Curlew (band)

Last updated

Curlew is an American experimental free jazz group founded by saxophone player George Cartwright in 1979. [1] Members of the band have included cellist Tom Cora, drummer Pippin Barnett, guitarists Davey Williams and Fred Frith, and bassist Bill Laswell. [1]

Free jazz is an approach to jazz that developed in the 1960s when musicians attempted to change or break down jazz conventions, such as regular tempos, tones, and chord changes. Musicians during this period believed that the bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz that had been played before them was too limiting. They became preoccupied with creating something new. Free jazz has often been combined with or substituted for the term "avant-garde jazz". Europeans tend to favor the term "free improvisation". Others have used "modern jazz", "creative music", and "art music".

Saxophone type of musical instrument of the woodwind family

The saxophone is a family of woodwind instruments. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. When the player presses a key, a pad either covers a hole or lifts off a hole, lowering or raising the pitch, respectively.

George Cartwright is an American musician, best known as the founder of the band Curlew in 1979 in New York City. Besides playing soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones, he has composed music for Curlew, his own solo recordings and other music ensembles such as Zeitgeist. He attended the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York, and currently resides in Minnesota.



<i>Curlew</i> (album) 1981 studio album by Curlew

Curlew is the eponymously titled debut studio album by Curlew, released in 1981 by Landslide Records.

Cuneiform Records is a record label in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Moers Music is a German jazz record label that was founded by Burkhert Henen in Moers, Germany. The label started in 1974 under the name Ring but was changed three years later due to a conflict with a Canadian record label that had the same name. Moers concentrates on free jazz and has released albums by Barry Altschul, Anthony Braxton, John Carter, Anthony Davis, Roscoe Mitchell, James Newton, Wadada Leo Smith, Vienna Art Orchestra, and World Saxophone Quartet.

Related Research Articles

Eskimo curlew species of bird

The Eskimo curlew, or the northern curlew, is a species of curlew in the family Scolopacidae. It was one of the most numerous shorebirds in the tundra of western Arctic Canada and Alaska, with approximately two million birds killed per year in the late 1800s. As there has not been a reliable sighting since 1987 or a confirmed sighting since 1963, the Eskimo curlew is now considered possibly extinct. The bird was about 30 cm (12 in) long and fed mostly on insects and berries.

Wadada Leo Smith American musician

Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith is an American trumpeter and composer, working primarily in the fields of avant-garde jazz and free improvisation. He was one of three finalists for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Music for Ten Freedom Summers, released on May 22, 2012.

HMAS Curlew was a Ton-class minesweeper operated by the Royal Navy from 1953 to 1961, and the Royal Australian Navy from 1962 to 1991. During her Australian service, the ship operated off Malaysia during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation during the mid-1960s, then was modified for use as a minehunter. Delays in bringing a replacement class into service kept Curlew operational until 1990, and she was sold into civilian service in 1991.

Bill Cartwright American basketball player and coach

James William Cartwright is an American retired NBA basketball player and a former head coach with the Chicago Bulls. A 7'1" center, he played 16 seasons for the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics, helping the Bulls capture consecutive championships in 1991, 1992 and 1993. He attended Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove, California, and played college basketball at the University of San Francisco.

Tom Cora American cellist and composer

Thomas Henry Corra, better known as Tom Cora, was an American cellist and composer, best known for his improvisational performances in the field of experimental jazz and rock. He recorded with John Zorn, Butch Morris, and The Ex, and was a member of Curlew, Third Person and Skeleton Crew.

Amy Denio American musician and composer

Amy Denio is a Seattle (USA)-based multi-instrumental composer of soundtracks for modern dance, film and theater, as well as a songwriter and music improviser. Often called an unclassifiable avant-garde jazz musician, she is also deeply inspired by world music. She is probably best known as a vocalist, accordionist and saxophone-player. Among her current musical involvements are The Tiptons Sax Quartet and Die Resonanz Stanonczi, a radical folk group based in Salzburg, Austria. She has also collaborated repeatedly with the Pat Graney Dance Company, David Dorfman Dance Company, Victoria Marks, and with many other choreographers.

Nicky Skopelitis is an American guitarist and composer of Greek descent, best known as a guitarist. He also has performed on banjo, oud, lute, keyboards and other instruments. Although Skopelitis has recorded few albums as a bandleader, he has appeared on many more recordings, often collaborating with prolific bass guitarist and producer Bill Laswell. Until 1987 or so, he used the spelling "Scopelitis" for his last name.

Cartwright, Newfoundland and Labrador Town in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Cartwright is a community located on the eastern side of the entrance to Sandwich Bay, along the southern coast of Labrador in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It was incorporated in 1956.

David Russell Borden is an American composer and keyboard player of minimalist music.

Reigning Sound is an American garage punk band originally based in Memphis, Tennessee, now located in Asheville, North Carolina. In 2012 it signed to Merge Records. The band's current lineup includes songwriter Greg Cartwright, Benny Trokan (bass), Mike Catanese (guitar), Mikey Post (drums) and Dave Amels (organ).

Paul Dunmall Jazz saxophonist

Paul Dunmall is a British jazz musician who plays tenor and soprano saxophone, as well as the baritone and the more exotic Saxello and the Northumbrian pipes.

John Lindberg (jazz musician) American musician

John Lindberg is an American jazz double-bassist.

Pheeroan akLaff American jazz drummer

Pheeroan akLaff is an American jazz drummer. Pheeroan akLaff began playing in his hometown of Detroit, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, with Travis Biggs, Ars Nova, The Ebony Set, The Last Days, and Rod Lumpkin, recorded with Major Lansky. He moved to New Haven, Connecticut, and formed DejaVu with Dwight Andrews. He debuted with Bill Baron in 1975, followed by tenure in Leo Smith's New Dalta Ahkri.

Davey Williams (musician) American musician

Davey Williams is an American free improvisation and avant-garde music guitarist. In addition to his solo work, he has been noted for his membership in Curlew and his collaborations with LaDonna Smith.

Phillip Johnston is an American avant-garde saxophonist. He came to prominence in the 1980s as co-founder of The Microscopic Septet and went on to write extensively for films, particularly new scores for classic silent films from the early 20th Century.


  1. 1 2 Tilland, William & Lynch, Dave "Curlew Biography", Allmusic, retrieved 2011-01-26