Dancing on Water   CB0005

The Music

All the music on this album, with the exception of Song(s) of the Sirens, was writtten specifically for remarkable clarinetist/bass clarinetist Marty Walker.

As Is Thought/Aurora, a casually dramatic work for bass clarinet, harp, and vibraphone, is like a miniature concerto in its structure, contrasting solo bass clarinet phrases with tutti lines.

Song(s) of the Sirens, a lush work for clarinet, piano, and woman’s voice, gradually and systematically builds in texture, harmonic richness, and melodic continuity as new musical elements grow on earlier elements, which reappear and cascade upon one another via digital delay processes.

Among Simple Shadows, a quiet work for two bass clarinets, trumpet, and piano, slowly undulates with hauntingly thin wind textures and muted rushes of piano tremolo.

Dancing on Water, a light, rhythmically quirky two-movement piece for clarinet and marimba (4 hands), alludes to fragments of Mexican folk music as it develops its melodic and rhythmic cells.

Elegant Detours, a solo bass clarinet work, develops an ascending three-octave figure from puffs of quiet pointillism through raucous sweeps of the instrument’s full range to a final exclamation of loud sustained tones.

On Tuesday, a gently rhapsodic four-movement work for bass clarinet and the rarely heard contra-alto clarinet, has a somewhat eerie feel to it, which is due in part to the unique combined timbre of two clarinets’ in their lowest ranges.

The composers

Michael Jon Fink’s music has been presented at the Green Umbrella Series of the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, New Music L.A., the Monday Evening Concerts, the SCREAM Festival, the L.A. Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, New Music America, Festival Commune di Chiesa, the Martes Musicales, the Marquette Festival of New Music, the CalArts Contemporary Music Festival, and other festivals and concerts throughout the U.S. and Europe. His orchestra works have been commissioned and performed by the Antelope Valley Symphony, the Classical Philharmonic, the Symphony of the Canyons, and the Santa Monica Symphony. He has works released on the Cold Blue, Raptoria Caam, Bare Bones, and CRI record labels. 

Daniel Lentz’s works have been commissioned and performed by noted ensembles and soloists around the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Since the early 1970s, he has led ensembles that have toured his music throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Lentz has been the recipient of many awards and grants, including five National Endowment for the Arts grants. Video presentations of his work have been seen on Alive from Off Center (PBS), the Preview Pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver, BC, NHK-TV in Japan, NOS-TV in Holland, BBC-TV in England, West German Television, Czech Television, and many local TV stations in the U.S. and abroad. Recordings of his music have been released on the New Albion, Angel/EMI, Fontec, Aoede, Les Disques du Crepuscule, Gyroscope/Caroline, Icon, Cold Blue, and ABC labels. 

Peter Garland’s music been commissioned and performed by noted new music ensembles and soloists around the world, including pianist Aki Takahashi and the Kronos Quartet. Garland is the author of two books on American music and culture and was the editor and publisher of Soundings Press (a primary outlets for scores by American composers during the 1970s and 1980s). He has lived in New Mexico, California, Maine, Michoacan, Oaxaca and Puebla (Mexico) and maintained long-term friendships with Lou Harrison, Conlon Nancarrow, Paul Bowles and Dane Rudhyar. A lifelong student of Native American musics, his own music after 1971 was marked by a radical consonance and a simplification of structure. His music have been released on the New Albion, Tzadik, Mode, Avant, Toshiba-EMI/Angel, Cold Blue, and Opus One labels.

Jim Fox’s music has been commissioned and performed by groups and soloists throughout the U.S. and presented at the Monday Evening Concerts, New Music America, Real Art Ways, Wires, the SCREAM Festival, the CalArts Contemporary Music Festival, Podewil, the Ventura Chamber Music Festival, L.A.C.E., and many similar venues. His music, which has been described by critics as both “austere” and “sensuous,” has been recorded on the CRI, Advance, Cold Blue, Grenadilla, Raptoria Caam, and Citadel labels. His 2000 Cold Blue recording Last Things (CB0001) was chosen as a record of the year (2000) by the Italian music magazine Blow Up and The Wire magazine (UK) described it as “an austere, ethereal experience.” International Record Review wrote of it: “Fox’s music invites one to believe that if the stars, constellations and galaxies emitted sounds, these unearthly harmonics are what one might hear.” 

Michael Byron’s works have been performed around the world. As a performer, he has worked in conjunction with composer/performers David Rosenboom, Peter Garland, and William Winant in various new music and experimental improvisation ensembles. Byron has also been a member of the American Gamelan ensemble Son of Lion. He has taught at York University and served on the Board of Directors of the Aesthetic Research Centre of Canada, where he edited the first issue of Journal of Experimental Aesthetics. He was the editor/publisher of Pieces, a series of books of music scores by influential contemporary composers. Byron has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council for the Arts, and the Canada Council for the Arts, and has had his music recorded on the Cold Blue and Neutral labels.

Rick Cox is a multi-instrumentalist and composer. As a featured performer (woodwinds, guitar, and samplers), he can be heard on such popular film scores as The Shawshank Redemption, The Horse Whisperer, and American Beauty (scores by Thomas Newman) and on a number of recent recordings by jazz/new-music trumpeter Jon Hassell. He has also collaborated with guitarist/composer Ry Cooder, arranging, composing and performing on the film scores Last Man Standing and Wim Wenders’s End of Violence. Cox’s own scores include Inside Monkey Zetterland and the popular Corrina, Corrina. He regularly performs in the Los Angeles area with experimental rock and jazz-oriented ensembles. His compositions have been recorded on the Grenadilla, Advance, Raptoria Caam, and Cold Blue labels.

The performers

Marty Walker is a clarinetist who specializes in the performance of new music. (He has premiered more than 90 works written especially for him.) Among the labels for which he has recorded are Cold Blue, CRI, O.O.Discs, Tzadik, Grenadilla, Echograph, New World, and Rastacan. Walker has tourded and recorded with various new-music ensembles, including the Robin Cox ensemble, the California E.A.R. Unit (the in-residence ensemble at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Some Over History, eXindigo, Viklarbo, and Ghost Duo. As a soloist, he has presented live radio concerts on NPR, Pacifica, and other radio venues and has performed at numerous new music festivals, including New Music America (Miami and Houston), the International Festival of New Music (Los Angeles), and New Music International (Mexico City), and various new music venues, including Real Art Ways, FaultLines, the Monday Evening Concerts, Knitting Factory West, Podewil, and Wires. The Los Angeles Times has called Walker’s playing “masterfully expressive;” El Nacional (Mexico City) has said that his playing “took the audience to another musical dimension;” and Option magazine called him “one of the finest new-music clarinetists in the country.” In 2002, Cold Blue released Walker’s CD Adams/Cox/Fink/Fox, about which Fanfare magazine wrote, “The performances are about as ego-free as one can find, and they seem indivisible from the compositions themselves.” Walker also appears on Cold Blue CB0001 (Last Things/Fox), CB0004 (I Hear It in the Rain/Fink), and CB0010 (The Light That Fills the World/Adams).

“Marty Walker traverses a special world of sound just off the radar of traditional instrument usage, exploring and savoring the secret passageways tucked into the bass clarinet.” —Josef Woodard

William Winant, “one of the best avant-garde percussionists working today” according the Los Angeles Times, has collaborated with many innovative musicians, including John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Keith Jarrett, Cecil Taylor, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski, Ursula Oppens, and the Kronos Quartet. Among the composers who have written works for him are John Cage, Lou Harrison, and Terry Riley. Winant is principal percussionist with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players and the John Zorn Chamber Ensemble. He has performed as a guest artist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Berkeley Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and at the Ravinia Music Festival. Winant has made over 100 recordings. His recording of Lou Harrison’s La Koro Sutro (New Albion) was the New York Times Critic’s Choice for best contemporary recording of 1988. His recent recording of 20th-century avant-garde compositions with the rock band Sonic Youth (Goodbye 20th-Century) was heavily praised by the Los Angeles Times and the Village Voice

Wadada Leo Smith is a highly celebrated trumpeter/multi-instrumentalist/composer/improviser. Among the performers of his compositions are Ursula Oppens, Marilyn Crispell, the AACM Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Among the many artists with whom he’s performed and recorded are Anthony Braxton, Lester Bowie, Richard Teitelbaum, George Lewis, Cecil Taylor, Carla Bley, David Murray, Don Cherry, Henry Brant, Richard Davis, Peter Kowald, Han Bennink, Marion Brown, and Charlie Haden. Among the labels for which he has recorded are ECM, Tzadik, Black Saint, Impulse, and Sackville. Smith has received many grants and awards, including three NEA grants. 

Bryan Pezzone is one of Los Angeles’s premier pianists. He has worked with such noted conductors as Pierre Boulez, Oliver Knussen, John Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Kent Nagano and performed as a soloist with many major orchestras, including the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, where he was principal pianist from 1991 through1999. He performs regularly at the Monday Evening Concerts, the Green Umbrella Series, the Southwest Chamber Music Series, and the Ojai Festival and has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, the Joffrey Ballet (soloist in Stravinsky’s Les Noces), and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He also tours with the jazz group Free Flight. Bryan has been the pianist on virtually all of the cartoons released by Warner Brothers and Disney over the past seven years. His recent recordings include works by John Luther Adams, Michael jon Fink, John Harbison, Mel Powell, John Briggs, and John Cage.

Amy Knoles is a percussionist and composer who has performed with the California EAR Unit, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Basso Bongo, John Cage, Frank Zappa, Morton Subotnick, Steve Reich, Tod Machover, Flea, The Paul Dresher Ensemble, Quincy Jones, Ensemble Modern, and The Bang-On-A-Can All-Stars. She has recorded for Sony Classics, Barking Pumpkin, Voyager CD-ROM, New Albion, Nonesuch, New World, O.O. Discs, CBS, RCA, Relativity, Echograph, and Crystal Records. She has performed at concerts and festivals throughout the world, including the Helsinki Festival, the Spoleto Festival, the Sommer Theater Festival (Hamburg), the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Cyber Arts Festival, the Aspen Dance Festival, and the Ojai Festival. Knoles

David Johnson, who regularly performs with the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, the Kim Richmond Jazz Orchestra, pianist Roger Williams, and the CalArts New Century Players, has worked with a broad range of artists, including Yusef Lateef, Dave Brubeck, Mel Torme, Green Day, Pierre Boulez, Stephen Hartke, and Mauricio Kagel. Johnson has played in the percussion sections of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Long Beach Symphony, the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, and the Ojai Festival Orchestra. He also has performed with the California EAR Unit, the Southwest Chamber Music Society, and the Philharmonic New Music Group. In the late seventies, he was in residence with the historic Blackearth Percussion Group. He has recorded for CRI, Opus One, Delos International, Nine Winds, Seabreeze, K2B2, Jazz Harp, Meta YAL, Warner Bros., and New World.

Rick Cox (See composer entry above.)

Susan Allen is a harpist known for her premiere performances of new music at festivals throughout the Americas, Australia, and Europe. She has appeared on NBC’s Today Show and on National Public Radio and performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, The Smithsonian Institute, The Kitchen and at the New York Philharmonic’s New Horizons series and the Gaudeamus (Netherlands) and Ferienkurse fur Neue Music (Germany) festivals. As a jazz artist, she has performed at the Los Angeles Festival, the Verona Jazz Festival (Italy), the Jazz Bakery, and the Stockholm Jazz and Blues All-Star Festival (Sweden). She has received numerous grants and has lectured internationally. Her CDs are on the Flying Fish, Black Saint/Soul Note, New Albion, New World, Meta, YAL, Nine Winds and Opal/War. 


“[M]ild-mannered, soul-filling collection of contemporary ‘meditations’…think Satie and Morton Feldman, and you come close to the overall mood. Delicate textures prevail…the thinking-listener’s slow lane.” —Michael Barone, Minnesota Public Radio

“If people are best known by the company they keep, then clarinetist Marty Walker is blessed indeed. He keeps wonderful company with an excellent series of composers…. [B]oth the playing and the recording quality are sparkling.” —21st Century Music magazine

“Recommended to adventurous and enquiring listeners everywhere.”International Record Review

Walker’s playing is warm and enjoyable, especially on bass clarinet.”All-Music Guide

Marty Walker is an excellent, polished, expressive performer.”Blow Up magazine (Italy)

“Each piece carries a quiet charm that immediately draws in the listener’s attention. If, like me, you have a soft spot for the clarinet’s melancholy, you won’t want to miss this disc, shimmering like light ‘dancing on water.’” —Incursion Music Review (Canada)

Dancing on Water turns out to be a showcase for the Cold Blue composers…. Walker plays in a number of different trios and duos, as well as solo, and is clearly a talented player. The composers are gifted too, and although there’s a continuing overall mood of quiet and space, part of the CDs appeal—beyond the virtuoso playing—is the array of music on show, and the interaction of the varying instrumentation.” —Rupert Loydell, Tangents (UK)

“The blissful voice-music of Daniel Lentz, the plotted-out ellipses of Michael Byron, Jim Fox’s expansive impressionism, Michael Jon Fink’s lonely, romantic grace-of-few-words and Peter Garland’s percussion-slanted Native American leanings all juxtapose with different aspects of Walker’s interpretative approach…. Dancing on Water reaffirms Walkers excellence as an interpretative musician, providing a set of multiple masques—or masks—for him to excel in.” —Misfit City (UK)

“Mostly quiet, delicate, floaty and melancholy, this 2001 collection of clarinet-led acoustic music does not hesitate to swerve into a lengthy and quirky hair-shirt workout once or twice. Featuring works from six different composers, including Daniel Lentz, Peter Garland, Jim Fox, Michael Jon Fink, Rick Cox and Michael Byron, and headed by Marty Walker on clarinets, this music aims to please–and please it does. Breathy spoken female vocals, pleasantly tinkling piano, melodic yet moody clarinets of every kind, digital delay, soothing harp, tooting trumpet and moody vibes—it’s all here, a ready and willing snack for your hungry, night-loving eardrums.”—Arcane Candy

“Marty Walker on clarinet and bass clarinet turns in outstanding performances.”Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter

“Marty Walker’s playing is always expressive and enriching, but the way he plays clarinet/bass clarinet makes Dancing on Water a delight for the jaded consumer of luxury goods as well as for the occasional seeker of timeless beauty.”—I Heard a Noise webzine (Romania)

“Daniel Lentz’s Song(s) of the Sirens more than lives up to its title. I’ve enjoyed this piece for over 20 years on the Montagnana Trio’s old LP and this version is every bit the equal of that one. This seductive and erotic work might make Ulysses reconsider and embrace the Sirens. This alone is worth the price of admission. It’s involved enough for academic study, pleasant enough for salon music. Thank goodness Lentz has avoided the retentiveness of so many contemporary classical composers.” —Richard Grooms, The Improvisor

“Some beautiful playing, an excellent recording.”Rubberneck (UK)