Chris Corsano

CHRIS CORSANO is an upstate NY-based drummer who has been active at the intersections of collective improvisation, free jazz, avant-rock, and noise music since the late 1990's. Corsano is one of the greatest drummers working today, developing a percussive language of extraordinary amplitude and infinite resources. His collaborations stretch from free jazz greats (Joe McPhee, Evan Parker, Paul Flaherty & more) to noise mavens (Jandek, Bill Nace, C Spencer Yeh etc) and pop superstars (Björk). Capable of generating narrative out of permanent ecstasy, Corsano never ceases to be profoundly affirmative and imposing of his language, and being an absolute and charismatic virtuoso, he simultaneously is one of the most noble and generous improvisers of the few last decades.

A move from western Massachusetts to the UK in 2005 led Corsano to develop his solo music - a dynamic, spontaneously-composed amalgam of extended techniques for drum set and non-percussive instruments of his own making: e.g. bowed violin strings stretched across drum heads, modified reed instruments, and stockpiles of resonant metal. In February 2006, Corsano released his first solo recording, The Young Cricketer, and toured extensively throughout Europe, USA, Australia, and Japan. 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 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artist Award.

Corsano's dedication to collective improvisation has led to collaborations with many kindred spirits and his appearance on over 150 records and 1000 live performances. He's worked with, among others: Paul Dunmall (released by ESP-Disk), Joe McPhee (Roaratorio), Okkyung Lee (Open Mouth), Earth Ball (Upset The Rhythm), Nate Wooley (No Business & Astral Spirits), Jim O'Rourke & Akira Sakata (Drag City), Merzbow (Family Vineyard), Jessica Rylan (Load Records), John Edwards, Nels Cline, Heather Leigh, Ghédalia Tazartès and Sunburned Hand Of Man.
https://chriscorsano.bandcamp.com/music

Featured releases

Debut of the now classic duo of Corsano & McPhee, recorded at Les Instants Chavirés. “With a career now spanning over 40 years and more than 100 recordings, Joe McPhee has shown that emotional content and theoretical underpinnings are thoroughly compatible — and in fact, a critically important pairing — in the world of creative improvised music. Since recording The Hated Music with Paul Flaherty in 2000, Chris Corsano has been hyper-active in far-reaching corners of the free improvised world. Under A Double Moon, recorded live in Paris during a spring 2010 tour of Europe, is their first album together (and, given how phenomenally simpatico a partnership they’ve forged, we hope it’s not the last).” “Both Corsano and McPhee share an autodidactic approach to jazz, using anything from thriftstore miscellany to customised electronics to explain the white heat of their creativity. Both have almost unquantifiable discographies that extend well beyond the confines of ‘jazz’; McPhee studied Deep Listening techniques with Pauline Oliveros and Corsano has sparred with everyone from Jim O’Rourke to Björk. Both have lived in Europe, enjoying the hospitality extended to innumerable US free jazz expats that had eluded them in their native terrain. Most impressively, both are lavishly gifted musicians. If McPhee’s 1969 album, Underground Railroad, represented a watershed in high velocity, second generation free blowing, then Corsano’s debut with Paul Flaherty, The Hated Music, saw the drummer pick up the baton, skewer a bouncing ball with it and rub it against a cymbal until it sang like a sea lion. Suffice to say Under A Double Moon goes beyond the scorched-earth Fire Music you might expect. The two long tracks that comprise side one, “Dark Matter: Parts 1 And 2”, shows Corsano at his most flexible as he switches from gamelan-inflected tuned percussion to subtle brushwork to omnivorous hard bop, providing a multiplicity of textures for McPhee’s assorted reeds. McPhee is dominant in the mix, which can obscure the sheer multi-dimensionality of Corsano’s drumming, but both players leave ample room for the other to solo. In fact, both use silence like a weapon – loading the pauses with dramatic intent before unleashing another blizzard of ideas. “For Giuseppe Logan” is an exuberant tribute to the underrated ESP-Disk alto player and is probably the most melodically engaging piece, while album closer “In Lieu Of Flowers” is a beautifully ponderous, starspangled soprano workout that shows yet another dimension to their repertoire. This is an intricately detailed set by two titanic players, spanning two generations. The fire ain’t out yet, baby.” – Alex Neilson, The Wire

Under A Double Moon – Joe Mcphee & Chris Corsano

Icepick is the super-power trio of some of the busiest musicians on this planet – American, Brooklyn-based trumpeter Nate Wooley, Norwegian, Austin-based bass player Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and American, Upstate New York-based drummer Chris Corsano. Hellraiser is already the third album of this trio and was recorded live in February 2018, on the occasion of a gathering supporting the Option series at Experimental Sound Studios (ESS) in Chicago. Originally, this performance was slated for another Wooley-led group, and only last-minute travel issues led to the rare occasion where all three members of Icepick happened to be free for the date in Chicago. The ESS continues to host and facilitate online Quarantine Concert Series even in this coronavirus lockdown era, reminding all of us what we used to celebrate not so long ago. The infrequent meetings of this trio do not affect the immediate flow of the music and the profound, telepathic interplay of Wooley, Håker Flaten & Corsano, all are masters of free-improvised format. The three collective, improvised pieces highlight their great experience and focus on structuring loose compositions through improvisation techniques, on account of powerful, wild eruptions but, still, with the fiery excitement of such a performance. Håker Flaten & Corsano build mighty yet quite flexible rhythmic patterns on the opening piece «El-Bound», fueling the soaring flights and deep whispers of Wooley. Wooley sketches «Chicago Deader» as a moving ballad while Håker Flaten & Corsano color his singing melody with disturbing, restless colors, slowly building a massive pulse. The last and longest piece, the 17-minutes «Blueline» cements the reserved atmosphere of this performance. The fractured rhythmic patterns of Håker Flaten & Corsano are the basis for Wooley’s intense employment of an array of extended breathing techniques, but soon enough all three musicians calibrate perfectly on their own dance. First in wild moves but later in more suggestive, poetic moves, repeating, again and again, the simple, melodic theme, all the way until the ecstatic coda, without raising hell, but still in perfect shape. --- NATE WOOLEY - Trumpet INGEBRIGT HÅKER FLATEN - Bass CHRIS CORSANO - Drums --- Released 2020; Astral Spirits

Hellraiser – Icepick

This recording from the earlier years of Cafe Oto documents the impossible pairing of four contemporary giants. Its one of those miraculous one off groupings that reminds us why the venue opened in the first place.’ “The magic of the first minutes – an alto solo by Joe McPhee of true purity – soft-spoken, masterful and accomplished – brought back to mind the blissful Coleman/Haden duet last year at the Royal Festival Hall. ‘Ornette gave me freedom to move in a certain way,’ said McPhee. He searched hesitantly and carefully for his words, all the more surprising from such an articulate musical (or, as he might say ‘muse-ical’) practitioner and campaigner. Coleman’s 80th birthday coincided with McPhee’s stint at Cafe Oto. McPhee and his co-musicians delivered an intense performance which was both creative and restrained. With Evan Parker ‘s tenor in tow – a collaboration going back to the late 70s – and Lol Coxhill, sitting with head bowed intently, a soprano master – it could have gone anywhere, yet they worked off each other, often in the higher registers, building up almost bird-call like interactions and trills. Earlier, Chris Corsano‘s drumming presented a dense bedrock for McPhee to play against, and his solo spell was a crisp exercise in sonic curiosity. McPhee picked up his soprano mid-way through the second set, heightening the lyricism of the three saxophones. Then, being a devotee of Don Cherry, he switched to pocket trumpet, allowing him to interject, and punctuate the concentrated sound layers built up by the quartet, and lead the music out through a different door”- Geoff Winston (londonjazznews.com) Recorded 10th March 2010, this is also a document of the only time Lol Coxhill and Joe Mcphee shared the stage. The recording is a little rough, but hey, so was your birth! Limited to 500 copies packaged in mini gatefold sleeve.

Tree Dancing – Lol Coxhill / Joe McPhee / Chris Corsano / Evan Parker

Forthcoming events

Monday 20 May 2024

EARTH BALL - ‘It’s Yours’ album launch + CHRIS CORSANO + TERRINE

£17 £15.89 (DICE)

Tuesday 21 May 2024

EARTH BALL & FRIENDS – A SERIES OF IMPROV SETS WITH EARTH BALL FT. CHRIS CORSANO, PETRONN SPHENE, STEVE BERESFORD, AGATHE MAX & CONTAINER

£14 £12 (DICE)

Past events