Dreamy, evocative, exploratory, filmic, melodious, intermittently raucous, self-assured – just some of the descriptions one can use when describing Fuzzy Logic, the New Hampshire-born, Champlain Valley, NY denizen trumpeter and composer Taylor Haskins’ fifth and newest solo project, and second for Sunnyside. The septet, a well-integrated jazz quartet plus string trio – Taylor Haskins (tpt, Native American drone flute, melodica), Ben Monder (g), Kermit Driscoll (b), Jeff Hirschfield (d); Joyce Hammann (vln), Lois Martin (vla) and Jody Redhage (vlc) – meld and blend into a satisfying whole but never at the expense of the quartet member’s individuality.
Compositions and arrangements of all but two of the ten album tracks are by Mr. Haskins, the exceptions being Airwaves, by Thomas Dolby, and Take It With Me, by Tom Waits. The first five tracks (‘Side A’) –Somewhere I’ve Never Traveled-Four Moons-Fuzzy Logic-Comfortable Disease-Airwaves, though separate and distinct, build in suite-like form, with increasing energy, intensity, direction and song-length from an incantatory dream state or rumination on a destination – real, imagined or both – to an eventual, ecstatic and celebratory arrival. One should take note of Mr. Taylor’s use of the drone flute on the opener, hefty, woody and sturdy bass from Mr. Driscoll, supple and imaginative kit and stick work from Mr. Hirschfield, the string trio’s driving and supportive role and Ben Monder’s outburst of a solo during Airwaves, which seemingly fades with the echo of the flute note heard at the start.
The final five tracks (‘Side B’), more independent and discreet from one another, announce a plateau, energy expended but not dissipated in making the journey. These contemplative and thoughtful tunes showcase a cohesive and in-sync unit playing with a more subdued style and less overt soloistic display. Throughout the album, Mr. Haskin’s trumpet voice, like his arrangements and compositions, is measured, confident and even-keeled, leaving the more dramatic statements for his band mates. The album ends as it began, with a bit of instrumental exotica in the form of the Mr. Haskin’s melodica on ‘Take It With Me’. At just under 45 min., this LP-length musical statement will leave you sated, not stuffed.
Trumpeter Taylor Haskins is a composer with expansive influences. His work has regularly crossed the boundaries of jazz, classical, electronic and rock music. Haskins’s new recording Fuzzy Logic expands on his singular style of Americana jazz with eight new compositions and arrangements of pieces by Thomas Dolby and Tom Waits, all scored with strings. The recording also features performances by a talented cast of musicians, including guitarist Ben Monder, bassist Kermit Driscoll and drummer Jeff Hirschfield.
Taylor Haskins, Native American flute, melodica, trumpet
Taylor Haskins is being hailed as one of the most original new voices on the trumpet today. To date, he has released five recordings of his compositions. Having thrived as a musician in New York City for 20 years, he now resides in the Champlain Valley region of upstate New York.
Ben Monder, guitar
A musician in the New York area for 25 years, Ben Monder has performed with a variety of artists, including Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, George Garzone, Tim Berne, and Kenny Wheeler. He is a regular member of the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra and the Paul Motian Octet, as well as many other projects.
Joyce Hammann, violin
Joyce Hammann, one of the most sought after violinists in New York City. She is currently the concertmaster for the longest running show on Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera, and has performed and recorded with such artists as Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cyndy Lauper, Liza Minelli, Sheryl Crow, Natalie Cole, Mike Mainieri, Richard Bona and Wynton Marsalis.
Lois Martin, viola
Lois Martin, a native of York, Penna. completed her undergraduate work at the Eastman School of Music where she was a scholarship student of Francis Tursi. She has performed with artists including Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Chris Potter, Ornette Coleman, Esperanza Spalding, String Fever, Shirley Bassey, Elton John, Paul Simon, Tyne Daley, Gil Goldstein, Don Alias, Richard Bona, and Mike Mainieri.
Jody Redhage, cello
Freelance cellist and composer, Jody Redhage has performed with the Tokyo String Quartet, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Esperanza Spalding, Neil Diamond and band, Sufjan Stevens, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Meatloaf, the Roots, Clay Aiken, Enya, and more.
Jeff Hirshfield, drums
A native New Yorker, performance and recording credits include; Jim Hall, Toots Thielemans, Charlie Mariano, Joe Lovano, Red Rodney-Ira Sullivan, Kenny Wheeler, among many others. He has performed on over 270 recordings, toured extensively and conducted clinics and master classes worldwide with a focus on musicality and listening.