Number Stations

by Curtis Hasselbring

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released 29 January 2013

"A number station is a type of shortwave radio station characterized by their unusual broadcasts, which consist of spoken words, but mostly numbers, often created by artificially generated voices reading streams of numbers, words, letters, tunes or Morse code. They are transmitted in a wide variety of languages and the voices are usually female, although sometimes men's or children's voices are used. It is widely assumed that the broadcasts are used to send covert messages to spies." – Wikipedia

Intrigued and inspired by the mystery and fascination of these mysterious broadcasts, trombonist/composer Curtis Hasselbring leads an all-star septet which features these major players: Mary Halvorson (guitar), Trevor Dunn (bass), Matt Moran (vibes and marimba) and Chris Speed (tenor sax and clarinet), both of The Claudia Quintet, and dual drummers Ches Smith and Satoshi Takeishi.

Number Stations is comprised of a brilliant set of pieces that display all of the great, singular attributes these preeminent musicians have to offer, with the unusual instrumentation ideally suited for Hasselbring’s fascination with patterns that expand, contract and decay. In a sly echo of Spy Vs Spy skullduggery, the group often plays elements of the ensemble against each other.

Hasselbring’s pieces are highly propulsive while at the same time maintaining a degree of dark humor, ambient spaciousness and highly coordinated ensemble playing. The music has elements of new jazz as well as new rock and has wide appeal beyond just the hard-core jazz audience.
Nothing better illustrates the vaunted position Hasselbring occupies in the New York new music community than his ability to corral so many brilliant and sought after players to be a part of his ensemble!

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