4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Nobu Stowe: "Confusion Bleue"

In the moments leading up to the Improviser's Summit concert last month at the Neurosciences Institute, adventurous music promoter Bonnie Wright of the Fresh Sounds concert series introduced me to Nobu Stowe, a recent transplant from Baltimore. Stowe laid his latest CD on me, and after taking a while to listen to it, and reading up on the guy, I feel the creative music scene in San Diego may have just gotten a significant shot in the arm.

Even a casual perusal of Stowe's c.v. indicates that he's some kind of modern day renaissance man. He is an accomplished pianist /improviser /composer and recording artist with five CDs under his belt--released on the important German labels, Konnex, and Italian company Soul Note.

In addition, he is a psychologist who moved to San Diego to work at the Scripps Research Institute. Stowe is also a writer of considerable talent who has written articles on Keith Jarrett, Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Bill Frisell and many others, for the Japanese magazine Tokyo Jazz and the Spanish magazine Toma Jazz.

Image

The CD he gave me, Confusion Bleue on Soul Note, is a fresh look into free improvisation principals that bears repeated listening. Stowe plays acoustic and electric piano on the disc, fronting an ensemble consisting of Lee Pembleton on electronics, Ross Bonadonna on guitars and alto saxophone, Tyler Goodwin on 5-string double bass, and Ray Sage on drums.

All of these names were new to me, but that doesn't diminish what is an astonishing document from all of them.

From the opening "Introduction," the five musicians conjure up a cloud of dreamscape electronics and waves of manic energy underpinned by the deep arco of Goodwin . Stowe plays mysterious, dramatic chords and trills that creates a darker undertone, perhaps indicating that the dream is about to head South.

Throughout the disc, Stowe's uncanny ability to create melodic motion and spontaneous structures separate this from the aimlessness that pervades many efforts of completely improvised material. Stowe doesn't dominate--but he definitely leads the group into areas of his own imagination--his ideas are very strong, so the band tends to go with his flow. Having said that, there are many moments on this disc where he lays out, letting the others shine, especially Bonadonna, who kills on both guitar and saxophone. Goodwin has a full, dark sound and the ability to spin his own narrative within the contexts established by the pianist, and Sage is an especially dynamic drummer who is constantly in motion. The electronics of Pembleton tend to hover in the background, but they are an important contextual voice that play a key role in this recording.

On "Quatrieme Mouvement", Sage's clanging cymbals are grounded by the full-bodied plucking of Goodwin, both supporting the chirping and swooning alto of Bonadonna. Suddenly Stowe's piano erupts with volcanic skeins of pure energy splayed across the keyboard. Amidst the chaos, there is a definite intent involved, as themes emerge in a seemingly compositional arc-- similar, to the iconic Cecil Taylor masterpiece, Conquistador.

There is one composed piece on the disc, and it's probably the highlight track for me. Bill Evans' "Blue In Green," is given a highly oblique reading--but, in it's own way, it's as profoundly lyrical as the original. Stowe waxes rhapsodic, layering over the cymbal washes of Sage and the sublimely melodic counterpoint of Bonadonna.

Stowe figures to be in the area for a couple of years, and he's hoping to hook up with like-minded musicians.

"Yes, I'd love to start playing in San Diego. David Borgo suggested to perform as a trio with this drummer from Sweden. I hope this will happen soon," said Stowe via e-mail.

Me too.

Image

Photo courtesy Nobu Stowe

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Dune buggies, the Marshal South hermit family, the human race at its worst

Golden eagles and chuck wallas, Carrizo Gorge tunnels, a narrow escape

In the moments leading up to the Improviser's Summit concert last month at the Neurosciences Institute, adventurous music promoter Bonnie Wright of the Fresh Sounds concert series introduced me to Nobu Stowe, a recent transplant from Baltimore. Stowe laid his latest CD on me, and after taking a while to listen to it, and reading up on the guy, I feel the creative music scene in San Diego may have just gotten a significant shot in the arm.

Even a casual perusal of Stowe's c.v. indicates that he's some kind of modern day renaissance man. He is an accomplished pianist /improviser /composer and recording artist with five CDs under his belt--released on the important German labels, Konnex, and Italian company Soul Note.

In addition, he is a psychologist who moved to San Diego to work at the Scripps Research Institute. Stowe is also a writer of considerable talent who has written articles on Keith Jarrett, Paul Bley, Gary Peacock, Bill Frisell and many others, for the Japanese magazine Tokyo Jazz and the Spanish magazine Toma Jazz.

Image

The CD he gave me, Confusion Bleue on Soul Note, is a fresh look into free improvisation principals that bears repeated listening. Stowe plays acoustic and electric piano on the disc, fronting an ensemble consisting of Lee Pembleton on electronics, Ross Bonadonna on guitars and alto saxophone, Tyler Goodwin on 5-string double bass, and Ray Sage on drums.

All of these names were new to me, but that doesn't diminish what is an astonishing document from all of them.

From the opening "Introduction," the five musicians conjure up a cloud of dreamscape electronics and waves of manic energy underpinned by the deep arco of Goodwin . Stowe plays mysterious, dramatic chords and trills that creates a darker undertone, perhaps indicating that the dream is about to head South.

Throughout the disc, Stowe's uncanny ability to create melodic motion and spontaneous structures separate this from the aimlessness that pervades many efforts of completely improvised material. Stowe doesn't dominate--but he definitely leads the group into areas of his own imagination--his ideas are very strong, so the band tends to go with his flow. Having said that, there are many moments on this disc where he lays out, letting the others shine, especially Bonadonna, who kills on both guitar and saxophone. Goodwin has a full, dark sound and the ability to spin his own narrative within the contexts established by the pianist, and Sage is an especially dynamic drummer who is constantly in motion. The electronics of Pembleton tend to hover in the background, but they are an important contextual voice that play a key role in this recording.

On "Quatrieme Mouvement", Sage's clanging cymbals are grounded by the full-bodied plucking of Goodwin, both supporting the chirping and swooning alto of Bonadonna. Suddenly Stowe's piano erupts with volcanic skeins of pure energy splayed across the keyboard. Amidst the chaos, there is a definite intent involved, as themes emerge in a seemingly compositional arc-- similar, to the iconic Cecil Taylor masterpiece, Conquistador.

There is one composed piece on the disc, and it's probably the highlight track for me. Bill Evans' "Blue In Green," is given a highly oblique reading--but, in it's own way, it's as profoundly lyrical as the original. Stowe waxes rhapsodic, layering over the cymbal washes of Sage and the sublimely melodic counterpoint of Bonadonna.

Stowe figures to be in the area for a couple of years, and he's hoping to hook up with like-minded musicians.

"Yes, I'd love to start playing in San Diego. David Borgo suggested to perform as a trio with this drummer from Sweden. I hope this will happen soon," said Stowe via e-mail.

Me too.

Image

Photo courtesy Nobu Stowe

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close