Joe Rosenberg Ensemble

RESOLUTION • Quark Records QR0201519

Joe Rosenberg (ss), Didier Petit (vc), Bruno Angelini (p), Arnault Cuisinier (b), Edward Perraud (ds)

JAZZ PODIUM • Benno Bartsch - December  2015

Der aus Boston stammende Sopransaxophonist und Komponist Joe Rosenberg widmete sich in den 90er Jahren dem Werk von Ornette Coleman und Eric Dolphy und nahm für die Labels Music & Arts und Black Saint auf.  Mitte der 90er Jahre zog er zunächst nach Hongkong, später nach Bali.  Seither versucht er, Anregungen, die er von der asiatischen und der afrikanischen Musik empfangen hat, in den Jazz zu integrieren.  Seine Aufnahmeaktivitäten hat er nach Europa verlagert.  Im Mini-label Quark Records seines bevorzugten Schlagzeugers Edward Perraud sind drei Aufnahmen erschienen, die vielleicht zum Feinsten gehören, was Avantgarde-Jazz derzeit zu bieten hat.  

“Rouge et Blanc” enthält Duoimprovisationen mit Frédéric Blondy, dem französischen Spezialisten für das präparierte Klavier, der hier allerdings seine Präparationen nicht als bloße Verfremdungseffekte, sondern zur Erweiterung der klanglichen Möglichkeiten und zur perkussiven Akzentuierung einsetzt.  Der gemeinsame Nenner der 6 Stücke dieser CD ist ihre eigentlich minimalistische Anlage, denn Ausgangspunkte der Improvisation sind manchmal nur kleinste Partikel ohne jegliche melodische Qualität, ein paar Töne, die die Grundstimmung festlegen und manchmal nur im Abstand eines Vierteltons voneinander entfernt liegen.  Aus ihnen heraus öffnet das Duo völlig unaufgeregt riesige musikalische Räume, indem es mit Geduld und langem Atem das musikalische Material sukzessiv erweitert.  Das Zauberwort für diese Musik heißt Kontemplation.  Ein Beispiel hierfür ist das längste Stück der CD, das geheimnisvolle „Vermillion Smoike“ mit Piano-erzeugten Klängen eines Gamelan-Orchesters, das eine schlüssige und niemals nervige Emanzipation von Klang und Melos vorführt.  Ingesamt zeigen diese großartigen CDs besonders deutlich, wie eine undogmatische Haltung den Unterhaltungswert der Avantgarde enorm steigern kann. Der CD-Spieler des Rezensenten wird sich an ihnen heißlaufen.

Originally from Boston, soprano saxophonist and composer Joe Rosenberg devoted himself in the 90s to the work of Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy, and recorded for the labels Music & Arts and Black Saint.  Mid-90s, he first moved to Hong Kong and then to Bali.  Since then he has tried to incorporate stimuli that he has received from Asian and African music into jazz.  He has shifted his recording activities to Europe on mini-label Quark Records, and with his preferred drummer Edward Perraud, has released three recordings which perhaps include the finest of what avant-garde jazz currently has to offer.

"Rouge Et Blanc" includes duo improvisation with Frédéric Blondy, the French specialist for prepared piano, but employing here his preparations rather than mere alienation effects, but to expand the sonic possibilities and percussive accents.  The common denominator of the six pieces of this CD is its really minimalist system, because the starting points for improvisation are sometimes only the smallest particles without any melodic quality, a few notes that define the mood and sometimes are away from each other only at a distance of a quartertone.  Out of them, the duo opens huge completely unagitated musical spaces by expanding successively with patience and staying power, the musical material.  The magic word for this music is called contemplation.  An example of this is the longest piece of the CD, the mysterious "Vermillion Smoke" with piano-generated sounds of a gamelan orchestra, showing off a positive and never annoying emancipation of sound and melody.  Altogether, these great CDs make especially clear how an undogmatic attitude can enormously increase the entertainment value of the avant-guarde.  The CD players of the reviewers will become overheated.

MR. STU’S RECORD ROOM • Stuart Kremsky - December  2014

Soprano saxophonist Joe Rosenberg started out on the West Coast, where his earliest recordings in the first half of the Nineties were often tributes to jazz composers like Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy. He’s been recording in France since his Groundwork album (Cadence Jazz, 1998), frequently accompanied by the exceptionally versatile drummer Edward Perraud. Perraud joins him along with cellist Didier Petit, bassist Arnault Cuisinier, and pianist Bruno Angelini in the Joe Rosenberg Ensemble for the absorbing and unique-sounding Resolution.

The music is largely improvised by the group, with two significant exceptions. On a lengthy disc, clocking in at over seventy minutes, the two longest tracks are George Harrison’s Blue Jay Way at the midpoint and John Coltrane’s Resolution, part two of A Love Supreme, coming at the end. If you’re looking for clues to Rosenberg and company’s idiosyncratic approach to sound production, you might find it in the twin poles of the Beatles’ pop drone and Coltrane’s spiritual yearnings. The opening three tracks are connected, with a stately melody that develops smoothly but with oddly-accented percussion that breaks in on the theme. It’s music that combines order and tumult in almost equal proportions, and a way to ease the listener into the subtle delights of this unit’s interactions. The first half of et Alors is a tour de force piano solo by Angelini. He yields the spotlight to Rosenberg’s chattering soprano and Perraud’s spacious percussion. Reconnaissance is a wonderfully apt title for an extended musical conversation that starts tentatively but grows in intensity as the direction of the improvisation becomes clearer. Psaume comes slowly into focus with shards of melody traded among the piano, cello and bass with restrained accompaniment by drummer Perraud. Up next is Acceptation, which begins with a slow, pungent blend of soprano & cello, then unexpectedly breaks out into a collective blowing of uncommon beauty with a dancing back and forth beat.

The Harrison tune goes through a number of changes, as if to underscore the band’s creative adaptability by looking at the same basic material from several different directions. After a slowly coalescing introduction featuring a passionate cello solo by Petit, Rosenberg’s soprano is out front for an initially slow, dragging Blue Jay Way that later breaks out more jauntily with Angelini’s piano leading the way. Poursuite features Rosenberg up front with a more declarative approach than usual, prompting some hard edged playing by Angelini, Petit’s soaring arco, and tough rhythms from Cuisinier and Perraud for the first half of the piece before giving way to a sparser but still rhythmically bold soundscape. The enchanting Résoudre is a pretty ballad-like line by Rosenberg at his warmest, with intuitive support by Angelini. Bassist Cuisinier starts the Coltrane tune with an extended bass solo, soon subsumed by cello and saxophone playing the theme together. Perraud’s urgent drums are added to the mix and things take off from there in a respectful but radically re-thought arrangement of a well-known theme. Rosenberg is fortunate to have such simpatico bandmates who help realize his vision with an admirable unity of intent and deep engagement. Resolution is a fascinating and richly rewarding set, well worth seeking out.

CADENCE MAGAZINE • Bernie Koenig – October  2014

This one finds Rosenberg on soprano and in a larger setting. I really enjoyed this record. It has great compositions and great solos, and the whole record maintains a reflective mood. The compositions, with two exceptions, are listed as being by the ensemble. To me that generally means that everyone contributed equally. This is usually the case when everything is improvised, but there is real composing happening here, so I will assume that somehow the compositions were the result of a collective enterprise.

The first three tracks play as one long composition with great ensemble work. The solos start on “Alors” with long excursions by Angelini and Rosenberg, with excellent support from Petit and Perraud. Angelini reflects a wide range of influences from Schoenberg to contemporary jazz players, while Rosenberg’s style is highlighted by punctuations of short melodic bits. Does that come from Stockhausen or Miles?

Petit plays some excellent jazz cello as well as being very sensitive to melodic lines, while Cuisinier and Perraud provide excellent accompaniment throughout. As a drummer who plays in this context, I would really like to complement Perraud’s sensitive playing.

As for the two tunes not by the collective “Blue Jay Way” is beautifully rendered by Petit and Rosenberg, before some nice collective improvisation occurs. Then there is a brief funky section before the improvisation returns, with Rosenberg playing melody on the out chorus. And Coltrane would be very happy with this rendering of “Resolution”. In short a really interesting record.

IMPROJAZZ • Joël Pagier - October 2014

Sans Fred Blondy, avec lequel il vient de graver un troublant "Rouge et blanc"*, mais en compagnie de son nouvel Ensemble où l'on retrouve Edward Perraud et ce drumming impeccable qui le soutient depuis le début des années 2000, Joe Rosenberg ne dédaigne pas non plus l'importance de la beauté dans ce qu'elle a de plus accessible sans pour autant céder aux sirènes enrouées de la facilité. Solidement amarré au piano de Bruno Angelini par les cordes de Didier Petit et d'Arnaud Cuisinier, le sopraniste inscrit ainsi la thématique de ce "Resolution" dans une esthétique élégiaque dont il s'échappe quelquefois pour explorer les arcanes d'un romantisme marqué par les compositeurs du XXème siècle ou d'une ballade ludique aux faux airs de danse traditionnelle.

Il faut d'ailleurs attendre la fin du 3ème titre avant que le piano ne se mette de la partie. Auparavant le quartet aura développé sur trois plages unies en une même suite une lente marche aux accents de menuet funèbre, soprano et violoncelle tissant des contrepoints réguliers que la basse tresse en accords parfaits et que ponctue une batterie retenue comme peut l'être un pur sang. Privé de parole sur l'introduction, le piano intervient dès lors en solitaire et parsème d'étoiles cristallines un silence résonnant de ces harmonies obscures dont la succession a saturé l'espace.

Tandis que les notes éparses se muent peu à peu en arpèges puis en vagues déferlantes, le cuivre et les percussions innervent un rythme sous-jacent dans ce flux autonome, imposent leur évidente cohésion jusqu'à ne plus former qu'un duo miroitant aux reflets de métal.  Le cliquetis d'une baguette sur la touche de la contrebasse met fin à cette idylle. Les perles du piano, les râles du violoncelle et le frisson des balais sur les toms ouvrent une brèche au soprano qui s'y engouffre pour un temps, s'offre une ritournelle puis se tait.

Appuyé par des cordes tantôt plaintives, tantôt limpides, Edward Perraud peut désormais imposer une voie marquée de repères tangibles : cloche sonnant, cuivre crissant, peau réactive à la moindre étincelle, au plus léger contact. Il semble, dès lors, que le batteur prenne les commandes de cet esquif à l'équilibre complexe, manœuvré par un équipage soudé au point de pouvoir se diviser sans pour autant induire la sensation d'une séparation. Les duos succèdent aux chants solitaires, puis se muent en phrases chorales s'effilochant bientôt en lambeaux disparates.

Des archets lyriques strient le ciel de météorites scintillantes puis, dans l'instant, plongent au plus profond de gouffres maléfiques. Le rythme alterné des percussions, capable de soulever des vagues démesurées comme de créer, soudain, une plage de silence où l'un ou l'autre viendra s'étendre ou s'ébattre, emporte définitivement le quintet aux abords de rivages inconnus où se déroulent pourtant d'étranges cérémonies aux allures de déjà-vu.

Cortèges solennels brusquement figés par la transe d'un fidèle, danses tribales exhalant à la fois la peur de l'autre et son désir, combats de rue interrompus dans leur violence par la majesté d'un seigneur ou le rire d'une fille, estrade villageoise tremblant sous le pas d'une cabriole battue, menuets encore, dont la marche s'emballe et se charge de swing, rites funéraires explosant soudain en une cavalcade effrénée…   Le soprano de Rosenberg, baigné par la limpidité d'Angelini et malmené par la témérité d'Arnaud Cuisinier et Didier Petit, trouve dans la carte universelle tracée par Edward Perraud le chemin d'une expression neuve également issue de l'imaginaire collectif et de la conception immédiate.

Aussi, lorsqu'une piste envahie de mystère et de résonnances tragiques ouvre sur l'un des plus fabuleux standards jamais composés, à savoir le "Naima" de Coltrane, il semble que l'album entier n'ait été qu'une longue introduction à cet instant magique où les soubresauts et les arabesques de la contrebasse aboutissent à ce mode d'où jaillira l'exposé du thème. La beauté des lignes, bouleversée par le rythme, la lisibilité des harmonies et la sensation confuse d'une possible transcendance achèvent en point d'orgue cet enregistrement dont la qualité sonore n'a d'égal que l'engagement des protagonistes et l'éloquence de leurs propos individuel et collectif.

Without Fred Blondy, with whom he has just recorded a heady album "Rouge et Blanc", but with his new ensemble where we find Edward Perraud and his impeccable drumming, who has been providing him support since the early 2000s, Joe Rosenberg does not disdain the importance of beauty in its most accessible from, without necessarily paying heed to the siren voices calling for accessibility.  Solidly moored at the piano by Bruno Angelini and by the strings of Didier Petit and Arnaud Cuisinier, the sopranoist inscibes thematicly on "Resolution" in an elegiac aesthetic which he occasionally escapes to explore the mysteries of a romanticism influenced by composers of the twentieth century or of a playful ballade falsely sounding like traditional dance tunes.

As a matter of fact, one must wait until the end of the third track before the piano joins in the performance.  As previously, the quartet develops out of three united tracks in the same sequence with a slow march, with accents of a funeral minuet, soprano and cello weaving regular counterpoints that the bass braids perfectly and are punctuated by restrained drums, perhaps like thoroughbreds.  

Devoid of lyric in its intro, the solo piano intervenes immediately, sprinkled with crystalline stars, a silence resonates with obscure harmonies whose succession saturate the space.  Just when the scattered notes gradually turn into arpeggios followed by breaking waves, brass and percussion invigorate an underlying rhythm in an autonomous state of flux, impose their clear cohesion so as to form a duet shimmering with metallic highlights.  The clattering of a drum stick on the double bass ends this romantic idyll.  

The pearls of the piano, the groans of the cello and the thrills of the wire brushes on the tom-tom open a gap for the soprano saxophone to be engulfed for a while, a ritornello makes its appearance and then subsides.  Supported by strings, at times plaintive, at times clear, Edward Perraud is now able to impose a direction marked with tangible benchmarks: bell clanging, squealing brass, skin reactive to the slightest spark, to the lightest touch.  Therefore, it seems that the drummer takes control of this skiff through a complex balance, manoeuvred by a team of players welded to the point of being able to split up without, however, inducing a feeling of separation.  The duets alternate with a succession of solos, then dissolve into choruses before splintering soon afterwards into disparate shreds.

Lyrical archers streak across the sky of sparkling meteorites then, instantly, plunge into the depths of evil chasms.  The alternating rhythm of percussion, capable of lifting excessive waves as if to create, all of a sudden, a quiet beach where they will either expand or frolic, finally brings the quintet to unknown shores where they unwind themselves, however, with strange ceremonies and a strong sense of déjà-vu.


Solemn processions suddenly hampered by the trance of a believer, tribal dances exhaling both fear and desire of others, street fights interrupted in their violence by the majesty of a lord or the laughter of a girl, a village stage trembling under the feet of a battered Cabriole, minuets again, whose march starts to race before playing a strong swing, funeral rituals suddenly exploding into an unbridled cavalcade…  Flanked by the clarity of Angelini and manhandled by the temerity of Arnaud Cuisinier and Didier Petit, the soprano of Rosenberg will find, in a world map drawn by Edward Perraud, the right way to a new expression that is also a product of collective imagination and immediate conception.

Also, when a track inundated with mystery and tragic resonances opens up to one of the most fabulous standards ever written, namely “Naima” by Coltrane, it seems that the entire album was only a long introduction to this magic moment, when jolting and arabesques of the double bass make their way to this music form where the statement of the theme will spring forth.  The beauty of the melody lines disrupted by the rhythm, the legibility of harmonies and the sensation confused by a possible transcendence all culminate in this recording whose sound quality is matched only by the commitment of the protagonists as well as the eloquence of their individual and collective intention.

JAZZZEITUNG • Michael Scheiner - September 2014

Es beginnt wie ein Requiem – schmerzlich, intensive und eindringlich.  Dabei voller Würde und einer samtenen Poesie, die bei aller Schlichtheit des von sopransaxophon (Joe Rosenberg), Cello (Didier Petit) und Klavierakkorden (Bruno Angelini) getragenen Themas, Zuversicht und Wärme ausstrahlt.  In den einfachen ruhigen Klängen verbirgt sich eine Kraft, die sich gleichermaßen aus dem speist, was wir als östliche Weisheit imaginieren, wie aus christlich-magischen Wurzeln.  

“Ndugu” nennt der amerikanische Klarinettist/Saxophonist Rosenberg die kollektiv entwickelte Komposition, mit welcher das Album eröffnet.  Der summende gestrichene Bass (Arnault Cuisinier) formt die getragene Stimmung, während das Schlagzeug (Edward Perraud) mit Glöckchen, gestrichenen Becken, scharfen Klängen, Wirbeln und heftigen Entladungen sich allegorisch die Haare rauft, auf die Brust schlägt und in klagende Rufe ausbricht.  Übergangslos verdichtet sich der elegische Gesang ins nächste Stück, “Bhaiyon” um sich in “Xiongdi zu wiederholen – und unmerklich eine meditative Abzweigung einzuschlagen.

Das bei einem französischen Kleinstlabel erschienene Klangbuch berührt.  Es öffnet das innere Ohr auf eine Weise, die in unserer dauermusikalisch überformten Welt verschüttzugehen droht.  Es lässt aufhorchen.  Der darin erkennbare ästhetisch musikalische Improvisation Prozess weckt Erinnerungen an John Coltranes hymnische Kraft und Eric Dolphys bahnbrechende Ideen.

It starts as a requiem - painfull, intense and haunting.  In this case, full of dignity and a velvet poetry in all its simplicity of the soprano saxophone (Joe Rosenberg), cello (Didier Petit) and piano chords (Bruno Angelini) worn theme, confident and radiating heat.  In the simple quiet sounds hides a force equally nourished by what we imagine as Eastern wisdom, as well as Christian magical roots.

"Ndugu", a collectively developed composition, is what the American clarinetist / saxophonist Rosenberg opens the album with.  The buzzing painted bass (Arnault Cuisinier) forms the worn mood, while the drums (Edward Perraud) with bells, painted basin, sharp sounds whirling and violent, discharges itself in allegorically hair tearing, striking the chest, and breaks out into plaintive cries.   Seamlessly condenses the elegiac song into the next piece, "Bhaiyon" so as to repeat in "Xiongdi” - and imperceptibly pursues a meditative turn.

This was published by a small French label sound book touches.  It opens the inner ear in a way that threatens to get lost in our world which musically is constantly irrigated.  It makes us listen.  The recognizable aesthetic fact  of the musical improvisation process brings back memories of John Coltrane’s anthemic power and Eric Dolphy’s breakthroughs.

ALL ABOUT JAZZ ITALIA • Vincenzo Roggero – August 2014 ★★★½

Inizia come una sorta di orazione funebre, toni gravi dominanti, una litania segnata dal sax del leader, con il violoncello a marcare alcune piccole deviazioni e minime dissonanze. Sono i primi tre brani, in pratica una mini suite, che aprono le meditazioni musicali del Joe Rosenberg Ensemble. Quasi un rito sciamanico per preparare la mente alle successive improvvisazioni più legate ad un concezione eurocolta della musica, con una maggior peso specifico del pianoforte.

Gli strumenti cercano sintonie intersecandosi tra loro prima a scartamento ridotto con essenzialità geometrica poi aumentando l'intensità con energia contagiosa. L'alternarsi di queste situazioni crea un climax di grande energia e dinamicità pur in un ambito di pieno controllo esecutivo.

Poi, inaspettata, arriva "Blue Jay Way," sì proprio quella dei Beatles! Ma la composizione di George Harrison periodo psichedelico di Magical Mystery Tour ben si presta al violoncello di Didier Petit e al sax di Rosenberg, inventivi nel virare l'atmosfera meditativa del brano in immagini nervose, a tratti schizofreniche, che l'intervento finale del pianoforte carica di un forte impatto immaginifico.

Chiusura in grande stile con "Resolution" di John Coltrane, esecuzione intensa e senza fronzoli, con l'afflato spirituale dell'originale convogliato in rigore organizzativo e compattezza d'esecuzione e con l'intero organico che si muove sul terreno di uno scambio osmotico di umori e di sensazioni.

It begins like a funeral oration, a serious dominating tone, then followed by a prayer like liturgy from the sax leader, with the cello to highlight some minimal nonconformities and some slight dissentions.  These are the first three songs, like a mini suite, which opens the musical reflections of the Joe Rosenberg Ensemble.  Almost like a shamanistic ritual to prepare the mind for the subsequent improvisations of euro culture linked to a concept of music with a major emphasis on the piano.

The musical instruments seek harmonies by intersecting from their first essential geometric like musical measures, giving way to an increasing intensity and an irresistible energy.  Variations of these musical scenarios create an energetic climax and a clear dynamism while being in a setting of full executive control.

Then, unexpectedly, comes "Blue Jay Way," indeed one of the songs of the Beatles!  But this composition of George Harrison's, created during his psychedelic period of the Magical Mystery Tour, even well suited to the cello of Didier Petit and the sax of Rosenberg, becomes a newly creative performance in the meditative atmosphere of the song, from edgy images, sometimes schizophrenic, to the final strong imaginative impact of the piano.

Closing in grand style with "Resolution" by John Coltrane, this is an intense and no nonsense performance, channeled spiritually by the original, conveyed with an organizational rigor and with a compact execution, and with the whole ensemble moving on the ground in an osmotic exchange of moods and feelings.

LA JAZZ SCENE • Scott Yanow – August 2014

Joe Rosenberg is a fluent soprano saxophonist whose music is atmospheric, lyrical and often fairly free. On Resolution he is joined by pianist Bruno Angelini, cellist Didier Petit, bassist Arnault Cuisinier and drummer Edward Perraud. They perform ten of the leader's originals, George Harrison's "Blue Jay Way" and John Coltrane's "Resolution" (from "A Love Supreme").

The music easily flows from one piece to another, with many of the performances (particularly during the first half of the CD) being laidback and thoughtful. The music picks up in passion and intensity during the last few selections. Rosenberg is mostly the lead voice throughout although pianist Angelini proves to be a nearly equal partner during some of the numbers, creating intense solos that add to the adventurous nature of the music.

While Resolution often conveys a quiet mood, there are plenty of fireworks to be heard on Rouge et Blanc. The six originals are lengthy explorations that feature Rosenberg and pianist Frederic Blondy as equals, engaging in sound explorations that are full of fire even on the pieces such as "Imperial Cornsilk" that move rather slowly.

As with Resolution, Rouge et Blanc is a set that is most highly recommended to those who love the soprano-sax. Rosenberg, who sounds closer to Steve Lacy than to John Coltrane, is in top form. Listeners who enjoy the excitement of musicians reacting to each other and making up much of the music as they go along will want this CD. Both Joe Rosenberg sets are available from  HYPERLINK ""

CADENCE MAGAZINE • Robert Rusch – July 2014

There is obviously pre-thought in the music and the sequencing on JOE ROSENBERG’s [ss] RESOLUTION on Quark records 0201519 (not the same Quark as the predecessor to Martin Davidson’s Emanem label of the mid 70s).  I mentioned sequencing because on this particular work after several listening it’s the sequencing that made this work for me.

There are 11 tracks (all Rosenberg originals except Blue Jay Way and Resolution) with the various quintet members [Bruno Angelini-p, Arnualt Cuisinier-b, Edward Perraud-dms, Didier Petit-cello] and the CD opens on a rather funereal note and continues to lighten and open up, with

an occasional return to its sober opening, until its final resolution, Resolution.

I had an interesting reaction to this work.  On first listening I was not overly impressed until the end when I began to

hear the whole as many movements of a suite.  Repeated listenings further pulled me in and then I began to hear more of the complexities and designs of the individual pieces.  At this point the whole performance individually opened up to me.

There is some very meaty material here, and there are numerous times the leader is not present as he allows the rhythm to develop the themes.  My trip with this recording went from boredom and dismissive-ness to a great joy of involvement.  A very rewarding use of my time and I’d advise anyone with a taste for post Bop music to try and seek out this most interesting recording.

ALL ABOUT JAZZ • Eyal Hareuvin – July 2014

The Spiritual Language of Soprano Saxophone Player Joe Rosenberg

Soprano saxophonist Joe Rosenberg, who splits his time between Paris, France and Bali, Indonesia, has a highly personal approach to playing and improvising. He stresses a spiritual search for an inner sound that may enlighten his music with profound, timeless meaning. Regrettably, Rosenberg records rarely. His last effort with the  HYPERLINK "" Signal to Noise quartet, Tag, was released in 2009 (Quark). His highly impressive new albums feature a distinct approach and

unique compositions.

Rosenberg frames the debut album of his French chamber ensemble with three quotes. The first reflects on a spiritual approach that corresponds with this album's title, a rearrangement of John Coltrane's second movement in the classic A Love Supreme (Impulse, 1965). Rosenberg interprets this concept as: "firmness of mind and purpose, the process or act of separating something into its constituent parts." The second statement is by scientist and cultural hero Albert Einstein who said "not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." The third quote is from baseball player Yogi Berra: "I feel more like I did when I first got here than I do now."

The ensemble—Bruno Angelini on piano, Arnault Cuisinier on double bass, frequent collaborator and label owner Edward Perraud on drums, Didier Petit on cello and Rosenberg on soprano sax— faithfully realize Rosenberg's vision. The quintet, together and as soloists, focus on their resolute search for the essence of sound. A sound of profound emotional effect but one that can also be minimalist, almost ethereal; that can resonate throughout the listening experience, inspired by any and all sounds.

The longest pieces here stand out. The first is a soulful arrangement of George Harrison's "Blue Jay Way," originally performed by The Beatles on Magical Mystery Tour (EMI, 1967).  Petit's gentle cello references the Indian raga- tinged theme of the original while Rosenberg's sax gently abstracts the emotional core before the ensemble joins for some joyful reconstruction. "Resolution" follows the dramatic progression of the original piece, anchored by double bassist Cuisinier, but does not attempt to replicate Coltrane's iconic solo or the quartet's approach. A reflective spirit in the ensemble emphasizes their own meditative interplay and unique, independent sound.

FREISTIL • Markus Stegmayr – July 2014

Bereits die ersten Takte dieser außergewöhnlichen, dunklen und mäandernden Musik des Joe Rosenberg Ensembles überraschen. Vor allem das Cello macht ziemlich viel her und fettet dieses Ensemble tatsächlich um die eine oder andere Klangfarbe auf, die man sich nicht unbedingt von dieser Konstellation erwartet hatte. Gegroovt wird hier äußerst selten, Klangmalereien, die sich zugleich immer wieder zu Strukturen und zur Klarheit verdichten, sind hier an der Tagesordnung.

Joe Rosenberg ist dabei ein begnadeter Erzähler, dem offenbar nichts Menschliches fremd ist und dem ästhetische und akustische Abgründe nichts anhaben können. Wendig und flink, ohne sich stressen zu lassen, bewegt er sich über diesen Soundklüften und lässt sie absolut logisch und stimmig erscheinen. Wie könnte man auch Saxofon zu anderen Sounds und zu einer anderen Untermalung spielen? Ein wenig mystisch kommt das schon alles daher, in keinem Moment aber esoterisch oder sonstwie unschön. Dafür sind die Konturen dieser Musik zu scharf, die Stücke und deren Wendungen zu clever und ausgefuchst.

Und dennoch kommt hier eine Art von spiritueller Ruhe und Gelassenheit auf, bei der es nur folgerichtig erscheint, dass auf der CD-Rückseite Yogi Berra zitiert wird, der eigentlich kein richtiger Yogi ist, sondern mit den Weisheiten und teils widersprüchlichen Aussagen der Yogis spielt. Vielleicht sind also Spiritualität, Widerspruch und Humor gar nicht so weit auseinander. Den Versuch der Vereinigung dieser Aspekte könnte man dieser Aufnahme durchaus unterstellen.

Almost from the first notes of this extraordinary, dark and meandering music of the Joe Rosenberg Ensemble surprises.  Especially the cello makes quite a bit and actually greases this ensemble on to one or another color that were not necessarily expected of this constellation.  Grooving here is very rare, at the same time, sound paintings solidify again and again into structures and clarity, and are commonplace here.

Joe Rosenberg is a gifted storyteller, apparently nothing human is alien to him nor can the aesthetic and acoustic depths challenge him.  Agile and nimble, without getting stressed out, he moves over these sound chasms and lets them appear absolutely logical and coherent.  How could one play saxophone to other sounds and background music better?  A little mystical is that all one gets, however at no time does it get esoteric or otherwise unpleasant.  But, the contours of this music are too sharp, the pieces and their expressions too clever and crafty to let this happen.

And yet there is a kind of spiritual peace and serenity, in which it seems only logical that Yogi Berra is quoted on the CD’s back, who is actually not a real yogi, but plays with the wisdom and sometimes contradictory statements of the Yogis.  So maybe spirituality, contradiction and humor are not so far apart.  The attempt to unify these aspects, one could insinuate, complete this recording.

JAZZ ‘N’ MORE • Jurg Solothurnmann – July 2014

Der Aus Boston Stammende Sopransaxophonist Joe Rosenberg arbeitete sich an der Seite namhafter Solisten in Kalifornien durch die ganze Jazzgeschichte, bevor er 1995 nach Hongkong umzog. Nun in Bali lebend, spielt er mit Einheimischen traditionell, doch bei seinen regelmässigen Frankreichbesuchen klingt es westlicher. Philosophisch hinterlässt Asien Spuren.

Die zwei neuen CDs von Rosenberg für Quark, das Label des Schlagzeugers Perrault, sind tiefsinnige Dokumente. Er bringt die Ideen ein, aber lässt dem Input der Kollegen immer Raum. ”Resolution (firmness of mind and purpose)” macht er zum Motto der poetischen Quintett-Produktion, in welcher Free Jazz-Elemente kammermusikalisch und kontemplativ weitergeführt werden. Die ersten Tracks pendeln zwischen einem homophonen zeremoniellen Marsch, Cecil Taylor- abgeleitetem Klavier und der von nur einem Ton ausgehenden Meditation des Sopransax. In der Folge wird meistens offen improvisiert, ähnlich wie bei Paul Bley ohne tonale und konventionell rhythmische Referenzen. Eng bezogen auf die momentane Gestik und Dynamik interagiert man sehr fokussiert. Die häufige Aufteilung in Trios, Duos und Soli bringt zusätzliche Diversität. In ”Blue Jay Way” und ”Resolution”, den beiden längsten Tracks, durchläuft das thematische Material Coltranes allerlei Stadien der Transformation.

Dass auch Rosenbergs musikalische Partnerschaft mit dem Pianisten Blondy schon seit längerem besteht, ist vom ersten Ton an zu spüren. Blondy ist ein Könner der differenzierten Anwendung von Klavier-Präparationen, und Rosenberg bewahrt trotz Free Music einen starken melodischen Sinn. Es wird sehr zur (spontan gefundenen) Sache gespielt, reduziert und doch mit viel Suspense. Die CD ”Rouge et Blanc” beginnt spritzig. Zur tänzerischen Perkussion des Klaviers leiert das Sopransax mit allerlei Arpeggien. Auch in lyrischen Improvisationen mischt Blondy mit präparierten Sounds mit. Hier nähert sich das beharrliche Auskosten kleiner Ideen Steve Lacy an. ”Imperial Cornsilk” gleicht schon fast elektronischer Musik. Lebhaft kommunizierend arbeiten die zwei in ”Raspberry Ghost” pointillistisch. Um Stille und Sparsamkeits gehts in ”Vermillion Smoke”. Und zum Schluss wird freie Improvisation neckisch mit Latin-Rhythmik verschmolzen.

A native of Boston, soprano saxophonist Joe Rosenberg worked on the side of renowned soloists in California through the entire history of jazz, before he moved to Hong Kong in 1995. Now living in Bali, he plays with locals in traditional ways, but in his regular visits to France he sounds western. Philosophically leaving Asian tracks.

The two new CDs of Rosenberg for Quark, the label of the drummer Edward Perraud, are profound documents. He brings up the ideas, but always leaves room for the input of colleagues. "Resolution (firmness of mind and purpose)" he makes the motto of the quintet’s poetic production, in which free jazz elements are continued in a chamber music and contemplative way.  The first tracks oscillate between a homophonic ceremonial march, Cecil Taylor-derived piano and the meditation of only one outgoing sound of the soprano sax.  In the sequences they mostly improvise open, similar to Paul Bley, without tonal and rhythmic conventional references.  Closely related to the current gestures and dynamics the interaction is very focused.  The frequent division into trios, duos and solos brings additional diversity.  In "Blue Jay Way" and "Resolution", the two longest tracks, the thematic material of Coltrane goes through all sorts of stages of transformation.

The fact that Rosenberg's musical partnership with pianist Blondy existed for some time, can be felt from the first note.  Blondy is an undisputed master of the differentiated application of piano preparations, and Rosenberg preserves, despite Free music a strong melodic sense.  It is played  (spontaneously found) very focused, reduced, and yet with a lot of suspense.  The CD "Rouge et Blanc" begins bubbly.  To the dance like percussion of the piano, the soprano sax drones with all sorts of arpeggios.  Also lyrical improvisations mixes with Blondy’s prepared sounds.  Here the persistent savoring of small ideas is similar to Steve Lacy’s approach.  "Imperial Cornsilk" resembles almost electronic music.  In "Raspberry Ghost" the two work lively, communicating in pointillist ways.  In "Vermillion Smoke" its about stillness and frugality.  And finally free improvisation gets fused with teasing Latin rhythms.

JAZZMAN • Ludovic Florin – June 2014 * * * *

Plutot que le mot allemande wanderer, trop attaché au romantisme, celui, anglais, de hiker (le marcheur, le randonneur) convient mieux pour Joe Rosenberg: après avoir grandi au Etats-Unis, il a vecu a Hong Kong et a Bali; il travaille avec des musiciens des tous les continents, et regulierement en france avec le batteur Edward Perraud.  

Est-ce par gout pour la synecdoque Joe Rosenberg réalise une musique qui se moque des frontiers stylistiques? Car s’il y a bien chez lui une propension a l’improvisation totale, comme sur “Rouge et Blanc”, en duo avec l’excellent Frederic Blondy au piano prepare, cette approache n’est pas exclusive sur “Resolution”.

Tandis que le duo plonge dans l’inconnu, le Joe Rosenberg Ensemble navigue entre une expression idiomatique (de l’influence manifeste d’Arvo Part jusqu’aux reprise arranges Blue Jay Way de George Harrision) et un langage se liberant de tout idiome.  L’austere coherence de Rouge et Blanc (chaque improvisation est fondee sur une idee: Imperial Cornsilk fouille le spectre des sons, Rasberry Ghost repose sur le principe de la ligne brisee, Ruby Snow oppose le frappe au souffle, etc.) ravira donc d’abord la frange “dure” des lectueurs de Jazzmag.

Materialisant l’oecumenisme prone par l’auteur du morceau qui lui donne son titre – Resolution de John Coltrane -, Resolution a toutes les chances de conquerir un plus large auditoire, grace a d’indeniables qualities: intelligence de jeu, osmose entre les musiciens, profondeur d’expression

As opposed to the German word “wanderer” which has a lot of romanticism attached to it, the English word “hiker” (walker or backpacker) seems to best describe Joe Rosenberg: raised in the United States, he has lived in Hong Kong and Bali; he collaborates with musicians from across the world and regularly works with drummer Edward Perraud in France.

Is it because of his personal inclination for synecdoche that Joe Rosenberg creates a style of music that defies classification?  Because if there really is in his works a propensity for total improvisation, as featured on the album Rouge et Blanc a duet with first-rate pianist Frédéric Blondy on prepared piano, this approach is not exclusively used for “Resolution”.

While the duo delves into the unknown, the Joe Rosenberg Ensemble shifts between a jazz idiom (from the obvious influence of Arvo Pärt to the re-arrangements of George Harrison’s “Blue Jay Way”) and an idiom-free language.

The simple and plain coherence of Rouge et Blanc (each improvisation is based on a single idea: “Imperial Cornsilk” moves through a spectrum of sounds, “Raspberry Ghost” is based upon the principle of musical phrasing, “Ruby Snow” contrasts striking with breathing, etc.) will thus delight the “die-hard” minority of Jazzmag readers.

Epitomizing the spirit of ecumenism, advocated by the writer who gave this song its name - “Resolution by John Coltrane” - “Resolution” is likely to branch out and reach a wider audience, thanks to undeniable qualities: intelligence of interpretations, the chemistry between the musicians, the depth of expression