Two prominent Los Angeles's wind/brass improvisers join forces with a formidable New York rhythm section to deliver Fine Dining under the band name Quoan. Though clarinetist Brian Walsh and trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom have collaborated in numerous bands and projects for more than a decade, this is their first co-led ensemble, and the results are as nuanced and engaging as such a union would suggest. Bassist Sam Minaie and drummer Mark Ferberground and drive the group with a remarkably nimble approach, ranging from elegant to burly, as the bi-coastal group navigates the timbral landscapes of the modern chord-less quartet. With a fearless approach to composition and improvisation, Quoan steps into the lineage of this classic avant-garde jazz format with grace, creativity, and a cheeky sense of humor that is downright infectious.
Brian Walsh and Daniel Rosenboom are two of the most sought after voices in the Los Angeles creative music scene and have appeared on dozens of recordings in jazz, pop, classical, experimental and other genres. Walsh is a member of the contemporary classical groups wild Up and gnarwhallaby and has previously worked alongside figures as diverse as Gavin Bryars, Meredith Monk and Nels Cline. In addition to leading his own bands Burning Ghosts and the Daniel Rosenboom Quintet, Rosenboom has worked in the groups of Vinny Golia, Josh Groban and Anthony Wilson and works frequently in the storied Hollywood film-scoring community for such notable titles as the recent Star Wars films. Sam Minaie has worked with many of today's leading jazz musicians, including Tigran Hamasyan, Donny McCaslin, and Ravi Coltrane, and Mark Ferber has performs regularly with such notable artists as Gary Peacock, Ralph Alessi, and Brad Shepik.
This wealth of performance experience is on full display in the expansive stylistic ground covered throughout the duration of Quoan's Fine Dining. Beginning with the brooding groove of “The Last,” Walsh and Rosenboom carve out their own distinct sonic spaces while exploring the shifting colors of microtonal improvisation. This group has moments of unabashed jazz as well, such as the hard-swinging “Capitol Absurdity” and slippery groove that anchors “Demicolon.” The group plays cleverly with structure, as in the rhythmic palindrome of "216" or the aleatoric “Fist," and plays with ironic sound painting in "Legislation" and the title track "Fine Dining." Several miniatures pepper the record, where the group breaks into factions of duos and trios (“Gnomish”, “Shunyata” and “Witch's Butter”), as well as a couple moments of profound lyrical respite in the waltz “Moon Cage” and the elegiac closer “Braids and Brooms.”
History is not lost on these musicians. Recorded live, all together in the same room at 64 Sound in Highland Park, CA, using a total of 9 microphones, the group embraces an old-school sound that places the listener in the room with palpable energetic interplay between band mates. This marriage of history and innovation extends even to Eron Rauch's cover art, which presents a wonderfully "kill-your-idols" style homage to Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground. With Fine Dining Quoan presents an album that feels classic yet new, biting yet sweet, and overflowing with light-hearted virtuosity.