Review in December, 2015 issue:
New York City Jazz Record
Russ Lossing (Aqua Piazza)
by Fred Bouchard
When I read that this solo piano album was performed as a consecutive series of short improvisations, I tried to experience it as such—put the album on, stretched
out and listened intently, unarmed with pen and pad. Impressions flew in, but I suppressed a habitual desire to jot and scribble, instead listening and reflecting,
trying to identify Lossing’s favored textures, effects and results. Next time through, I ventured a few comments and aural analogies: “Paul Bley. Not for
driving! Horace Tapscott. Angry gnomes. Elliott Carter. Taut abstractions. Dark humors.” On the third pass, I tried track-by-track: “Chattering intensity; single-note
runs with overlapping hands; slow-creeping chromaticism; spidery, atonal motifs; pointillist moments; occasional bluesy thirds. Clouds of Bill
Evans (or Federico Mompou) post-Impressionism.” That was all from the opening “Eclipse”! “Moving Shadow”: slow single notes and triads yield (not build)
to graceful arabesques; an oblique reference to Debussy’s “Golliwog’s Cakewalk”. “Distant Earth”: febrile dipsy-doodles meet raggy galumphing—with
momentum! “Upper and Lower Unite”: leaves slowly, silently turn yellow. “If Ever”: low, damped gallopings alternate with reverberating plucked strings. Macabre!
There’s lots going on during Lossing’s hour alone with his piano and his thoughts (aptly dubbed ‘mercurial’ by guitarist Ben Monder) have more galaxy-
wandering freedom than in his duos with bassist John Hébert, but lightning turnarounds, too. By the time he winds down this intense, introverted, demanding
excursion Lossing goes hushed, cosmic: “Not So”—a pulsating nebula—is followed by “Water Over Fire”’starburst and asteroid shower. Fade to black
Russ Lossing: Eclipse (2012 , Aqua Piazza): One of the most impressive jazz pianists to have emerge since 2000. This one is solo, often quite impressive.
-Tom Hull, November, 2016
Musikalische Geschichten, die das Leben schrieb – Pianist Russ Lossing
Keine einfache musikalische Kost, die uns der 55-jährige Pianist Russ Lossing auf seiner Solo-CD offeriert (….oder gar zumutet?). Arnold Schönbergs treffendes Diktum stellt sich jedenfalls ein: „Wenn es Kunst ist, ist es nicht für alle, und wenn es für alle ist, ist es keine Kunst.“ Stilistisch verortet im faszinierenden Spannungsfeld zwischen Freebop, einem spontanen „stream of conciousness“- Ansatz und zeitgenössischer euro-amerikanischer Konzertmusik der Piano-Avantgarde, erzählt Lossing elf musikalische Geschichten, spontan aus dem Moment heraus improvisiert, und befrachtet mit allerlei überraschendem Geschiebe. (Jurg Sommer)
Russ Lossing: Eclipse (Aqua Piazza Records / cdBaby.com)
Bewertung: 5 Sterne (in Worten: Fünf Sterne)
Dusted Magazine Oct 9 ,2015
Russ Lossing—Eclipse CD (Aqua Piazza)
Guitarist Ben Monder's accompanying essay to Eclipse sets a pretty high bar for the music contained on the album. Superlative phrases such as “always amazed” and “absolute commitment” paint a mental picture of his colleague Russ Lossing as a pianist bordering on genius. An hour's worth of improvised performance largely bears out the intimated assertion. Lossing's rich background in classical music complements an equally immersive relationship with jazz. His adroit approach to the keyboard exudes atmosphere in a pastoral, impressionistic vein akin to the icons like Evans and Bley. Dissonance comes into play, but never at the expense of structure and thematic integrity. The eleven pieces work as discrete entities, but just as well as single, sweeping, novelistic statement filled with drama, beauty and even playfulness. Beyond the multitude of memorable musical gestures, Lossing exhibits a reflexive understanding of the central reality facing the improvising artist. The most reliable means of finding fresh avenues of meaning is by fully embracing the singularity of the self.
– Derek Taylor
Russ Lossing, Eclipse (Aqua Piazza)
Eclipse liner notes by Ben Monder
I have known Russ Lossing for close to 25 years now, and it has been inspiring to watch the trajectory of his growth as an artist. We played together for some years in the great saxophonist/composer John O'Gallagher's band. John writes some of the most challenging music to improvise on that I have encountered, and I was always amazed at how Russ would master these intricacies almost immediately, and begin to play on John's forms with as much freedom and conviction as if he had written them himself.
Russ' improvisational prowess and singular voice come to full fruition on this release. It is an hour long snapshot, but one which effectively represents a distillation of his life's work up to this point. One hears references to a number of sources: foremost perhaps is a deep immersion in the language of 20th/21st century classical music, but a lifetime of playing jazz, the music of Paul Motian, and the blues are all at times invoked as well. However, these sources are thoroughly assimilated into a palette that is utterly personal.
Remarkably, this entire recording was performed in real time - an unedited hour's worth of improvisation divided into 11 discrete tracks. Yet each track stands as a world unto itself, internally coherent and distinct. The amount of structural integrity is striking given its extemporaneous nature, and this is why repeated listening will yield the reward of continual discovery. The music on this record is by turn lyrical, angular, lyrically angular, mercurial, glacial, dense and spacious, sometimes all in the course of a single track. And while this is very much an acoustic piano album, Russ sounds at times like an orchestra, a horn section, and even an electronic ensemble. The attentive listener will be thoroughly engaged from start to finish; one is compelled to follow each train of thought as it proceeds in the spirit of inevitable surprise. Structures are built, dissembled, and rebuilt with authority and playfulness. Ideas are pursued, explored, discarded when appropriate; everything seems to be in spontaneous balance and there does not seem to be a wasted or superfluous note or gesture. But above all one gets a sense of absolute commitment and surrender to each moment.
It is fascinating to share this trip through the synapses of a fearless, nimble, and unfettered mind.
- Ben Monder
New York City, April 2015