Friday, February 17, 2012

NHIC: Atlas, New One from the New Haven Improvisers Collective

The New Have Improvisers Collective is a home-grown brand of free improvisation centered around New Haven, Connecticut--headed by guitarist Bob Gorry. Their latest, NHIC: Atlas (NHIC 006) teams Gorry with a selected smaller ensemble, namely Steve Asetta, saxophones, Nathan Bontrager, cello, Jaime Paul Lamb, bass, Adam Matlock, clarinet, and Stephen Zieminski on drums.

What makes this one of their very best are the compositions by all concerned and the creative interplay among the band members. DIY can work if everybody is on the same page and there is a good plan compositionally or structurally--of where they plan to go in any given piece. Of course pure spontaneity can work too, but it can be harder to attain with a kind of local "can do" aggregate.

In this case there is plenty of spontaneity in the compositional-structural frameworks and the improvisers respond with coherency and energy.

There's no describing NHIC style--it's what the players attain with a sort of local earthiness. That is not to say that the players are not schooled at what they do--just that they do not show jazz or new music rootedness in any major formal sense. And that's in part what makes them different. They run on instinct and creativity in their improvisations.

So here they are. This is a good place to start. Atlas has a genuine sound and they get it together well.


  1. Hi - Wondering how you heard about this release. I'm involved in this group and have some other projects that seem as though they'd fit this or your Classical-Modern blog.


  2. Hi Adam,

    Thanks for getting in touch. Please drop me an email at admin at gapplegate dot com and we can talk.