"For his first official album, the insane baritone sax blower Steve Baczkowski joins the continuing adventures of Chris Corsano and Paul Flaherty. The drummer and alto/tenor saxophonist form a working duo since the turn of the millennium, a unit that is keen on drafting new partners Greg Kelley, for one and integrating larger groups like Thurston Moore's Dream Aktion Unit. Their brand of free improvisation is testosterone-fueled, exclusively. Corsano is one of the most energetic players out there, relentless yet sensitive to what is going on around him. Flaherty is a fabulous screamer and wailer, an inferno of sound, his sax the tool to put the world back on the right track, one ruptured eardrum at a time. But the tall bearded man's playing takes a step back on The Dim Bulb to leave ample room to the newcomer, Baczkowski, himself a surprising powerhouse. He handles the baritone sax as if it were a sopranino -- except louder. Much louder. Peter Brötzmann immediately springs to mind, not only because of the sheer volume and urgency of the playing, but also because the young man from Buffalo obviously has a jazz gene and he allows it to take over from time to time. And, after 40 years of free jazz, that strategy remains the best one to convey even more impact to the furious blowing that follows such more delicate passages. The Dim Bulb is taken from a live performance in May 2003. Sound quality is pretty good on "Return to the Pasture of Ants and Sweet Rapture" and "Soaking in Gravel and Shale" but the decibel level skyrockets in the 24-minute closer "No Boat Will Ever Come" and things get mushy. Then again, the rawness of the recording befits the performance and gives to Baczkowski's first discographical entry a larger-than-life aura." - François Couture, All Music Guide (May 5, 2004).
"Lately, it's become nearly impossible to escape tales of Corsano's multi-limbed approach to his kit, his willingness to explore the sonic possibilities hidden in every surface of his chosen instrument. Not to be outdone, Flaherty is the firecracker in the mix, bubbling and burbling away over the top of Corsano's alien rhythmic foundations. Together, this duo is more than capable of sheer transcendence." - Chad Oliveiri, Rochester's City Paper (May 5, 2004).
"#5: Shoup/Flaherty/Moore/Corsano – Live At Tonic (Leo) Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth raising the roof of New York's premier downtown club in the company of two of the free-est horns in the States, Wally Shoup and Paul Flaherty, and Chris Corsano, the hottest drummer on the planet." - David Keenan in his list of Top 5 records of the year for The Scottish Sunday Herald (December 28, 2003). Incidentally, #4: Borbetomagus – Songs Our Mother Taught Us (Agaric), #3: Albert Ayler – The Copenhagen Tapes (Ayler), #2: Jemeel Moondoc/Denis Charles – We Don’t (Eremite), #1 Brötzmann/Parker/Drake – Never Too Late But Always Too Early (Eremite).
"there's much to celebrate about these two discs [Allen/Drake/Jordan/Parker/Silva's The All-Star Game on Eremite and Live at Tonic], classic encounters of the energy chapter of free jazz --in each case two saxophones & rhythm section blowing toward some apocalyptic possibility; no theme in sight, with power & conviction that have too often seemed drained from american free jazz. what happens in each case is an explosion of impassioned utterance, soul-searing work in the rituals first defined by ayler, coltrane, sanders & the sun ra reed section of which marshall allen was a member. these may not, in any sense, be regular bands, but they're bands without a weak link, whether ego-centric, technical or conceptual.
the band that turns up on live at tonic brings both a ferocity to the task at hand & a willingness to stretch into electronic soundscapes amid the spears of thurston moore's caterwaul, his feedback & distortion creating a great wall of shifting noises against which shoup & flaherty roar. where drake sets up rhythmic motifs in the first date, corsano punctuates. it's a rare coming together for the seattle-based shoup & connecticut-resident flaherty, two long-time apostles of the freest & most energy-driven improv styles.
there's a blistering intensity to each of these --a cathartic wash of heartfelt sound that should convince anyone of the on-going significance of the rites of energy music." - stuart broomer, coda.
"Ghosts, insects, aliens, bicyclists, construction workers, sailors. The figures on the cover of Live At Tonic are vaguely rendered enough that they look like anything, really. Subtle shades of ochre and beige fill their skinny frames, with an exactitude that shows the artist’s complete engagement with the work. A painting like this could only have been done by a child, an idiot, or a genius, and both the painter and the musicians (of which the painter is one) certainly share elements of all three. But don’t forget what I just said a minute ago, because that’s the important part: engagement.
Seattle free music veteran Wally Shoup painted the cover art for this disc, and played alto sax on it as well. On this gig recorded at Tonic, the Lower East Side’s venerable house of all things noisy, Shoup was joined by Paul Flaherty on tenor sax (and a bit of alto as well), Flaherty’s frequent New England-based collaborator Chris Corsano on drums, and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, a downtown institution in his own right, on guitar. They introduce themselves in that order, backwards, as they announce their intentions within the first minute and a half of their set. Once the guitar starts cutting and weaving its way through the silence, and you can almost see Moore swaying back and forth, throwing open the cages and letting everybody out – the other instruments do not sneak in as much as jump out from behind trees. No uptown music here, no idle socialites chatting tonal relationships; no downtown clichés either, the conversations conducted without any trace of a raised eyebrow. This is a jailbreak, and what comes running out of this group’s collectively liberated consciousness is a sense of musicality without fetters, without restraint. Which is not to say that Live At Tonic is all savagery and violence, because there’s an astounding amount of genuine lyricism as well. When the floodgates open, a wide range of expression emerges.
Even with the limitless expressive possibilities afforded by free music, most free horn players have failed to disinherit certain less desirable parts of the jazz estate. Namely, the tendency to play loud and fast and high all at once, the unintentional limiting of the palette to certain predictable responses that are too often the norm. Shoup and Flaherty know that free music shouldn’t even have norms, and though they can blare when they want to, they wrangle more emotion from two notes than other players can get with hundreds. For his part, Corsano is one of the most sensitive drummers I have ever heard, sensitivity of course not to be confused with restraint. He knows exactly when to play where, and that includes moments where the real necessity is to conjure up the sound of an approaching militia. The most impressive playing on this record, however, comes from Moore’s corner. Like a Whack-A-Mole game at an amusement park, my original skepticism about Moore’s ability to hang was given a sharp blow on the head with a giant foam bat. He came roaring in with power, agility, a handy Sonny Sharrock Guide To Fucking Shit Up tucked in his back pocket, and most importantly, an impeccable sense of timing. It always seems that he has the right tools for the job, until you realize that he’s the one picking the jobs, using the tools, punching everybody’s time cards, and probably even sweeping up after everybody’s gone home. Well, okay, maybe not that last bit. He is a rock star, after all.
By now you’ve already forgot the introduction, even though I told you not to. Shoup and Flaherty and Moore and Corsano wouldn’t have forgotten, though, because every detail of this package radiates focus, from the cover art to the wild freakouts that never repeat themselves, right down to the deliberately warm and enveloping moment that occurs fifteen minutes and thirty seconds into the second set. It’s all very deliberate, in a way that only the truly engaged can be: focused, centered, grounded, and wild as all hell. Like I said, engagement. It’s a beautiful thing." - Dave Morris, Dusted Magazine.
"Just arriving in the last few moments is a new CD by Paul Flaherty, Greg Kelley and Chris Corsano, entitled Sannyasi. Flaherty is a long time improvising shadow giant, whose magnificent reed work stretches back decades. Kelley is a trumpeter best known for his insanely quiet improvisations w/ nmperign (a Boston-based collective w/ a coupla great disks on Twisted Village) as well as appearances in a variety of other New England new music contexts. Corsano is one of the best drummers of his generation. He has recorded w/ Flaherty before, and has played in all kindsa post-core and free jazz units across the upper East Coast. Sannyasi is the first recording of these three as a specific trio, but its shows high levels of cross-neural communication, and a wonderful empathetic gush of emotive pan-substantiation. Everybody plays like crazy (even Kelley, who is known for a certain tonal reserve) and the level of un-cliched forward motion could not be higher. There are tons of freak-moves, plugged in amidst a kinda small-group Coleman/Cherry vibe, and everyone is clearly lunging for the gold key hanging from the ring of the o-mind. But they don’t get in each other’s way while doing it. High energy improvisation rarely blends chaos and good manners in so sumptuously yearning a way. None of these guys has ever made a false move that I’m aware of, and this new album is a wonderful addition to the discographies of three great players." - Byron Coley, Arthur Magazine (Sept. 2002)
"For that intense, visceral shock, one need look no further than the trio of Paul Flaherty, Greg Kelley, and Chris Corsano. Sannyasi is the type of energy music that never flags, even in its quieter moments. This trio is really in tune with one another. Flaherty's lines are etched with strong bold strokes. Kelley's trumpet makes all sorts of sounds, and his range takes in everything from low-end growls to high whistling pitches. He's a perfect horn foil for Flaherty. He doesn't use mutes a lot, but, when he does, it's incredibly effective. One of the best moments on this disc occurs on "Secret Stair" when Kelley plays quiet yet blistering muted lines while Flaherty plays some other-worldly high-end saxophonics above. Corsano is a dynamo and is also the glue that holds the music together with a continual rhythmic push. There's plenty of variation, including some surprisingly effective "quieter" moments. Sannyasi is strong, involved free music, well-played and well-worth hearing." - Robert Iannapollo, Cadence Magazine (March 2003)
"Although The Hated Music has been out for a while, a recent live encounter with this power-improv duo has ensured that it's once more nailed to my player. When it was first released, it snuck under all but the most underground cultural radar, so it's well worth bringing to your attention once more.
Saxophonist Paul Flaherty encapsulates the history of outlaw free improvising in New England in every schlup and spit of his horn.
He has been active for decades, mostly in the company of his ghost, drummer Randall Colbourne. Between them, that nucleus launched 1000 free satellites, documented across rare and beautiful sides released by labels such as Cadence and Zaabway. Flaherty and Colbourne's rehearsal regime is legendary, with the two camped out beneath some concrete interstate flyover, blowing up dust and blood amongst the refuse and winos of the city's secret underbelly.
Somewhere along the line, for reasons that are still vague, Flaherty and Colbourne parted company and these days Flaherty is more often heard in the company of drummer Chris Corsano, a young free player who already looks like becoming the most significant and syntactically advanced percussionist to come out of the free rock/jazz nexus. On this disc his playing is so exuberant and explosively alive that it transcends any kind of responsive playing, inhabiting instead a sublime zone where pure energy spontaneously gives birth to form. The same could be said for Flaherty. He seems to have a similar relationship to the ghost of Albert Ayler as saxophonist Peter Brotzmann but, unlike Brotzmann, Flaherty's playing is more emotionally pliable, although his tone is just as ferocious.
The Hated Music is named in accord with free jazz's historically pariah status and, while there are moments that are as gloriously confrontational as the title might suggest, there are other passages so filled with otherworldly beauty and utopian oneness that it's enough to bring a tear to your eye." - David Keenan, Scottish Sunday Herald (May 18, 2003)
"The 2001 Boxholder release The Ilya Tree threw into the ring saxophonist Paul Flaherty and trumpeter Greg Kelley battling it out against a cold rhythm section. Then Flaherty recorded a fire-spitting session with drummer Chris Corsano The Hated Music, on Ecstatic Yod. The synthesis of the best elements from both projects in Sannyasi held a lot of promises on paper, It gets even better on record. The interplay between sax (alto and tenor) and trumpet is nothing short of amazing. These two improvisers tease, taunt, and playfully trap each other, lacing their lines around one another. If Kelley starts to go elephants with his mute, Flaherty produces fat hippopotamuses out of his tenor sax; if one raises the ante by a few decibels, the other may fold just to trap him in a solo, stepping in only for the showdown. What is amazing here is that they leave room for Corsano, highly effective in this context. He rumbles and tumbles on the toms, rides the cymbal down to Hell, and is not shy of stepping down whenever the mood demands (as in halfway through “Patience of Fate”). These three cruelly underrated musicians have delivered a first rate platter of energetic free improv. They make the music sound urgent and important, forcing you to listen to their message. “Musicians surrender to the movement of the moment,” writes Flaherty in the liner notes. Well, listeners can only surrender too. Recommended." - François Couture, All Music Guide
"Free jazz like this really shares many similarites with extended jamming psychedelic music in a lot of ways. Both rose in the mid 60's in response to the limitations imposed by the traditional forms of music that existed at the time, and musically both focus on the instrumentalists playing off of one another, often starting out with a structure or rules on some level but which allow flexibility to explore and improvise in the moment as inspiration hits. Paul Flaherty has been exploring the limits of jazz for a long time through his collaborations with drummer Randall Colbourne (see any of their fine releases) and here steps out with Nmperign trumpet player Greg Kelley and drummer Chris Corsano, with whom he collaborated on last year's The Hated Music CD. Although definitely modern, the playing on this draws upon the elements of late 60's era free jazz, favoring a balance between melodic and the noise. Having heard the sparse and non-traditional approach of Kelley's trumpet work with Nmperign it was cool to hear him in this context, in which he is mixing it up and often blowing hard and free. Corsano's drumming is aggressive and excellent, and at times when they go into full attack mode, such as the awsome "Blood Roses" I was reminded fury of Peter Brotzmann's Die Like a Dog Quartet. Great stuff." - Brian Faulkner, Aural Innovations (#21, Oct. 2002)
"[S]axophonist Paul Flaherty has, after two extraordinary releases on Boxholder ("The Ilya Tree") and Byron Coley's Ecstatic Yod label ("The Hated Music"), taken the plunge and set up his own Wet Paint imprint, run from his home base in Manchester, CT. Trumpeter Greg Kelley, who partnered Flaherty on "Ilya Tree" and drummer Chris Corsano, who tore it up with the saxophonist on "The Hated Music", return to the fray for the seven tracks that make up "Sannyasi". The excellent recording makes it abundantly clear yet again that Flaherty is an absolute monster, with a wide range of sonorities on alto and tenor and a deep-rooted knowledge of jazz that can't resist making its presence felt - on form, he's easily as impressive as Sabir Mateen and the late Glenn Spearman, and it's a mystery why he isn't playing the William Parker circuit with the rest of them. Corsano is a powerhouse of a drummer and Kelley demonstrates once more that he's a master at creating beautifully structured solos (on "Blood Whisper" his fragile upper register flurries recall Don Cherry) as well as pushing the envelope of trumpet techniques to the limit (check out "Cloud of Unknowing"). Flaherty too can take it way out when he wants to: "Secret Stair" finds him doing the kind of thing with the mouthpiece we normally associate with Kelley's nmperign sparring partner, Bhob Rainey. Yet, for all its experimentalism, fire and fury, there's much lyricism here, a great sense of space (perhaps due to the absence of a bass to anchor the music), and genuine warmth all too often lacking in the latest offerings from the young lions of Chicago. Daub yourself with the paint before it dries." - Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic (Sept. 2002)
"It’s probably dumb
to pursue a metaphor that
will annoy half our readership, but what the hell: Paul Flaherty and
Chris Corsano are a free-jazz version of the Strokes. The Strokes sound
like a ‘70s art-punk band, but not any particular
band—critics often compare them to the Velvet Underground and
Television, but neither reference really describes how they sound.
Instead, the Strokes are an amalgamation of all the best
least the most pop-friendly ideas—of Television, VU, Iggy Pop
number of other ‘70s artists. The Strokes take advantage of
they steal most of their moves from the ‘70s, but their
distance from the actual ‘70s lets them pick only the bits
right to twenty-first century ears.
Flaherty and Corsano sound nothing like the Strokes, and a large majority of twenty-first century ears would still find the duo’s music a tough listen. But like the Strokes, the two musicians use their historical perspective to grab the best features of their genre (in this case, skronking free improv) and incorporate those features into a seamless sound. By the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, many musicians who inspired Flaherty and Corsano—like Joe McPhee, Peter Brötzmann, and Frank Wright—were playing so wildly and harshly that their music didn’t bear much similarity to bop or other earlier forms of jazz, except in that it was improvised on traditional “jazz” instruments. A lot of their music still sounds amazing, but every so often, one of the musicians will repeat a phrase a few too many times, as if he isn’t sure where to go next. Or he’ll play a line that trails off without a clear ending, as if he’s losing steam. These sorts of blemishes are incredibly minor when measured against the fire and sense of discovery present in, say, McPhee’s Trinity, but they’re still there.
Which is where Flaherty and Corsano come in. Flaherty, a saxophonist, and Corsano, a drummer, have digested the back catalogs of free-noise giants like Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray and Noah Howard, and the duo has had time to think about what makes its brand of sweaty, squealing free improv work. Which isn’t to suggest that Ayler’s or Murray’s or Howard’s music didn’t work, just that Flaherty and Corsano have erased any trace of awkwardness from their sound. Every burly saxophone line starts and ends purposefully, and every flailing drum flourish lands exactly where it’s supposed to.
The metaphor only goes so far, because Flaherty and Corsano’s music isn’t nostalgic or referential like the Strokes’. Flaherty and Corsano rarely wink at the listener or offer smirky quotations of their influences. The Strokes, with their bare-bones production and self-consciously “street” look, are referencing an earlier time in rock history, whereas Flaherty and Corsano’s music seems to come from them, not from free improvisers of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Their 2001 duo album The Hated Music, then, was gorgeous and rousing because it managed to pick the best parts of a fertile area of music history while still feeling as if it existed for the present.
Now Flaherty and Corsano are back with Sannyasi, which offers seven more bursts of careful yet flamboyant free improvisation. The duo is joined by trumpeter Greg Kelley, who fires blasts of fast, high-register, staccato lines that contrast nicely with Flaherty’s playing, which is a bit less frantic than it was on The Hated Music. Sannyasi’s feel, though, is similar to that of its predecessor: both albums are characterized by intense splashes of bombast that sit comfortably next to more pensive passages. The three musicians push and pull each other with utmost sensitivity, and, unlike a lot of other free jazz, their music jumps from mood to mood quickly and logically.
Flaherty, Corsano and Kelley’s music superficially sounds a lot like free improvisation from the ‘60s and ‘70s, but don’t let that distract you: their music is distinctively theirs, and they’re playing it with considerable skill. More free improv fans need to hear Flaherty, Corsano and Kelley, and Sannyasi is an excellent introduction to their work." -  Charlie Wilmoth, Dusted Magazine (July, 2002)
"Saxophonist Paul Flaherty is a significant voice in the New England free scene who's been content to plow his own distinctive furrow over the past three decades with nary a nod to the overground....Corsano is a young, powerful drummer with a good feeling for timbre. On this duo disc he displays it to good effect, matching Flaherty's shepherding brass with speedy splash cymbals and deep thunderous rolls. For this set, Flaherty switches between tenor and alto. He's at his most devastating when he's way up register, blowing long, high-pitched phrases that waft like smoke into Corsano's path. The saxophonist has developed an extensive vocabulary utilising gymnastic phantom squeals as effectively as the late Japanese saxophonist Kaoru Abe or US gutbuster Arthur Doyle. Indeed, Flaherty feels closest in spirit to Doyle here. They both favour raw direct statement over ornate pirouetting, and Flaherty has a way of exploding into a track that recalls Doyle's incendiary Alabama Feeling However, Flaherty ultimately boasts a wider variety of approaches and isn't afraid to preface his firebreathing with sweet singing runs. Still, it's the focused flashes of pure white light that'll keep you coming back, from the strangulated beauty of "Incident At Powder Ridge" through the duo assault of "Closing The Tea Party", Flaherty and Corsano make an infernal tag team." - David Keenan, The Wire (Issue 215, Jan. 2002)
"High-level, high-intensity bursts into the infinity of music, with heart enough for a whale." - Michael Ehlers, Eremite Records, on Paul Flaherty.
"Paul Flaherty is another old hand at free improvisation. He's been putting out records since at least 1990 [see discography], many in a duet situation with drummer Randall Colbourne. On The Hated Music (love that title), he's joined by drummer Chris Corsano. Flaherty is an astonishing saxophonist breathing fire through his tenor and alto horns. Yet despite this overwhelming power, what has always impressed me about Flaherty is that he is an ideal duo partner. That is if the partner can keep up with him. And Corsano clearly knows what Flaherty's music is all about. There is excellent give and take between these two that makes itself apparent over repeated listening. Sure there's power here and, yes, it is impressive. But it's more than just about screaming and flailing one's head off. Listen to the opening of "In Walked Lowell" with Corsano's rolling drums and Flaherty's quiet but passionately etched opening statement. The lines gradually become more distorted and Flaherty starts interspersing them with deep, dark sustained tones. Corsano alternates between laying out and accompanying him with gradually more frenetic drumming. But almost seamlessly, the duo slips back to an almost meditative calm before regrouping again for another foray into the extreme range. If the duo situation is all about communication, then Flaherty and Corsano are clearly an ideal musical partnership." - Robert Iannapollo, Cadence Magazine (Vol. 28, No. 6, June 2002)
"If like me you devote your life to teaching your neighbors, whether they like it or not, to appreciate new music, Flaherty's duo album with Chris Corsano is just what you need (Byron Coley's typically ecstatic liner notes reveal the same penchant for pedagogy, by the way). "The Hated Music" is an absolute tour de force, superbly recorded and positively spitting fire from beginning to end. Taking its place in the canon of magnificent sax / drums collaborations starting with Coltrane's "Interstellar Space" and Frank Lowe's "Duo Exchange" (both with Rashied Ali on percussives), "The Hated Music" can stand its ground against these two classics without fear. God knows what these two guys had for breakfast the day they cut this album (tiger steaks?), but the music they made was absolutely inspired. If this record doesn't go platinum, I'll be forced to conclude there's no justice in the world." - Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic/Signal To Noise
"Paul Flaherty and his saxophones are a subterranean legend in the kingdoms of the north. Since the "In the Midst of Chaos" LP was recorded, back in the mid '70s, Paul has been a persistent roar in the distance - pervading the aura of the region's improvisational underground, whilst eschewing its spotlights. His playing and spontaneous compositions have always been a trip and a half, but he seems to have risen to a whole new level on "The Hated Music", combing purity of spirit w/ ferocity of lyricism in a whole new way.
Chris Corsano is one of the most immensely talented drummers to have emerged from the recent past. Those who have witnessed the giganticism of his formal leaps in the jaws of post-avant-garde power surging, have been left slack w/ the wonder & hilarity of it all. On "The Hated Music" he offers all listeners evidence of the potency and imagination of his air-fucking vision. "The Hated Music", packed as it is, in the lovely artwork of freedom-loving artist, Gary Panter, throws down the gauntlet to all other players, all other thinkers, all other worlds. If you are listening w/ all yr holes open, it may well gobble yr soul. Alright!" - Byron Coley
"...It's a superlative set. Plenty of great honking, growling, squawking and screeching effects from the estimable Paul Flaherty (a veteran Connecticut musician), punched home by the clean, high-impact skin-work of (relative newcomer) Chris Corsano. All moods, all ranges, all dynamics; fiery energy, blue moods, attack and retreat, sadness and joy. Neither musician puts a single foot wrong from toppermost to tail-end. In fine, a great sax and drum record. Any fans of John Gilmore, Coltrane, Shepp, and Sunny Murray should check this scorcher out instantly." Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector (vol. 10, May 2002)
"Listening to Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano gives me the sense that they are not the types of guys who would want me to mince words. So, awkwardly, I begin my review of the duo's new record by saying the most important thing about it: The Hated Music is free improvisation. Not free improv with IDM textures or bop-style rhythmic propulsion. In fact, there is little evidence whatsoever of apology for the noisy and anarchic; just ecstatic, fiery free improv that recalls the most famously wild improvisers of the sixties and early seventies. The Hated Music often sounds like Pharoah Sanders, Peter BréIzmann, Beaver Harris and Rashied Ali throwing their instruments down flights of stairs. And, more than thirty years after the death of Albert Ayler, Flaherty and Corsano's music is the most compelling evidence I've heard in some time that music like this still needs to be played.
Flaherty, a fascinating saxophonist whose impassioned overblowing and legato style recall Noah Howard and early-70s Joe McPhee, holds back just enough to keep The Hated Music from causing whiplash: he adds welcome bits of lyricism to "Hat City Fire Truck" and "In Walked Lowell", and occasionally outlines chords in a manner similar to John Coltrane in his early-sixties "sheets of sound" period. Drummer Corsano's playing is busy and aggressive, but also surprisingly sensitive, following Flaherty and directing traffic very successfully for a player in his mid-twenties.
On the six-minute explosion "Rut One," Flaherty and Corsano prove that they both have enough endurance to sustain blasts of high energy for long stretches if need be. But often they choose not to. They deftly shape their music - moving expertly among dynamic levels and giving each section enough time to develop ? without diluting the tension established in their stormier moments.
Of course, plenty of jazz uses dynamics effectively. But with many on the post-free scene - Mat Maneri, for example - the quiet moments are so polite, they feel like tea breaks. I don't mean to insult Maneri; his music is thought-provoking and often very affecting. But The Hated Music is a different kind of jazz from that played by the Thirsty Ear crowd: it's far more visceral and incendiary. Flaherty and Corsano have captured the spirit of the wildest, most hectic, most flamboyant free improvisation without blowing themselves into monotony. The Hated Music is a raucous but well-crafted record that deserves to be heard." - Charlie Wilmoth, Dusted Magazine
"This improvisational recording from saxophonist Flaherty and drummer Corsano snuck out with little fanfare, but there is nothing quiet about the music of these backwoods Northeasterners. Six high-octane performances are rattled off, revealing a paint-peeling intensity in Flaherty?s playing that is both rough-sounding (think Peter Brotzmann) and prone to lengthy excursions that seldom leave him or the listener time to breathe. Corsano is right there with him, rolling like a freight train pumping out a mighty but unsteady rhythm that seldom flags. As a duo, their chemistry is palpable and there is an intrinsic trust where each shines brightly, but never eclipses the other, instead egging each other down one ferocious passage after another. Squeals and explosions, thinking less and working more. Yes it can work. R.I.Y.L.: David S. Ware, Rashied Ali, Coltrane?s Interstellar Space" - Tad Hendrickson, CMJ Weekly (Dec. 24, 2001)
[From a review comparing Peter Brotzmann's Fryed
& The Hated Music]:
"Paul Flaherty is a younger man [than Brotzmann] and a much more obscure one, but one who seeks a similar apotheosis in his music. Without implying he's derived anything in his music from Brotzmann, there's a common link too in the copious use of overblowing and the overall harshness and volume in his playing. They also share an enviable affinity with their instruments, and an ability to make them sing in a surprisingly vocal manner. Eschewing the huge variety of horn techniques developed by some players in the avant garde, both stick to those which enable them to remain on a single melodic line, often a very long one, spun out with mauled repetitions, blues licks and wavering, ultra-high pitched whistles.
Flaherty, however, has much more space with the immensely sensitive Corsano than does Brotzmann in his thrash-jazz setup. As a result, he is able to give these improvisations much light and shade, taking the music off the boil from time to time. If Brotzmann's music gets you in the gut by sustaining its intensity over unlikely durations (and retaining its logic, too, something which is easy to overlook), Flaherty lets the music come in waves, as Brotzmann has proved he can do, when he chooses to, elsewhere.
That this is no pick-up band or opportunistic duo is evidenced by the relaxed way in which Corsano and Flaherty are able to interact. All of these pieces break up occasionally into solo segments for either of the two players, sections in which one is accompanying the other and sections in which the two are about at parity. When they do play together, the forcefulness of each never threatens to overwhelm the co-operative nature of the duet.
Both Brotzmann and Flaherty are here exploring the energetic extreme of what might still just about be called "free jazz". Yet both CDs reflect a thoughtfulness which belies the apparent chaos. Entirely unfitted to act as background music, they both contain powerfully involving work, strong medicine to be taken with due caution. That said, Brotzmann's lengthy, bluesy assualts soon lose their shock value and, instead of revealing an empty shell, this process actually enables the listener to focus on saomething besides the volume. There's something exhilarating about this kind of wild, freewheeling jamming which draws you in and keeps you listening. As for Flaherty and Corsano, they are really joint partners in this venture and their duo crackles with invention. Although also reaching up, at times, for the extremes, their session is also co-operative and rather friendly, even, at times, weirdly mellow, although the tension never really lets up until the very last few minutes. Anyone who is anywhere near Boston, Mass., is urged to check them out. Both disks highly recommended; both saxophonists seem to have been captured in company that genuinely excites them and who are, as they used to say, taking care of business." - Richard Cochrane, (Musings)
"'The Hated Music' as with 'Interstellar Space,' 'Transmissions,' or the Bruno/Mateen cd 'Getting Away With Murder,' improv duos are the context in which some of the deepest music is made. Corsano plays with the experience of Flaherty's years & Flaherty plays with the freshness of Chris's youth. A dandy (oh-oh) New England-themed disc." - Ben Block, Amoeba Records
"This is all-American balls-to-the-wall colour-blast free jazz (otherwise known as "ecstatic jazz" or possibly "fire music", depending on your state of residence), encompassing the gamut of intensity, texture and register levels....[T]heir interplay is alert, ever-shifting and non-complacent, and there's sufficient variety and diversity in the playing to mark The Hated Music as a more than respectable addition to a drums/sax duo lineage that runs from Rashied Ali/Frank Lowe all the way through to Peter Brotzmann/Hamid Drake - the pairing of whom Flaherty and Corsano are most reminiscent, inasmuch as they're reminiscent of anybody." - Nick Cain, Opprobrium
There's also a fine interview with Paul in an older issue of Opprobrium, now available online.
"A fiery furnace blast of pure molten SOUL has erupted all over my dumfounded mug. I have been blindsided, not seeing this particular white-hot recording coming 'round the bend until it crept up on me and gave me the pummeling I so rightly deserve, nay BEG for in improvisational music...
Flaherty wields his saxophone with a burly grace, hurling fat riffs and searing squeals outwards from his axe with manic intensity. Corsano saddles up his drum kit and gallops off in what seems a hundred directions, yet the forward propulsion magnetically draws the pulsating debris back from the cosmos into orbit, keeping the rhythmic thrusting in a tangible revolution. Inducting the barrage of sound is "Hat City Fire Truck," and from the first tones spewed out of Flaherty's horn, it's apparent there is a bold display just ahead. A fantastic hum encircles the thin high-register squeal from Flaherty's horn, modulating, breathing, creating a warm halo which pillows the barely restrained scream. How the hell does he do that??? As the drums fire up and billow forth, seemingly touching every physical component of the kit with a combined degree of tenacity and tenderness, the levee breaks and a cauldron of firewater yawns forward, drowning all senses with it's blistering force. Riding high atop this wave for a bit is a ripping experience...and then the primal experience mellows, the breeze becomes gentle, and as consciousness regains a surprisingly delicate lyricism whispers a lullaby of textured grace. An abundance of emotions are placed on the table for all to see, in every manifestation conceivable from just two folks wielding a sax and a drum kit. Over the course of the disc, peaks and valleys are scouted, various degrees of volume and restraint are explored as the two play brilliantly off each other, locking horns and dancing like dervishes. Wonder at the vocal shouts and grunts permeating over the sax/drum tirade on "Incident at Powder Ridge" and "Rut One," and marvel at the lovely massaging of sound which sings from "Closing the Tea Party." Comparisons to Peter Brotzmann come to mind due to the gargantuan burst of power on display, but Brotzmann rarely slows down from his campaign of blowing his innards-outward to discover his more sensitive side like Flaherty. 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. Laced through it all is an undeniable display of raw emotion laid out like a sacrificial lamb, offered to the gods to save us all. The Hated Music is an experience to listen deeply to as much as it is to feel, an emancipation from all formulaic scripture to allow undiluted emotion to roam free, in whatever manifestation it may take. Massive." - Chris Scofield, Fake Jazz
"Flaherty blew chaos through his saxophone, and whatever part of his face wasn't covered up by his bushy white beard soon turned purple-black with exertion. He slapped his hand at the sax keys, and I swear at one point I saw one of them break off and go flying across the stage.
Corsano kinked his upper body over his drums, creating rolling rhythms that simmered and got spastic; at one point he screamed a note along with the onslaught of rhythm, and Flaherty smiled approvingly. The crowd was already up against the stage at this early part of the show - many people were transfixed - and they gave the duo energetic applause." - Ken Maiuri, Daily Hampshire Gazette, review of 11/16/01 show at The Calvin, opening for Sonic Youth
"Flying over the musical map there are so many land parcels cut into neat rectangular rhythms that repeat endlessly until encountering terrain like this, where every structural rule is bent, broken or ignored. Those regular rectangles are forgotten, and wild spirals nestle next to vast expanses of volcanic activity venting steam, and liquid rock in chaotic pools and fissures that open onto wide meadow lands.
Paul Flaherty plays alto and tenor sax, Chris Corsano drums. The stark interplay between these two would only be obscured by any additional players, there are many times that feel like there are at least four or five players as it is. From total careening down the mountain headlong wildness, to melodic pastoral passages. The interplay is so tight and unbounded that it's like a series of practical demonstrations of psychic phenomenon, but part of the key is the room they give each other to play.
This is like everything that's great about the best work of Jackson Pollock, it's vivid, it's free (or as free as it can be), and it's so human, enthused and mad. This is fucking amazing. High praise must also be made of the gnarly finely detailed cover artwork by ever stalwart Mr. Gary Panter." - George Parsons, Dream Magazine
"After my Easthampton gig we drove to another gig being held at a bowling alley featuring a free jazz trio of Thurston Moore, Chris Corsano and Paul Flaherty. Getting to listen to this band play while eating roast duck, and watching people bowl in a garish blue light through some windows was one of the funnest parts of this tour. 'I guess this is jazz, sort of,' was a comment I overheard at the bar." - Eugene Chadbourne, from his 12/6/00 entry to his tour diary
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