(English follows Japanese)
★My Favorite Album (372)
By Takaaki Kondo, Tokyo Jazz Review
これまでLionel Hampton, Buddy Rich, Steve Slagle, Randy Brecker, Lee Konitz等正統派Jazz Musicianだけでなく、Blood Sweat & Tears, David Sanborn, Houston Person, Donna Summerのバンドで作編曲、Musical Directorを務めた、Pianist, Composer, Arrangerの Richard Sussmanさん。ハッキリ言って日本での知名度は（一部のマニアを除き）ほとんど無い（スンマセン） しかし「本物」です。この人。間違いなく。
本作品は、1978年にリリースした"Free Fall"以来、前作である"Live At Sweet Rhythm"で久々に自己のQuintedのリーダー作をリリースしたSussmanさんの2年ぶりのアルバム。78年作同様、Jerry Bergonzi(ts), Mike Richmond(b),Jeff Williams(ds)はリズム陣は不動のメンバー。そしてトランペットはTom Harrellに代わりRandy Breckerが参加。更にM6ではMike Sternがゲスト参加しています
演奏は特にRandy BreckerとJerry Bergonzi、そしてMike Richmond(b)の絶好調ぶりが素晴らしい！
Richard Sussman: piano & synthesizer
Randy Brecker: trumpet & flugelhorn
Jerry Bergonzi: tenor sax
Mike Richmond: bass
Jeff Williams: drums
Mike Stern guitar (on Mike's Blues)
1. Spare Change (Richard Sussman)
2. Meridian (Richard Sussman)
3. Alone Together (Howard Dietz / Arthur Schwartz)
4. The Wayfarer (Richard Sussman)
5. Crossroads (Richard Sussman)
6. Mike's Blues (Richard Sussman)
7. Theme For Ernie (Fred Lacey)
8. It's Never Too Late (Richard Sussman)
9. Continuum (Richard Sussman)
❑ Richard Sussman - Website
❑ Buy CD
Pianist Richard Sussman made an auspicious debut with his 1978 Free Fall, a riveting post bop/progressive album featuring saxophonists Jerry Bergonzi and Larry Schneider, trumpeter Tom Harrell, bassist Mike Richmond, and drummer Jeff Williams. A follow-up by the group did ensue, but it came some 32 years later in 2010 with the release of Live at Sweet Rhythm. The music on that CD actually came from the group's reunion, minus Schneider, at the New York club in 2003. Now comes Continuum, both recorded and released in 2012, which is aptly titled since the quintet maintains its signature vitality and cohesiveness. This time Randy Brecker replaces Harrell, and guitarist Mike Stern guests on one track. Besides a 1980 trio date with Andy LaVerne and Bob Moses, these three sessions comprise Sussman's entire discography as a leader, although he has been active in supporting roles for various artists and bands both in and out of jazz, and also as a composer, arranger, and scorer for film and TV. He is currently a professor of jazz composition at the Manhattan School of Music, where he has taught since 1986. Continuum is launched with "Spare Change," Sussman's tribute to Horace Silver. The flowing ensemble voicings and the funkiness of the theme vividly recall Silver. Bergonzi's tenor solo, with its characteristic overtones, is edgy post bop, while Brecker's trumpet solo is more sinuously straightforward. Sussman's piano improv combines soulfulness with modal elements. An hypnotic vamp by Sussman leads to the undulating theme of his "Meridian," which has a nicely contrasting bridge. The leader then plays a lyrical and satisfyingly creative synthesizer solo, accompanied by his own piano (presumably one of these parts is overdubbed). Brecker solos with his usual majestic grace and luxurious sound. Richmond has his own say as well, committed and unfettered, while Bergonzi's intense statement emerges only after the reprise, which helps set this Sussman arrangement apart from the ordinary. The quartet treatment of "Alone Together," one of Sussman's "favorite standards," showcases the warmth of Brecker's flugelhorn. Sure pacing, rhythmic diversity, and variations in density of texture are the key qualities of Brecker's excellent improvisation. The pianist then probes the melody with hurtling momentum before Brecker returns to caress it. "The Wayfarer" is inspired by Stephen Crane's poem by that name, but is simply Sussman's solo piano intro to the following piece, "Crossroads." He wafts impressionistically through this ingratiating miniature étude. The urgent, insistent "Crossroads" contains more of Sussman's stirring, if more roiling, piano, but the impactive, uninhibited solos by Brecker and Bergonzi more than match him in forcefulness. Sussman wrote "Mike's Blues" expressly for Mike Stern, and this bluesy line blends Stern's penetrating guitar with the leader's synth and the two horns. Stern's solo is a typical scorcher, jazz-rock at its polished best. Bergonzi issues a heated proclamation of his own before Sussman once again displays his inventiveness and rather unique flair on synthesizer. Fred Lacey's "Theme For Ernie" was recorded by John Coltrane for his Soultrane LP, and is presented here as a vehicle for Bergonzi. Sussman's gorgeous intro leads to the veteran tenor's moving rendition, which reveals how he has incorporated Trane's obvious influence into his own musical conception. Sussman's glistening, lucid solo precedes the rewarding reprise. (Bergonzi can be heard playing "Soultrane" on the Live at Sweet Rhythm CD.) A piano trio performance of Sussman's "It's Never Too Late" places Richmond's bass out front sharing the ballad's introspective melody with the pianist, as well as the solo space. Both musicians, and drummer Williams, play with great sensitivity and depth of feeling on this selection dedicated to Sussman's wife Barbara. The CD's concluding title track, "Continuum," is also its most exploratory. The tense thematic counterpoint, pulsating piano ostinatos, and rhythmic fluctuations generate striving, powerful solos from Bergonzi, Brecker, Sussman, and Williams, still more proof that the reemergence of Sussman's essential group has been much too long in coming.
By Scott Albin, Jazz Time
For those of us unfamiliar with Richard Sussman, a glance at his website gives an insight into his background, but even a cursory listen to the Richard Sussman Quintet's Continuum, his recently released album on Origin, gives an even better indication of his artistry. A pianist and a professor of composition at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, he has worked with his share of A-list musicians, and as a leader has fronted on four albums including the 1978 Quintet recording, Free Fall. In the liner notes to the new CD, Sussman indicates that he has gathered together the members of that original quintet with Randy Brecker replacing Tom Harrell on trumpet and flugelhorn. Back with Sussman are bassist Mike Richmond, Jeff Williams on drums, and the masterful Jerry Bergonzi on the tenor sax. Guitarist Mike Stern in on board for one track, "Mike's Blues," a tune Sussman says was "composed for the occasion as a funky, blues vehicle" for him. Seven of the tunes on the album, including "Mike's Blues," are Sussman originals. Sussman calls "Spare Change," the opening number, his tribute to Horace Silver and makes sure that we know that the pun is intentional. The song aims to capture some of the funkiness of Silver's own writing, and it is a melodic gem. Bergonzi and Brecker contribute some elegant solo work, and Sussman has a nice bit on the piano. Come to think of it, their work throughout the album is equally elegant. "Meridian," the second piece, features the leader on synthesizer and adds some fine interplay with Richmond's bass. "The Wayfarer" is a short, free form piano improvisation based on a poem by Stephen Crane (he of The Red Badge of Courage) and intended as a prelude to "Crossroads," the album's next piece. "It's Never Too Late" is a trio dedicated to the composer's wife. Once again it has Sussman and Richmond in subtle combination. "Continuum," the album's title song, closes the disc. The longest piece on the album, it is a complex exploration of rhythms that Sussman sees as pointing both back to his previous work and moving "the way forward." In sound and texture it seems to push beyond the bounds of most of the other compositions on the CD. Metaphorically, he has come to the crossroads and chosen (as he says) all directions, but in a sense, all directions are forward. Fred Lacey's "Theme for Ernie," a ballad recorded by John Coltrane, and the standard "Alone Together" are the two non-originals. Bergonzi is featured on the first and Brecker's flugelhorn on the second. Musically inventive yet tunefully melodic, Continuum has a lot going for it. These are musicians at the top of their game, and clearly enjoying what they are doing. It is impossible not to enjoy along with them.
- Blogcritics Music
Richard Sussman is the real deal and a highly regarded pianist, composer, and professor of jazz composition at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in the Big Apple! Sussman has assembled an all star quintet for his latest Origin records release Continuum. The horn section alone is Randy Brecker on trumpet and flugelhorn and the great Jerry Bergonzi holds down the fort on tenor saxophone. Toss in a guest shot by guitarist Mike Stern and the results are killer. The rhythm section is rounded out with Mike Richmond on bass and Jeff Williams on drums and with Sussman on piano and synthesizer there is instant chemistry. There is a grand spatial texture, a varitable sonic buffet for the sampling which opens with the funky ode to Horace Silver "Spare Change." This Sussman original captures the essence of Silver as well as any with a keen sense of melody combined with the infectious funk that is Horace Silver. "Mike's Blues" was written especially for guitarist Mike Stern and is right in Stern's wheelhouse as a funk oriented blues hybrid in a slightly odd yet captivating meter. The title track "Continuum" is a fitting piece highlighting the prolific talents of Sussman both as composer and performer while performing a sonic exploratory with the aid of Brecker, Bergonzi and drummer Jeff Williams. One of the most captivating aspects of the release is the modern jazz sound given the old working band feel as all performers are given a chance to shine. Continuum is an ironic title for a release steeped in diversity. While a similar release of such stylisitc variety could easily strip the musical gears of most listeners there is an ebb and flow here that does indeed bind the release together into a delightful expression of musical synergy by this stellar quintet.
- Republic of Jazz
Richard Sussman is the real deal and a highly regarded pianist, composer, and professor of jazz composition at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music in the Big Apple! Sussman has assembled an all star quintet for his latest Origin records releaseContinuum. The horn section alone is Randy Brecker on trumpet and flugelhorn and the great Jerry Bergonzi holds down the fort on tenor saxophone. Toss in a guest shot by guitarist Mike Stern and the results are killer. The rhythm section is rounded out with Mike Richmond on bass and Jeff Williams on drums and with Sussman on piano and synthesizer there is instant chemistry. There is a grand spatial texture, a varitable sonic buffet for the sampling which opens with the funky ode to Horace Silver "Spare Change." This Sussman original captures the essence of Silver as well as any with a keen sense of melody combined with the infectious funk that is Horace Silver. "Mike's Blues" was written especially for guitarist Mike Stern and is right in Stern's wheelhouse as a funk oriented blues hybrid in a slightly odd yet captivating meter. The title track "Continuum" is a fitting piece highlighting the prolific talents of Sussman both as composer and performer while performing a sonic exploratory with the aid of Brecker, Bergonzi and drummer Jeff Williams. One of the most captivating aspects of the release is the modern jazz sound given the old working band feel as all performers are given a chance to shine. Continuum is an ironic title for a release steeped in diversity. While a similar release of such stylisitc variety could easily strip the musical gears of most listeners there is an ebb and flow here that does indeed bind the release together into a delightful expression of musical synergy by this stellar quintet. In short...Sussman slays this one. Sleeper of the year? 5 Stars!
By Critical Jazz
Continuum, the new release on Origin Records from The Richard Sussman Quintet is now available. Richard Sussman is a pianist, composer, music technologist, and professor of jazz composition at Manhattan School of Music in New York City (since 1986). In that capacity, Sussman gives private lessons, teaches, develops jazz arranging class curriculum, and manages all aspects of the electronic music technology/MIDI recording studios for the jazz department. Continuum is the band leader’s fourth album of original jazz music. For this new album, Sussman teams with some splendid talent – Randy Brecker (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jerry Bergonzi (tenor saxophone), Mike Richmond (acoustic bass), Jeff Williams (drums), and Mike Stern (guitar on “Mike’s Blues”). The continuum refers to the experience of events passing seamlessly from the future through the present to the past. Sussman said, “Although circumstances and events may appear to change dramatically over time, there is always a thread running through it all, establishing a continuity of consciousness and spirit.”
The composition and recording of Continuum integrates a wide variety of musical and stylistic experiences spanning several decades. Sussman illustrates his continuity through many seemingly disparate elements of his musical journey. To provide some continuity to this project, Sussman reassembled most of the same band from his classic and highly-acclaimed debut album of original contemporary jazz, Free Fall, first released in 1978. Continuum now carries on with the same kind of adventurous variety and range, but it illustrates an even much greater musical maturity that only comes with three decades of composing, arranging and performing. That success is evident in the melodies, as well as their lyrical application, band dynamics, and instrumental conversation. Throughout the set, we hear clear and expressive emotion. The quintet’s music was clearly designed to convey some meaningful messages.
By Ron Netsky
Richard Sussman is a pianist, composer, music technologist, and professor of jazz composition at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. Over the years, Richard has attained a high level of accomplishment and recognition as a jazz pianist and composer, both as a sideman with various artists, and more significantly, as a leader of various ensembles performing his own uniquely original compositions. His varied career has included performances and/or recordings with Lionel Hampton, Buddy Rich, Steve Slagle, Randy Brecker, Lee Konitz, Blood Sweat & Tears, David Sanborn, Houston Person, and Donna Summer, among many others. His jazz discography includes four albums of original music as a leader, including the critically acclaimed "Free Fall" (Double-Time Records), “Live At Sweet Rhythm” (Origin Records), and “Continuum” (Origin Records).
Richard has also achieved considerable success and recognition as a composer and orchestrator for large ensembles, with a particular focus on the integration of jazz rhythmic and improvisational elements with contemporary classical harmonic and structural techniques. Writing credits include a commission by the Manhattan School of Music ("Dialogue For Jazz Band & Orchestra" - 2003) and 2 NEA grants in composition for large-scale works for Jazz Band and Symphony Orchestra (Suites #1 & 2 for Jazz Band and Orchestra) as well as arrangements for Lionel Hampton, Blood Sweat & Tears, Mel Lewis, Randy Brecker, the West Chester Jazz Orchestra, the Metropole Orchestra (Amsterdam), the WDR Jazz Big Band (Cologne, Germany), and others.
Richard received the prestigious ASCAP Jazz Commission for Established Composer in 2008. This lead to the composition of “Ivories Tower”, a big band arrangement honoring jazz legend Hank Jones, premiered by the Chicago Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Jon Faddis in February 2009. The work was subsequently performed by the Metropole Orchestra (May, 2009) with Hank Jones as the featured soloist. Richard has since developed a relationship with Hank Jones, and was working on several arranging projects for the maestro until his untimely passing in May, 2010.
As an educator, Richard Sussman has been an integral member of the Jazz Composition Faculty at the highly esteemed Manhattan School of Music in New York City since 1986. His responsibilities at MSM include private composition lessons, teaching and developing curriculum for Jazz Arranging classes, and managing all aspects of the Electronic Music Technology/MIDI Recording Studios for the Jazz Department. He is an established and effective clinician both in the areas of jazz improvisation and composition, as well as music technology and scoring for film and television. The arranging textbook “Jazz Composition and Arranging in the Digital Age”, co-authored by Richard and Michael Abene, was published in January, 2012 by Oxford University Press. Richard has also been an active advocate for the arts in his local community, and is currently president of the Rockland County (NY) Jazz & Blues Society.
Richard has also achieved success as a composer, performer, and programmer in the realm of MIDI Synthesizers and Commercial Music Production. He participated as Synthesizer Programmer on Randy Brecker's 1998 Grammy winning CD "Into The Sun". His extensive work in the field of film and television scoring has included projects for ABC, NBC, CBS, Nickelodeon, and Disney.
Blood, Sweat, & Tears
Steve Slagle/Dave Stryker
Additional Performances with the following artists:
Houston Person; David Sanborn; George Benson; Sonny Fortune; Carly Simon; Marty Balin; Cleo Laine; Roland Vasquez; Anita O'Day; Chris Conner; Country Joe McDonald; Anthony & The Imperials;
Shows: Jesus Christ Superstar; Oh! Calcutta
MIDI Programming for “Broadway Swing”
Jazz Big Band/Orchestral Compositions/Arrangements:
Commissioned arrangements for Lionel Hampton, Blood Sweat & Tears, West Chester Jazz Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra (Amsterdam), WDR Jazz Band (Cologne), Randy Brecker, Dean Pratt, Manhattan School of Music, others
Original works performed by the Mel Lewis Orchestra, Manhattan School of Music Jazz Band, Amsterdam Conservatory Jazz Orchestra, Dean Pratt Band, others
Tribute to Fletcher Henderson - Commissioned by Dean Pratt
Meet the Composer Grant
Suite for Jazz Band & Orchestra #1 (NEA Grant)
Suite for Jazz Band & Orchestra #2 (NEA Grant)
Metamorphosis For Piano - For Soundclock 9/11 Memorial Concert at Merkin Hall, NYC
"Dialogue for Jazz Band & Orchestra" for Manhattan School of Music Jazz Philharmonic
Commissioned by MSM and the Commission Project, premiered May 15, 2003, recorded by Amsterdam Conservatory Jazz Orchestra December, 2004.
"Ivories Tower" Commissioned by ASCAP, premiered February, 2009, by the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, performed by the Metropole Orchestra featuring Hank Jones in May, 2009.
As a leader, three albums of original music:
"Free Fall" – The Richard Sussman Quintet – originally released on Inner City Records
Re-released on Double-Time Records
"Tributaries" – with Andy Laverne – Inner City Records
“Live At Sweet Rhythm” – Origin Records
“Continuum” – Origin Records
As a sideman:
Lionel Hampton (composer/arranger) - "Live in Switzerland"
Mike Santiago & Entity (pianist/synthesizer) - Chiarascuro Records
Jens Wendleboe (pianist/synthesizer) - "Lone Attic", "Letter From New York"
Steve Slagle (pianist/synthesizer) - "Smoke Signals" - Panorama Records
Dean Pratt - "The Pratt Brothers Big Band" (composer/arranger) - Amosaya Records
"Nomad Christmas" (Anthology) (pianist) - Music of the World
Randy Brecker - "Into the Sun" (synthesizer programming) - Concord Records (Grammy - Best Instrumental Jazz Recording 1997)
Simon Shaheen - "Blue Flame" (pianist)
Chris Connor - "I Walk With Music" (string arrangements) - High Note Records