Ramblings of a modern bass clarinetist #11 

Yikes, it's been way too long since I wrote any semblance of a blog post. Lots of stuff been happening. Tours, recordings, gigs, long overdue excercising to keep this body fluid and useful. By the time 2011 comes to a close there will be 4 new records by 4 different bands, all of which include yours truly playing bass clarinet. Already out is My Silence's debut album It Only Happens At Night (482 Music), released on LP and CD in June. The record features the BEAUTIFUL vocal explorations of Sharon Van Etten along with Mike Reed, Nick Butcher, and me. This record was recorded on a few different sessions and masterfully edited by Mr. Reed. For more on My Silence click here.
I'm very excited for the new Wrack record to come out! Kyle Bruckmann's outfit featuring Jen Clare Paulson, Anton Hatwich, Tim Daisy, and me has it's 3rd album set for release in October on Porter Records. Kyle's music is truly one of a kind and this record takes the band to the next level. We recorded the music following two tours which gave the band the right amount of time to settle into Kyle's music and do it justice. More news on this coming soon!
Then coming out in November on Clean Feed Records is Boris Hauf's Sextet featuring Keefe Jackson, Michael Hartman, Steve Hess, Frank Rosaly, and me. Three reeds and three drummers. This is a special date with the music brilliantly organized by Hauf's impecable musical sensibilities. For a video of this session click here. Keep an eye out for this later this Fall!
And finally, I'm super psyched to announce the debut album of my new quartet The Story This Time, due out October 18th on Delmark Records! The album features the exceptional talents of Keefe Jackson, Josh Abrams, and Frank Rosaly playing both new compostions by me and older jazz tunes by such luminaries as Lee Konitz, Warne Marsh, Lennie Tristano, and Thelonious Monk. Can't wait for folks to hear this one. Recorded at Riverside Studio on June 27 and 28, 2011 by Todd Carter. Liner notes by Bill Meyer. We're gonna have a record release show at The Hideout on December 14. You can pre-order The Story This Time here.

Ramblings of a Modern Bass Clarinetist #10 


The new Locksmith Isidore record is out today, November 30th, 2010. I called the album Three Kinds of Happiness after Plato's idea of the same name. There are three kinds of happiness. Happiness now, saddness later. Saddness now, happiness later. And happiness now, happiness later. This simple little idea resonated heavily with me when I first heard it in a philosophy class in college. It applies to a variety of areas of life and work. It is rare to find something in life that creates a sense of happiness in the moment, and that contribues to a happiness in the future. This is the pursuit of music at it's best-at least for me. The joy that music brings me both on the bandstand and alone in my living room runs deep in my mind and body. It is more than an art. It is a way of life that permeates most every moment of my days and nights. It is an angle and a perspective on things-the way information is filtered into my conscious mind. I can only hope that in my life, I am able to continue to develop the tools and means necessary to create the most beautiful music I can. This development is the best kind of happiness. The third kind.

This record is a special one. It was recorded the evening after we shared the bill with one of my heros, Roscoe Mitchell, in the great festival in Ann Arbor-Edgefest. Seeing and hearing Roscoe play was a great inspiration to me and I think it lifted our spirits and creative minds in entering the studio the following evening after driving back to town. Roebke and Pride are always a great pleasure to work with. But on this particular session the swing felt deeper and the ideas felt more powerful. It was a smooth and propulsive session that we knew was special from the first take. I am very critical of my own work and one of the hardships of making recordings is that by the time the album is released and heard by others, it often feels as though I've moved on in my playing. That the record isn't as interesting as it would be if I could do it over in the present. This is, I think, a point of vulnerability for many artists and something that I've grown to accept and be comfortable with. But with regard to this particular recording, I do not have that overarching sense of self criticism. I am, at least this once, very happy with my record. Who knows when that will happen again. I hope at least a few times...

Click on the album cover below to see what critics are saying about Three Kinds of Happiness.

Ramblings of a Modern Bass Clarinetist #9 

It's been a busy past few months. Been playing a lot of one-off gigs with different folks around Chicago. Working on writing and arranging music for a new quartet with Keefe Jackson, Josh Abrams, and Frank Rosaly. New band, new tunes, gonna be recording this Winter. Along with playing some original compositions, we're going to dig into tunes by Tristano, Monk, Konitz, and others. Looking forward to seeing this band work.

I have a few tours coming up this Fall. Later in September I'll be heading out to the West Coast for a few weeks with Kyle Bruckmann's quintet Wrack. In addition to playing shows in and around San Francicso, Portland, and Seattle, Wrack is set to record it's third album. Look out for this! Kyle is an amazing composer. In November I'll be heading to Europe for my second solo tour. I'll be playing a bunch of concerts with different folks, as well as some solo shows. Some additional dates are still being finalized, but here is the tour schedule as it stands now.

Tuesday, November 16th. Bern, Switzerland. WIM Bern. w/ Jurg Solothurnmann.
Thursday, November 18th. Luzern, Switzerland. w/ Urs Leimgruber.
Friday, November 19th. Berlin, Germany. Aufsturz. w/ Edoardo Marraffa and others TBA.
Saturday, November 20th. Cessena, Italy. Area Sismica. Jason Stein Solo.
Sunday-Tuesday, November 21-23. Italy concerts. info TBA
Wednesday, November 24th. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Zaal 100. w/ others TBA
Thursday, November 25th. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. OT301. solo + duo with John Hughes.

Friday-Sunday, November 26-28. Stockholm, Sweden. solo and with David Stackenas. details TBA.

The new Locksmith Isidore record Three Kinds of Happiness is set for release on November 16th on Not Two Records. I'm super excited for this album to come out. It's kind of a new beginning for this band, with more of a focus on stylized composition and improvistion. Roebke and Pride sound amazing. This record is definitely our best work yet. Stay tuned for more on this...

Some recent reviews/press:

Downbeat September 2010-Locksmith Isidore. Live at the Chicago Clean Feed Festival
. "Stein, Roebke, and Pride fed on the chamber-like intensity of the sparsely intimate space with a brilliantly tight set". -Michael Jackson. DB

Jazziz Summer 2010-Jason Stein Solo In Exchange for a Process

"In Exchange for a Process features harsh squawks and squiggles reminiscent of European saxophonists Evan Parker, John Butcher and even Peter Brotzmann." -Phil Freeman. Jazziz

All About Jazz-New York. Bass clarinet feature on two albums by Jason Stein and two with Rudi Mahall.
"(Stein and Mahall) have taken bass clarinet as their sole axe and they make a convincing case for the scope it can cover and the benefits of specialization." -John Sharpe. AAJ-NY

Ramblings of a Modern Bass Clarinetist #8 

Busy times. Gigs, recordings, rehearsals, not to mention the time here at the keyboard on the tour front. It's always all about practicing though. Pushing everyday to find new things. That's the special work.

The new Locksmtih Isidore record is mixed and will be mastered very soon. The record is set for release later this year on the great Polish label Not Two. This new record is a definite change of pace for the band and for the the music the band is working with. With this record I took a different approach with both the writing and the improvising, choosing to explore a more "jazz oriented" music for the trio. It's mostly swinging with more composed material than on my other records. I have spent a lot of time playing straight ahead gigs in and out of Chicago and I've been sensitive about how I want to use the jazz tradition in my own music and groups. With this record I'm really putting it out there. Really intermingling the bop and free tradition. In general, my thing is all about developing a kind of fluidity and flexibility in the music. To have the whole tradition in my horn and to bring it out in an original way. I'm super excited for folks to hear the new record.

My world of playing requires a lot of flexibility. In a given week I'm playing a wide range of types and styles of music and I do my best to approach every gig with an open mind and open ears. I play with a lot of the experimental electronic musicians in town, as well as with the many amazing jazz and free jazz players in Chicago. I'm working more and more this way in Europe, as well. Last month on a Tuesday night in Switzerland I was playing standards as a special guest with a piano trio and the next night I was on a lowercase sound art gig with Lost Lucy (Fred Longberg-Holm, Isa Wiss, and Marc Unternahrer) in Luzern. The bass clarinet is so full of sounds and colors, This is enough to keep me busy for many lifetimes.

To hear two tracks from the upcoming Locksmith Isiodre record, check out Crayons for Sammy and Cash, Couch, and Camper on my listen page.

Rambings of a Modern Bass Clarinetist #7 

Back in Europe! I'll be over from February 26-March 11. It's been a pretty crazy past few weeks with a lot of travel and a home relocation! When I woke up this morning in Luzern it took me about 30 seconds to remember where I was. During the next two weeks I'll be playing in Switzerland, Italy, and The Netherlands and am very excited to play with some of my farvorite musicians! The tour begins with three concerts in Switzerland by Lost Lucy, a new quartet formed by Swiss vocalist Isa Wiss with tubist Marc Unternahrar, and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. I'll then continue on to Italy to play some concerts with the great saxophonist from Bologna, Dario Fariello, as well as to play a solo set in Lugo. I then head to The Netherlands where I'll be playing a few concerts including a trio with Eric Boeren and Michael Moore, as well as a solo set at the Jazzpodium Festival in Utrecht. Dates and details are below.

w/ Isa Wiss, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Marc Unternahrer
Friday, February 26. Basel, Switzerland. Safe.
Saturday, February 27. Bern, Switzerland. Jazzwerkstatt Bern.
Sunday, February 28. Luzern, Switzerland. Mulbau

Monday, March 1st JAZZCAFE featuring JASON STEIN
Jazzclub Gambrinus
w/ Götz Arens, Marc Jenny, Carlo Lorenzi
St. Gallen, Switzerland

Wednesday, March 3
@ XM24
Bologna, Italy

Thursday, March 4th
w/ Dario Fariello, Beppe Scardino
Bologna, Italy

Friday, March 5th
CCA Lughè
Lugo, Italy

Saturday, March 6th FARIELLO/STEIN DUO
w/ Dario Fariello
Bologna, Italy

@ Zaal 100
w/ Eric Boeren, Michael Moore
Amsterdam, Holland

w/ Ze' Gomes, Dana Jessen
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Thursday, March 11th JASON STEIN SOLO
@ SJU Jazzpodium Festival
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Thursday, March 11th
w/ Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernani Faustino, Gabriel Ferrandini
@ SJU Jazzpodium Festival
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Ramblings of a Modern Bass Clarinetist #6 

It's been a busy past few months with some exciting gigs coming up in February...

Locksmith Isidore recently finished our second European tour. We had the opportunity to play throughout Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. For a very nice review of our gig in Ulrichsburg, Austria click here. And for a video of part of our performance in Maribor, Slovenia click here.

I recently found out that I and a few other Chicago musicians were included in the El Intruso 2009 Critics Poll. Click here to see the poll.

I've got some exciting gigs coming up throughout the rest of February with some newer and older projects. I will be heading back to Europe for a few weeks at the end of February for a short tour with a new quartet formed by Swiss vocalist Isa Wiss (along with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Marc Unternahrer) and then a solo tour in Italy and The Netherlands, ending at the SJU Jazzpodium Festival in Utrecht, The Netherlands on March 11. For a full listing of these tour dates click here. I will also be playing a weekend at Cliff Bells in Detroit with my old friend and incredible bassist Josef Deas and Chicago drummer Sharif Zaben. Details for all February concerts are below. Hope to see you!

Wednesday, February 10th MY SILENCE + MATT SCHNEIDER SOLO
@ The Hideout
w/ Mike Reed, Nick Butcher
1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago IL

Thursday, February 11th @ Elastic
Devin Hoff, Dave Rempis, John Herndon
Devin Hoff Solo Bass
2830 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago IL

Saturday, February 13th GIALLORENZO/STEIN DUO
@ Heaven Gallery
w/ Paul Giallorenzo
1550 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago IL

Friday, February 19th JASON STEIN TRIO
@ Cliff Bells
w/ Josef Deas, Sharif Zaben
2030 Park Ave. Detroit MI

Saturday, February 20th JASON STEIN TRIO
@ Cliff Bells
w/ Josef Deas, Sharif Zaben
2030 Park Ave. Detroit MI

Monday, February 22nd @ The Skylark
w/ Matt Schneider, Jason Roebke, Sharif Zaben
2349 S. Halsted St. Chicago IL

Wednesday, February 24th APIARY
@ The Empty Bottle
w/ Joseph Clayton Mills, David Daniell, Steve Hess
1035 N. Western Ave. Chicago

February 26-28 LOST LUCY MINI TOUR
w/ Isa Wiss, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Marc Unternahrer
Friday, February 26. Basel, Switzerland. Safe.
Saturday, February 27. Bern, Switzerland. Jazzwerkstatt Bern.
Sunday, February 28. Luzern, Switzerland. Mulbau

March 1-11. STEIN SOLO TOUR. Italy, The Netherlands. Click here for full tour schedule.

Ramblings of a Modern Bass Clarinetist #5 


Tuesday, January 12th. Zurich, Switzerland. WIM Zurich. (w/ Christian Weber, Marc Unternahrer, Isa Wiss)
Wednesday, January 13th. Luzern, Switzerland. Mulbau (w/ Marc Unternahrer, Isa Wiss)
Friday, January 15th.
Weikersheim, Germany. W71
Saturday, January 16th. Ulrichsberg, Austria. Jazzatelier Ulrichsberg
Sunday, January 17th. Hofheim, Germany. Jazzkeller.
Monday, January 18th. Vienna, Austria.
Tuesday, January 19th. Linz, Austria. KAPU
Wednesday, January 20th. Maribor, Slovenia.
Friday, January 22nd. Berlin, Germany. Aufsturz. (w/ Rudi Mahall)

Ramblings of a Modern Bass Clarinetist #4 

TWO NEW RELEASES OUT NOW!! (click image for purchasing info)


"(In Exchange for a Process) is a laboratory of an album, experimenting with extended technique, sound and structure...Stein brings new ideas and sounds to his chosen instrument."  -Mark Corroto (All About Jazz)

"Here comes a CD of bass clarinet solos that threw me down.What a soloist! Marvelous work...a captivating record that left me in awe."         -François Couture


"Three Less Than Between is an outstanding exercise in free improvisation. Little sounds planned in advance; melodies are few and far between. But there is a road map to link the 11 tracks, which rise and crest and ebb like waves of sound." -Steve Greenlee (Boston Globe)


Ramblings of a Modern Bass Clarinetist #3 



Thursday, October 22nd. Cliff Bells. Detroit MI
Friday, October 23rd.
Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery. Pittsburgh PA
Saturday, October 24th. Red Room. Baltimore MD
Sunday, October 25th. Moonstone Arts Center. Philadelphia PA
Tuesday, October 27th. Douglass Street Collective. Brooklyn NY (solo set + trio with Oscar Noriega, Josh Sinton)
Wednesday, October 28th. Freestyle Music Series at Local 269. New York, NY. (w/ Kirk Knuffke, Mike Pride)
Sunday, November 1st. Ghostprint Gallery. Richmond VA.
Monday, November 2nd. Morris Book Shop. Lexington KY.
© jasonsteinmusic.com 2008