Sydney Morning Herald: "Beautifully spacious improvisations congeal into folky songs, jazzy interludes, sunny, back-porch grooves or even atmospheric rock on this extraordinary CD." January 2009
Hank Roberts, born in the mid-fifties in Terre Haute, Indiana, begins his musical career in the mid-West, but his path soon leads to the East Coast, where – at the start of the eighties – he, along with Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Mark Feldman, Joey Baron and other young musicians like John Zorn, gives new life to the Downtown New York scene, and is portrayed by many music journalists as an alternative to the so-called M-Base-Group around Steve Coleman, Greg Osby and Cassandra Wilson.
The idea of so-called Downtown Music prob-ably arises from Yoko Ono's Loft, which she opens in the early sixties, and where, among others, many "Fluxus" artists show up and present their works. At the start of the seventies, the scene changed: "The Kitchen" opens up, and becomes a venue for Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, John Moran, Peter Greenaway, Brian Eno, Cindy Sherman and others. In 1987 the whole young Downtown music scene, which Hank Roberts is part of, finds a new home at the "Knitting Factory". The German label JMT, founded in 1985, is one of the few to document the early work of both M-Base and the Downtown Music scene.
Hank Roberts' debut album »Black Pastels«, with Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Joey Baron and other comes out in 1988, and other JMT albums follow. Hanks Roberts, the most important cellist in the Downtown Music scene, now tours extensively in Europe, pops up in Japan, and forms the string trio "Arcado" with Mark Feldman and Mark Dresser, as well as the group "Miniature" with Tim Berne and Joey Baron. At the peak of his career, Hank Roberts leaves New York, burning some bridges behind him, since for him the most important thing is his family, and he doesn't want the unstable, unpredictable life of a musician to put it at risk. He retreats to the calm of Ithaca, to devote himself to his children. Roberts turns down offers of tours, and rarely goes into the studio, yet he doesn't lose contact with music. Once his children are able, increasingly, to go their own way, Hank Roberts' inclination to get back into the music scene gets ever stronger.
In 2006 cellist Hank Roberts, French guitarist Marc Ducret and American drummer Jim Black come together to make their first European tour. The audience is excited by their free improvisation and experimental music, and from this beginning, the new Hank Roberts Trio develops the programme »Green«. In 2007 the three musicians meet up for a week at an old warehouse just outside Munich that has been newly set up as a recording studio, to make their debut album for Winter & Winter.
Alongside the excellent guitarist Marc Ducret and the sensitive drummer Jim Black, Roberts creates new sonic worlds, with stories to tell about American folk music and Indian dancing, as well as jazz and rock 'n' roll. Roberts, Ducret and Black play free improvisations, sound- and rhythm-compositions, and create a special sonic world of their own. There are new songs like "In the 60s", "Cola People" and "Trees", and "The Departing Song / War Dance / Jersey Devil" is newly adapted for this group. Robert sings during the fade-out of the recording of "Pictures", a homage to his mother. »Green« is a work created by three individual musicians who have a particular musical understanding and empathy with one another, and have realised this at the highest artistic level. (Translation: Richard Toop)
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