Bright Dog Red
Bright Dog Red (BDR), an improvising collective from Albany, New York, fuses free improvisation, electronica, jazz, hip hop, psychedelia, and noise music. BDR will release How’s by You? September 13, 2019, the ensemble’s second album for Ropeadope Records, the influential Philadelphia area imprint.
How’s by You? follows BDR’s Ropeadope debut, 2018’s Means to the Ends, celebrated for its “exploratory sounds” (The Bolg) and “spirited and inspired jazz that skillfully weaves in…electronica and hip-hop” (Blue in Green Radio, UK).
Ropeadope, long at the nexus of jazz, hip hop, and electronica, has proven an apt partner for BDR’s “innovative and psychedelic mesh” of those genres (The Alt Weekly). Since partnering with the label, the group has enjoyed a widening audience, including increased recognition in North America, the UK, and Europe. Hailed as “Sonic Groundbreakers” (Nu Jazz Sounds, UK) and a “band on the rise” (The Bolg), BDR stands poised for increased notoriety with the release of How’s by You?.
BDR’s regular performances at New York destination venues like ShapeShifter Lab, Nublu, and Spectrum, have garnered the ensemble comparisons to “Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Digable Planets” (Paul Schulman), “electronic Ahmad Jamal,” (Don Lucoff), and to other psychedelic, jazz fusion, and hip hop luminaries.
The band has also earned esteem among contemporary musicians representing a wide swath of genres. Live looping artist Adam Ahuja of Infinity Gritty has implored his followers to immerse themselves in BDR’s “self-reflective swing hop.” Internationally renowned DJ M A N I K, has heralded BDR’s “dope fusion improv” on his syndicated podcast Welcome to My Crate. Bass virtuoso and neuroscientist Tyreek Jackson, who often plays with the group, credited BDR with expanding his horizons, “Playing in this band, where you know that things can change at any time, has opened up my ear…I become a better listener after every BDR gig.”
Founded by drummer and composer Joe Pignato, BDR is comprised of a rotating cast of players. How’s by You? features founding members Cody Davies (electronics) and Anthony Berman (bass), as well as long standing members Mike LaBombard (tenor sax) and MC Cully (rhyming and freestyling). The collective has its genesis in a series of freewheeling jam sessions led by Pignato, a professor at the State University of New York, Oneonta:
“I was inspired by one of my teachers, Yusef Lateef, who held jam sessions with his students. I’d have students out to my house and we’d play for hours, all of it improvised. It’s pretty gratifying to see the concept evolve, becoming a body of work, especially as it reflects an ethos cultivated during my own time as a student with Dr. Lateef.”
How’s by You?, recorded at the Disco Studio in Delanson, New York, reflects that ethos in action. The album was captured live, over the course of three discrete sessions, each wholly improvised. From its earliest days, Bright Dog Red has recorded in this manner.
The How’s by You? sessions produced over two hours of music. Pignato, pored through the recordings, marking transitions, editing breaks, and roughing out each of the tracks that appear on the album. Paul Geluso, a New York based engineer and Pignato’s longtime collaborator, mixed the album, making additional edits to fine tune each selection. The duo worked together in similar fashion on 2018’s Means to the Ends, although this second album incorporates more studio craft than the first, a trend Pignato sees continuing on future projects:
We used the studio a bit more here. Got creative with the edits, thought about things like isolation. With the first album, we really wanted the rawness of our live sets to permeate. On How’s by You?, we thought, “what can we distill from that energy?” I’d like to see future albums mix and match the visceral nature of what we do live with the more controlled possibilities of the studio and post-production. In that way, How’s by You?, is kind of a transition for us.
Since debuting in September of 2015, Bright Dog Red has played a number of high profile bookings, including opening for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at the historic Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, opening for Hip Hop sensation Decora, sharing bills with Italian Surf Academy and with pianist Zack Clarke, and featuring guest soloists such as saxophonists Eric Person and Morgan Guerin, bassist Tyreek Jackson, and keyboardist Matt Mottel of Talibam!.
Prior to signing with Ropeadope, BDR released two independently distributed EPs, 2017’s Bullet Proof Shoes and 2015’s Teasers, prompting bloggers Peck and JT to declare, "Put Albany’s Bright Dog Red on your radar as this jazzy psychedelic hip hop posse has potential for some progressive golden era goodness."
Joe Pignato - Drums, concepts
Cully - Rhymes, freestyling
Cody Davies - Sounds, electronics
Anthony Berman - Bass
Mike LaBombard - Saxophone
All compositions Bright Dog Red
Produced and recorded by Joe Pignato, the Disco Studio, Delanson, New York
Mixed and mastered by Paul Geluso, Riverglass Studio, Delhi, New York
Additional mastering by Adam Clairmont and Bryan Brundige, Overit Studio, Albany, New York
HOW’S BY YOU?
Release Date: September 13, 2019
Bright Dog Red (BDR), an improvising collective from Albany, New York, fuses free improvisation, electronica, jazz, hip hop, psychedelia, and noise music into a proliferation of beats, bars, and blasts of sonic energy.
In early 2018, BDR signed on to release an album with Ropeadope, the Philadelphia based record label. The band’s first full-length album, “Means to the Ends,” is due out October 5, 2018. Ropeadope, long at the nexus of jazz, hip hop, and electronica, seems a natural home for BDR’s innovative and psychedelic mesh of jazz, hip-hop and electronica (The Alt Weekly).
“Means to the Ends” follows two independently distributed EPS, 2017’s “Bullet Proof Shoes” and 2015’s “Teasers.” BDR’s initial forays prompted bloggers Peck and JT to declare, Put Albany’s Bright Dog Red on your radar as this jazzy psychedelic hip hop posse has potential for some progressive golden era goodness. The UK's Emerging Indie deemed the band’s extemporised psychedelic jazz-hop worthy of repeated listening.
BDR’s regular performances at New York destination venues like ShapeShifter Lab, Nublu, and Spectrum, have garnered the ensemble comparisons to Mahavishnu Orchestra meets Digable Planets (Paul Schulman), electronic Ahmad Jamal, (Don Lucoff), and to other psychedelic, jazz fusion, and hip hop luminaries.
Founded by drummer and composer Joe Pignato, BDR features core members MC Cully, electronic musician Cody Davies, trumpeter Jarritt Sheel, saxophonist Mike LaBombard, and bassist Anthony Berman.
The group’s music, all improvised, has its roots in a series of marathon jam sessions. Pignato, a professor at the State University of New York, Oneonta, explains: I was inspired by one of my teachers, Yusef Lateef, who held jam sessions with his students. I’d have students out to my cabin in the Catskills and we’d play for hours, all of it improvised. They had such singular voices, different references than I anticipated. I recorded all of it, often thinking it might become something.
That “something” remained little more than an inkling until some 10 years later. Encouraged by recordings of those early sessions, Pignato decided to formulate a fixed incarnation of the group, reaching out to former students from the ensembles he directs at Oneonta.
Although their time in Pignato’s groups proved excellent training for BDR’s particular brand of improvisation, the group stands apart from the members’ previous endeavors. Bassist Berman explains, It’s like spontaneous, collective meditation. We get into a trance state and ideas just flow. MC Cully notes, at its best, the music is an impossibly divided form of unity, with each participant as expressive as a soloist and supportive as a side-player. Saxophonist LaBombard echoes those sentiments, “with BDR, I can stretch, with the support of the others, melodically, harmonically, stylistically. It's the group and the individual.” Cody Davies summed up, “You have to give in. There’s an interdependency to BDR. It feels more like we push each other to be vulnerable rather than jam or play tunes.” Trumpeter Jarritt Sheel, a friend of Pignato's and a faculty member at Berklee College of Music, extolled his immersion into BDR's “heartfelt and inspired improvisational music.”
Since debuting in September of 2015, Bright Dog Red has played a number of high profile bookings, including opening for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at the historic Paramount Hudson Valley Theater, opening for Hip Hop sensation Decora, sharing bills with Italian Surf Academy and with pianist Zack Clarke, and featuring guest soloists such as saxophonist Morgan Guerin and keyboardist Matt Mottel of Talibam!
In addition, the band has become a fixture on the New York jazz and improvisation scene, playing regularly at venues such as ShapeShifter Lab, Nublu, and Spectrum. Beyond New York, the band has performed at the Berklee College of Music, twice headlined Albany’s Madison Theatre, played BSP Lounge in Kingston NY, Lilypad at Inman in Cambridge, MA, Olive’s in Nyack, NY, and the O+ Festival three years in a row.
How’s by You? was recorded at the Disco Studio in Delanson, New York. The album was captured live, over the course of three discrete sessions, each wholly improvised. From its earliest days, Bright Dog Red has recorded in this manner.
Means to the Ends
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Joe Pignato (Drummer)
Jarritt Ahmed Sheel (Trumpet)
Mike LaBombard (Sax)
Cody Davies (Electronics)
Cully aka Eric Cullen (MC)
Anthony Berman (Bass)
MC Righteous aka Curtis Igunbor (MC)
Zak Westbrook (Lead Guitar)
Mike Kemmlein (Rhythm Guitar)