Tone Road Ramblers Reviews

Recent Reviews of CD’s and Concerts

“Sun Ra coined the term ‘Tone Scientists’ to describe his musicians and in the process hatched upon a fitting moniker for their investigations into the cosmic properties of sound. The appellation also is strangely fitting in the case of the group whose currency can be counted among similar non terrestrial lines. There’s something decidedly non-corporeal about this septet’s (TRR) sound…

“…At times the sound sculptures seem to stretch too completely in formlessness, but if the tonal abstractions are taken on their own terms, an alien musical vista full of possibilities opens up and beckons.”

Derek Taylor
Cadence – November 2000

“…[the music] is filled with joy and creative sparkle, thanks to a cast of characters who are highly conversant with jazz and other popular forms, and who are masters of their respective instruments.”

Option Magazine

“…confounds expectations by scrambling jazz and classical. It demands the listener’s engagement and insists on being heard over and over again. It’s that good.”

Carlo Wolff
Goldmine: The Collectors Record and Compact Disc Marketplace – October 8, 1999 Vol. 25 No 21

“The night’s most bizarre opus — and the most fun — was Morgan Powell’s ‘The Waterclown,’ in its world premiere. Set to a text by Phoebe Legere that suggests the characteristics of water with absurdist wit, the work is a kitchen sink blend of wild and crazy ideas. Legere, performing as blonde-bombshell soprano soloist, speaks, sings, slides and scoops the text, much of which is hilariously platitudinous.

“Powell’s music mirrors the narrative in cheeky instrumental colors and feisty rhythmic figurations. Along with Legere, who did her thing with what must be termed virtuosic allure, the score received animated solo treatment from trombonist James Staley, percussionist Steve Butters and saxophonist Howie Smith. Edwin London and his merry ensemble were fiercely committed to the weird demands.”

Donald Rosenberg
Plain Dealer September 27, 2000

“‘Outlaws,’ a sextet for the Tone Road Ramblers on the New World CD, dissolves in and out of written material and splinters into duos and trios so seamlessly that it’s difficult to tell what’s improvised and what isn’t. The melodic material and extended techniques suggest ‘classical,’ but the quick reflexes of the players and the freedom with which Powell defines the terms of the piece suggest jazz.”

Mark Stryker
Detroit Free Press – December 5, 1999

“One track, ‘dafunkaMonkus,’ from the tone Road Ramblers demonstrates the possibilities of blending the sensibilities of new music improvisation and composition. This chamber piece adds another dimension to an already rich, varied and recommended recording.”

David Dupont
Cadence – January 2001

From Reviews of Tone Road Rambler Early Recordings

“This is an excellent ensemble, at home equally with the beautiful sparse, abstract and atonal sounds of much new music as they are with the melodic repetitions and long tones of recent minimalist. This is a fun recording and you’re no new music enthusiast if you don’t run out and buy it.”

Robert Thomas
Option Magazine

“If you are tired of the sterility of later serial music, this recording ought to freshen things up considerably.”

John Baxter
Sound Choice Magazine

“A cooperative of academic composer/performers, the Ramblers have an intellectual distance that makes these works cool, but not foreboding.”

Down Beat Magazine

“These pieces reflect the adventurous eclectic music of our time. The demands on the performers are tremendous. I can only praise the way in which these demands are met.”

Jocelyn Mackey
Pan Pipes of Sigma Alpha Iota 

“A must for anyone interested in contemporary music.”

Robert Kehle
International Trombone Association Journal