Though known for his unusual and extended techniques- circular breathing, polyphonic playing on a single woodwind instrument-Ned Rothenberg’s work on Ghost Stories is not full of pyrotechnical effects. All of the compositions on the CD are his, and are mainly written out, though there is some improvisation on them. He uses through composing style and metric modulation. “Arbor Vitae” features duo playing by Rothenberg on clarinet and Riley Lee on shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute. Here he is concerned with emphasizing the woody timbres produced by the two instruments, and mixing tonal and microtonal material. On “Ghost Stories,” the title track, Rothenberg does not appear; it’s by the trio of cellist Erik Friedlander, percussionist Satoshi Takeishi and pipa (a Chinese plucked-string instrument) player Min Xiao-Fen. Rothenberg, on alto sax, and Takeishi are on “Duet for Alto Saxophone and Percussion.” The CD concludes with “Kagami,” featuring Rothenberg unaccompanied on shakuhachi.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.