Artists by Name



Bobby Previte

Bobby-Previte-Headshot-COLOR 590

Photo © Kate Previte 2016

Rhapsody

Rhapsody600600

 

Highly respected drummer and prolific composer Bobby Previte continues his Terminals trilogy with Rhapsody, an acoustic song cycle on the subject of transit and migration. Subtitled Terminals Part II: In Transit, Previte’s newest work is scored for acoustic sextet and features fellow composer-improvisers in guitarist Nels Cline, harpist Zeena Parkins, pianist John Medeski, alto saxophonist Fabian Rucker, and vocalist/er hu player Jen Shyu. This latest major work, released on RareNoise Records in February 2018, comes on the heels of Previte’s powerful November 2016 RareNoise release, Mass (see below), a nine-part work scored for choir, pipe organ and heavy metal trio.

In 2015, Previte was awarded the Greenfield Prize for Music at the Hermitage Artist Retreat to create a new work. Rhapsody is the result. Rhapsody had its world premiere on April 21, 2017 at New College in Sarasota, Florida.

“The Greenfield Foundation not only commissioned the work, but gave me a residency at the Hermitage to write it, 20 paces from the Gulf of Mexico”

says the composer. “It was a rapturous place to write, and to be."

Beginning from the point of view of a passenger sitting comfortably in an airplane, Rhapsody twists, turns, and migrates until the passenger arrives in the dead of night at an unfamiliar shore.

As Previte proposed in his artist’s statement for Rhapsody: “What is the experience of being in transit? Separated from your home but not yet at your destination, you are neither here nor there, confined with strangers in an intimate environment for a predetermined amount of time, uncomfortable, yet somehow free. To travel is to be bound with these strangers by faith—faith in the vessel which carries you, faith in the people who operate it, and ultimately, faith in the strangers waiting at your destination.”

“I began thinking about the fact that I come from a family of immigrants. My mother was born in Sicily because my grandmother, pregnant with my mother, was denied entry into the United States and sent back; and how there are people today, trying to escape far worse situations, being denied asylum.

Rhapsody is perhaps Previte’s most ambitious work to date in that it marks his debut as a lyricist. “The lyrics are really at the center of this piece. Having composed only instrumental music my entire life, writing words was quite terrifying. There is no hiding behind abstract sounds, no equivocating. The words are there and have an obvious meaning to everyone. They are tangible, and very real. You cannot walk back from them. You have to own them, fully”

And while three of the musicians in the ensemble have had a wealth of experience in electric settings — Nels Cline with Wilco, The Ring Nebula Project, The Nels Cline 4, and his longstanding Nels Cline Singers; John Medeski with Hudson, MadSkillet and the longstanding trio Medeski, Martin & Wood; Zeena Parkins with Gangster Band, Phantom Orchard, and Zeena and the Adorables — Previte chose to focus strictly on the acoustic side of their playing. “In a way, it's easier to write electric music when you have geniuses like that in the band,” says Previte. “You can just write 'Nels Cline solo, 15 minutes' and you get a brilliant 15 minute electronic piece that you 'wrote.' But each acoustic guitar note dies away in seconds. Then what? As for John Medeski, of course he’s a master organist, but he’s such a beautiful piano player that I thought it would be cool to just let him play the piano for a change. Ditto for Zeena. I wanted to hear her on acoustic harp, no electronics. She's awesome on acoustic harp.”

Previte had similar accolades for the remaining members of his Rhapsody ensemble: “Fabian Rucker is my favorite young sax player and all around sound guru. He took the music and brought it into the street. And, by the way, Fabian mixed the album, too. And finally, what to say about Jen Shyu? Jen lifted the vocals, and so the entire ship, up to a higher plane. She is mesmerizing. I couldn’t even have begun the piece without Jen.”

Full Credits for Rhapsody

Formats : CD / DOUBLE VINYL / COMBO / DOWNLOADS 

CAT.NO : RNR090 (CD) / RNR090LP (DOUBLE VINYL)

Rhapsody (CD)
Rhapsody (CD)
£8.99
Rhapsody (Combo)
Rhapsody (Combo)
£25.99
Rhapsody (Double LP)
Rhapsody (Double LP)
£17.99
Rhapsody (Download - FLAC)
Rhapsody (Download - FLAC)
£6.49
Rhapsody (Download - HD FLAC)
Rhapsody (Download - HD FLAC)
£8.99
Rhapsody (Download - MP3)
Rhapsody (Download - MP3)
£4.49

Mass

MASS 600600 72

 

As widely renowned for his unerring, intuitive grooves behind the kit as he is for his eclecticism as a composer and bandleader, Bobby Previte stretches into some totally new musical terrain on Mass, his RareNoise debut as a leader and followup to 2014’s cooperative trio project The New Standard with bassist Steve Swallow and keyboardist Jamie Saft.

A modernist re-imagining of the choral epic Missa Sancti Jacobi by 15th century composer Guillaume Dufay, Previte’s Mass prominently features the imposing sound of cathedral pipe organ along with an acclaimed early music chamber vocal group, the 11-voice Rose Ensemble conducted by Jordan Sramek, and a slamming core group consisting of Previte on drums, Marco Benevento on pipe organ and Rheem organ, Don McGreevy, Stephen O’Malley, Mike Gamble and Jamie Saft on electric guitars and Reed Mathis on electric bass.

A kind of heavy metal requiem mass, full of thrashing feedback guitars and grinding power chords, hellacious fuzz bass, thunderous beats and the glorious sound of a Renaissance vocal choir, Mass is unlike anything Previte has done before.

Previte first encountered early music composer Guillaume Dufay in his Early Music class in college. “You have to remember, when Dufay wrote his music it was performed at a time in which there were no loud man-made sounds -- no amplifiers, airplanes, bombs, etc. I wanted to match the effect the music of that time had on the listener, performed in a hard-walled stone church, the sound racing around the walls and bouncing off the ceiling. It was designed to be overwhelming to the people experiencing it. This is powerful, soul-shaking, transportive, otherworldly music. And I needed to match that power, so I had to go with heavy metal -- a reviled music that still keeps coming.”

The players involved in Mass are old cohorts of Previte. Organist Benevento and bassist Reed played in his The Coalition of the Willing. Saft played in Previte’s Latin for Travelers band and is also a key member of 2014‘s The New Standard on RareNoise. Guitarist Gamble has been a longstanding collaborator and is also a member of Previte’s current working quartet, Bobby Previte and the Visitors. Guitarists O'Malley and McGreevy are members of the Seattle-based drone and doom metal bands Sunn O))) and Earth, respectively.

“Each of the three pillars of the piece -- choir, metal trio, and pipe organ -- are operating within their own algorithms, their own keys, time and tempo. And the piece is written for them to be on parallel tracks but making a different fourth thing, dovetailing together on the cadences. 

Eventually we all began to be able to hear how it all worked, what notes the choir should be singing when you, as the guitarist, were on your third beat of bar number 15, a 4/4 bar, at quarter note = 60, as they were in their 33rd bar of 6/8 in a completely different tempo. It sounds crazy. Well, it IS crazy! But the design worked eventually, which is a testament to the musicians and their resilience.”

Previte adds about his latest opus, “It has probably the greatest cover art I have ever had on any of my records. Astonishing work by and all respect to the artist, Hadi Nasiri.

Download the full Lineup of the Mass

Mass (CD)
Mass (CD)
£8.99
Mass (Combo)
Mass (Combo)
£24.99
Mass (Double LP)
Mass (Double LP)
£16.99
Mass (Download - FLAC)
Mass (Download - FLAC)
£6.49
Mass (Download - HD FLAC)
Mass (Download - HD FLAC)
£8.99
Mass (Download - MP3)
Mass (Download - MP3)
£4.49