"...seriously one of the most exciting drummers on the planet." -Adam Richards, indieworkshop.com
Chris Corsano is a drummer who has been working at the intersections of collective improvisation, free jazz, avant-rock, and noise music since the late 1990's. He began a long-standing, high-energy musical partnership with saxophonist Paul Flaherty in 1998. Their style, which they occasionally refer to with (semi-)tongue-in-cheek humor as "The Hated Music", infuses modern free-jazz's ecstatic collectivism with the urgency and intensity of hardcore punk.
A move from western Massachusetts to the UK in 2005 led Corsano to concentrate on his solo music, an always-spontaneously-composed amalgam of extended techniques for drum set and non-percussion instruments of his own making incorporated into his kit: e.g. violin strings stretched across drum heads, modified reed instruments that transform the drums into resonators which can, in turn, be used to incite strips of metal to react to the drum membranes' Chladni-plate-like modes of vibration, etc. In February 2006, Corsano released his first solo recording, The Young Cricketer, and toured extensively throughout Europe, USA, and Japan. He spent 2007 and '08 as the drummer on Björk's Volta world tour, all the while weaving in shows and recordings on his days off with the likes of Evan Parker, Virginia Genta, C. Spencer Yeh, and Jandek.
Moving back to the U.S. in 2009, Corsano returned focus to his own projects, including a duo with Michael Flower, Vampire Belt (with Bill Nace), Rangda (with Richard Bishop and Ben Chasny) and his solo work, further expanded in its use of contact microphones and synthesizers. In 2017, he received the prestigious Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artist Award.
Corsano's dedication to collective improvisation led to collaborations with many kindred spirits and resulted in his appearance on over 140 records and 1000 live performances. In addition to the the musicians mentioned above, he's worked with, among others: Paul Dunmall (released by the label: ESP-Disk), Joe McPhee (Roaratorio), Okkyung Lee (Open Mouth), Mette Rasmussen (Hot Cars Warp Records & Clean Feed), John Edwards (OTOroku & Dancing Wayang), Sylvie Courvoisier (Relative Pitch), Nate Wooley (No Business & Astral Spirits), Jim O'Rourke & Akira Sakata (Drag City & Polystar), Merzbow (Family Vineyard), Jessica Rylan (Load Records), Nels Cline (Strange Attractors), Heather Leigh (Volcanic Tongue), Ken Vandermark (Audiographic), Sunburned Hand Of Man (Manhand).
cor-sano.com - website with live dates past and present, complete discography, mp3s, etc.
"Corsano, despite being arguably the most riotosly energetic and creative drummer in contemporary free jazz, does far more than merely bash his kit into submission. Playing loud does not mean abandoning subtlety, and Corsano's sudden shifts of texture and dynamics are a wonder to behold." - Dan Warburton, The Wire (April 2006)
"One of those musicians who always seems to have developed exponentially since last viewing." - Andrey Henkin, The New York City Jazz Record (Feb. 2013)
Voted one of the '100 Greatest Drummers of Alternative Music' by Spin Magazine (May 2013)
"[Corsano is] an improviser who ignores all boundaries and limitations and seems game for any challenge—playing and touring with Bjork or going head-to-head with the legendary British saxophonist Evan Parker....Keeping up with Corsano is a daunting endeavor, but examining an assortment of recent releases reveals his versatility—he readily adapts to disparate contexts without surrendering his intense personality." - Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader (Aug. 2016)
"At Chris Corsano's solo performance at the Stone last night, the punchline was on anybody who's ever made a drummer joke. The 36-year-old musician played an astounding set that both redefined the instrument and created a coherent 35-minute piece of music that never ceased in its hallucinatory and resourceful improvisation." - Jesse Jarnow, Village Voice (May 2012). See also: Jesse Jarnow's feature, The Magnetic Improvisation of Chris Corsano, in The Independent Weekly
"Mr. Corsano is a peripatetic ace of the avant-garde." - Nate Chinen, New York Times (Sept. 2012)
"If I told you that percussionist Chris Corsano is equally persuasive playing ultradetailed free improv with Evan Parker, scorched-earth electric raga jams with Mick Flower, and primal dance beats with Bjork, I’d be telling the truth but selling him short. His excellent 2006 solo album, The Young Cricketer, covers still more ground—he’s also a hell of a one-man band. Augmenting his drum kit with a heap of odds and ends—kitchen implements, a violin, a couple bows, saxophone mouthpieces blown into plastic tubes—he creates scalding Tony Conrad-like string assaults, intricate layered gamelan-style patterns, reed-and-percussion freak-outs that sound like something lifted off a forgotten ESP free-jazz record, and a delicate collage of chiming and rustling you could almost mistake for a surreptitiously recorded tea ceremony. Corsano is also great to watch—sometimes a marvelous vision of fluid and purposeful motion, sometimes an outrageous ham." - Bill Meyer, Chicago Reader (Sept. 2009)
"Anyone who has ever seen him live already knows it, but this solo session [The Young Cricketer] slams the notion home; Chris Corsano is seriously one of the most exciting drummers on the planet." - Adam Richards, indieworkshop.com (Feb. 2006)
to the point, Corsano was Corsano. In just 13 show-stopping minutes,
the Western Mass percussion polymath performed nothing short of hi-hat
surgery. The hats stood alone, contact-mic’d, amped, and
with distortion; Corsano tore in with sticks, mallets, and metal rods,
prying tones from the bowels no one knew existed. His work with Mick
Flower, Paul Flaherty, and others is well known; alone, though, Corsano
answers to no one, and his clinic realigned every facile
give-the-drummer-some heuristic underwriting our approach to percussive
or non-tonal technique. Satisfied, the good doctor seized the hi-hat,
shook out its last rippling roars, and decamped to the kit for another
crusade: gongs came and went, toms quivered, another exquisite
eruption. Corsano’s improv never feels indulgent, and his
the night’s only to engage acoustic tones in a substantive
wasn’t surpassed." - PSRE's review of No Fun Fest in Tiny Mix
Tapes (May 2009)
"At one point...Corsano even duos with himself, hurling spittle through a piece of horn while simultaneously pounding out a blurry beat. But that's just the tip of this massive iceberg, which drips with so many ideas and so much head-grabbing sound I almost wonder if Chris should retire now - this would easily qualify as the life-highlight of most sound-generating mortals." - Marc Masters' review of The Young Cricketer, Noiseweek (April 2006)
"Corsano is one of the best drummers of his generation" - Byron Coley, Arthur Magazine (Sept. 2002)
"Corsano updates the multi-directional freedom of Rashied Ali and deftly shudders about the drums with jaw-dropping skillfulness, coaxing a staggering array of rhythms and sounds from his traps." - Chris Scofield, Fake Jazz
"...deadly drum explosions...swatting his kit as if it were covered in giant ants, with every component used to full effect - a tightly orchestrated beating of skins and rims resounding over the ensuing flow of inventive exploration" - Edwin Pouncey - The Wire