched material with an equally exploratory sonic palette, all replete with space in which to reflect on each event.
A word or two is in order about Woolley’s approach to his instrument. While the spatial innovations of Bill Dixon and Wadada Leo Smith are certainly referenced, the humor of Lester Bowie is also in evidence, and I even hear the chronologically disparate but equally luscious tones of Tony Friscella and Arve Henrikson on occasion. An extraordinary listen.
By Marc Medwin

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Reviews! and Crackleknob!

Here are a couple more reviews that have come in since "Throw Down Your Hammer and Sing" was released last week (3/17). Please forgive my somewhat scary translation from jazzareadores.blogspot, but I think you will get the idea.

They (Wooley/Lonberg-Holm/Roebke) produce improvised music as we know it from musicians who come from the avant garde section of jazz. Technically highly skilled, all with a rich musical vocabulary. Also they make use of many extended techniques, which is very common for the younger generations of (not only) jazzmusicians. And, also they depart from many jazz habits, moving towards modern chambermusic. There is a high level of concentration and communication, demonstrated by the great interplay between the three. The recording of this session is very freshly done, and makes listening to this one a very physical and pleasant experience. (DM)-Vital Weekly Issue 670

Throw Down Your Hammer And Sing, [is a] trio formed by the trumpeter Nate Wooley, bass by Jason Roebke and the cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, [from] Porter Records. To listeners [softened] by prolonged exposure to the jazz canon, …[they will say it is weird] But one thing is certain: Nate Wooley’s risk-taking continues to land him outside the comfort of tracks previously demarcated, and [he] has in Lonberg-Holm and Roebke the necessary counterpoint to making this work in the beautiful strangeness of their setting. That is just starting, as a handful of passes later, he outlines the definition and all the content is articulated with grace and flexibility. Like many of the best discs, Throw Down Your Hammer And Sing (nice title, in addition) does not ask for immediate membership, but requires patient and careful attention to many details - the simplest way to gain intimacy with the extraordinary sounds of heterodoxy.

-Eduardo Chagas Jazz Arreadores Blogspot (from the translation)

And maybe not the most glowing review, but beautiful for its honesty and spirit of critical thinking....

Two observations :1. In his book, "This Is Your Brain On Music", psychologist Daniel Levitin writes that sufficient exposure to repeated listens to the same music will familiarize you with the sounds and make you appreciate what you hear, regardless of what your initial reaction is to the music.2. Sometime in the previous century, I forced myself to like free jazz (as a punishment to myself after I bought an LP which I wrongly assumed I would like), and I then realized how rich, deep and fresh the music sounded even after dozens and dozens of times. So first impressions can be very wrong.Add to this that I admire trumpetist Nate Wooley, bassist Jason Roebke and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, who just released this CD with the great title "Throw Down Your Hammer And Sing".My point is this: I have just downloaded this CD from eMusic. It is very avant-garde, with sounds that are mostly not recognizable as coming from the instruments they play, and that sometimes ressemble organic, almost natural sounds, both in their creation as in their interaction, but sometimes also very industrial, but then in the artisanal way, like wood being sawn, sometimes like cars honking in traffic jams. But as Wooley writes on his blog, it is also very "intimate and human". I have listened to this album four times now. I admire these three musicians too much to discard this music as a waste of time. I will listen to it. I will listen to it many, many times, and let you know what I think of it later, much later.Maybe I should add one thing. I once went to a presentation by a modern classical composer, who made horrible music, but who went so far as to explain his music. The whole audience stayed, and listened to his proud explanation of his music. I could tell everyone was bored, slightly horrified, and wanting to escape asap, yet too polite to run away to safer places. I can imagine this music may generate the same feeling.But I will listen to it till I come to appreciate it, if I ever can. If yes, then Levitin is right, and I am richer with experience. If not, then Levitin is proven wrong, and I am still richer with experience.I want to like this music.

Stef from

I'm working on tour dates for October. So far October 23rd and 25th seem together for the East Coast, so I'll keep you informed on this trio as things fall into place.

Also, hold on to your hats! Crackleknob will finally appear around the middle of April. I just heard from the head of HatHut Records that the finished product should be back from the plant on March 29th, so after a bit of shipping, that means we should have them here by April 15th or so.

For those of you not in the know, Crackleknob is a long-suffering trio featuring myself, Mary Halvorson on guitar and Reuben Radding on bass. The record is really truly stunning and warm and cuddly and fierce and cranky. I love it and am excited that it will be out soon and the trio can play live a little more often! More news to come!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Looks like the interview for All About Jazz California came out this month. God bless 'em. Ollie is a good guy and did a very nice interview. Transcribed the thing off of tape afterward, and well, I think I mumble a little, because some of it is just a little off, but what the hell, it mostly came through I think....basics: trio record, buy it....the internet is good.....Porter Records is an awesome label.....I have hero worship problems. Oh, and before you write me a nasty email, I DO know that Paul Lytton is not a bassist.

P.S. "Throw Down Your Hammer and Sing" dropped yesterday, although I did see a display for it at Other Music in Manhattan a couple of weeks ago (those dirty birds!), so buy a copy or nine. Please do it from Porter if you can! I don't have a ton of copies and if you can support Luke, it is a good thing.

I've got a version of the article if you are so inclined. Just drop me a line and I'll .pdf that mug for you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

First Review is In!

It's official. The first review is in for "Throw Down Your Hammer and Sing". My man, Massimo Ricci has thrown some especially lovely verbiage at this release in his blog, Touching Extremes. If you haven't become addicted to this site, you will. I have dreams of making t-shirts with his descriptions of me over the years, my favorite being "exquisitely hostile", although "grey eminence of incompatible trumpeting" will definitely need to be silkscreened on something.

Monday, 16 February 2009


Currently (and luckily) in a period of hyperactivity, Nate Wooley - the grey eminence of incompatible trumpeting - holds to his painstaking search for marketable lost causes in this, a disobedient trio with the gruesomely attractive cello-cum-electronics of Fred Lonberg-Holm and the humdrum-killing infection of bassist Jason Roebke. The comrades need no preamble to start stinging the ears in “Tacones Altos”, where the comparative oppositeness of registers becomes a pretext for cantankerous macerations of common sense, achieved by oscillating between the extremes of timbres with intolerant know-how. “Sans Aluminumius” (sic) is inaugurated by a fantastic series of raggedly dirty glissandos, then proceeds to mock the phobia of dissonance typical of formulaic improvisation by blowing the remnants of tone all around the place in a quest for sheer disreputableness, malevolent oxidation corroding the strings in an unprompted exhibition of low-budget anarchism.“Southern Ends Of The Earth” is a meeting of Webern aficionados whose incorruptibility is tested by an undesired guest trying to sneak smoothly blown intimidations in the existing conversation; yet, at one point, the music sounds like psyched-out frogs commenting the insane practices of a Alfred Hitchcock-loving jazzbo. “Saint Mary” begins with micro-crickets and misbegotten parsimony, the squeaking qualities of the wood and the cunning behavior of the three exploiters at the basis of a surreptitious degeneration of instrumental configuration ending in friction-and-howl proficiency. The album is completed, in dilapidated glory, with “Anywhere, Anyplace At All”: drops of wretched electronics underlining an ungovernable sonic gossip, kind of a soundtrack for the attempted larceny in a depressing hole already visited a hundred times by other thieves. Nothing left to steal, those previous missives didn’t tell the truth, the song is over.

Also, there will be an interview in LA's All About Jazz about the recording in the March issue, so check that out....and of course the release in March, so go to and reserve your copy now!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Trio CD on Porter Records March 17!

"Throw Down Your Hammer and Sing" on Porter Records comes out on March 17th. This is the debut disc of a new group featuring Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and electronics and Jason Roebke on bass. I first played with Fred and Jason as a unit at the Umbrella Festival in Chicago in 2006. It was during my days of willy-nilly promotion (not that those are completely over) and I made a proposal to Elastic Arts to do something with local musicians for the festival. If you don't know why I picked Fred and Jason, then you probably haven't heard them, or you only like music that you can have hot sex to. They are two of the most creative, quickest thinking and organic musicians I have ever worked with.

We went into BelAir Studios with Todd Carter of TV Pow in February of 2007. The group has a raw economy that was initially uncomfortable for me. I think it is very intimate and human improvisation. Even Fred's electronics have a certain detached warmth to them. I am incredibly proud of this recording and am excited about Porter Records' decision to release the results of, what I hope will be a long association and Sarah Spears contributing a beautiful photo for the front cover.

The group will be on a short East Coast tour in the fall and please feel free to contact me at or go to for copies of the disc after they are released on 3/17.

More news soon:

There will be an upcoming interview in Dan Warburton's Paris Transatlantic on February 25th

The Seven Storey Mountain featuring Paul Lytton and David Grubbs will be released on Important Records June 23rd.

Also, look out for Crackleknob (Mary Halvorson and Reuben Radding and I) on HatHut Records at the end of April!