Drummer-Composer Kate Gentile’s Fascinating Debut Recording: Mannequins, Featuring Jeremy Viner, Matt Mitchell, and Adam Hopkins, Prod David Torn

Drummer Kate Gentile – one of the up-and-coming player-composers on the fertile New York creative music scene – has worked with a who’s who in this realm, from Anthony Braxton, John Zorn and Michael Formanek to Marty Ehrlich, Chris Speed, and Kris Davis. Now, Gentile presents her debut album as a leader-composer: Mannequins, to be released on CD and digitally via Skirl Records on June 16, 2017. Recorded at Systems Two in her home borough of Brooklyn, Mannequins features Gentile’s powerful electro-acoustic quartet with Jeremy Viner (tenor saxophone, clarinet), Matt Mitchell (piano, Prophet 6 synthesizer, electronics) and Adam Hopkins (double-bass). Gentile has impressed some top figures in her initial years on the scene, including the great saxophonist-composer Tim Berne (named one of New York City’s top 25 jazz icons by Time Out New York). Berne says: “There are a lot of people out there writing crazy shit, but Kate has actually learned how to integrate composition and improvisation, which is a challenge for any of us. Her writing is intriguing, dramatic and emotionally expressive, and she has become really confident and knows what she wants. You can tell on the record that she’s not dumbing things down – the improvisations are meaty.”
Inspirations for the sound and sensibility of Gentile’s music come via diverse sources, ranging from Jim Black’s AlasNoAxis and Tim Berne’s Bloodcount to Xenakis and Autechre, from Robert Pollard and Bob Drake to key records by Marc Ducret, Craig Taborn and Miles Okazaki. The sonic character of Mannequins is as visceral as it is heady, as sensual as it is challenging. “My approach to the music is jazz-influenced in that there is improvising with the raw materials of the compositions in various ways, but those raw materials themselves are unconventional and not tied to any specific genres,” Gentile explains. “There are weird harmonies, but there are also highly melodic lines woven through them. There are weird rhythms, but they usually repeat enough to create a feeling of familiarity.
Another figure impressed by Gentile’s music-making is Ches Smith, an ECM recording artist and one of the most in-demand drummers on the New York scene. “Kate writes music that is very difficult to play, but it doesn’t necessarily sound that way – there’s a logic to her music that feels very satisfying,” Smith says. “As for her playing, now that I’m more familiar with her composing, I hear her drumming as completely in service of the composition, whatever the context. I was recently involved in performing and recording Matt Mitchell’s newest music. It’s extremely polyrhythmic, with a lot to keep track of, a lot going on. She was on drums, with three more of us on percussion. Her playing locked with the writing, yet lifted the whole thing.”
The Mannequins Band
“It’s pretty fun to have a band that can take these crazy tunes and go nuts with them,” Gentile says. “Challenging music requires skilled and creative improvisers to really deal, if your goal is to internalize the music enough to be truly ‘free’ with it – fluent with the rhythms, harmonies, forms, concepts. Playing my music with these guys makes me excited about the pursuit of that next-level freedom as a band,and it makes me want to keep upping the ante. I’m always thinking about how to raise the bar for myself, looking forward to what’s next.”

All music composed by Kate Gentile. Recorded by Mike Marciano at Systems Two, Brooklyn. Mixed by Joe Branciforte. Mastered by David Torn. Album artwork and design by Kate Gentile.


“[Gentile’s] music is full of stuttering rhythms and teetering intervallic jumps; an array of textures — sometimes chiming, sometimes abraded — disorient you even as they deepen your listening.” – The New York Times“Now is the time to sit up and take notice of Kate Gentile, if that hasn’t happened for you yet” – Nate
SOURCEStephen Buono Publicity

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