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  Soundscape 1979
Roscoe Mitchell, Gerald Oshita, Thomas Buckner
ScienSonic SS11

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CD Price: $15.00 - plus shipping ($3 domestic, $14.50 international)

The seeds of this startling music were planted back in 1965, when two remarkable musicians living in the Bay Area first met Roscoe Mitchell, who was passing through California with the beginnings of a group that would later become the renowned Art Ensemble of Chicago. Gerald Oshita, a composer, rare woodwind specialist and master of extended techniques such as multiphonics, and Thomas Buckner, a classically-trained baritone singer and fearless improviser, were a natural fit. In the year prior to this recording, the two of them met every morning - five days a week, for a year - to practice improvisation and develop their ideas.

In the summer of 1979, while Roscoe was Composer-In-Residence at Karl Berger's Creative Music Studios in Woodstock, NY, he invited Gerald to teach one of the composer workshops he was curating there. Traditionally, each teacher gave a solo concert at the end of the workshop, to which he or she could invite a guest performer. Gerald chose to invite Thomas, and the two of them presented Marche, one of the improvisationally-based pieces they had been working on. Roscoe was sufficiently impressed that he approached them after the concert with the idea of forming a trio. Roscoe and Gerald were already scheduled to share a concert at Verna Gillis’ Soundscape performance loft in Manhattan later that month, so Thomas was added and a trio program was put together.

This initial meeting took place in Soundscape's first year of operation, and is heard here for the very first time thanks to the recent discovery of the 1/4" tape reel -- recorded by sculptor Brad Graves -- among Gerald Oshita's possessions (Gerald died unexpectedly in 1992; his work is sadly undocumented and under-recognized). The Soundscape concert presented solos, duos and a piece by the entire trio, and represents the very first efforts of this groundbreaking group (which eventually became known as "SPACE").

17 months later, the trio -- by then well-honed and fully unified -- recorded New Music for Woodwinds and Voice, an astonishing document of a new and creative music that utterly defies boundaries between composition and improvisation, jazz and concert music, standard and non-standard instrumentationÂ… before it became fashionable to do so. As a composer/improviser myself, I can say that this amazing recording showed those of us who were paying attention what is possible.

ScienSonic Laboratories is proud and honored to present the previously unheard, first recorded meeting of this historically significant and under-documented group.

Scott Robinson



Roscoe Mitchell, soprano sax (2), bass sax (3, 5, 6, 7)
Thomas Buckner, voice (1, 3)
Gerald Oshita, contrabass sarrusophone (1, 3, 5, 6, 7), Conn-o-sax (4)


1. Marche               4:46  (G. Oshita)
2. Open Side A         11:33  (R. Mitchell)
3. Textures For Trio   13:53  (G. Oshita)
4. Solo Improvisation   6:51  (G. Oshita) 
5-7: Prelude/(40Q)/Prelude (continuous performance)  15:05
     5. Prelude   5:05  (R. Mitchell)
     6. Composition 40Q (March) 7:35  (A. Braxton) 
     7. Prelude    2:25 (R. Mitchell)  

Roscoe Mitchell, soprano sax (2), bass sax (3, 5, 6, 7)
Thomas Buckner, voice (1, 3)
Gerald Oshita, contrabass sarrusophone (1, 3, 5, 6, 7), Conn-o-sax (4)