Peripheral Hearing - MP3 Album

Peripheral Hearing - MP3 Album

Brad Dutz Quartet

CD available for pre-order, downloads available soon - release date, October 28


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Brad Dutz (mallets, hand percussion)
Paul Sherman (oboe, English horn)
Chris Votek (cello)

Jim Sullivan (bass clarinet)
Brian Walsh (bass clarinet)

special guest
Jasper Dutz (soprano sax, bass clarinet)

The Brad Dutz Quartet first performed at a New Music Festival at the REDCAT in 2005. The original impetus was to form an acoustic, jazz-tinged chamber ensemble capable of producing a wide range of textures and colours. Given the unusual combination of instruments within the ensemble, there are very few chord changes and a greater reliance on vamps, tonal centres and ostinatos. The resulting scales provide interesting frameworks for improvisation, creating compositions that have much in common with 20th-century classical chamber music and harmolodics, a method of improvisational composition commonly associated with the music of Ornette Coleman.

Oboe and cello are rarely associated with jazz, a musical form that allows relatively more freedom than is usually found within classical forms. Consequently, no other group sounds quite like the Brad Dutz Quartet, which over four albums has created a body of music that is challenging, at times difficult, but always fun. Peripheral Hearing is no exception, a richly rewarding album of 21st-century music.


RAT-D044 (November, 2013)

Production: Brad Dutz
Recording: Chris Votek
Mixing and mastering: Wayne Peet
Artwork: Kaoru Mansour
Photography: Jay Matsueda
Design: UnkleFranc

    Peripheral Hearing

    01 Flow of Turnip Juice (6:48)
    02 Group Chatter (2:16)
    03 Journey to Espresso 77 (5:26)
    04 Unit Speaks (3:15)
    05 Sneaky Products Rebel (4:11)
    06 Ensemble Decides (2:13)
    07 Postponed Till Never (5:31)
    08 Quartet Negotiates (3:01)
    09 Blue Tork Predator (4:09)
    10 Quintet Communication (3:08)
    11 Where is the Spleen (6:29)
    12 Birds Talk (5:22)
    13 Peripheral Hearing (5:00)
    14 Combo Discussion (3:01)
    15 Nefarious Mission (5:28)
    16 Final Conversation (2:23)

    Total playing time  (68:28)

Click here to view and download the album booklet



Brad has played mallets and hand percussion on countless recordings during his 20-year career, from session for television, film and dance, to working with many leading contemporary performers and composers across a wide range of genres: from Alanis Morrisette and Rickie Lee Jones to Willie Nelson, Leo Kottke, Bill Cunliffe, Mitch Forman, David Benoit, and even Kiss! As a composer, he has written for instrumental settings of various sizes and combinations, from soloists to nonets. He is a key contributor in numerous ensembles, including The Other Three (a trio with Kim Richmond and John Fumo), Obliteration Quartet (found objects for percussionists), Polarity Taskmasters (keyboards, voice, theremin, percussion), and duets with reed player, Vinny Golia. As an educator, Brad taught hand percussion at Cal State Long Beach since 1997, and conducted numerous clinics, lectures and master classes at Colleges and High Schools on a variety of topics, including studio work, composing for percussion, world percussion, producing CDs, and freelancing in the music industry. In 1995 he featured on a four-set video (since reissued on DVD) called Have Fun Playing Hand Drums, an introduction to the fundamentals of hand percussion. Over a four-year period, Brad wrote a monthly column for Drum Magazine on hand percussion. He has also published three books of his compositions: Manipulations In Sound And Time; Music For Hand Percussion; and Percussion Pieces For Duos, Trios And Quartets.


Dr. Paul J. Sherman is a performer on baroque and modern instruments, and an instrumental conductor. He teaches baroque oboe performance and is Director of Le Canards du Roy, a baroque oboe ensemble at the University of Southern California. On period instruments he performs with Musica Angelica, San Diego Bach Collegium, Harmonia Baroque Players, Del Mar Baroque, and Grammy-nominated Santa Fe Pro Musica. He is also a founding member of Jealous Nightingale Baroque. Paul’s other great passion is for new music. He is oboist and executive director of ensembleGREEN, which presented ten world premieres during last year’s sold out season. He performs, tours and records regularly with Grammy-Award-winning Southwest Chamber Music, and also with the Nimbus Ensemble (Berio Sequenza VII and Chemins IV). Paul is Music Director for the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Philharmonic, and Conductor and Music Director of the Chapman University Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony. He teaches history, theory, oboe, and sundry other subjects at USC, College of the Canyons, Citrus Community College, and Glendale Community College. His degrees are from CalArts where he studied with Allan Vogel, and USC where he studied oboe performance, music history, instrumental conducting and baroque period performance.


James Sullivan is dedicated to exploring the creative possibilities of the entire clarinet family. In addition to the soprano clarinets, he has cultivated a virtuosic command of the bass clarinet. He plays in diverse chamber music settings from classical to avant-garde and has performed with a range of orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Seattle Symphony. He has been a featured artist with Zebulon Projects, Jacaranda, Dangerous Curve and Microfest, appeared as soloist on KPFK and KCSUN, performs with ensembleGREEN, Jacaranda Music on the Edge, Inauthentica, Kan Zaman Middle Eastern Ensemble and improvisation ensembles Brad Dutz Quartet and Freshly Squeezed. Jim studied at Interlochen Arts Academy, Cleveland Institute of Music, Florida State University (B.M.), CalArts (M.F.A.), and teaches at Pasadena Conservatory of Music and the Academy of Creative Education.


Based in Los Angeles, Chris is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, sound engineer, producer, arranger, educator, and improviser. An acclaimed cellist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in cello performance and composition, he records and performs with a wide range of ensembles, including Western Classical, Electronica, Jazz, North Indian Classical, Pop and Rock. He has played in Mesto, Clover String Quartet, Fearl Baroque Trio, Vinny Golia, Santa Rosa Symphony, and is the newest member of the Brad Dutz Quartet. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in cello performance and composition. His instrumental performance teachers include Erica Duke-Kirkpatrick, Mark Menzies, & Alan Vogel, and his composition teachers were Art Jarvinen, Marc Lowenstein, & Barry Schrader. As a serious student of Indian music, Chris has studied with Rajeev Taranath, Imrat Kahn, Aashish Kahn, & Jagan Ramamoorthy. In addition to writing chamber music, he has written extensively for dance film and animation. Collaborators include Mira Kingsley, Jason Boesch, Kim Thompson and Jason Williams. Chris was also selected to be a student ambassador to Europe in 2003 where he performed in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, France, England and the Netherlands.



Written to feature Brad’s son, Jasper (playing soprano sax in an early duo with Paul Sherman, then bass clarinet in the final duet with Jim Sullivan), this piece uses an Irish bodhran to support the cello bass line at the top of the piece, which is later replaced by a Peruvian cajon.

With the cello anchoring the piece, the other instruments suggest something approaching musical pointillism over the bass line. Notice the two bass clarinets and the oboe appearing between the three low voices.

This work is dedicated to the great eponymous coffee shop in Jackson Heights that we frequent while in New York – caffeine is essential to starting the day in that city. The soloist have brief statements over background ostinatos until the piece erupts in a hyper-improv section.

This piece is reminiscent of the famous jazz chamber quartet, Oregon. The active solo voice moves around the combo in much the same way as it does in Oregon compositions.

A jazz-inspired work that features vibes and oboe in the first solo duet section. The bridge morphs into a bass clarinet solo, which is followed by a cello solo. Each section is supported by rhythmic ostinatos, and the piece ends with a hilarious major triad.

A journey into a rhythmic groove started by a metal guiro with occasional marimba statements, found objects, and oboe accents. Brian Walsh took his bass clarinet apart and used it purely as a rhythm instrument, much like a Brazilian cuica, while Jasper played the more melodic bass clarinet.

Dedicated to projects that never materialize, this piece was once buried on my computer. There’s a very high-energy bass clarinet solo by Brian early in the piece, and in the middle the quartet breaks down into two duets. The piece ends with Chris’s mysterious cello solo.

The vibes are played with an unusual rattle mallet, which adds intensity to the attack much like small maracas. These are later used purely as a maraca sound. The piece ends with gongs that appear as if from a distant Chinese scene.

The second jazz-inspired piece has a bright, happy tempo and harmonic major scale. There is a free section in the middle that showcases the bands listening ability, then Chris’s cello cues us back to the written material.

Long tones bring this work to fruition with pods and long shaker sounds interrupting the whole notes and arco cello sustains. Marbles inside cans help create longer percussion sonorities. As in the first piece, Flow of Turnip Juice, the soprano sax and oboe blend beautifully and mysteriously. Descending marimba sequences add a sense of bottomlessness.

Cello bass lines set up the ostinato for the melody, which is shared between the four players in a 7/8 time signature. The soloing oboe and marimba are kept right on the edge with all the activity in the background. The tension releases when the band returns to written material.

There are no mallet instruments in this piece. The groove is provided by a riq, a style of tambourine used in traditional Arabic music, which is soon taken up by a cajon. Notice the funky pizzicato bass line played on the cello. The dialogue between soprano sax, English horn and bass clarinet is frequently interrupted by the sound of toy birds, each of which generates different birdcalls. The B section is started by a Brazilian pandeiro, and features Jasper soloing on soprano saxophone, quoting birdcalls that appear at the end.

The advantage of using an old Leedy xylo-marimba is that it helps to change the colour of the piece as it transitions from xylophone to marimba. The track starts with a free section. The written material is introduced with a xylophone ostinato, which provides forward momentum for the bass clarinet and oboe melody. The cello is again in bass mode. In the middle section, the ensemble plays unison lines over which each player takes a short four-measure solo. The texture changes at the end by switching to soft mallets on the marimba.

Arco cello sets up a mood of searching and questioning. The intensity of the combo builds to an abrupt silence, after which an eighth-note pattern is enhanced by a Portuguese hand-drum called a pandeiro. Arco cello returns, and the vibe mallets are turned over to add click to the attack.

This through-composed work is based on the mechanical momentum of found percussion. Two bass clarinets sustain the low end while two clarinets propel the piece rhythmically and melodically (often in octaves). Cello and oboe provide the melody. There are no solos. The percussion consists of a variety of cans, bowls and metal objects filled with marbles and beads, which add crunch to the sound. Frame drums and a dissected doorbell also add to the percussive texture.

In this piece, pizzicato cello and bass clarinet maintain a constant sense of motion, while vibes and English horn establish a Charles-Ives-like searching. Bowed vibes provide a sustained legato for the improvisation.