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Gravity Records Releases Two By Ben Schwendener

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BOSTON, MA - Gravity Records kicks off the celebration of its fifth anniversary with two new June releases from pianist, composer, and educator, Ben Schwendener. Road Trips(GRV 1900-5D) is the follow-up to Schwendener’s solo debut, Witness of the Sun(GRV 1900-3), and features the same jazz-rock quintet of saxophonist Bhob Rainey, guitarist Gregg Ramsey, bassist Hiro Harada, and drummer Steve Chaggaris. Recorded live, Living Geometry(GRV 1900-6) documents the eight-year partnership of Schwendener and fellow Boston-based pianist Marc Rossi, and the duo’s realization of improvised music based on the vast possibilities presented by George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept. Gravity Records, which has also released recordings by German saxophonist Uwe Steinmetz and pianist David Azarian, is the recording arm of the arts education non-profit organization, Gravity Arts, founded in 1997 to provide customized education opportunities and support to individuals and organizations of all kinds.

"I would definitely consider myself a jazz pianist who comes more out of a Western classical background than a hard core blues tradition, for example," explains Schwendener, a 20-year veteran of the diverse Boston music scene and Gravity Arts’ founder. A member of the jazz faculties of both New England Conservatory and Longy School of Music, and a leading lecturer on the Lydian Chromatic Concept, his compositions can range from almost entirely through-composed to completely improvised within the structural support provided by ideas like tonal gravity.

On Road Trips, Schwendener takes both his quintet, Falling Objects, and his audience on a journey he likens to the perennial outings of the album’s title. "Each composition is analogous to a city," he says, "but cities aren’t all clumped together, so connecting the cities are more expansive and rural roads that aren’t as dense and provide a change of scenery. The forms are theme-based rather than head-based, and we state those themes and let them open up into interactive improvised environments akin to the variety you might see on an actual road trip."

Rossi and Schwendener have performed together since 1993, when the two began exploring the geometrical, tonal, and physical possibilities of the Lydian Chromatic Concept. Living Geometryis their first recording as a duo. "The material really amazed us," Schwendener recalls. "It sounded like two individuals on a unified journey through the chromatic universe. We navigate harmonically according to the geometric designs within the circle of keys. It sounds complicated, but it gives us the freedom of free jazz with the coherency and structure of geometry."

Gravity Records releases are available through the label and For more information on Ben Schwendener, The Lydian Chromatic Concept, Gravity Arts, Gravity Records releases, and any of the artists listed above, please go to the website.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ben Schwendener
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