PJCE Records presents “Precipieces” by Fractal Quintet, a long standing Portland ensemble led by guitarist, vocalist, and composer Libby Roach. Roach’s compositions embrace all of her varied influences, touching on elements as diverse as latin jazz, mixed meter fusion, and soul jazz, all held together by a playful, Zappa-esque sense of fun and experimentation. “Precipieces” is an exciting debut for an ensemble that has been an important part of the Portland jazz and creative music community for over a decade.
Originally hailing from Louisiana, Libby Roach grew up in Ashland, OR and was involved from a very early age in music, theater, and film. Her music has appeared in independent film soundtracks, and her legendary punk rock band Smidgen opened for Primus in Southern Oregon in 2012. Fractal Quintet has long been the forum for the development of Libby’s intricate long form pieces, which tend to be comprised of many contrasting sections and yet seamlessly balance a sense of intense, driving groove with rhythmic adventurousness and strong, lyrical melodies. Her unique brand of fingerstyle rhythm guitar is steeped in samba rhythms and has been developed partially as a result of her trips to South America throughout her life. The tunes “Summertime” and “Sideways” showcase her Bjork influenced vocal work alongside brilliant improvisations from the band’s stellar lineup. “Precipieces” is a unique accomplishment: a record that maintains a strong sense of groove and pop sensibility while never compromising in terms of sophistication and complexity.
The sidemen in Fractal Quintet have all made important contributions to the regional music scene over the last two decades. Keyboardist Andrew Oliver has played with a myriad of Portland jazz icons and led his own bands, including the internationally recognized jazz and West African fusion project “Kora Band” and his chamber jazz collaboration with PJCE Records co-founder Dan Duval, the Ocular Concern. Reed player Lee Elderton has played with Andrew Durkin’s Industrial Jazz Group, Ocular Concern, Optic Nerve Trio, PJCE’s resident large ensemble, and many more. Trumpeter Katy Presley has toured extensively with notable punk and ska bands in addition to collaborating with her father, notable upright bass player Dan Presley (“Tall Jazz”). Upright bass player Eric Gruber has played with Bridgetown Sextet, Andrew Oliver Sextet, and Devin Phillips, among others. Drummer Whityn Owen is a major force behind Fractal Quintet, and has played with notable funk bands Rubberneck and Ben Darwish’s Commotion.
Prior to Whityn Owen’s arrival, the late Kipp Crawford held the drum chair in Fractal Quintet for many years. The Portland music community experienced a deep loss when Kipp was tragically killed in an accident in 2009 at the age of thirty one. Kipp had been a core member of Fractal Quintet for many years, and “Precipieces” includes two pieces which feature Kipp’s drumming and production work. The Ashland Schools Foundation has established the Kipp Crawford Memorial Endowment Fund, which is used to create enriching opportunities for jazz musicians in the Ashland schools. To learn more or donate to the fund, visit www.ashlandschoolsfoundation.org/Page.asp?NavID=82
After many years and various incarnations, Libby Roach and Fractal Quintet have made a major contribution to the PJCE Records canon. “Precipieces” is a stunning debut from an ensemble that seems poised to continue contributing to Portland’s fertile creative music community for many years to come.
released April 15, 2014
Libby Roach (guitar, vocals, percussion)
Andrew Oliver (keys)
Eric Gruber (upright bass)
Whityn Owen (drums, percussion)
Lee Elderton (saxophones)
Kate Presley (trumpet)
Kipp Crawford (drums on "Sideways" and "Summertime")
Sam Howard (electric bass on "Sideways" and "Summertime")
Derek Rieth (percussion on "Sideways")
Jayson Thoming-Gale (percussion on "Sideways")
Heather Keller (harp on "Simon's Samba")
Recorded in Portland, Oregon, by Josh Powell at The Map Room (2013).
"Sideways" and "Summertime" recorded by Kipp Crawford (2009), with additional tracks recorded by Josh Powell (2013).
Mixed and mastered by Josh Powell in Portland, Oregon
Artwork by Dylan McConnell at Tiny Little Hammers
Produced by Libby Roach, Whityn Owen, and Dan Duval
All songs written by Libby Roach, except "Summertime" written by George Gershwin
Dedicated to Kipp Crawford - We miss you everyday
Special thanks to:
All of the wonderful performers who played on this recording, PJCE Records- in particular Dan Duval and Andrew Oliver (lovingly referred to as Dandruvaliver), Josh Powell, Kipp Crawford, Paul Evans, Dylan McConnell, Mike Wyant, Jody Van Riper, Simon Martin, Warwick Varaday, Galen Clark, Scott 'Sarge' Sargent at Rhythm Traders, Kai Strandskov, Evan Schneider, Tamra Tiemeyer, our families, and you!
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