Dot Time Records is delighted to announce the latest release from multireedist, vocalist and bandleader Evan Arntzen. Arntzen’s third album as a bandleader, Countermelody is a celebration of the interplay, collective improvisation and soulful counterpoint that played such a big role in Black American Music emanating from New Orleans in the first half of the 20th century. During a time when convening is all but impossible, Countermelody brings the gaiety of live music to the recorded realm. Recorded on October 2nd and 3rd, 2020, the group of stellar musicians featured on Countermelody gathered together to create music that will inspire listeners everywhere to get up, share joy and dance. Arntzen’s superb reed and vocal musings are joined by trombonist Charlie Halloran, trumpeters Jon-Erik Kellso and Mike Davis, guitarist and banjoist Arnt Arntzen, pianist Dalton Ridenhour, bassist Tal Ronen, drummer Mark McLean and very special guest vocalist Catherine Russell.
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Countermelody brings early-jazz-exuberance to an eager present in a release which author and Louis Armstrong historian, Ricky Riccardi, calls “the very definition of timeless” in the album’s liner notes. Arntzen’s Dot Time Records debut features many of his own astounding arrangements of early New Orleans and Chicago jazz compositions written by such luminaries as Kid Ory, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Bennie Moten. The release also features wonderfully innovative compositions by Arntzen, Halloran and Kellso. Aside from thirteen hi-fidelity tracks, listeners will also be treated to tracks that were recorded to wax cylinder, a medium that actually predates when much of this music was composed. Producer Scout Opatut notes “the wax cylinder recordings were made possible by the genius Colin Hancock, who engineered them with his Edison phonograph. Everything you hear in those songs was done acoustically, without any electricity whatsoever.”
Evan Arntzen is a clarinetist, saxophonist and vocalist originally from Vancouver, BC. He is the third generation of a musical family, and began learning New-Orleans-style clarinet from his grandfather, Lloyd Arntzen, at the age of seven. Since moving to NYC in 2014, Evan has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Cafe Bohemia, Birdland, Town Hall, Mezzrow, Smalls, Symphony Space, as well as festivals and venues around the world. He holds the lead saxophone chair in Grammy® Winning Vince-Giordano’s Nighthawks, and performs with Catherine Russell, Jon-Erik Kellso and The EarRegulars. Evan is featured on notable recordings by Bria Skonberg (Sony Masterworks), Kat Edmonson, Loudon Wainwright III, and the award-winning soundtracks for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Bessie. He has also released three critically-acclaimed albums as a leader, including 2021’s Countermelody on Dot Time Records, which was produced by Scout Opatut (4/4 Creative).