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Barry Altschul (b. January 6, 1943, New York City) is a free jazz drummer who gained fame in the late 1960s with the pianists Paul Bley and Chick Corea.

His first major gig in the late 1960s was with Paul Bley's trio. In 1969 he joined with Chick Corea, Dave Holland and Anthony Braxton to form the group Circle. At the time, he made use of a high-pitched Gretsch kit with add-on drums and percussion instruments, which he integrated seamlessly in a whirlwind of sound. In the 1970s Altschul worked extensively with Anthony Braxton's quartet featuring Kenny Wheeler, Dave Holland, and George Lewis . Braxton, signed to Arista Records, was able to secure a large enough budget to tour with a collection of dozens of percussion instruments, strings and winds. In addition to his participation in ensembles featuring avant garde musicians, Altschul performed with Lee Konitz, Art Pepper and other "straight ahead"
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BARRY ALTSCHUL albums / top albums

BARRY ALTSCHUL Virtuosi album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Avant-Garde Jazz 1976
BARRY ALTSCHUL You Can't Name Your Own Tune album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
You Can't Name Your Own Tune
Avant-Garde Jazz 1977
BARRY ALTSCHUL Another Time/Another Place album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Another Time/Another Place
Avant-Garde Jazz 1978
BARRY ALTSCHUL Brahma album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Avant-Garde Jazz 1980
BARRY ALTSCHUL For Stu album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
For Stu
Avant-Garde Jazz 1981
BARRY ALTSCHUL Irina album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Post Bop 1983
BARRY ALTSCHUL That's Nice album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
That's Nice
Avant-Garde Jazz 1986
BARRY ALTSCHUL The 3dom Factor album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
The 3dom Factor
Avant-Garde Jazz 2013
BARRY ALTSCHUL Barry Altschul Barry Wedgle Kim Stone : BBK album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Barry Altschul Barry Wedgle Kim Stone : BBK
Avant-Garde Jazz 2014
BARRY ALTSCHUL Barry Altschul’s 3dom Factor : Tales of the Unforeseen album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Barry Altschul’s 3dom Factor : Tales of the Unforeseen
Avant-Garde Jazz 2015


BARRY ALTSCHUL live albums

BARRY ALTSCHUL Somewhere Else album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Somewhere Else
Avant-Garde Jazz 1979
BARRY ALTSCHUL Barry Altschul Featuring Jon Irabagon & Joe Fonda: The 3Dom Factor - Live In Krakow album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Barry Altschul Featuring Jon Irabagon & Joe Fonda: The 3Dom Factor - Live In Krakow
Avant-Garde Jazz 2017
BARRY ALTSCHUL Barry Altschul’s 3Dom Factor Feat. Jon Irabagon & Joe Fonda : Long Tall Sunshine album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Barry Altschul’s 3Dom Factor Feat. Jon Irabagon & Joe Fonda : Long Tall Sunshine
Avant-Garde Jazz 2021

BARRY ALTSCHUL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

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BARRY ALTSCHUL Barry Altschul’s 3dom Factor : Tales of the Unforeseen

Album · 2015 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Barry Altschul is an under-recorded virtuoso free jazz drummer who made his name in the short-lived but exceptional Circle - early avant-garde jazz band where he played with such (now) stars as pianist Chick Corea, reedist Anthony Braxton and bassist Dave Holland. His new trio, 3Dom Factor, is an extremely rare project as a leader. They just released their new live album, "Long Tall Sunshine", so it looks like it makes some sense to re-listen to their second, and last (Aug.2021) studio album, "Tales of the Unforseen", released six years ago.

The trio's bassist, Joe Fonda, is another free jazz veteran who played with Altschul in FAB Trio (with violinist Billy Bang). Third 3Dom Factor's member is a younger generation reedist, one of the modern scene's leaders, Jon Irabagon.

From the very first moments the trio's sound is easy recognizable when Irabagon plays bluesy and soulful different reeds solos with the support of a very technical and muscular rhythm section. Twenty-six minutes long opener, "As The Tale Begins", is a spontaneous composition (as well as two others on the album) which gives a lot of space for each of the three artists' soloing. Of the three composed songs, one belongs to Thelonious Monk ("A Tale Of Monk: Ask Me Now"), one more - to Annette Peacock("Annette´s Tale Of Miracles") and the rest - to Altschul himself ("A Drummer´s Tale"). Still, the spontaneous pieces are full of tuneful snippets and lyrical moments while the composed ones get quite free, so the border between firsts and seconds are often blurred.

Most importantly, the trio is of the highest level of professionalism, playing mid-tempo soulful free jazz with lots of spirit, what once was almost a standard for the genre (I'm speaking about early 70s), but almost disappeared with time.

There are not many novelties in this music, and the sound is quite conservative (yeh, it sounds funny - conservative free jazz), but somehow it revitalizes one of the best traditions free jazz established long ago, and it works well in the modern world.

One can hardly find here harsh moments, or explosive energy, or even faster pieces (all of that partially can be found on the trio's freshly released live album), but "Tales Of The Unforeseen" is a solid masters' work, which demonstrates great spirit and maturity.


Album · 1976 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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Drummer Barry Altschul is one of the most respectable advanced jazz drummers ever,co-founder of Chic Corea's Circle (together with Dave Holland and Anthony Braxton), member of ARC(Altschul-Holland-Corea),long-time Anthony Braxton quartet's member,etc,etc. His career as leader was mostly unnoticed though, fortunately after Finnish TUM label released his trio's strong "3Dom" in 2013 it looks he attracted more attention.

At the very beginning of his musical career Barry played with already respectful Canadian pianist Paul Bley (as his trio members) for five years.Together with Bley,they were two permanent trio members,bassist position was filled with some different musicians as Mark Levinson,Ken Carter or Steve Swallow.Gary Peacock was one of them as well.

"Virtuosi", formally Altschul debut as leader,was released in 1976,nine years after the material has been recorded.In all but the name musicians participated is just a Paul Bley Trio of the moment.Albums contains two long compositions,one on each vinyl side,both written by Annette Peacock (what only enforces the feeling that you're listen to Paul Bley band).It's difficult to imagine why recorded material coming from 1967 Paul Bley trio's have been released after nine years stating Barry Altschul as leader (album was released on Bley's own Improvising Artists Inc.)At least one good thing here is that being in all but the name Bley album from late 60s as almost any other pianist recording from that time it contains quality music.

As one can expect nothing here reminds Circle or Arc or Anthony Braxton quartet's music - complex multilayered avant-garde jazz presented on other Altschul-participated recordings from same period. "Virtuozi" contains dreamy melancholic and tuneful if quite free characteristic Anette Peacock signature's music,similar to what one can find on other Payl Bley trio's albums. The main difference is probably that Bley's piano doesn't dominate here - very often it takes an accompaniment role for leading rhythm section. To say truth,Gary Peacock's physical acoustic bass is even more notable that Barry's drums here(as on many his other earlier recordings,Gary Peacock plays very free here).

Being a pleasant listening (and one of very early recordings predicted upcoming so-called "ECM sound"), "Virtuozi" are a bit bulky and in moments sound directionless; probably it's a reason why tapes spent even nine years in attic before they were released. Not the best album,released under Altschul name, this release still is one valuable evidence of early Bley/Peacocks' music and worth listening especially for such music fans.

BARRY ALTSCHUL The 3dom Factor

Album · 2013 · Avant-Garde Jazz
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Inventive veteran drummer Barry Altschul is probably best known for his participation in the short-lived, but highly respected, avant-garde jazz all-star quartet, Circle (with pianist Chick Corea, bassist David Holland and sax player Anthony Braxton)(1970). A year later, when Braxton left for a solo career, the rest continued as a trio playing and recording as A.R.C. After some months, Altschul, Braxton and Holland (with sax player Sam Rivers)reunited for Holland's legendary "Conference of The Birds".

It's less known that before this short period of stardom (not in the commercial sense though) Altschul spent five years playing as a member of the Paul Bley Trio. Also, during the mid-70s Altschul played with Braxton as his quartet member, and was also a sideman with Lee Konitz, Art Pepper and others. His extensive solo albums (mostly for Italian Soul Note) stayed generally unnoticed.

In the 2000s Altschul participated in the FAB Trio (with Billy Bang and Joe Fonda) and played on some younger avant-garde jazz artists' albums (bassist Adam Lane, sax player Jon Irabagon, etc). It looked like he would stay a living legend known as an advanced early 70s jazz hero, but the Finnish TUM label changed what looked unchangeable - with their "The 3Dom Factor" album they bring him back to the forefront of modern adventurous jazz.

Forming a muscular sax-bass-drums trio has reunited Altschul with musicians he has already played with in the past; bassist Joe Fonda was a co-member of their FAB Trio (third member Billy Bang passed away a few years ago) and one of the new generation sax leaders, Jon Irabagon, who played with Altschull on his strong "Foxy" album. But "The 3Dom Factor" is first of all an Altschul album - featuring his compositions, already known from earlier albums ("Irina") as well as complex, groovy and always tuneful songs, which connect modern sounds with Altschul's rich past experience. Well-balanced and full of controlled energy, melodic and even melancholic in moments, this music sounds like a bridge between generations, but its free from nostalgia and is really modern.

In combination with the excellent Sam Rivers "Reunion...", an album released a year before (which reunited Sam Rivers and Dave Holland with Barry Altschul), "The 3Dom Factor" is an attractive release, returning Altschul to the forefront of modern jazz.


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