The Mellow Edwards has
existed since 1988 when Curtis Hasselbring persuaded John Dirac and Jerome Dupree to play with him at the Middle East Cafe
in Cambridge MA. The group's repertiore consisted of hardcore versions of
Don Cherry and Henry Threadgill tunes as well as Dirac's non-autobiographical
opus, "the Green Haircut". Fourteen years, over a dozen musicians
and many pieces of music later, Curtis took a giant leap into the future and
renamed the group "The New Mellow Edwards." He
composes the majority of the group's repertoire (with the exception of the
occasional 80s rock/20s jazz cover) and plays the trombone and various odd
noise-making devices. The other members of the group for the last seven years have been Trevor Dunn, John Hollenbeck and Chris Speed,and
although there has also been an illustrious cast of subs (a veritable who's
who of people in Curtis's addressbook), the NMEs (as they are often called) have evolved into a top-notch performing
unit who leave a trail of fried PA speakers, broken folding chairs and
unused half-price drink tickets.
The band has released two recordings, the first being 2006's "the New Mellow Edwards" (Skirl 003) and the second being 2009's "Big Choantza" (Skirl 010). In 2010, Curtis recieved a Doris Duke Grant for the Creation of a New Jazz Work titled "Number Stations" for the ensemble with special guests Matt Moran, Mary Halvorson and Satoshi Takeishi (also known as most of Decoupage). The piece premiered on April 24th at Littlefield in Brooklyn and April 27th at the International House in Philadelphia (2011).
Number Stations was released on CD in 2013 on Cuneiform Records and the ensemble is taking it on the road in 2014 (email "curha at curha dot com" for booking inquiries).
…[a] smart ensemble that harnesses the forward thrust of rock in the service of an almost chamberlike group cohesiveness.
(NY Times, Nate Chinen)
Bounding along fitfully with jubilant energy, or drifting into scrawling, experimental textures, The New Mellow Edwards embody the best new music Brooklyn has to offer.
(Troy Collins, All About Jazz – New York)
The material embraces both amiable jauntiness and confident probes into abstraction. It’s all a lot of fun and beautifully played.
(Wire, Julian Cowley)
Decoupage is a quartet consisting of Curtis Hasselbring on trombone, guitarist Mary Halvorson, vibraphonist Matt Moran and percussionist Satoshi Takieshi. Curtis composes the group’s repertoire which is (mostly) quiet by nature but maintains a high level of inner turmoil and a keen sense of propulsiveness.
You can hear the band live on WFMU here. You can also hear the band live at 58 North 6th Street here. This was part of the New York Slideworker's Meeting that took place on January 17th, 2010. In January of 2012, the group recorded and an official release is still pending.
Decoupage's next show is June 19th at Barbes at 8pm.
Curha is Curtis Hasselbring's frequently invoked nickname as well as the identity he assumes when making his own odd hybrid of electronica and composed music. Curha uses samples, old drum machines, sound-contorting software as well as a broad array of guitars, basses, keyboards and other odd instruments to create this music much of which is reworkings of recordings of his own compositions. He has been at it since 2000 and, in addition to many self-released recordings, he has done numerous remixes for artists including Slavic Soul Party, Frank London and Golem.
Curtis also leads a live version of the Curha project which he calls the Curha-chestra. This group varies in instrumentation but frequently includes Curtis playing alto trombone and guitar, Brian Drye (farfisa), Brandon Seabrook (guitar and banjo), Ron Caswell (tuba and electric bass) and Tim Monaghan (drums, guitar and xylophone). Live interpretations of Curha's tend to cover alot of ground from damaged country and western to murky minimalist-metal to loungy funk.
You can purchase Curha's homespun recordings here (including the newly released "Selected C-Sides").
Visit Curha's Freesound site (courtesy of WFMU)