Red October

Red October

available October 15, 2017 from Out and Gone Music
Red October is the new live album from Polyorchard, featuring the quartet of

Jeb Bishop – trombone

Laurent Estoppey – saxophones

Shawn Galvin – percussion

David Menestres – double bass

Recorded live in concert in the basement at Neptune’s Parlour (barely more than a week after the studio sessions that resulted in the previous album Color Theory in Black and White), the quartet spins ideas with the tensile strength and malicious beauty of a spider working alone in the dark. Polyorchard is a flexible fighting unit, expanding and contracting as needed to face the battle of the day. The Red October quartet features players who have been the foundations for several strains of Polyorchard since its inception in December of 2012.

Red October is available from Out and Gone Music as a limited edition cassette or download.

Liner Notes by Emily Leon

Within seconds of listening to Red October, I felt as though I was the steel ball in a pinball game – the subject being manipulated inside of a glass box. I’m not suggesting cheap entertainment, but rather implying that, like the steel ball, this album propels you into the playfield: targets, holes and saucers, spinners and rollovers, gates. The gate motif often represents an entrance and an exit, a passage to a new beginning, and there are clear moments of a sounding procession throughout this album. Red October produces infinite possibilities of sound, and can be heard and experienced in infinite ways. There is an energy that consumes your consciousness, traps you in your own mind, and releases you as a means to undergo a transformative experience.

Perhaps Gaston Bachelard’s question featured in The Poetics of Space applies here, “In this drama of intimate geometry, where should one live?”


Color Theory in Black and White

Polyorchard - Color Theory in Black and White - booklet - page 1


In the two and a half years of Polyorchard’s existence the band has blazed a trail across the territories of modern music performing their own compositions (spontaneous or otherwise), collaborating with Merzbow, paying tribute to Sun Ra on his 100th arrival day, and performing Terry Riley’s In C on the 50th anniversary of its premier. Polyorchard is a flexible fighting unit morphing to fit the battle of the day in formations ranging from small scale trios to the sprawling madness of a double dectet. Polyorchard has shared bills with artists as diverse as Duane Pitre, thingNY, Ken Vandermark/Nate Wooley duo, Michael Pisaro & Greg Stuart, Jon Mueller, and Half Japanese. Plans for 2015 include collaborating with Olivia Block, exploring the late work of John Coltrane, and further work with balloons.

Over one beautiful weekend in late September 2014 Polyorchard laid down it’s first studio recordings. Color Theory in Black and White represents two aspects of the trio personality. The first trio on the album is a string trio of Chris Eubank on cello, Dan Ruccia on viola, and David Menestres on bass. The back half of the album is occupied by the trio of Jeb Bishop on trombone, Laurent Estoppey on saxophones, and David Menestres on bass.

Color Theory in Black and White was recorded in glorious binaural sound by Dan Lilley and mastered by Andrew Weathers. Listen at maximum volume in front of your best speakers or get lost deep in the sound of your favorite headphones.

Chris Eubank (cello)
David Menestres (bass)
Dan Ruccia (viola)

Jeb Bishop (trombone)
Laurent Estoppey (sax)
David Menestres (bass)

All music by Polyorchard ©2015

Binaural recording by Dan Lilley at The Store, Raleigh, NC September 27-28, 2014

Mastering by Andrew Weathers, Oakland, CA October 2014

Design by Lincoln Hancock

Liner notes by Emily Leon

Downloads & limited edition 2xCDr boxsets available at

feedback studies

Back in early 2009 I was living in an apartment in a deserted house originally built in 1892 that overlooked the east side of downtown Greensboro. Giant, cold cavernous rooms that lent themselves well to these strange meditations for acoustic bass guitar and amplifier. Below is feedback study #02. Crank your stereo as loud as you can handle and press play. The rest of the feedback studies are posted on my bandcamp page.




There is a recording I did with Frank Gratkowski, Dave Fox, and Ian Davis called ORM released on Umbrella Recordings. Recorded in October 2004 in Winston-Salem, NC.




Cadence Magazine March 2007 p. 46-47

Pianist Dave Fox, bassist David Menestres, and percussionist Ian Davis are all based in central North Carolina.  The three perform as part of Fox’s quartet (8/04, p.128) and Davis is part of the collective groups Unstable Ensemble and Micro East Collective (along with Cadence scribe Jason Bivins.)  This session was recorded during German reed player Frank Gratkowski’s 12-day residency in North Carolina during the fall or 2004.  Gratkwoski had spent time in North Carolina before, conducting workshops and performing with the Micro East Collective.  Here, the eight collective improvisations have an intimate chamber feel.  This is music full of spontaneous counterpoint as the various voices play off of each other.   Fox, Menestres, and Davis improvise together on a regular basis and it shows in the way that they synch in to the dynamics and densities of the music.  Gratkowski fits in perfectly, placing his carefully wrought reed lines against Fox’s introspective linear musings, Menestres’ elastic bass playing, and Davis’ pointillistic percussion.  The group can tread cautiously, like on the opening piece, or dive into more tumultuous freedom as they do on the third piece.  There, Gratkowski’s alto dive bombs against the pianist’s brittle shards while Davis shows that he can push things with a free swing with the same acuity he shows in his free playing.  The quartet can also display a sensitive melodicisim like on the penultimate piece that evokes the musings of Paul Bley.  Throughout, there is the sounds of four musicians stretching each other as they work their way through.  It is meetings like this one that prove the vitality of regional improvising scenes.  -Michael Rosenstein



ORM finds Fox on the path of freedom, similarly to last year’s collaborative Foxbourne Chronicles or his gorgeously introspective solo disc, Dedication Suite. Always deeply drawn to harmony, even in its most abstract manifestations, he couldn’t ask for a better partner in saxophonist Frank Gratkowski. Listen to the opening gestures of “Bedo , where Fox echoes Gratkowski’s trichord assertion in kind, bassist David Menestres commencing and concluding the phrase with authoritative slaps. On the title track, Gratkowski’s long alto tones seem to grow out of Fox’ chordal punctuations, while drummer Ian Davis and Menestres provide a soft bed of brushwork and arco insinuations on which the others explore.

Gratkowski is as much a rhythmatist as a melodist and he spends the disc veering between Fox’ rhapsodically linear musings and Davis’ rhythmic intricacies — no mean feat and highly successful. “Euvl finds him initially in Davis’ camp, sharp and rhythmically precise exhalations nevertheless accenting Fox’ chords and lines. In fact, Fox and Davis might be seen as the axis on which the disc turns, Menestres and Gratkowski lending support, texture and color where necessary, the dialectic ensuring a fascinating and gratifying listen throughout.



Gatewalk is a cd released by the Dave Fox Group, featuring Michael Collings on guitar, Ian Davis, on drums, Dave Fox on piano/keyboards, and me.



Cadence, August 2004
By Frank Rubolino

Guitar and Keyboards form an interlocked bond on [Dave Fox Group, Gatewalk], where the Dave Fox Group skips unencumbered through a program of original material. Fox lays down a freelanced foundation on keyboards, and Collings spins off rounds of improvised commentary while bassist Menestres and percussionist Davis develop an impressive unstructured backdrop. Although keyboard/guitar bands typically lean in the Fusion direction, that is certainly not the case here. This group plays wide open, aggressive, and highly innovative Jazz rarely heard with this instrumentation. Fox’s approach on keyboards places the music squarely in the creative improvised sector and is anything but a compromise to popularity. He produces a plethora of diverse keyboard sounds; his attack is fully liberated, and his solos are well-designed, spontaneous outpourings.

Fox does introduce some discipline into the equation, typically as initial road markers for the band’s undefined journeys. “Gatewalk,” for example, begins with a specified theme but immediately curves off the road onto unpaved, open terrain. Conversely, “Bran Flakes” takes a fully unstructured developmental route to unpredictable destinations without ever looking at a road map. Menestres and Davis go off on tangents with regularity, spicing the action with irregular drumbeats and divergent bass patterns. They keep the sessioni n an unbalanced mode, permitting Collings and Fox to become explorers of their new found territory. Collings is particularly innovative on guitar; he sings out with ringing improvisations to mesh precisely with Fox’s probing articulation. This cooks on all burners; the artists individually take risks yet their collective voices come together as a unified yet abstract equation. This is the quartet’s first release, but these guys are poised for a leap into the big-time., August 2004

By Glenn Astarita

Here is an East Coast based quartet that navigates a wide spectrum of sound and ideas, without becoming indulgent or bombastic. There are some ethereal dreamscapes, yet the band also incorporates an avant, slant on jazz-fusion tinted with cool hooks and other pleasantries.

Drummer Ian Davis turns up the heat when necessary. However, Davis’ lightly swarming attack, coupled with bassist David Menestres’ limber lines provide a fluent bottom end. Guitarist Michael Collings frequently complements keyboardist Dave Fox’s thoughtful musings awash with breezy swing grooves, elements of noise music and intermittent injections of progressive rock vamps. Think of taking a spin on a roller coaster, running at half-speed! Essentially, the group’s well thought out game plan translates into a focused engagement, consisting of climactically oriented deviations from previously rendered themes. As they navigate a multihued array of sound amid quiet vistas, haunting lyricism and sporadic jaunts into the red zone! (Recommended…)