Outhead:Send this Sound to the King
Vinylmine Review
November 7, 2014

The specificity of Outhead the "Send this Sound to the King" [Chahatatadra Music, 2014] has not only to do with the composition and by extension with the institutions that handle the four band members - Alex Weiss alto, tenor, Charlie Gurke baritone, Rob Woodcock bass, Dillon Westbrook drums. What essentially distinguishes them from other modern "free" quartets is precisely this freedom ... influences, which spread in a wide range of creative music of the last 50 years. Why Outhead can refer, first, to Ornette Coleman quartet with double saxophones (Coleman and Dewey Redman) down towards the end of the sixties ("Love Call", etc.), but in practice their references arrive until the ... punk-jazz of the Lounge Lizards and the experimental rock of Morphine (which they had double saxophones played but by their own man, Dana Colley). Thus, although a first wave effects are evident in the (original) compositions of Outhead, in practice what we hear is ... a freedman and "staff» set, starting somewhat sad, highlighting the path whole range of emotions. The opening track is titled "Ode to John Denver or How I learned to stop worrying about death" and is a composition by Alex Weiss. This is a minor ... saxofonikos evolving in the way of Albert Ayler, recalling my even moments of "Song for Ché" of Charlie Haden. Quickly, however, the feelings change. The next track is titled "The chairman", lasts eight minutes, based on "deep" and "persistent» rhythm section (bass key in the Woodcock, which refers to Malachi Favors the Art Ensemble of Chicago), while ascholiasta can not stay guitar breaks of guest Peter Galub - especially towards the end of the piece, relating to 'metal' construction. In "The palimpsest" monitor ethnic references Outhead adapt to "New York City" environment, while in "A made truth" a mid-tempo prog / jazz / fusion is the basis for "stepping in" the words of Sarah Horacek and Eunjin Park (a ... minimally covered text around the sexual act). The last two tracks of the CD titles are "Trotsky" and "Uncle Ho" ... Something with President Mao, Trotsky something, something with the Ho Chi Minh ... as much aristerosyni not gathered here? Not that he is bad, let alone when ... Ornette Coleman and Roland Kirk, along with some vocal "zappismous" behind the sounds of Charlie Gurke. Source and exciting is the album Outhead ... arguably one of the finest in recent times.


Outhead:Send this Sound to the King
Gapplegate Music Review
By Grego Applegate Edwards, January 8, 2015

Life may not be like a box of chocolates lately, to refer to Mr. Gump, because we seem to know what we are getting, for good or ill. But it still applies to music. I get CDs in the mail often enough where I have no idea what it's going to be. Outhead's album Take This Sound to the King (Chahatatadra Music) serves as a good example. What was it? Putting it on I found it was something very good. Very modern jazz with a compositional base and a definite outside edge. The credits list Alex Weiss on alto and tenor, Charlie Gurke on baritone, Rob Woodcock on acoustic bass and Dilton Westbrook on drums. Weiss and Gurke provide most of the compositions, with one by Westbrook. There is a skronky electric guitarist on a cut or two who sounds good, but he (or she) is not listed. The music is very forward, rockish at times, contemporary like Morphine just a hair, but no, not entirely. The two-horn parts are intricate and weave well with rhythm-section routines. The band has a good thing going with Weiss and his hip solo style, both fleet and smart, with a full tone that doesn't sound like others so much. Gurke has a good sound and presence on baritone, too. And the ensemble as a unit has real clout. It's new and hip sounding, with pulse and dash, and a certain "this is our music" and like it or not directness that appeals. It's quite good. Different enough that you don't feel like you are repeating yourself when you put it on. Better than a box of chocolates! No doubt.


Outhead:Send this Sound to the King
Jazz Weekly
By George W.Harris, January 5, 2015

Alex Weiss plays alto and tenor sax on this mix sounds with Charlie Gurke/bs, Rob Woodcock/b and Dillon Westbrook/dr. The sounds come across as a mix of vintage Charles Mingus, but without the neurosis and Ornette Coleman yet without the iconoclasm. Edgy sounds meld together with Woodcocks’ bass leading the way on “”A Made Truth” and the horns lock and pull together before splitting apart on “Trotsky.” Dark tones and moods trudge along on the lonely “The Palimpsest” as Weiss’ alto makes some poignant points. Voices are brought into a few equations, with a spoken word poem by Kristin Sharke on and Weiss and Pete Galub joining in “A Made Truth.” More vocals on “Uncle Ho” and a Monkish-inspired “Glass Houses & Gift Horses” make the disc feel like a mix of influences and ideas that mostly stick to the kitchen wall.


Outhead:Send this Sound to the King
By GLENN ASTARITA, December 26, 2014

This San Francisco Bay-area unit propels a renegade New York downtown-ish vibe amid notions of punk jazz and the occasional flight towards the free zone. They also rock hard as guest guitarist Pete Galub inserts a serrated edge with his avant, jazz fusion vernacular. Nonetheless, they're young artists with big ideas. Besides the instrumentalists notable chops, it's the memorable compositions that segregate the band from many of its peers. Featuring guest vocalists who help proliferate a melodic Indie rock groove on the final track "Uncle Ho," the production contains a heterogeneous mix, fundamentally centered on a progressive jazz-centered stream of consciousness. Indeed, the musicians generate good cheer via these largely up-tempo works; although, on "The Chairman," Galub imparts some steely toned angst with his howling, electrified licks in parallel with saxophonists, Alex Weiss and Charlie Gurke's undulating impetus over a medium-tempo cadence. Each piece poses distinct stylistic components as the band projects an entrepreneurial mindset, witnessed on the asynchronous pulse that encapsulates "Glass Houses & Gift Horses," where the saxophonists blustery and soulful unison phrasings segue to a blitzing 4/4 groove and fractured lines. Ultimately, they stitch a complex but attainable storyline together, leading to a rather ominous downward spiral. Diversity is a key driver, evidenced by the spoken word piece "A Made Truth," shaped by bassist Rob Woodcock's prominent ostinato motif and Galub's spooky lines, intermixed with a drifting melody. And from an improvisational perspective, the saxophonists don't rely on one primary mode of attack, as they integrate impassioned treks into the red zone during choice movements. Simply put, this album marks one of those unforeseen surprises that arrived in the mail. Hopefully, the musicians will pool their creative resources for subsequent endeavors of this ilk or to extend matters into other regions of sound and scope. Track Listing: Ode to John Denver or How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Death; The Chairman; The Palimpsest; Glass Houses & Gift Horses; A Made Truth; Trotsky; Uncle Ho. Personnel: Alex Weiss: alto and tenor saxophone, vocals; Charlie Gurke: baritone saxophone; Rob Woodcock: bass; Dillon Westbrook: drums; Sarah Horacek: vocals (7); Jen Zebulon: vocals (7); Eunjin Park: vocals (7); Kristin Sharkey: vocals (7); spoken word (5); Pete Galub: vocals (7), guitar. Record Label: Self Produced

Outhead:Send this Sound to the King
By Anthony Dean-Harris

Outhead oozes. The group assembled by alto/tenor saxophonist Alex Weiss featuring Charlie Gurke on baritone saxophone, Rob Woodcock on bass and drummer Dillon Westbrook on drums has a kinds of chill to it that rumbles and eases its way though on Weiss' sophomore album, Send this Sound to the King. This group doesn't exactly play their songs, but more so unspools them. Outhead's sound is said to be rooted in both art house jazz and punk ideals, playing free but simply. Send this Sound to the King isn't exactly a low energy album, though it's certainly not all that uptempo. Instead, it's an album that slinks about and satisfies subtly. Even on the vocal, poetic tracks "A Made Truth" and "Uncle Ho", the kind of songs that in other hands would mangle through clunkiness or unnecessary feigned loftiness, end up being some of the best selections on the album, maintaining unerring, grooving snaps supplied aptly by Woodcock's bass and Westbrook's drums to compliment the family affair of voices. This dynamic runs through the whole work, but it's best depicted here (and not one of the available SoundCloud streams, so you'll really have to believe how good this song is before hopefully copping it yourself). It's an album that works surprisingly well as it maintains a steady heart rate.


Outhead:Send this Sound to the King
By Chahatatadra


Alex Weiss: Fighter Planes & Praying Mantis
By EYAL HAREUVENI, Published: April 18, 2014

Saxophonist Alex Ward's musical journey so far reflects his restful musical personality. He studied music in Boston, then relocated to San Francisco where he studied with Roberto DeHaven, the minister and musician of Saint John's Orthodox Church, better known as the John Coltrane Church. In the Bay Area he collaborated with innovative improvisers as saxophonist Glenn Spearman, Wadada Leo Smith, and Bertram Turetzky. Then he continued to Denmark where he performed with John Tchicai and later moved to Madrid, Spain. He stayed there four years before moving back to the Bay area and in 2007 he landed in New York, his current base. This long and winding road turned Weiss into a highly versatile musician whose diverse musical tastes cover country, Brazilian, and funk music and even reaches post punk bands as Black Flag. All efforts are is integrated into Fighter Planes & Praying Mantis and with the powerful and aggressive band that features drummer Ches Smith, guitarist Eyal Maoz, and trombonist Rick Parker, both collaborating in the 9Volt band. The power of this band is layered first with the driving massive pulse of Smith, assisted by bassist Dmitry Ishenko, then strengthened with the heavy, distorted sound of Maoz' electric guitar and on top of this heavy mix of sounds are the urgent, manic blows of Weiss and Parker, all orchestrated in a tight, thick interplay. Weiss adds the role of vocalist as he screams at the end of Black Flag's "Your Last Affront" Martin Luther King Jr's words: "a riot is the language of the unheard." But he can also function as a lyrical player, even with a gentle, contemplative bluesy tone as on "$ Mrdan" or injecting nervous tension on the title piece, contrasting the chaotic , metallic walls of noise of Maoz and Smith. He varies the aggressive mayhem with Mark Hodos exotic birimbau beat on "Control Avalanche." "Glaciers/Into Beautiful" and the following, Roy Budd's "Get Carter Theme," demonstrate Weiss' band as sketching a more conventional musical narrative, with dramatic shifts and hypnotic rhythms that set the basis for its cinematic atmosphere. Weiss' solo acoustic guitar cover of Hank Williams Jr's "Angel of Death" even adds a sobering, spiritual theme to this wild, uncompromising ride. Track Listing: Whale; Your Last Affront; $ Mrdan; filler; Control Avalanche; GlacierS/Into wonderful; Get Carter Theme; Fighter Planes & Praying Mantis; Angel of Death. Personnel: Alex Weiss: ttenor & baritone saxophones; Rick Parker: trombone; Eyal Maoz: guitar ; Dmitry Ishenko: electric bass, double bass; Ches Smith: drums; Mark Hodos: birimbau. Record Label: OutNow Recordings Style: Modern Jazz


Review by David Luhrssen

On their second album, the bi-coastal quartet Outhead takes the trail opened by the ’60s jazz avant-garde, but with a determination to hit audiences in the gut rather than sail over their heads. Rock elements echoing the sax-driven Morphine can be heard, along with enough melody in their saxophone cacophony to suggest Henry Threadgill at his most accessible. Alex Weiss and Charlie Gurke lead with their saxophones over the pulse-beat grooves and rolling thunder percussion of bassist Rob Woodcock and drummer Dillon Westbrook. Guest guitarist Peter Galub adds electricity on a few tracks.


Jazz Inside November Issue: Interview by Joe Patitucci

Read the interview here.

Outhead - Send this Sound to the King: Mos Eisley Music Sept. 25. 2014

Being influenced by various genres like punk rock, Alex Weiss, alto saxophonist and member of the group Outhead, might not be your typical jazz saxophone player. On "Send this Sound to the King" he rejoins with his fellow musicians Charlie Gurke (baritone saxophone), Rob Woodcock (Bass) and Dillon Westbrook (Drums) to play an highly interesting brand of jazz. Though I can't seem to recognize any specific punk rock elements on this album besides a noisy guitar here and there, it still carries an individual style and spirit. A track like "The Palimpsest" might be a good example: The first thing we can hear is the perfect blend of two saxophones playing together. The next thing is the rhythm section kicking in, which is more or less the trademark of this group. Steady rhyhtms and a dynamic bass provide a solid groundwork in each track for the melodic saxophone symbiosis. "The Chairman" is probably the most grooving song on "Bring this Sound to the King". It also shows that this group knows how to arrange and orchestrate - There is a clear structure to each tune and every solo and improvisation that you will hear is perfectly embedded in it. Playing smooth notes while bringing that certain element of surprise at the same time is what makes this band unique. You can stream the album on Alex Weiss' Soundcloud.

New Yorker Jan. 2. 2012 edition: Night Life-Clear Your Head

Rashied Ali, who died in 2009, was John Coltrane's final drummer and an early mainstay of New York's loft-jazz movement, in the seventies. A tribute to the free jazz pioneerat the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center & Educational Center, featuring the bassist William Parker and the saxophonidst Charles Gayle and John Tchicai, is a bracing way to start the New Year. (See page 9.)

Tchicai's Five/ Six Points Plays George Wein's Jazz Festival, 2010

John Tchicai's Five Points is a quintet with guitarist Garrison Fewell, fellow reed player Alex Weiss, bassist Dmitry Ishenko and drummer Ches Smith.
Surprisingly One Long Minute was recorded after only two live performances but the band sounds seasoned, without an ounce of tentativeness.
Each member except Ishenko contributes compositions and the band really seems inspired by each other's efforts. Tchicai gets off a fiery solo on Smith's "Anxiety Disorder" and his bass clarinet (uncredited) roams deeply on Fewell's "Venus." Weiss' arrangement of the theme to Akira Kurosawa's "Yojimbo" is just a brief theme statement but fits perfectly into the program. Tchicai's "Parole Ambulante" is a typical languid theme delivered over a free rhythm with beautiful voicings given sonic depth by Ishenko's arco bass work. One wonders what this band will sound like by the time of the next disc.


Outhead / Quiet sounds for Comfortable Music, 2008