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Genre: Jazz

Members: Ty Citerman (guitar), Eric Rockwin (bass), Ken Thomson (saxophone), Adam D Gold (drums)

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Band Bio: What happens when you take four highly opinionated, strong-willed and creative composer/musicians and put them in a band together? You might have a volatile problem on your hands…or else you have Gutbucket. The twelve year-old Brooklyn-based quartet pushes composer-driven, art-rock-tainted chamber jazz into new terrain and boldly proclaims its voice.

The band was formed in 1999 by three of its current four members just out of college: Ty Citerman (electric guitar), Eric Rockwin (electric upright bass) and Ken Thomson (saxophone); Adam D Gold (drums) would arrive in 2007. Gutbucket quickly joined the youngest ranks of the blooming downtown NY Knitting Factory avant-jazz scene, holding court during its extended Friday night residency at the former lower Manhattan taste-making club. In early 2001, Gutbucket was rewarded with its first record, InsomniacsDream, released on the now-defunct Knitting Factory Works label. The band began touring Europe that same year, developing an international fan base; and in 2002 Gutbucket debuted at many of Europe’s highly regarded festivals, including Jazz a Vienne, San Sebastian Jazz Festival, and Worldport.

Out of the gate, Gutbucket’s music challenged New York’s downtown norm– “a no-holds-barred approach to the jazz-rock paradigm” (The New York Times, 2010)– bringing a completely unique road-tested performance (“Keep all limbs, drinks and small children well clear” – Time Out New York) and a sound that tilted much further towards rock than many of its contemporaries. Gutbucket’s brand of jazz continues to have its signature biting edge, cunning sense of humor and appreciation for the loud and theatrical. Improvisations are woven seamlessly and sometimes unexpectedly into the band’s growing repertoire, and each composer in the group has developed an individual voice that simultaneously supports the collective. From the beginning Gutbucket has had no single bandleader; the result has been an expansive yet unified and recognizable group sound.

In 2003 and 2006, Gutbucket released a pair of albums on the Bang on a Can imprint Cantaloupe Music: Dry Humping the American Dream (also released in Europe on Enja Records) and Sludge Test. Dry Humping the American Dream, recorded live over a weekend in one room, explored the extremities of genre and sonic jumpcuts. On Sludge Test, however, Gutbucket focused on making a true rock record, with more immediate and heavy singularly-themed compositions; the band used the studio not just to document its sound, but to explore, orchestrate and experiment. Sludge Test was recorded and mixed over two intensive weeks at San Francisco’s fabled analog Tiny Telephone Studios by engineer Jay Pellicci (Deerhoof, Erase Errata). It also offered the group’s only recorded “cover” tune – their bold reading of the 7th movement from Olivier Messiaen’s famed “Quartet for the End of Time,” which would spawn a new direction for the band, adding the influences of contemporary classical music to the sound.

Drummer Adam D Gold joined Gutbucket just in time for another 10,000 mile cross-country tour and the band’s Carnegie Hall premiere: saxophonist Ken Thomson’s American Composers Orchestra commission for Gutbucket and orchestra, “Wait Your Turn.” The piece was hailed by The New York Times as “an animated battle between the orchestra and…Gutbucket. [With] frenetic chords and explosive rhythms…the music offered a density worthy of the closing bars of a Led Zeppelin epic.”

Frequent touring and two albums on Cuneiform Records have followed: 2009’s A Modest Proposal and the 2011 release, Flock. For A Modest Proposal, the group added expansive chamber ensemble arrangements for multiple saxophones, clarinets, keyboards, guitars, prepared instruments, basses, cellos, noise toys, percussion, electronics, vibes and even multiple drum sets; the disc was notably mixed by legendary engineer Joel Hamilton (Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Sparklehorse).

Flock cements Gutbucket’s sound – still wearing the indie rock influences on its sleeve, but delving deeply into all four members’ work as individual composers, assimilating contemporary classical, free jazz, mathy art rock, and more. Audibly, Gutbucket learned from its decade of record-making and has produced its most ambitious disc yet. Flock was tracked in the big room at Water Music Recording Studios in Hoboken in May 2010, with additional overdubbing and arranging at home studios throughout the summer. The band then painstakingly mixed and mastered in Fall 2010 to produce a CD that is hard-hitting yet nuanced, with a new sonic and compositional breadth. Gutbucket’s imagination is in full bloom on Flock; the band sounds exactly like itself: immediate, ferocious, ambitious and inviting.

Over its 12 years, Gutbucket has written multiple film scores, collaborated with dance performers and string quartets – most notably, an ongoing octet project with New York’s heralded string quartet Ethel – and has created large chamber ensemble shows to realize its detailed recordings live.

Along the way, Gutbucket has brought its “impressive balance of passionate lyricism and pummeling angularity” (Time Out New York) to festivals, clubs and concert halls in 33 US states and 19 countries, including the London Jazz Festival, Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival, Jazz A Vienne, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, Köln Triennale, San Sebastian Jazz Festival, Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, Saalfelden Jazz Festival, NY’s Bang on a Can Marathon, Celebrate Brooklyn, NYC Winter Jazzfest, Belgrade Jazz Festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival and more.

Along with high-profile stage and studio activity, Gutbucket has developed a reputation for dynamic teaching engagements. The band has brought its inspiring four-person roundtable lessons on composition and improvisation to the Eastman School of Music, CalArts, University of Missouri, University of Minnesota, Dartmouth College, Bang on a Can Summer Institute and numerous clinics and workshops at festivals and schools in the US and across Europe.

By: Fully Altered Media

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