"TROMBONES, VOICE, A PARODY, A MORALITY TALE!" As is apparent from reading the album personnel, this CD features the trombone, or more precisely, two trombones. The trombonists, Stanley Schumacher and Matthias Müller, push the envelope to the maximum, and the result is an eye-opener. They are presented here in a variety of chamber music settings designed to showcase the extensive exploitation of extended techniques for trombone and voice. In fact, the relationship of the trombone to the male voice is one of the most revealing aspects of this album. Being in the same range and possessing a similar timbre, the trombone and male voice both complement and imitate one another beautifully, resulting in a range of expressiveness that is unexpected. The tracks on Way Cool fall nicely into three categories. The first category includes the instrumental pieces: "Ambient Event," "Hearing Disorder," the sinister sounding "Darkness Of Error," and "Back Talk" with it's distortion boxes. Also included in this category is "Trombone On The Edge," a tour de force for trombone and percussion featuring German musicians Matthias Müller and Christian Marien. The second category showcases pieces featuring the interaction of trombone and voice. If the pieces in the first category demonstrate mastery of the trombone, then the vocalizations in this category demonstrate the trombonist's indebtedness to singing, for it is often difficult to tell which sounds are being produced by trombone and which by voice as in the aptly named "Linguistic Engineering." Also included in this category are "Cognitive Dissonance," "Out Is In," and the final track with it's rhetorical question "Where's The Melody?". Finally, in the third category, we have two text-based pieces: "High Art?", with it's parody of foolish criticism of new art music, and "Way Cool," a morality tale with jazz accompaniment. Trombones, voice, a parody, a morality tale! Dealing with Stanley Schumacher? EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED! -----Steven Eversole MUSIC NOW ENSEMBLE: This ensemble is a collective of improvisers and composers of exceptional musicianship and imagination. The members of the collective perform in various combinations of players in order to offer a kaleidoscope of instrumentations consistent with the philosophy of free improvisation. Stanley Schumacher founded the ensemble in 2003 to present performances in both acoustical and electroacoustical formats and to promote the diversity and spontaneity of contemporary art music. STANLEY SCHUMACHER: Trombonist, vocalist, and composer Stanley Schumacher is director of the Music Now Ensemble and president of Musikmacher Productions. He has an established resume in improvised music, having performed with Ricardo Arias, Rosi Hertlein, David Hofstra, Evan Lipson, Sabir Mateen, Hans Tammen, Todd Whitman, Nate Wooley, and many others. In addition, Stanley composes contemporary art music. A number of his compositions employ narrative texts, which often exhibit a humorous theatrical element. This humorous theatrical element presents itself on Way Cool in the title track and in Professor Musikmacher's manic "High Art?". His improvisation can be heard on previous releases from Musikmacher Productions, most recently on Jive At 5:05 (MM004). MATTHIAS MÜLLER: A resident of Berlin, Germany, trombonist Matthias Müller is an improviser who performs in a variety of ensembles. For many years he was a member of the Deutsch-französisches Jazzensemble conducted by Albert Mangelsdorff. His CD Bhavan was released on the Jazzhausmusik label in 2004. Matthias has collaborated with many outstanding improvisers including Peter Evans, Nate Wooley, Rudi Mahall, Frank Gratkowski, Tobias Delius, Michael Zerang, Johannes Bauer, and Wilbert de Joode. EVAN LIPSON: Bassist Evan Lipson performs in a variety of alternative ensembles. His improvisation credentials include performing with Stuart Dempster, Andy Hayleck, Katt Hernandez, Rosi Hertlein, Matthias Kaul, Lukas Ligeti, Toshi Makihara, Sabir Mateen, Tatsuya Nakatani, Pauline Oliveros, Mike Pride, Stanley Schumacher, Birgit Ulher, Nate Wooley, Todd Whitman, and Jack Wright. Evan has received both the Composers Forum SUBITO grant and Meet the Composer's Creative Connections grant. He studied string bass with Michael Formanek and Robert Kesselman. CHRISTIAN MARIEN: Berlin based percussionist Christian Marien is a member of numerous ensembles such as Superimpose, The Astronomical Unit, Stereolisa, and Computerband. He has played on CD's released by Leo Records and Jazzwerkstatt and, in 2007, was featured on a solo CD released on the Schraum label. Having a strong interest in interdisciplinary performance, Christian collaborates not only with improvising musicians but also with multi-media artists (Ritsche and Zast), visual artists (Thomas Bratzke), and dancers (Hans-Werner Klohe). PROFESSOR MUSIKMACHER: A long-time associate of the State Mental Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Professor Musikmacher performs exclusively with Stanley Schumacher and the Music Now Ensemble, which provides a platform for his "instructive lectures." He was educated in Berlin at the Moravian Academy and at the St. Ursula School for Delinquent Girls where he completed his theoretical studies. Professor Musikmacher is well known for his essay "Oral Arts and the Negative Space Continuum." Included in the venerable Journal of Oral Arts, this essay explores the metaphysical relationship of sound and reality. His recent book, Altered States: A Comprehensive Investigation of Reality, published by Didactic Press, has received high critical acclaim.