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May 20, Three Brewing, Brooklyn, NY
“Fucking gorgeous. Intelligent and beautiful.” - Ben Goldberg, clarinetist & improviser
“An ethereal space prevails, populated with majestic and sometimes darkly-shaded ballad themes…” - Jazz & Blues Report
Sure to take you places you never expected, this stylistic, quiet release is sure to survive for years being a hidden gem.” - Midwest Record
“On this expansive and ambitious album, Gregg Belisle-Chi strikes an engaging balance between lyricism and dissonance, with strong performances from everyone involved. Highly recommended.” - Ben Monder
“Meticulously written material within a thoroughly thought out form, this music takes the listener through a multitude of landscapes that are painted with mesmerizing harmonies. What’s not to like? Gregg and his bandmates’ deliver a captivating journey. Great work B.C.!” - Cuong Vu
“Shimmering guitar polyphonies woven into meditative songs, Book of Hours is a richly rewarding unfolding.” - Brad Shepik
Gregg Belisle-Chi is a Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and educator.
As a guitarist, he has performed or recorded with Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu, Steve Swallow, Reid Anderson, Ted Poor, Eyvind Kang, Wayne Horvitz, Tom Varner, Bob Sheppard, Jay Clayton, and Jessica Dobson (Deep Sea Diver, Beck, The Shins). He has performed at Meany Hall, The Triple Door, Benaroya Hall, The Earshot Jazz Festival, The Fringe Festival, Bumbershoot, and has extensively toured the east and west coasts of the United States.
Book of Hours is Belisle-Chi’s third body of music, already getting nods from the New York’s guitar scene. Ben Monder states “On this expansive and ambitious album Gregg Belisle-Chi strikes an engaging balance between lyricism and dissonance, with strong performances from everyone involved. Highly recommended.” And Steve Cardenas says “Book of Hours is a beautiful collection of music that blends rich sounds and textures, where composition and improvisation seamlessly meet.”
Originally composed for a nine-piece jazz/chamber ensemble, it was re-orchestrated for the trio of guitar, keys, and drums, then again with the inclusion of electric bass. This eight-movement suite, based on the text and history of the Mass Ordinary, caught the attention of musician and director of the Chicago-based label ears&eyes Records, Matthew Golombisky, who will be releasing the record in May 2019.
Book of Hours is his most ambitious pursuit yet. It is a culmination of Belisle-Chi’s long-held interests and practice in composing large form pieces, atonality and traditional Western harmony, improvisation, and genre-blending, often citing elements of jazz, rock, or classical traditions.
As a composer, he has led bands performing his own music for the past four years with great success, varying in style and aesthetic. His debut recording project, Tenebrae, explored solo and duo through-composed pieces for guitar and voice. Released on Songlines in 2015, it gained notable attention from the likes of Cuong Vu, who said “This is some of the most beautiful music I’ve heard in a long while,” Andy Clausen of the Westerlies “...strikingly beautiful and mysterious,” and Earshot Jazz, who awarded it Record of the Year.
His second project, I Sang to You and the Moon, again explored the through-composed genre, but as a song-cycle based on the poetry of Carl Sandburg and featuring a larger ensemble of guitar, voice, double bass, and trumpet. By including more improvisation into the music, Belisle-Chi sought to bridge the gap between his love for contemporary classical music and jazz. Upon listening to I Sang to You and the Moon, Larry Starr wrote: “I am deeply moved and impressed.”
As an educator, he has taught privately and has been on faculty at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, Mark Murphy’s Music in South Orange, New Jersey, and other studios. He has held master classes at high schools and colleges, teaching improvisation, composition, and performance. He is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts (B.M.) and the University of Washington (M.M.)
“Gregg plays the electric guitar with a monk's integrity, patience and attention to detail. Each note is rendered with a delicate and flawless touch and the music unfolds moment by moment as a deeply considered and crafted work of individual art, absolutely nothing is for show. At a time when the state of jazz guitar feels like an endless Instagram feed of flashy chops and trending harmonic devices, listening to Book of Hours is like a visit to a private museum, an invitation stop everything and remember what it's like to simply take in art, which currently feels radical and deeply needed.” - Keith Ganz