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Pear - Extempore

On the opening strains of “Dewey Miles,” the mysterious lead-off track from Pear’s extemp’ore, the voice of Miles Davis intones (in that oft-imitated gruff demeanor): “Don’t play what you know, play what you hear.” Later in that groove-heavy piece, Miles declares: “I don’t want to be labeled anything. I’m a musician.” Those two mantras serve as sage-like guidance for the duo of pianist Nick Pierone and percussionist Rick Milne (the core of Pear) on their auspicious debut. Given license to paint vivid colors on a blank canvas, this could be a soundtrack to a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting. Pear dives headlong into a pool of provocative sound where the freedom principle prevails and the results are wide-ranging and genre-defying. Drawing on a wealth of musical influences, the audacious duo has concocted a striking pastiche where Miles and Cecil Taylor sit comfortably beside Brian Eno, Medeski, Martin & Wood, the Bad Plus and Jaco Pastorius, with touches of minimalism, lyricism and spoken word experimentalism thrown into the subversive mix.


A celebration of spontaneity, Pear’s extemp’ore is a vibrant example of the alchemy of improvisation, where creating in the moment results in a vitality that no amount of forethought could conjure. Special guests on Pear’s maiden voyage include upright bassist Jennifer Leitham, whose humungous, woody tones ground “Dewey Miles,” the spikey piano-bass duet “Jenn 2, Sect 1” and the aggressively uptempo “Fast Jenn.” Guitarist Carl Verheyan unleashes his signature six-string prowess on “Carl Session 2” while electric bassist Jimmy Johnson (longtime collaborator with guitar god Allan Holdsworth and sideman to James Taylor) turns in some uncommonly lyrical fretless work on the evocative “Tribute to Lorraine” (a dedication to Milne’s late mother). Guinean kora master Prince Diabate and rapper Cindy Wonderful (from the electro-punk-dance group Scream Club) also appear on this vibrant production by Pear. “We’re old friends and have played together in a lot of different musical groups and genres,” says Milne of his creative cohort Pierone. “But we’ve always shared a love of energized improvisational music. So we made a decision to commit to a series of intense, no-holds-barred free jazz recording sessions.”

Pianist Nick Pierone and percussionist Rick Milne

The baker’s dozen of tracks that comprise extemp’ore were culled from those freewheeling jams. Using those sessions as raw materials, the two proceeded to craft music as if with one mind, following each other’s inventive twists and turns with an intuitive simpatico. It’s a similar method used by Miles Davis and Teo Macero on Bitches Brew and Jack Johnson or Brian Eno and David Byrne on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. That adventurous approach results in the broad palette of sounds and styles heard on extemp’ore, Pear’s mash-up manifesto.

Pear’s music has at its core a pulse that, according to Milne, can be attributed to the fact that its production was undertaken with the same passion that he and Pierone bring to their lives. “Life is about taking chances,” he says. “A person’s first step is risky. And I’ve often thought, ‘You know what happens when you don’t take a chance? Nothing happens.’ We keep in mind that the more risks you take, the better the payoff if you’re lucky. And I think we’ve been very lucky.”

Pear · extemp’ore
Release Date · May 24, 2011

For further information on Pear, visit http://www.pear-studio.com

..:: SOURCE: DL Media ::..