The Skronktet West
Recorded April 14, 2001, at Boomtown in Sausalito, Ca.
What the critics are saying:
"Rosenberg's compositions are as thorny and challenging as their titles ("Shrrr", "Sdppd", "Sttm"...) - his scores leave much room for improvisation, but also present fiendish problems of ensemble coordination, which are brilliantly handled by the Skronktet West. It's nothing less than a supergroup of sorts - in addition to Rosenberg's saxophones and contrabass clarinet, the quintet includes clarinet virtuoso Matt Ingalls, guitarist John Shiurba, bassist Morgan Guberman, and, driving the machine along with consummate finesse, Gino Robair on percussion. If you leave your brain outside and expect yet another helping of run of the mill improv fizzes and wheezes, you're not going to get much out of this album; if however, you care to listen - with an emphasis on care - you'll find it one of the richest and most satisfying releases of the year."
—Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic Magazine
"All five players are strong and it's a testament to their ability that the Skronktet is able to seamlessly transition among various styles - musically, it's a long way from many of Rosenberg's compositions to the noisy improv that often follows, but none of the changes seem forced. Finally, it's worth mentioning that EL sounds terrific: David Greenberg's recording is superb. For fans of the improv scenes in, say, New York or Chicago who are unfamiliar with what's happening on the West Coast, EL is an excellent introduction because it features a number of the Bay Area's best players playing well and imaginatively in several improv styles."
—Charlie Wilmoth, Dusted
"... a splendid stew of carefully crafted notated and improvised portions, a limitless feast....With this album Rosenberg reaffirms his emerging status as a significant free improvisor and writer, shedding some of the excess abstraction of his earliest recordings and infusing his works with humor. His solos take on qualities of a man in a rush who knows where he is going but has no time to dawdle. Rosenberg's launching point takes a cue from Braxton, but he is careful not to clone but to embrace and the rules attest to Rosenberg's ability to maintain his individuality. Shiurba is a remarkable guitarist and he contributes significantly with his off-beat playing, as does percussionist Gino Robair. There is electricity in the air and Rosenberg exploits it fully, creating a stunningly, sophisticated album that is as fun as it is serious, fulfilling what George Gruntz terms Serious Fun."
—Steven Loewy, All Music Guide