Bassist Kent Carter, drummer Bill Elgart, and pianist Gianni Lenoci have just released Plaything, their new album on NoBusiness Records. The limited edition vinyl LP features original compositions from each member of the trio including “Splinter,” “Contusion,” “Spider Diagram,” “Leeway,” and “Kretek” by Gianni Lenoci, Bill Elgart’s “Drift,” and the title track by Carter, a new interpretation of a piece originally written for Paul Bley.
“Plaything,” the opening track, with Kent Carter on bass, Bill Elgart on drums, and Gianni Lenoci on piano, is on SoundCloud:
Plaything was cut in October 2012 at Studio Juillaguet, a recording and dance space located in a rural part of southwest France that is run by Kent Carter and his wife, a professional choreographer. Carter also produced the album, along with Danas Mikailionis and co-producer Valerij Anosov, and engineer Ananda Cherer.
Kent Carter recently elaborated on the origins of the project:
Gianni invited me to come to the school in Monopoli, Italy to do a workshop with his orchestra. I wrote a piece and we worked on it for a week, along with a composition of Gianni’s. It was a wonderful week for me. The students were exceptional and very creative with lots of musical energy. We performed the works at the end of the workshop. It went very well. Gianni and I talked about future projects together and we came up with this recording date, the Plaything session.
An audio file for Gianni Lenoci’s “Contusion,” the third track on the album, is here:
The vinyl version of Plaything is limited to 300 LPs and is currently available from Lithuania’s NoBusiness records. The album will also be released shortly in digital format by Silta Records of Italy. Stay tuned for further information–as well as an exclusive video or two. In addition, plans for live performances by the trio to support the new album are still under discussion. As each member is enthusiastic about such prospects, hopefully schedules can be coordinated to make this happen in the near future. Watch this space for specific dates and venues.
This summer on a date Bill Elgart was unavailable, Kent Carter and Gianni Lenoci played a gig with drummer Jeff Boudreaux at Abbaye aux Dames in Saintes. The live 11 July 2014 Radio France broadcast includes a pair of compositions each by Carter and Lenoci plus three by Carla Bley:
Chance Encounter at Evil Rabbit Records’ Festival Catalyst for Album
Gianni Lenoci and Bill Elgart first came face-to-face at a music festival in Amsterdam organized by Evil Rabbit Records in 2010. In fact, Lenoci was already familiar with several albums of his, as Lenoci recently shared:
I was introduced to Bill’s distinct way of playing years ago when listening to a couple of Paul Bley albums, Paul Bley with Gary Peacock and Mr. Joy, and one by the great Italian jazz master Franco D’Andrea [Franco D'Andrea Trio]. I loved Bill’s fantastic interplay and relationship with the piano sound.
They guys running the Evil Rabbit label (bassist Meinrad Kneer and pianist Albert van Veenendaal) arranged a Festival at the Bimhuis, inviting Bill and myself to play together with different groups and combinations, plus hornman Ab Baars.
Later, when the moment came for Kent Carter and I to choose the drummer for the trio recording session, we traded emails–and we each recommended the same drummer, at the same time, Bill!
In 2011, Bill Elgart and Meinrad Kneer, along with saxman Jan Klare and guitarist Jeff Platz, released Modern Primitive for Evil Rabbit Records, and three years later Ab Baars joined Elgart and Kneer to record Give No Quarter for the Dutch label. Both albums are currently available in CD and digital formats.
Kent Carter and Bill Elgart: From New England To Europe
Fellow New Englanders Kent Carter and Bill Elgart go way back, first meeting in Boston, Massachusetts in the early Sixties when Carter was studying at the Berklee College of Music. New Hampshire-born Kent Carter commented on this early encounter with the Massachusetts native:
He was one of the first drummers I played with in Boston. I was taking some courses at Berklee and Michael Mantler asked me to join a rehearsal at Bill’s home, with Lowell Davidson. This was in preparation for a concert at Harvard University. Lowell was a student in Bio Chemistry there. This was a very interesting meeting and a new musical experience was under way.
By the mid-Seventies, both Kent Carter and Bill Elgart had relocated to Europe. In May 1977, they made their first album together, Patience, with fellow American expatriates Roger Jannotta and Tom van der Geld, the second of four albums by Van der Geld’s influential avant-garde jazz group, Children At Play. Surprisingly, the original vinyl release still awaits reissue, in any format. (Hey good people at ECM Records, the time is just about right for a special 40th anniversary vinyl LP-digital bundle…)
More From Carter, Elgart, and Lenoci
In 2012, two of the three Plaything members, Kent Carter and Gianni Lenoci, with drummer Marcello Magliocchi released Free Fall for Italy’s Setola di Maiale label. Tracks include new takes on two familiar compositions by Annette Peacock, “Touching” and “Mr. Joy.”
The title track of Gianni Lenoci, Kent Carter, and Marcello Magliocchi’s Free Fall is on SoundCloud:
Gianni Lenoci graduated from Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome before later studying improvisation with Mal Waldron and Paul Bley. He’s played solo and in groups with players like Han Bennink, Steve Lacy, Bob Mover, Enrico Rava, and Massimo Urbani. Besides composing, Lenuci plays piano, keyboards, and synthesizer, among other instruments. And like his Plaything bandmates, he’s been a successful teacher for many years, when not performing in clubs, concert halls, and music festivals around the world.
Gianni Lenoci and the Steve Potts Quartet Confirm Concerts in France at End of September
Besides the Plaything album, Gianni Lenoci has been busy with several projects in 2014 including preparing for upcoming concerts in France at the end of September with the Steve Potts Quartet. Shows scheduled include venues in Paris and Nimes. He also has a new release from the Gianni Lenoci Hocus Pocus 4tet coming up.
A full performance of the Gianni Lenoci Hocus Pocus 4tet live at the Kanjiža Jazz Festival in Serbia in 2012 is online:
Kent Carter’s prolific recording career began in 1965 when he played on Paul Bley’s Touching LP. His scores of projects as both a band leader and sideman include Spontaneous Music Ensemble’s Eighty-Five Minutes: Concerts Improvisations 1974, a project by a group composed of Derek Bailey on guitar, Kent Carter on cello and bass, Evan Parker and Trevor Watts on soprano saxophone, and John Stevens on drums.
“Ten Minutes” of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble’s Eighty-Five Minutes is on YouTube:
Four years later, Carter was part of an improvisational ensemble that recorded Laboratorio Della Quercia live in Rome. The long list of distinguished players on the double LP include: Irene Aebi and Tristan Honsinger on cello; Kent Carter and Roberto Bellatalla, both on cello and bass; Alberto Corvini, Enrico Rava, and Kenny Wheeler on trumpet; Robert Gatto, Paul Lytton, and Noel McGhie on drums; Roswell Rudd and Danilo Terenzi on trombone; Martin Joseph and Frederik Rzewski on piano; and Maurizio Giammarco, Steve Lacy, Evan Parker, Steve Potts, Massimo Urbani, and Tommaso Vittorini on saxophone.
Currently out of print, a reference copy is currently available at the website Inconstant Sol. Click the album cover to access the album files in FLAC format.
And one final track from Bill Elgart, with Jan Klare, Jeff Platz, and Meinrad Kneer, “Meat Dress,” from their 2011 album Modern Primitive on Evil Rabbit Records: