False Harmonics #11: Battle Trance and Darius Jones / Shahzad Ismaily / Ryan Sawyer Trio

For the eleventh installment of False Harmonics, we return with an evening of new music centered around the Saxophone. This concert will feature two distinct ensembles with very differing approaches to the instrument and their respective direction, one led by Travis Laplante and the other by Darius Jones.

Battle Trance

The flurry of saxophones known as Battle Trance is a tour de force of intense focus and unending breath. Comprised of tenor saxophonists Travis Laplante, Matthew Nelson, Jeremy Viner, and Patrick Breiner, the quartet uses circular breathing and immense physical stamina to produce hypnotic, meditative, and transformative sounds. In pursuit of a music that is both modern and timeless, the group strives to create a “portal of resonance” where there is no separation between the listener and the sound.

This concert celebrates the release of their new record Green of Winter via New Amsterdam Records.

"A floating tapestry of fascinating textures made up of tiny musical motifs, and a music that throbs with tension between stillness and agitation, density and light.”

– Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times

“Battle Trance is a world unto itself, built of nothing but resonance. Listen for more than a few minutes and you’ll lose track of melody, narrative, even time. It’ll connect you to a deeper part of you. In a world where representation threatens to outstrip action, that’s a useful step to take: both backward and ahead.”

–Giovanni Russonello, JazzTimes

Darius Jones / Shahzad Ismaily / Ryan Sawyer Trio

“Free improvisation can feel dogmatic, as if the musicians are at pains to embody an absolute principle, but this performance did not; the group seemed uninterested in that path. The musicians thought through everything as they went along. They kept their pieces short; they valued concision. They gravitated toward almost folklike themes and phrases, which all of them supplied. Mr. Jones played ballad tones and shrieked melodic repetitions without sentiment or aggression. Mr. Sawyer kept a steady free-rhythm simmer or played in time; Mr. Ismaily played notes and chords on one stringed instrument or another with great softness and then overdrive, with a clear amplified tone or ugly distortion or no amplification at all. Sometimes he made you feel silence, sometimes he blotted silence out.

Whatever this music was, it was careful, and absolutely moment to moment.”

–Ben Ratliff, The New York Times

Darius Jones has created a recognizable voice as a critically acclaimed saxophonist and composer by embracing individuality and innovation in the tradition of African-American music.

Shahzad Ismaily is an American musician and composer of Pakistani descent. His main instrument is the electric bass. He is active in the fields of rock and jazz , including in the New York downtown scene.

Ryan Sawyer is an American drummer and percussionist from Texas, now based in New York.