Clean Feed has recently released a collaboration album by Elliott Sharp and Scott Fields, intitled "Scharfefelder".
Listening closely to this duo, one can hear a compact history of modern composition and improvisation. Although the duo has a sound all its own, under the surface you can sense traces of “New Music,” minimalism, free jazz, and blues. For this duo, the two composer-instrumentalists focuses on the interactions of two acoustic guitars, the pure unprocessed sound of metal strings shaking wood.
This is intimate music. The CD was recorded live to tape in a small room with the two musicians facing each other. Both of the musicians have long been interested in composition, improvisation, and borders between them. That’s why, without discussing “rules” for the project, Sharp and Fields each packed their compositions for the duo with a mixture or conventional notation, graphic notation, and structures for improvisation.
Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and sound-artist Sharp has central to the experimental music scene in New York City for more than thirty years. He has released more than 200 recordings spanning the musical spectrum. He pioneered ways of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction as well as pioneering use of computers in live improvisation. His compositions have been performed by the RadioSinfonie Frankfurt, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Rezonanz, Kronos Quartet, and Zeitkratzer. His “Quarks Swim Free” premiered at the Venice Biennale in September 2003 and his chamber opera “EmPyre” premiered at the 2006 Biennale.
Scott Fields was born in Chicago in the early 1950s. As a teenager he played guitar, sang, and wrote songs for rock and blues bands. In 1969 Fields formed the trio “Life Rhythms,” which was certainly the loudest avant-jazz group in Chicago at the time and it performed most often at rock venues and festivals. In addition to guitar, in this group Fields played tenor and soprano saxophone, flute, clarinet, and sundry percussion. Soon after that time, however, Fields stopped performing. In 1989 Fields began working as a musician again. Since then Fields has toured throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. He has released 18 CDs as a leader or co-leader and has been a sideman on many other recordings. He has been commissioned by the Milwaukee Improvisers Orchestra, Kanopy Dance, Li Chiao-Ping Dance, the Wisconsin Alliance for Composers, Yoshiko Kanda, Douglas Rosenburg, Arno Oehri, and the Köln Musiktriennale.
Among other "jewels", Clean Feed also made available a CD by the Spectrum String Trio, a team that joins the sounds of Carlos “Zíngaro”, Dominique Regef and Wilbert DeJoode.
Portuguese violinist Carlos “Zíngaro” is committed to reinventing chamber music through improvisation. Consider some of his past collaborations – in duo with Joelle Léandre, Dominique Pifarely, Peggy Lee, Peter Kowald, Derek Bailey, and Dominic Duval; in trio with Tom Cora and percussionist Roger Turner, Fred Lonberg-Holm and electronics explorer Lou Mallozzi, and with Hans Reichel and clarinetist Rudiger Carl; or in quartet with Elliott Sharp, Tomas Ulrich and Ken Filiano. He is specially interested in the string group format and in collectives with a solid string presence. In the 2007 Vision Festival, in New York, he was one of the violinists, along with Billy Bang, Mark Feldman, and Dave Soldier, paying a tribute to Leroy Jenkins.
In the Spectrum String Trio, we find him in the company of the French hurdy-gurdy player Domique Regeff and the Dutch contrabassist Wilbert DeJoode. This music is somewhere between the worlds of avant-jazz and contemporary classical music, with reminiscences of folk troubadour songs; after all, the hurdy-gurdy has medieval origins. "Zíngaro"’s sound world is an original one, coming from on one side, Paganini, Shostakovich, and Bartok, and on the other, Stuff Smith, Leroy Jenkins and, Ornette Coleman, whose “bad” violin playing constitutes for "Zíngaro" an example of how to fight academic virtuosic perfectionism.