CHES SMITH

Avant-Garde Jazz / 21st Century Modern • United States
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Born in San Diego, CA and raised in Sacramento, Ches Smith came up in a scene of punks and metal musicians who were listening to and experimenting with jazz and free improvisation. He studied philosophy at the University of Oregon before relocating to the San Francisco Bay area in 1995. After a few years of playing with obscure bands and intensive study with drummer / educator Peter Magadini, he enrolled in the graduate program at Mills College in Oakland at the suggestion of percussionist William Winant. There he studied percussion, improvisation, and composition with Winant, Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros and Alvin Curran. One of Winant’s first “assignments” for Ches was to sub in his touring gig at the time, Mr. Bungle (here he met bassist / composer Trevor Dunn who would later hire him for the second incarnation of his Trio-Convulsant). During his time at Mills, Ches co-founded two bands: read more...
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CHES SMITH Discography

CHES SMITH albums / top albums

CHES SMITH Congs for Brums album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Congs for Brums
Avant-Garde Jazz 2006
CHES SMITH Noise To Men album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Noise To Men
Avant-Garde Jazz 2010
CHES SMITH Ches Smith and These Arches : Finally Out Of My Hands album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ches Smith and These Arches : Finally Out Of My Hands
21st Century Modern 2010
CHES SMITH Psycho Predictions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Psycho Predictions
Avant-Garde Jazz 2012
CHES SMITH Ches Smith and These Arches : Hammered album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ches Smith and These Arches : Hammered
21st Century Modern 2013
CHES SMITH Ches Smith with Craig Taborn and Mat Maneri: The Bell album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Ches Smith with Craig Taborn and Mat Maneri: The Bell
21st Century Modern 2016

CHES SMITH EPs & splits

CHES SMITH live albums

CHES SMITH Unrock Series - 21.01.2010 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Unrock Series - 21.01.2010
Avant-Garde Jazz 2010
CHES SMITH Ches Smith And These Arches : International Hoohah album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ches Smith And These Arches : International Hoohah
21st Century Modern 2014

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CHES SMITH Reviews

CHES SMITH Ches Smith with Craig Taborn and Mat Maneri: The Bell

Album · 2016 · 21st Century Modern
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
snobb
From the first dozen of albums released in 2016,there is one stand alone release. US drummer Ches Smith,better known as Xiu Xiu and Mr.Bungle member (or John Zorn collaborator, depending on one's background), in the very first days of 2016 released his debut on German ECM label. It is not his first album as leader, he already has released series of solo drums albums in US and few more - with collaborators in Europe (on Portuguese Clean Feed and Polish For Tune labels), but his appearance on ECM is still quite surprising.

Respected chamber jazz (and sterile European ambient/world fusion in a past) label doesn't look like proper home for ex-Mr.Bungle guy. Still things are changing though.

On "The Bell" Smith leads acoustic trio with pianist Craig Taborn and violist Mat Maneri, both are far not a newbies for the label. Besides of playing drums,vibraphone and bells Ches Smith is composer of all album's material (part of it is obviously improvised, but generally the line between composed and improvised is extremely thin on this album).

So, surprisingly for Ches Smith but expect-ably for ECM release,music on "The Bell" is kind of chamber jazz,spiced with improvisational elements, but strongly influenced by modern classical composition. Both pianist and violist feel very comfortable with slow,often dark and calm atmosphere and, more surprisingly, Smith himself finds right place in this quite unusual for him environment.

First half (bigger) of "The Bell" represents similar by its tempo and atmosphere dark chamber jazz, the last third (starting from Wacken Open Air) is faster,sharper and moves towards contemporary jazz avant-garde.

A bit risky release,since its target is hardly Mr.Bungle fans nor ECM chamber safer chamber jazz lovers, it opens new interesting page in Ches Smith musical biography. "The Bell" contains interesting music,but I am even more curious what can come next from same or similar concept Ches Smith' projects.

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