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ClassicsOnline Home » DAVID PHILIPS AND FREEDANCE: David Philips and Freedance
"As an ensemble, we feel it's important not to shy away from a particular style of music because it doesn't fit into a mold or category. We are blessed to be musicians at a time when so much music has been accomplished and yet there is so much to explore."
- David Phillips
Recorded in France, David Phillips & Freedance's debut is a collaborative mix that defies any one specific jazz sub-genre. The quartet - bassist Phillips, guitarist Rez Abbasi, saxophonist John O'Gallagher and drummer Tony Moreno - are all based in New York, and they draw from a variety of music for their textured but melodic interplay.
Their creative process is one that is based on openness and freedom, not shying from any particular style and willing to explore the un-formed composition as a starting point. Phillips' influences are not only from jazz, but he maintains his years traveling and living in Eastern Bloc countries (Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania) have all contributed to Freedance's eclecticism. It is adventurous, exciting, collaborative new music - a 'free dance' and they are shaking it every which way they want.
Phillips' interest in new jazz is partly influenced by his father, ECM bass great, Barre Phillips. But the group has other fans including John Abercrombie who provides a ringing endorsement of the group on the CD's liner notes. The set is comprised of mostly originals by Phillips, Abbasi and Moreno, with two standards - including a very modern spin on Duke Ellington's 'In A Sentimental Mood.'
Leader Phillips originally studied the guitar, but he took up the string bass when he moved to France. Soon he started performing throughout Europe at clubs and festivals. He moved back to New York ten years ago and now regularly freelance on Broadway shows and gigging at alternative new music venues like Knitting Factory.
Freedance member Rez Abbasi has performed with outstanding artists like Kenny Werner, Ruth Brown, Billy Hart and many others. He has three recordings to his credit. John O'Gallagher has degrees from both the Berkelee College of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. He has recorded and performed with Joe Henderson and on Bob Beldon's Prince tribute "When Doves Cry." Tony Moreno's extensive background includes over 50 CDs and videos with the Lounge Lizards, The Jazz Passengers, Paul Bley, Kenny Wheeler, Dave Liebman, Barry Harris, Sal Nestico and Ravi Coltrane. Most recently he also recorded with rising German pianist Jurgen Friedrich on the CD, Surfacing, on Naxos Jazz.
Freedance is the group's eponymous debut.
"Freedance represents an archetype: a leaderless band that uses interaction, collective playing, ensemble sound and texture as a means to expression. The band often finds itself using an almost visual approach to its interpretation of the members' compositions. This is the element that I cherish the most in the music we create. It's really very special for a musician to feel completely free in making contributions to both the compositional or orchestral aspects of someone else's music. Everyone is open to ideas, and in this way, the music always changes. - Tony Moreno
"One of the many reasons I always look forward to playing with Freedance is because of the diversity within the group. Jazz has always been a musical form that has depended on the individuality of its creator. Creative music can only be made by combining both an ear for tradition and an eye to the future. This was commonplace for the many great small jazz groups that came out of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Although many of the groundbreaking discoveries in jazz came in those previous eras, I believe that there is always new, fresh music to be made. We are no less creative today than we were 40 years ago but to become caught up worshipping influences rather than pursuing one's own voice is a trap many fall into. I hope that when listeners hear Freedance's music, they will join us on our journey." - Rez Abbasi
"To describe music in words is in essence to be vague and misleading. The describer gives the music attributes that are really only a reflection of his or her own experiences and prejudices. Even to the creators of music there are different perceptions of the same event. Their reactions to these events are unique and poetic in nature. Absorbing, reflecting, mimicking and transforming each other, these actions and reactions propel the music forward into the unknown. This is Freedance. The compositions by the members' of Freedance provide a point of departure for exploration. The composer no longer retains sole authorship however, as each members' musical artistry, ideas, and feedback reshapes the music into an offspring of the original. This process of conflict and resolution yields results that could be obtained in no other way." - John O'Gallagher
"Freedance was originally conceived as a collaborative ensemble. As a result, rather than approaching a new composition as a fully-formed piece of music, many of those compositions only come to completion through the rehearsal process. I believe that what gives a musical piece its identity is its melodic content. Freedance's identity comes from the freedom it allows each member to interpret that content in his own voice. Much of my writing influence comes having lived in Europe and having traveled to many Eastern block countries, hearing bands from Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, etc. As an ensemble, we feel it's important not to shy away from a particular style of music because it doesn't fit into a mold or category. We are blessed to be musicians in a time when so much in music has been accomplished and yet there is so much more to explore." - David Phillips
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