The Table & Chairs label was founded a little over one year ago by some graduates from the University of Washington’s Jazz Studies Department. There’s a pretty active jazz, improv and New Music scene in Seattle, and T&C has signed artists from within the region and beyond. They say, “Our purpose is to represent and bring together artists and listeners who are actively contributing to a forward-thinking community that is wholly devoted to the advancement of New Music.” They’ve put together this sampler with tracks from five of their recent releases; comments on each act follow below. As you’ll see when you start to notice the same names popping up again and again, it’s a tight-knit community, but the bands don’t sound the same at all.
Agogic: Drawing on their 20-year relationship of musical research and growth, trumpeter Cuong Vu and alto saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo have teamed up with bassist Luke Bergman and drummer Evan Woodle to push musical boundaries—their rock-tinged aggression and deep grooves make listeners jump out of their seats.
Bad Luck: Over half a decade after their first performance, drummer Chris Icasiano and saxophonist Neil Welch continue to develop a unique musical voice together. The whole drums-saxophone duo thing may seem played out, but Bad Luck proves that there is much left to be said in that format.
Operation ID: Seattle’s (and maybe the world’s?) only minimalistic avant-garde electro-pop/noise-cluster/synth-rock/free jazz/experimental/dance-prog band. The group features alto saxophonist Ivan Arteaga, guitarist Jared Borkowski, synthesizer player Rob Hanlon, bassist David Balatero and drummer Evan Woodle, all collectively committed to experimenting with new sounds and musical approaches.
Andy Clausen: The sweet, radiant music of trombonist and composer Andy Clausen is showcased on The Wishbone Suite, his first Table & Chairs release. On this disc, he’s joined by Ivan Arteaga on clarinet, pianist Gus Carns, accordionist Aaron Otheim, and percussionist Chris Icasiano.
Chemical Clock: Synth player Cameron Sharif, trumpeter Ray Larsen, bassist Mark Hunter and drummer Evan Woodle are Chemical Clock, a quartet that’s decidedly more “dance club” than “jazz club.” Combining elements of electronica and rock with jazz-informed improvisational sensibilities, they work through tricky, sinuous compositions with plenty of room for exploration.