Cellar and Point - Ambit
"A brainy, yet highly engaging septet.... should come as a delight to fans of the Claudia Quintet's ethereal chamber-prog." – Time Out NY
"The Cellar And Point is the chamber-like enterprise of a productive partnership..." – The New York Times
The Cellar And Point is an adventurous 'garage chamber' band, developed and led by childhood friends Joseph Branciforte and Christopher Botta. They had long imagined a fluid synthesis of their wide-ranging interests: the detail of modern concert music, the improvisational sensibilities of downtown jazz and the emotional directness of rock, combined with the production values of hip-hop and electronica.
Might it be possible to draw equally upon these influences, while transcending mere collage and to present it in the context of a working ensemble, not just a studio project? After 3 years spent composing and recruiting an impressive cross-section of talent from New York City's classical, jazz and new music scenes, Ambit, the group's impressive debut album, is one answer to those questions.
The group consists of seven musicians:
Joe Bergen - vibraphone
Christopher Otto - violin
Kevin McFarland - cello
Terrence McManus - electric guitar
Christopher Botta - acoustic guitar and banjo
Rufus Philpot - electric bass
Joseph Branciforte - drums
Hometown friends from Ramsey, NJ, Branciforte and Botta grew up making music together: from their middle-school days of Rage Against the Machine covers and high school explorations of jazz improvisation, to their formal studies of classical and contemporary composition, electronic music, and record production at Berklee College of Music.
“We absorbed a lot of the same music at the same time,” says Branciforte. “From Autechre to Morton Feldman to Wu-Tang Clan to J.S. Bach – there was a lot of time spent listening, discussing, analyzing.” Ambit incorporates a surprising synthesis of those - and other - influences in a album that encompasses a huge swath of ideas, sound & inspiration.
The album features 9 compositions, 7 of which are either written or co-written by Branciforte and Botta, as well as two compositions from the modern classical repertoire: Fünf Cannons I, Opus 16 by Anton Webern and Étude XV by György Ligeti.