THE WISHBONE SUITE

Clausen’s evening length composition “The Wishbone Suite” was commissioned by King County 4Culture, and recorded for Table & Chairs Music in 2011. The 19-movement suite for chamber jazz ensemble of clarinet, accordion, piano, trombone and drums embodies Clausen’s playful and vivid musical outlook. In the jazz tradition, compositionally crafted folk-like motifs act as springboards for the ensemble’s improvised material. While the traditional concept of the jazz solo is seldom present in Clausen’s works, improvisatory counterpoint and conversations abound in his music, creating innovative opportunities for his band-mates to assert their personal voices.

Praise for The Wishbone Suite

“Music for a clutch of hometown peers; its sprightly chamber-jazz aesthetic, with a palette including accordion and clarinet, revealed his admiration for the likes of John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet. Aglow with youthful enthusiasm but also extremely savvy, that album squared with my initial impressions of Clausen.” - Nate Chinen, Jazz Times

“Brilliant release by trombonist Clausen…finds a way to fuse these disparate musicians and their seemingly ill-fitting instruments into an alluring, whimsical, and just-plain-cool mix of jazz, classical, and experimental music. Challenging music that doesn’t shy away from also being pretty. Pick of the Week.” - Dave Sumner, eMusic

“Wishbone can be easily seen as jazz music for jazz heads, its quite rock-n-roll in another way. Where the old formula was to get a bunch of dudes together, learn instruments along the way, re-hash traditional forms of music, and make a record in the process, Clausen has the instrumentation down pat and instead deconstructs the form, building his lovely suite from the ground up in the confident knowledge of his skill and the technique of his ensemble, creating improvisational brushstrokes through elements of classical composition, frenzied syncopation, flashes of pop structure, and buoyant, melodic themes.” - Gwendolyn Elliott, Seattle Weekly

“On his new album, The Wishbone Suite, former Seattle trombonist and composer and current Juilliard student Andy Clausen’s chamberjazz quintet reveals remarkable range, from gentle, pensive accordion-enhanced moments to rhythmically robust, clarinet-charged escapades. One of jazz’s most promising young compositional talents, Clausen has worked with Benny Golson, Wynton Marsalis (who’s performed Clausen’s music), Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano and other jazz greats.” - Willamette Week


“The Wishbone Suite" (Table & Chairs) is the creation of trombonist/composer Andy Clausen.  The young man, 19 at the time of this recording, is a native of Seattle, Washington, who is now attending the Juilliard School in New York City. Besides the leader, the 19-track "Suite" features Ivan Arteaga (clarinet), Gus Carns (piano), Aaron Otheim (accordion, piano) and Chris Icasiano (drums, glockenspiel) playing music informed by the work of Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Steve Reich and Henry Threadgill. The pieces are through-composed yet do not sound staid or static.  Only 3 of the tracks are over 4 minutes with most in the 2-3 minute range. This music does not feel fragmented but more like a series of short stories, each instrument a character.  There are several themes repeated throughout the "Suite", the Copland-esque "Who Goes There" that opens the CD and its close (melodic) counterpoint, "Affinity."   Each time one of the themes is played, it's played by different musicians and, sometimes, at a different pace.  "Badlands" really swings while "Trouble (Again)" displays an experimental side similar to the music Bill Frisell created for his "This Land" and "Have a Little Faith" recordings. Andy Clausen gives the listener much to ponder with this music;  everyone plays well while both the melodies and harmonic ideas have surprising depth for someone so young. "The Wishbone Suite", although not Clausen's debut recording, can serve as a fine introduction to a composer/arranger and performer worth paying attention to, hopefully for many years to come.”  Richard Kamis

 

Released 08 March 2012 

Andy Clausen – Trombone 
Ivan Arteaga – Clarinet 
Gus Carns – Piano 
Aaron Otheim – Accordion, Piano 
Chris Icasiano – Drums, Glockenspiel 

Produced by Andy Clausen 
Recording and Mixing Engineer – Vincent Labelle 
Recorded August 28-29, 2011 
London Bridge Studios, Seattle 

All compositions by Andy Clausen (Andy Clausen Music/ASCAP), except: 

“Interlude I” by Clausen/Otheim 
“Courage” by Chris Icasiano 
“Dream” by Gus Carns 

Design by Andrew J.S. 

The project was made possible by generous support from King County; 4Culture