Music alchemy without business chicanery
BROOKLYN, USA, 6 January 2004. "Out. Period." The motto for a New Music record label presenting uncompromising improvised music in a straightforward way: ToneScience. Knowing that a loyal and devoted audience of creative music enthusiasts eagerly awaits new sounds and regularly finds itself frustrated and confounded by a music business machine that fails to service them, ToneScience aims to deliver "musical alchemy without the industry chicanery."
ABOUT NEW MATH
The first release on ToneScience is New Math, a series of duo improvisations by pianist/composer Mick Rossi and trumpeter/composer Russ Johnson. Their organic performances reflect Johnson and Rossi's deep and wide experiences from working in the jazz, creative improvised, pop, and "showbiz" realms of music. New sounds -- timbrally and improvisationally -- are the focus on New Math, adding up to, as the liner notes say, everything from the wholly uncategorizable to "calls to prayer wafting over the Tibetan fields" to "James P Johnson barrelhousing his way across the keyboard" to "fireflies flashing on a steamy bayou night" to "a group of Cossacks babushkaing around a campfire."
Rossi, currently touring with Philip Glass, is known in the "downtown" creative music scene and beyond for his piano and percussion work and composing. He has performed and recorded with Alex Acuña, Steven Bernstein, Billy Drewes, Dave Douglas, Peter Erskine, Vinny Golia, Hall & Oates, Gerry Hemingway, Carly Simon, Leo Smith, and Cuong Vu, among others. He also writes music for films including, most recently, for The Vagina Monologues (HBO) and the hit movie Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
Johnson is one of the most sought after performers in NY's "downtown" music scene. In addition to leading his own groups and co-leading The Other Quartet, Russ has performed and recorded with a long list of musical heavyweights including Joe Lovano, Lee Konitz, Richie Beirach, Joe Maneri, The Jazz Passengers, Brad Shepik, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Charles Earland, Oliver Lake, Jim Black, Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry, Diedre Rodman, Tony Malaby, and many others. Johnson's first recording as a leader, Save Big, will be released on the OmniTone label in early 2004.
ToneScience founder and executive producer Frank Tafuri, self-proclaimed "chief instigator" at OmniTone, says he started ToneScience both to have an outlet for purely improvised music and to try to disseminate that music in a different, more straightforward way than is the norm today in the music business. "It's a new concept that's really an old concept: You want one of our albums, you buy it," explains Tafuri. "That goes for retailers, distributors, and reviewers, too, not just consumers. It's all about keeping things real and focused on the music, and that means treating the music, the musicians, and the fans -- artistically and financially -- with respect."
According to Tafuri, industry-standard practices that the consumer is unaware of -- such as retailers having 100% returns privileges, having to send out hundreds of "promotional" (read: free) CDs to get a handful of reviews, and having to put up with distributors who can arbitrarily stop paying or who take six or more months to pay -- have been eroding or outright destroying hardworking indie record companies. "And that hurts the fan who can't find the music and the artist who’s trying to get their music heard," adds Tafuri. "It's an insidiously vicious cycle, so somebody's got to say, 'Enough is enough,' so everybody can focus on what it's all about -- the music. It's time for a reality check, and maybe ToneScience can help lead not only the musical advance, but also be in the avant garde in business practices."
ToneScience's second release, Eight Shorts in Search of David Lynch, by guitarist/composer/sound designer Johnnie Valentino, will be available in February. That CD features eight sound beds custom-designed by Valentino that are used as springboards for improvisations by small groups that include musicians Erik Friedlander, Vinny Golia, Russ Johnson, Randy Jones, Elissa Lala, Mick Rossi, and Mike Sarin.
Full information, sound samples of all tracks, biographies, and more for New Math and information on ToneScience are available at the ToneScience website at www.ToneScience.com. CDs are available for sale to consumers directly from the ToneScience website. Retailers wishing to sell ToneScience may use the online contact form at www.tonescience.com/retail, e-mail email@example.com, phone OmniTone at 718-622-1989, or fax OmniTone at 718-504-3645. Bona fide reviewers wishing to receive a copy of New Math for review may use the online contact form at www.tonescience.com/press, e-mail press@ToneScience.com, or contact OmniTone at either of the previously given numbers.
New Math was recorded -- as are all ToneScience releases -- using ToneScience-O-Matic Sense-U-Round® technology.