Buckner, Graves, Marsh: Homage

HOMAGE (Mutable 17522-2)
THOMAS BUCKNER (voice), MEL GRAVES (bass), GEORGE MARSH (percussion)

"This project is the product of over thirty years of musical collaboration and personal friendships. The three of us met in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early seventies and worked together in many contexts, exploring improvisation and new music. When I moved to New York in 1983, there was a brief hiatus, and then, on hearing a composition of Mel Graves played here, I asked him to write me a piece. This led to my premiering many works of his and making several recordings. Meanwhile, George and Mel have been a great rhythm section all these years. When Mel suggested that he compose Blanco to highlight George's remarkable polyrhythmic and timbral abilities, I loved the idea. Because of the deeply personal nature of the project, we decided to place it in the context of our improvised music. Then, the tsunami occurred and Mel was inspired to write a piece for improvisors commemorating the tragedy. We went back to Mesa Studios to create and record Tsunami and then recorded some improvisations which we called Homage. It's an homage to music and what it means in our lives and to the deep friendship it has engendered." - Thomas Buckner

For more than 30 years, baritone Thomas Buckner has dedicated himself to the world of new and improvised music. As a performer, producer, and promoter, Buckner has enabled the creation of an extensive body of new works by some of the worlds' leading, most exciting and most challenging composers. Currently, Buckner works regularly with composers Robert Ashley, Roscoe Mitchell, Alvin Lucier, Annea Lockwood, Bun-Ching Lam, Jerome Cooper, David Wessel, Tom Hamilton, Leroy Jenkins, Phill Niblock, Wadada Leo Smith, among others. More than 70 composers have written works exclusively for him over the last 20 years. Buckner has been featured on over 40 recordings, including 5 of his own solo albums as well as recordings by Annea Lockwood, Sorrel Hays, Alvin Lucier, the Deep Listening Band, Jin Hi Kim, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams and many others.

Mel Graves has written over one hundred jazz compositions over the last 30 years. He has maintained long musical associations with Denny Zeitlin, George Marsh and Mose Allison and has performed with many jazz greats like Joe Henderson, Odean Pope, Dewey Redman, James Newton, Kenny Wheeler, Lee Konitz, Larry Coryell, Jerry Hahn, Tom Harrell, Kenny Werner, Steve Smith, Eddie Harris, Roscoe Mitchell, Ray Anderson, Art Lande, Bennie Wallace, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts, John Tchicai, Carl Allen and many others. Graves has also recorded more than 40 CD and vinyl record projects, some of which include Steve Smith, Eric Crystal, Randy Vincent, Bob Afifi, George Marsh, the Turtle Island String Quartet, Thomas Buckner, Smith Dobson, and Jon Crosse.

George Marsh became a professional drummer in Belleville, Illinois at the age of fifteen. His early experiences included work with Sam Andria, Jimmy Williams, and Barbara Streisand (before she became a super star). Although primarily self taught, he studied percussion with Tom Siwe and Jack McKenzie at Champagne-Urbana and later played with the Lyric Opera, and many great Chicago jazz musicians. Since 1968 he has lived in the San Francisco area where he has performed and recorded with musicians such as John Abercrombie, Mose Allison, Joe Henderson, David Grisman, Terry Riley, Denny Zeitlin, Pauline Oliveros, Allaudin Mathieu, and many others. George teaches at UC Santa Cruz and Sonoma State University, and has written a unique drum instruction book, Inner Drumming, which deals with the flow of energy inside the drummer's body as it applies to four-limb performance. He has composed music for the movies Black Stallion and Never Cry Wolf.