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Steven Lugerner's Slow & Steady Records Announces Release of SLUGish Ensemble's An Eight Out of Nine


Steven Lugerner's Slow & Steady Records Announces Release of SLUGish Ensemble's An Eight Out of Nine

Slow & Steady Records announces the release of SLUGish Ensemble's debut album, An Eight Out Of Nine. Seeking musical therapy as a relationship was coming to end, SLUGish leader Steven Lugerner revisited a selection of "go-to" nostalgic recordings by many of his favorite artists. "I started to make a list of songs that tugged at my heart, soul and ears," writes Lugerner. "The collection of songs your hear on this album are all songs that have been deeply embedded in my musical ethos, play after play."

Lugerner also wanted to explore arranging a "non-jazz" book of repertoire for a completely instrumental, jazz-rooted ensemble as with SLUGish. Lugerner loosely borrowed a compositional technique from Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth, where one re-creates a song from memory, after a long span of time without listening to it as a crutch. This is the underpinning of An Eight Out Of Nine, in which Lugerner returned to the same question over and over: "What does it mean to create and compose something that's hummable, that could get stuck in your ear and force you to sit with it, even against your will at times?"

An Eight Out Of Nine was recorded in three phases. In May 2017, bassist Todd Sickafoose (who also co-produced the album), drummer Allison Miller (who performed in the inaugural performances of SLUGish in 2015), and pianist Carmen Staaf joined Lugerner at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA to record the foundational layer of the music. For the second phase, Lugerner isolated himself in his family's cabin in Arnold, CA, and recorded all the woodwind overdubs, including bass clarinet, flute, and saxophones. Phase three invited regular collaborators of Lugerner's for additional overdubs: trombonist Danny Lubin-Laden (Monophonics, Brass Magic), trumpeter Max Miller-Loran (Invisible Inc., Watsky, Brass Magic), vibraphonist Mark Clifford (Dirty Snacks Ensemble), cellist Crystal Pascucci, guitarist Justin Rock (Bastet, Never Weather), and tenor saxophonist Daniel Rotem (Herbie Hancock, Usher). "I purposefully wanted to produce the album in a way that rubbed against the established process of many jazz recordings. I wanted to get away from the limitations that came along with recording an ensemble of this size in a live room. Ultimately, this is my sonic attempt to get closer to realizing 'the sound' I've been imagining in my head since I started composing and arranging music."

Although recognized first and foremost as an alto saxophonist, An Eight Out Of Nine finds Steven Lugerner exploring the lower register of the reeds, specifically bass clarinet and baritone saxophone, which "speak to me on a more primal level," says Lugerner. "I feel more connected to the human voice." Indeed, the melodies of the covers herein are sung through these low reeds played by Lugerner throughout the album.

"Every once in a while musical magic occurs when a bandleader steps up as a producer. It can be curating on the highest level. Steven Lugerner has proven this true with his new SLUGish Ensemble release. He has crafted an album that beams with intention, emotion, compositional maturity, and a masterful use of dynamics and space." - Allison Miller

Steven Lugerner's Slow & Steady Records Announces Release of SLUGish Ensemble's An Eight Out of Nine


A multi-instrumentalist and composer, Steven Lugerner maintains musical ties between his home of San Francisco, as well as Los Angeles, Chicago & New York City. As a bandleader, Lugerner leads SLUGish Ensemble, an amoeba-like group dedicated to original compositions & arrangements in addition to JACKNIFE, a hard-hitting post-bop quintet dedicated to the music of late alto saxophonist Jackie McLean. Lugerner has released multiple albums to critical acclaim - JACKNIFE: The Music of Jackie McLean(2016), Gravitations Vol. 1-3 (2013-15), For We Have Heard (2013), Live at the Bunker(2012), Narratives (2010), and These Are The Words (2010).

His compositions have been described as "a textured, nearly seamless blend of composition and improvisation" by The Village Voice, while The New York Times has called him "an impeccably trained multi-reedist." In his short career, Lugerner has collaborated with a heavyweight roster of jazz masters, including pianists Fred Hersch, Jason Moran and Myra Melford; drum masters Albert "Tootie" Heath, Matt Wilson, John Hollenbeck and Allison Miller; saxophonists Jane Ira Bloom, Dayna Stephens, Chris Cheek, Anat Cohen and Miguel Zenon; trumpeter Ralph Alessi, flutist Jamie Baum and bassist Todd Sickafoose. In addition to his musical activities, Steven is the Faculty Director at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and Founder of Slow & Steady Records.

"Lugerner's approach to making music is very much his own; and he seems to be pursuing it to impressive advantage." - San Francisco Examiner (Stephen Smoliar)

" ambitious composer, arranger, and conceptualist who seems to be overflowing with ideas." - The Chicago Tribune (Peter Margasak)

Record Release Shows
October 12th @ Constellation (Chicago)

November 9th @ Sam First (Los Angeles)

Additional Tour Dates:

October 4th - JACKNIFE @ Merriman's Playhouse (South Bend, IN)

October 5th - SLUGish Ensemble @ The Jazz Gallery (Milwaukee, WI)

October 6th - JACKNIFE @ The Jazz Estate (Milwaukee, WI)

October 12th - SLUGish Ensemble @ Constellation (Chicago, IL)

October 13th - JACKNIFE @ California Clipper (Chicago, IL)

November 9th - SLUGish Ensemble @ Sam First (Los Angeles, CA)

November 12th - SLUGish Ensemble @ The Royal Room (Seattle, WA)

November 13th - JACKNIFE @ The 1905 (Portland, OR)

November 14th - SLUGish Ensemble @ Turn, Turn, Turn (Portland, OR)

November 18th - JACKNIFE @ SFJAZZ Center, Joe Henderson Lab (SF, CA)

More Dates TBA

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