Nate Wooley/Lotte Anker/Felix Henkelhausen/Dre Hocevar



After the critical success of knknighgh's first outing, Minimalist Poetry (for Aram Saroyan) Nate Wooley is back with a concept that expands not only the minimalist/maximalist compositional technique of the first recording, but does so with a new cast of characters. The Brecht Series takes the previous concerns of group interplay and and the tension therein to a different place altogether; pushing a new set of musicians: Mette Rasmussen on saxophone, Felix Henkelhausen on bass, and Dre Hocevar returning on drums to throw themselves off of musical cliffs repeatedly to find the newness in risk. The new music takes on the hierarchy of the free jazz quartet by gently directing the musicians away from the typical jazz soloing and toward a new collective sound! The result is a surprisingly raucous and wonderfully inventive new music. The NEW quartet will be on tour in Europe in October 2018 and January 2019. Look for the new record late next year!



knknighgh (pronounced knife) is a radical new take on the classic free jazz quartet tradition. Inspired by the minimalist poems of Aram Saroyan, Wooley wrote only one short and fragmented melody for this group, which consisted of three of the most interesting upcoming musicians in America today: Chris Pitsiokos, Brandon Lopez, and Dre Hocevar. That group worked tirelessly on on pushing the simple 13 bar theme to its limits. Wooley wrote short fragmentary loop compositions that could be triggered by a simple auditory cue by anyone in the band, making this a form of composition by committee. The group finds new configurations of the almost non-existent material that give a fresh perspective on the free jazz aesthetic while forcing the players out of their comfort zones and into pure creative energy.


Clean Feed writes about the new release:


We can say without exaggeration that the new project by Nate Wooley introduces in the so-called “free jazz” format a system that few times – if ever – we encountered with such a relevance for the musical results since the harmolodic process proposed by Ornette Coleman. And the always surprising trumpeter is very much aware of the ground breaking possibilities of this band with the upcoming New York musicians Chris Pitsiokos, Brandon Lopez and Dré Hocevar, and of the music recorded in “Knknighgh” (to be pronounced as “knife”), when presenting it as «a radical new take on the classic free jazz quartet tradition». So it is: you immediately recognize the approach as free jazz, and yet, free jazz never sounded like this before.


The band uses short composed materials written by Wooley and those fragmented materials are looped and pushed to the limit, triggered by any of the players in whatever order chosen in the moment. At first, the procedure seems to adapt some of the repetitive strategies of minimal music, and yet again, it doesn’t sound like minimalism, and neither it is a crossover between free jazz and minimal music. Wooley’s new system gets its references outside of music, and namely in the poetry of Aram Saroyan, «the master of the one word poem», as punk singer and writer Richard Hell calls him. Of course, both Hell and Wooley are particularly interested in the musical qualities of Saroyan’s poetry, its rhythmic fluency, its alliterations, its repetition of syllabs and inherent sounds. From it, Nate Wooley created a new kind of free jazz in which less is more and the resume of a particular melodic phrase isn’t necessarily the reintroduction of a chorus line. Prepare yourself to be marveled…

Listen to a track from knknighgh's first recording: Minimalist Poetry (for Aram Saroyan) out now on Clean Feed Records



knknighgh's first recording, Minimalist Poetry (for Aram Saroyan) is now out on Clean Feed Records. The recording came at the end of a NY residency at the, now defunct, Manhattan Inn and signals the first peak of the quartet's powers to create and recreate Wooley's sparse songbook.





knknighgh got together again to work on Wooley's new Brecht Series compositional system during European Tours in October 2018 and January 2019. The new group with Lotte Anker, Felix Henkelhausen, and Dre Hocevar recorded a live set in Munich coming soon!