Fifth Season is the bandleader debut of multi-instrumentalist composer and improviser Ben Zucker. Currently based in Chicago, Ben's music draws upon a varied practice combining experimental forms and styles, the product of studies and collaborations across North America and the UK. Ultimately, his concerns as a music maker are about experience, and how we come to understand the world as it unfolds in real time and place ourselves in it in new yet responsible (response-able) ways.
The music of Fifth Season, in particular, enables active collaboration and creativity through setting up improvised contexts via narrative text. By using long-form prose descriptions of gestures and textures, the forms of the music are guided yet open-ended, and content is constantly made anew in the moment. It has allowed the music to come to life in many different ways in the hands of various performers, who are able to bring their vocabularies to the fore and merge it with the "notation".
For this album, some of Chicago's most interesting up-and-coming improvisers went into the studio to realize a recording of old and new compositions, after performing the material throughout venues for experimental and creative music. Adam Shead (John Dikeman, Jason Stein, leader of the Adiaphora Orchestra), Eli Namay (Jer'af, Phil Sudderberg, Gilded Records), and Mabel Kwan (Ensemble Dal Niente, Deerhoof, Restroy) likewise represent a wide range of the city's strong communities of new music. Set for release on the artist-run collective Amalgam Records, the album is a document of careful communication and exploration.
released June 15, 2020
Ben Zucker - Vibraphone
Mabel Kwan - Piano
Eli Namay - Upright bass
Adam Shead - Drums
Recorded and mixed by Nick Broste at the Shape Shoppe, Chicago, on July 23, 2019.