One of the most difficult things to accomplish in music is making the complicated
sound natural and easy. Saxophonist Loren Stillman continues to challenge
himself in the arena of composition by writing pieces of music that sound freely
played but adhere to an architecture, requiring the players to move forward within
the piece as they deal with the fabric of the composition.
In pursuing these sounds, Stillman has enlisted a trio of trusted colleagues in
bassist Drew Gress and drummer Mark Ferber to record Time and Again, an
album of new pieces that move organically though they utilize written forms. This
trio setting lent to a new sound that Stillman has been developing on the tenor
saxophone, which he focuses on for the entirety of the recording.
The music in question is in part inspired by the expressive yet studied music of
his heroes, Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, and Paul Motian. Their attention to the
details of the musical form while freely expressing themselves sets their work
apart from other “free” players. Stillman wanted to maintain that spirit by finding
a way to play in a free manner while retaining the anchor of the songs, which
proves to be one of the most difficult ways to improvise in jazz.