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Empty Cage Quartet

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The Empty Cage Quartet consists of four musicians — saxophonist Jason Mears, trumpeter Kris Tiner, percussionist Paul Kikuchi and bassist Ivan Johnson — who have been praised consistently by critics as one of the most powerful and substantial new jazz groups to emerge from the American West Coast. Recorded during a hot summer in Los Angeles, Stratostrophic, their first record on Clean Feed, is a fiery set of original compositions that ranges from shuffle swing to free jazz blowouts, minimalist percussion loops to complex modernist gestures, funky stomps, odd-meter marches, robotic grooves, heavy rock, and nearly everything in between. The music is vigorous and methodic yet tender and reflective, dead-serious yet open to the occasional wry, sideways irony. As Wadada Leo Smith expresses in his liner notes, these young musicians are certainly on a path “to reach the whole truth of a creative music”.

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