Noumenon is Raphael's debut album as a leader. This international trio also consists of Todd Neufeld on guitar and Carlo Costa on drums and percussion. The three of them met in New York in 2014 and played several sessions and concerts there. Noumenon was released on CD and vinyl in November 2016 on Ruweh Records. It gained critical acclaim from the International press and was voted one of the best albums of 2016 in several polls.(press section). The album's artwork shows the work of Ethiopian/American visual artists Julie Mehretu
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In his compositions for this trio, Raphael strives to create a balance between control and freedom. Because in this trio Raphael works with improvising musicians, he tries to set a clear direction of where the music can go but at the same time leaves enough freedom for these musicians to express themselves and not lose their creativity. The music is thus through-composed and open at the same time. This is achieved mainly by the use of indeterminacy meaning that the scores combine conventional, graphic and text notation. These influences come from Raphael's research in contemporary classical music and in some ways its relation to improvised music. The music of Morton Feldman, Pauline Oliveros and Varèse in particular have left a strong mark on Raphael's concept for this trio. The result is a chamber music sound where improvisation and composition are layered and an obvious distinction between both becomes ambiguous.
Todd Neufeld is an electric and acoustic guitarist (born 08/05/81) based in Brooklyn, NY. He is a vital member of the Jazz and improvising communities in NYC.
Todd has been performing at venues across New York, the USA, Canada, Europe, South America and Japan for the past 15 years. He has performed with some of the most important veteran, as well as younger contemporary musicians, around today. He has performed in the Lee Konitz Quartet, Masabumi Kikuchi's TPT Trio, Tyshawn Sorey's Koan, Oblique and other ensembles, Tony Malaby Group, Samuel Blaser Quartet, Aaron Parks Quintet, Gerald Cleaver's NiMbNl, Dan Weiss Group, Michael Adkins Quintet, Sergio Krakowski Trio, Richie Barshay's RB3, Alexandra Grimal Quartet, Thomas Morgan Quartet, Rema Hasumi Group, Flin VanHemmen band and as well as in configurations with Billy Mintz, Joey Baron, Christian Wolff, and many others.
Todd has been featured extensively in acclaimed recordings, starting in 2009 with Samuel Blaser's "Pieces of Old Sky" on the Clean Feed record label, for which Jazz.com said Neufeld "creates a tonal footprint like no other.(S. Aaron)" He was also acclaimed by the NYtimes, National Public Radio and many other outlets for his important contributions to Tyshawn Sorey's Koan (2009 - 482 Music) and Oblique I (2011 - Pi Recordings.) Both albums were voted top ten
albums of the year in many US, and international polls. Numerous reviews to French saxophonist's Alexandra Grimal 2012 album Andromeda (Ayler Records) found Todd's musical contributions of particular note with Jazz Magazine CHOC calling his playing "a great revelation"(S. Olivier).
He has recently finished co-producing Rema Hasumi's debut album "Utazata" which will be released in May 2015 on Ruweh Records. And several other releases are planned for later 2015 and 2016.
Finally, Todd has most recently started the formation of his new group which includes a stellar two-drummer line up of Tyshawn Sorey and Billy Mintz. They finished a four night residency at SEEDS Music, an important venue and incubator of new sounds in Brooklyn, NY, and have plans to record Neufeld's premier solo album by the end of the year.
Percussionist and composer Carlo Costa was born in Rome, Italy in 1983. In Rome he studied jazz drumming and music theory at the St. Louis Music Center. In 2001 he moved to Boston to study music at Berklee College of Music, earning a BA in performance. In 2005 he moved to New York City where he completed a masters in jazz performance at the City College of New York. Over the years Carlo has had the opportunity to study percussion, jazz and improvisation with Susie Ibarra, Jamie Haddad, Ian Froman, Adam Cruz, John Patitucci, Ellery Eskelin, Drew Gress and Joe Lovano.
Since 2005 he’s been living in New York City where he regularly performs as a leader and co-leader of various projects, as well as a sideman. Carlo is primarily involved in music that ranges from avant-garde jazz to improvised chamber music and is an active composer for his ensembles and ad hoc projects.
Over the years Carlo has developed a personal style as a percussionist, composer and leader of improvising ensembles. Initially drawn to free jazz and the energetic New York City experimental downtown scene, Carlo soon started searching for a form of improvised music that would be increasingly subtle, spacious, meditative and slow-moving. The music that resulted is largely improvised but simultaneously very specific. In his work as a composer Carlo has been developing a personal style which incorporates aesthetic ideas from modern/contemporary Classical music and a compositional language designed for improvisers. In order to leave enough freedom and to allow flexibility in his written scores, Carlo makes use of a mixture of traditional notation, graphic scores, symbols and written directions.
As a performer Carlo is currently active leading the following projects: Minerva, a trio dedicated to Carlo's compositions (with pianist JP Schlegelmilch and bassist Pascal Niggenkemper), the Carlo Costa Quartet, an ensemble dedicated to improvisation with directions which makes use of vocabulary developed in rehearsals (with saxophonist Jonathan Moritz, trombonist Steve Swell and bassist Sean Ali), the large ensemble Acustica, a thirteen piece ensemble of acoustic instruments dedicated to performing Carlo's graphic scores, and a solo improvised percussion project. He co-leads the projects: Natura Morta an improvising trio of percussion and strings (with violist Frantz Loriot and bassist Sean Ali), an instrumental improvised ambient duo with guitarist Ryan Ferreira, and Earth Tongues a trio of brass and percussion (with trumpeter Joe Moffett and tubaist Dan Peck) and a percussion duo with Dutch drummer Flin van Hemmen. As a sideman Carlo is currently involved with the folk-jazz group Laila and Smitty (featuring Kenny Warren on trumpet and voice, Myk Freedman on lap steel, Jeremiah Lockwood on dobro and guitars, and Adam Hopkins on bass) and Mujô Quartet an avant-garde jazz group led by clarinetist Jean-Brice Godet (featuring Godet on clarinets and compositions, Michaël Attias on alto saxophone and Pascal Niggenkemper on bass).
In the past few years Carlo has shared the stage with musicians such as Denman Maroney, Steve Swell, Darius Jones, Michaël Attias, Robin Verheyen, Joachim Badenhorst, Todd Neufeld, Daniel Carter, Ben Gerstein, Emilie Lesbros, etc. He has performed throughout Europe and the US with a variety of projects. To date Carlo has released seven albums as a leader or co-leader and participated to several other recordings as a sideman.
Besides his activities as a performer, Carlo often organizes concerts in New York for local and touring bands, designs record covers, produces his on recordings. In November 2014, Carlo launched his own record label, Neither/Nor Records which is primarily dedicated to experimental and improvised music.