Anna Webber - tenor saxophone
Adam O' Farrill - trumpet
Nick Dunston - upright bass
Raf Vertessen - drums

Recording: Christian Heck at Loft, Köln Germany on September 2018
Mixing: Jaimie Branch
Mastering: Eivind Opsvik at Greenwood Underground Studio
Production: Raf Vertessen & Rogé Verstraete for el NEGOCITO Records
Artwork: Hery Paz
Lay Out: Lut Vandebos

Available on CD
release 25 september 2020


You can often judge an artist by the company he or she keeps, and  drummer-composer  Raf Vertessen keeps excellent company, indeed. Born and raised in Belgium, he came to Brooklyn in 2016, quickly developing close mentor relationships with such key avant-jazz figures as Joe Morris, Joe McPhee, Ingrid Laubrock and Ches Smith. Now, Vertessen presents his debut on record,  LOI,  featuring a band with trumpeter Adam O'Farrill, tenor saxophonist Anna Webber and bassist Nick Dunston – all fixtures on the New York scene.

"Raf Vertessen is a deeply inventive, expressive musician. His art is informed by a thorough knowledge of what has come before him, and he builds on that through a rigorous use of both technique and imagination." — guitarist/bassist and educator Joe Morris

The music of LOI is deeply influenced by progressive jazz from the New Thing of the '60s to the inspirational free-improv scene of Europe to the fertile creative-music community in 21st-century America. Yet, for all the intrepid energy that implies, the Raf Vertessen Quartet also has a loose, afterhours feel: woozy and wild, its edge enticing.

"This band's music has an abstraction to it that can make it more accessible than some might think – allowing listeners to find their own, personal way in," Vertessen says. "It's that way for us, too, as players. The music is constantly shifting, like a living thing, as our responses and feelings change. I really hope people can take a trip with this record."




Since arriving in Brooklyn, in 2016, Vertessen has dug in deep, enlisting saxophonist Anna Webber, trumpeter Adam O'Farrill and bassist Nick Dunston, all acclaimed leaders in their own right, to realize his charts in a way which allows them full expression while at the same time respecting compositional boundaries drawn largely from the free jazz vernacular." Eric John Sharpe, All About Jazz (29/03/2021) ****1/2

Ceci n’est qu’un début. Mais un début assurément remarqué et remarquable." Eric Therer, Jazzaround magazine (15/03/2021)

triumph. That noun could probably define LOI in general. Hopefully soon there will be a follow-up to this impressive debut." Ken Waxman, Jazzword Canada (26/02/2021)

"This Belgian percussionist is a perfect fit with the avant-jazz approach developing in Brooklyn, releasing an interesting debut with a focus on garrulous collective free jazz and prog." Selwyn Harris, Jazzwise UK (dec. 2020)

"this unexpected 2020-issued gem" Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz (14/11/2020) ****1/2

"LOI is an intriguing and compelling release from a relative newcomer. It covers a great deal of ground sonically and texturally. Highly recommended." Mike, Avant Music News US (07/11/2020)

"The dense vocabulary that Belgium-born, Brooklyn-based drummer, percussionist, and composer Raf Vertessen possesses is fit for a wise veteran. The catch is, he's only 27. In just a short stint, Vertessen has quickly established himself as a force in New York City's improvised music scene, counting avant-garde titans like Joe Morris, Joe McPhee, Ingrid Laubrock, and Ches Smith as mentors." Brad Cohan, Jazztimes US (03/11/2020)

"Dette er åpen, løs og empatisk musikk med masse dynamikk der fire mer enn lovende og lyttende musikanter møtes på likefot og med ønske om og evne til å skape noe eget. Dette er Raf Vertessen sin debut som bandleder og jeg føler meg trygg på at vi får høre mye mer fra den stemma i tiåra som kommer." Tor Hammerø, Nettavisen Norway (16/10/2020)

"This is boundary-pushing jazz. An album tending toward exploratory cadences and rasp dissonance with a gift for evocative images. Energy is palpable throughout the album's 9 tracks and it is impossible to not appreciate the band's effortless proficiency to create in the moment." Pierre Dulieu, Dragonjazz (10/2020)


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1. LOI
R. Vertessen - 05:26

2. #1
R. Vertessen - 04:35

3. #4
R. Vertessen - 07:22

4. Layers
R. Vertessen - 06:35

5. #14
R. Vertessen - 04:23

6. FAKE 3:7
R. Vertessen - 06:56

7. IRR(1) & #3
R. Vertessen - 07:52

8. Cardinali 2+3
R. Vertessen - 08:09

9. #2
R. Vertessen - 09:49

total time - 61:09
eNR097 © 2020








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