Berman Shelton Walter Last Distractions

Berman Shelton Walter : Last Distractions

An album of improvisations by Josh Berman on cornet, Aram Shelton on soprano saxophone & bass clarinet, and Weasel Walter on drums. Recorded in the summer of 2008, this album marks the first time Berman and Walter had played together since 1991. These spontaneously structured, fast-paced dialogues move from high energy extended technique mash ups to open spaced textural noise. The acoustic timbres of the instruments are raw, warm and focused.

CDR in sleeve. OUT OF PRINT. Download available through Bandcamp.

Shelton’s bass clarinet work deserves special attention; both brash and nuanced. Invoking the music of Eric Dolphy? Certainly; but Shelton, with Walter’s woolly and wild drumming, takes Dolphy to a new planet. In fact, Shelton travels to a galaxy of puzzling endgames that sort sounds into a jigsaw of styles, energies and perspectives. –¬†All About Jazz

Back in the early nineties trumpeter Josh Berman and drummer Weasel Walter – both barely out of their teens – briefly shared an apartment in Chicago with a bunch of rowdy, noise making “non-musicians”. The high point of this living situation came one evening when the roommates smashed all the glass in the house out in a fit of Dionysian frenzy! After leaving the crash pad without their security deposits, the two went their musical separate ways. Berman would go on to become a prominent player in the Chicago improvised music/jazz scene and Walter founded the notorious, long-running punk jazz unit the Flying Luttenbachers before relocating to Oakland, CA in 2003.

During the late nineties reedist Aram Shelton came to Chicago and soon met Berman. In an odd parallel, their first musical meeting happened in a space that was being demolished to be rebuilt into a condo. Perhaps revealing a new level of maturity, Berman and Shelton had no hand in the demolition! By 2005 Shelton needed a change of pace and headed out to California to get his masters degree in electronic music.

Although they barely crossed paths in Chicago during their geographical intersection, Aram Shelton and Weasel Walter began collaborating on the West Coast, the first document being Shelton’s appearance on Walter’s 2006 “Revolt Music” CD. In 2008 Berman made a trip out to Oakland to play some concerts and Shelton suggested that Josh play with Weasel again for the first time since 1991. One afternoon the three entered a recording studio and created this album which contains the entirety of the music made that day. These spontaneously structured, fast-paced dialogues move from high energy extended technique mash ups to open spaced textural noise. The acoustic timbres of the instruments are raw, warm and focused. This album happens to be the first recorded document of Shelton on soprano saxophone and also proves that you needn’t break anything to have a good time.