The Endangered Quartet came into being through friendships that developed between musicians over a course of years, playing songs and sharing ideas outside of the context of the existing projects they were currently engaged in. They have developed this new quartet sound, a diverse chamber music blending classical, jazz, rock, and folk idioms. They are committed to a vision of honest and soulful expression — endangered but essential human values.
"The origins of the Endangered Quartet lie in an informal get-together that took place two years ago in the Brooklyn living room of the group’s saxophonist, Roy Nathanson. Nathanson and three cherished musical cohorts—trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, bassist Tim Kiah, and violinist Jesse Mills—had come together to explore a shared interest in forming a composing collective.
“That first meeting was magical,” Nathanson, the group’s saxophonist, remembers. “We built it around the idea of letting the instruments have a certain intimacy together, one that allowed for the compositions to breathe.” The quartet soon booked a gig at a neighborhood coffee shop and the project blossomed quickly. From the beginning, the only rule the group committed to was that there would be no hierarchy.
That decision, and the unflinching support given by producer Hugo Dwyer, gave the ensemble the freedom to fashion an album as varied as “Heart,” a remarkable debut that moves seamlessly between ecstatic revelry and melancholy empathy. The many pleasures found here include Kiah’s uncanny arrangement of a Bach Chorale, Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” delivered as a tender dirge, and original compositions like Mills’ “Con Anima,” highlighted by Fowlkes’ haunting trombone lines, or the supple balladry of the group composition, “Sweet Intentions.”
“This band feels like getting together with your friends when you’re younger, and we’re not younger.” Nathanson says. That’s a perfect description of the combination of joyful enthusiasm and musical depth that mark each of these songs, a mixture that left this listener in a state of appreciative transcendence."
-Dan Kaufman, liner notes from the booklet
released May 22, 2020
Produced and Engineered by Hugo Dwyer
All tracks were recorded at Figure 8 Recording, Brooklyn, NY:
New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as
new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers....more
Mary Halvorson is a genius composer and guitarist who has developed her own musical language, and with Code Girl she has incorporated poetry into that language. Incredible compositions and lyricism (each track is a different kind of poem). Halvorson's playing is as great as usual, and all the other members of the band sound great. Robert Wyatt's singing in particular works extremely well in the tracks he's featured. Highly, highly recommend. rat
Verisimilitude was at the top of my "Top Ten Records of 2017".
Can't wait for the vinyl version to arrive. Hebeloma Crustuliniforme