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First let me thank the wonderful musicians who gave me so much inspiration in this project. When I first started thinking about composing a larger work I began searching for ways to gather together people who could realize the concept. Jason Kao Hwang, Carol Buck, and Steve Swell gave me leads to other improvising artists to join musicians with whom I had previously worked with who could interpret the music, solo, and make notes on a page into music, an art form I have dedicated my life to attempting to understand and express. Somehow people could feel their way into it so they accepted the challenge of working on new music with a person new to them.

I cannot do more than hint at what intuition and creativity are, even though I wrote my doctoral dissertation on it. The music took me over. I would awaken with new musical ideas emerging from my unconscious, opening a portal so more musical ideas could come streaming in. I wanted every musician to solo—accompanied by fluctuating combinations of orchestral elements with varying colors, shades, and textures. When I began rehearsing the pieces, something else seemed to be hovering in the room that we all felt, and we abandoned petty thinking to honor the emotion of working together on a project bigger than ourselves. There was no personal drama; we all checked our egos at the door. After only three rehearsals we were ready to record the two pieces.

C# or Bb/See Sharp or Be Flat is a 32 bar contrapuntal jazzy jump swing tune I named to remind me not to fail to see where I was walking or I’d break my leg—again—which I did last winter when I tripped over a curb, which is one of the reasons why I call it the Accidental Orchestra. C# or Bb is a contrapuntal theme and variations mixing jazz, rhythm and blues, and the joy of dance. It is a way to let this band really swing! Throughout I refer to Norwegian Wood (Beatles), I Feel Good (James Brown), and Bags Groove (Modern Jazz Quartet) but do not resort to familiar big band trope. This is a type of string orchestra but with lots of jazz musicians pushing the boundaries.

The next piece, The Old One, is less traditional jazz, though quite traditional as religious music. I take the soul on an heroic journey, guided by the great books I read back in the ‘70s on the Qabbala, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and the I Ching. I asked myself, how can music, spirit, quantum physics, and tradition describe the passage of the soul after death to sit beside the Godhead? The Old One is a part of a musical tradition stretching from the first ritual over the dead to the Mass in B Minor (J.S. Bach), Native American rites of passage into the spirit-world, through the Jewish mourner’s Kaddish and Buddhist Chemphar (funeral) ritual. The Old One is an initiation into sacred ground. Each movement represents the experiencing soul on its journey.

The Old One begins with Inception, which, like the movie Inception, surveys shifting mirrors of a distorted reality pregnant with possibility, establishing a disturbing atmosphere. Next, I musically II “Bridge” the gap between this life and the next. The middle movement, III Tree of Life/Qabbala, expresses the mysterious and foreboding, yet ultimately ecstatic emotion of the pre-psychological mythical tradition spoken of only to the initiate. We progress through theTibetan mysticism expressed in IV Bardo Thödol/Angels and Devils//Wizards and Deatheaters by creating transformative instrumental ornamentations and emotion. I picture musically the ultimate objective as strong and yet yielding musical esoteric realization of Creation so as to end up with the soul sitting at the foot of God who sits upon the Throne of Gold as spoken of in the Qabbala.

It is not easy to form your own orchestra from scratch. I have a sense of urgency to complete this complex project. I assembled the best improvisers in New York and Philadelphia to play two extended through-composed suites that involve extensive individual and group soloing. The credits of each of these musicians are long and profound. I selected people who worked together in past configurations and then compositionally structured solo sections to combine these previously existing groups so as to reveal what long years of creative collaboration can produce. We prepared scores and parts, rehearsed and recorded the two pieces at Systems 2, an amazing recording studio in Brooklyn, NY, then mixed and mastered the recording by the incredible sound engineer Jon Rosenberg.

Playing in New York City for over 49 years, I meet extraordinary cats from all over the world. All the artists have agreed to work for less than their usual fee because we are collaborating for a greater spiritual good though they need to be paid again if support can be engendered. They experience the music and have bonded as they work out problems to make notes on paper into music. I push them to utilize structure familiar and strange as they solo individually, in subgroups I form and dissolve, and as a tutti ensemble that is strange and miraculous.

Members of the Accidental Orchestra: Jason Kao Hwang, Rosi Hertlein, Fung Chern Hwei (violins), Stephanie Griffin (viola), Lenny Mims and Carol Buck (cellos), Steve Swell (trombone), Vincent Chancey (French horn), and Waldron Mahdi Ricks (trumpet), Richard Keene (oboe), Elliott Levin (flute, tenor saxophone), Ras Moshe Burnett (soprano and tenor saxophones), Michael Lytle (bass clarinet), Michael Moss (Bb clarinet), Steve Cohn (piano), Billy Stein (guitar), Rick Iannacone (ambient guitar), Larry Roland (string bass), Warren Smith (percussion, vibraphones), Badal Roy (tabla), Chuck Fertal (drums), and Michael Wimberly (djembe, African bells and percussion).

What I call a renaissance jazz orchestra consists of a horn, brass, string, and rhythm section and harkens back to orchestras initiated 400 hundred years ago in Europe.  I discovered the concept in the 1970s when I liberated a book describing the Renaissance Orchestra owned by my father concert pianist H. Baron Moss which he no doubt obtained when he attended Eastman School of Music and Julliard. I had written and performed in larger jazz ensembles but always liked working with the few string players who could improvise. I trace the concept of a large group like this to the 1970s when, as President of Free Life Communication, a musicians’ cooperative in NYC, I was one of the first jazz musicians to use an improvising string section of extraordinary violinists, violists, and cellists in my group Free Energy.  When I formed the group Free Energy I was able to have the makings of a small orchestra which I subverted so as to play free jazz by adding a jazz rhythm section using multiple drummers in addition to traps.

In January 2016, I fractured my left femur by tripping over a curb. Homebound for months, I composed a piece entitled C# or Bb, See Sharp or Be Flat, to memorialize my accident. It grew from a 32 bar phrase into a contrapuntal theme and variations for 22 musicians. I then composed The Old One in five movements: I Inception, II Bridge, III Qabbala/Tree of Life, IV Bardo Thodol//Angels and Devils/Wizards and Deatheaters, and V The Mind of God/StreamingàThrone of Gold. To perform these pieces I have formed the Accidental Orchestra, named after my accident, with sub-meanings of musical accidentals, John Cage chance music, and the physics string theory of quantum superposition in 11 dimensions. The Old One, named after Einstein’s penchant for referring to God as the Old One, follows a musical transmigration of souls transitioning from death to rebirth as the soul progresses from one state to another on the way to reincarnation or attainment of its Buddha nature as described in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and alternatively describing the passage of the soul from the death of the body to sitting at the feet of God as described in the Qabbala. Composers have followed this path to elevate audiences to a higher level of spirituality through music for centuries in all cultures.

I recorded the Accidental Orchestra Monday, Oct. 10—Columbus Day—in Systems II, an extraordinary recording studio in Brooklyn where guitarist Billy Stein and I recorded Intervals (2013), engineered by Jon Rosenberg. It is being released in 2017 on 4th Stream Records, an independent label I initiated in the 1970s.  Graphic artist and FIT Professor Karen Santry and Timoshii Paterson of the Jedd Group used photographer/video editor Bernard Feinsod’s visual documentation (photography and video) as a springboard to create graphics for the CD. Poet Steve Dalachinsky composed non-linear abstract liner notes. Publicist Jim Eigo of Jazz Promo Services is on board to get reviews and press for this amazing project. Thanks go also to assist/arranger/composer/musicologist/music director-conductor John Shea for assisting me on arrangement, score and part preparation, and for conducting this incredible ensemble, sound engineer Jon Rosenberg who did a masterful job recording, mixing and mastering, and to video editor and photographer Bernard Feinsod who shot the project.

Music that appeals to a wide range of people has to come from a tradition, a history, a culture, and a spirit-quest. Tunes—I’ve been writing my entire life. Large groups—I led 100+ musicians at NYU for the Jazz Composers Orchestra Association (JCOA), for the entire membership of Free Life Communication, and at WBAI-FM in my compositions. My spirit-quest begins with the first bone flute, extends through Renaissance chorales, Mozart, Beethoven, Bartok, Stravinsky, Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, to John Cage, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, and to experimental acoustic/electronic composers. If you as an audience have heard the blues, danced to the beat, you have participated. If you find repose in serious music this will appeal. I am extending an American musical heritage, stretching from Charles Ives, Scott Joplin, Robert Johnson, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton into the future. From the perspective of world music I draw from the fundamental elements of folk music from around the world to structure jazz offshoots by abstracting rhythm, ragas, modes, and instrumentation. The audience I want to reach includes the core of New York based musicians to an audience of New Yorkers and ubternational musicians and fans willing to challenge themselves and their ears in all musical disciplines. My music is part of a history, a tradition. It is big, emotional, and takes you on a journey, an arc of melody, to leave you in another state, better than before, uplifted. We as musicians participate in this daily—we want to share.

Michael Moss, Ph.D.

  1. THE OLD ONE (35:54)







  1. SEE SHARP OR BE FLAT/C# or Bb (20:29)

there is that period of time stretching from the moment of death to reincarnation.

we lie / stand / breathe / hold our breaths / while waiting / the old ones / the new ones / the barely born > we shudder as shutters are removed > it begins with a suddenness like a QUAKE then romps merrily into simplicity / classical solos & head(s) lilting loping a non-frag-mental journey of intervals into playful decisive solos that erupt instantly ferociously without warning >

StartFragment   EndFragment > ERG (one unit of applied energy) > there is no shortage of ERGs or urges in this music & one of Michael Moss’ goals is to not just theorize but to figure out how to apply that applied energy… within & without restrictions… bound by yet beyond CATEGORIES & BOUNDARIES…in a sense creating a new category of categories.


there is commerce & then there is commencement > where composer/pianist Moss’ journey begins & ends yet doesn’t > there is sudden abruptness / sweet finicky melodic fiddling / but one thing there isn’t > accidents > there are no accidents > oh possibly a mishap here or there > or a well planned accidental collision as things increase / decrease & coalesce / swing from one tempo to the next / at times like “thunderbolts connecting heaven to earth” (as real as they are symbolic) &/or vice verse-a within the freedom of expression that so binds the Accidental Orchestra together \ no blindfolds / heaps of classic servings of jazz all cooking together to form a stew of extremes / tastes varying yet always complimenting / all forms / small slices of kitsch blending with huge portions of irony & seriousness \ a BRIDGE toward the TREE OF LIFE > spanning centuries / moments / seconds / near fatal fates coupled with THE STREAMING MIND OF (a) GOD which may or may not exist / consume / exume \ angels devils wizards they are all here > merry > at times dark tricksters & what Moss refers to as DEATHEATERS – from its very inception we are pulled into a world | perceptions conceived / formulations > dark entities always made lighter by the precarious yet sure footed approach to SOUND > here is prime territory / prime real estate / prime cuts / primal instincts / scored / untethered / unadulterated (un)harmonious \ tabla-d and tabled like time inside outside of itself \ like gourmet magic dragons tailing fires / that never drag on } vintage symbiotic symbols / music not called in  farmed out or  for rent > revealing the prospects of its own vitalized future > heated impassioned intelligent witty / MOVING / never catering to tastes though ever so tasteful / the good life intertwined with heartache and imminent possibilities of our impossible yet inevitable ends / dancing along until theory itself is refueled then runs out of STEAM / a g(h)as(t) or a gasp / where theory itself runs smack into reality i.e. the emotional subtext & texture of BEING / upheaval thru controlled filtering \ cycles of birth & rebirth / a world of (im)precise ever changing voicings toppling upon itself as quickly as it reforms (A CIRCLE constantly consuming itself in its own infiniteness) > OVERDRIVE of the other whirld > dissonant /assonant / accented alternating registers / syntactical structures < instilling grateful foremost mechanism / magnetism / over time sh(r)edding itself then re-organ(ic)izing… beyond labels > what MOSS’ goal as composer/ /author of his own life’s work symbolizes / to promote his ideas with as little hindrance as possible yet to allow for the individual artists to always shine through > how things fit & work & sometimes don’t work within this puzzle / finding musicians who are top notch who like to work together to remain individual while creating the WHOLE > it’s not so much about complications within the compositional framework but straight ahead rhythms that repeatedly find their way inside the sections / tri-tones – way of making sounds that do not resolve…or for that matter dissolve… what delineates the past leads toward the future toward death & to what happens afterward if you happen to be lucky enough to reach that THROWN OF GOLD… where things might be rosy / foggy / GO(l)D-like yet where NO THING is ever quite RESOLVED… where hope & less than hope is always kept alive where the question is the answer… where “don’t hold your breath” means breathe a bit more > there is a renaissance coming whether we see it or not there is always minute second-by-corpuscular second renewal where the Moss writes his ideas within this seemingly unsafe sanctuary of the resolute idea of NO RESOLVE…where illness & rejuvenation are always at odds where music is the healing force hinting always at “intuition & creativity”… “a sense of urgency”…“fluctuating colors shades textures”…”shifting mirrors of distorted reality…pre-psychological mythical tradition… mysterious…foreboding…but ultimately ecstatic… pregnant with possibility… establishing a disturbing atmosphere…” where the music takes you over. where the spirit that is within us & beyond always hovers amongst us. the soul. heroic. quantum. contrapuntal. inspiring. unconscious. where one should take chances but never leap before one looks…never fail to see where one is walking / MOVING \ venturing into … tho contradicting myself as i so often do… LEAPS OF FAITH can oft result in amazing results… as MOSS & the ACCIDENTAL ORCHESTRA more often than not have proven…tripping over a curb can definitely have its rewards. So “challenge your ears…”   get into “an arc of melody”… (a kind of Noah’s ARK)…venture into the music & therefore into “…another state” of BEING.


dalachinsky nyc 2017

Pianist Steve Cohn has performed his own works in venues including New York City’s Miller Theatre, New Works October Series, the Newport JVC Festival, Sweet Basil, The Great American Music Hall, NORVA Performance Hall, Norfolk Virginia, Puffin Cultural Arts Forum, and performed and recorded many times in Chicago, Detroit, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, on WBGO-FM, WFDU, WKCR, KJAZ, WNUR, WBUR, KPOO, and Stanford University radio.

Bassist Larry Roland has performed at parks, street corners, outdoor theaters and private living rooms. He toured throughout the Northeastern part of the US, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Roland has recited his poetry at Harvard University, Boston University, MIT, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, the Vision Festival in New York and at many other schools, festivals, and events in and around the northeast and Canada.

Drummer Chuck Fertal performed with a panoply of stellar jazz artists throughout the US.   Fertal has been on radio for WBUR-FM (BOSTON), WERS-FM (BOSTON), WBAI-FM (NY), WBGO-FM (NEWARK). He toured Sun Valley, Idaho, Great American Music Hall (San Francisco), Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society (San Francisco), Cooper Union (NYC), Sweet Basil, Village Vanguard, 7th Avenue South, Blue Note, Tin Palace and Lincoln Center, all in NYC, New Orleans, military tours through Corpus Christi, Texas, Biloxi, Mississippi, Atlanta, Georgia, and Montgomery, Alabama.

Reed player Michael Moss has been leading groups that have performed in multiple colleges and universities on the East Coast and Mid-West, curated and promoted seven Westbeth Music Festivals from 2007-2013, and collaborated with other jazz lofts in NYC as President of Free Life Communication, a musicians cooperative in New York City, producing two Loft Jazz Music Festivals in the ‘70s. He presented three Loft in the Sky Music Festivals in upstate New York for Art Awareness in the ‘70s, and was on the Board of Directors of the Madison Musicians Cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin in the ‘80s at the same time he was in the University of Wisconsin—Madison Ph.D. program in the Counseling Psychology Department; Moss was graduated with a Ph.D. in 1991. Radio appearances: WKCR-FM, WBAI-FM and WNYC-FM in New York City, WMFM-FM, WORT-FM and WHA-FM in Madison, WI, WLAV-FM in Grand Rapids, MI and others. Moss appeared in the Annual Westbeth Music Festival (NYC) 2007-2013, PS 122 (NYC), Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2005 & 2006, and in the Fishtastacon Music Festival 2005 & 2006 (Philadelphia). As part of a tour sponsored by Pro Helvetia–a Swiss foundation, Moss played the Swiss Embassy (Washington, D.C.), Convergence Centre (Philadelphia), the Swiss Institute in NYC, and at Piano Magic in NYC. As President of Free Life Communication, Inc., a NYC musicians cooperative, Moss coordinated with other NYC jazz lofts including Studio Rivbea, Environ, Space for Innovative Development, Sunrise Studio, The Brook, Jazzmania, and Studio WE in the First and Second New York Jazz Loft Celebrations. Moss has led groups in the New York Musicians Jazz Festival, Isthmus Jazz Festival (Madison, WI), the Jazz and Blues Festival at Grand Valley State College (Michigan), Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY), SUNY at Stony Brook opposite Anthony Braxton, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and at Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago).

New York Free Quartet (Michael Moss, Steve Cohn, Larry Roalnd, and Chuck Fertal)

Michael Moss (tenor and soprano saxophones, flute–western and bansuri), Steve Cohn (piano, shakuhachi, Hichiriki, trombone), Larry Roland (bass, words/poetry), Chuck Fertal (drums, percussion)

Music is an art that exists only in time. Unlike painting and literature, it cannot be appreciated without the passage of time. One cannot freeze it to study it. You cannot stand in front of a piece of music and examine every detail for as long as you want, at least not the actual sound element of music. A music score is not music; it is merely a visual representation of how to play a written piece. Therefore, one must enter into a time continuum to experience music, whether it be completely notated/composed music or completely improvised music, as is practiced by the New York Free Quartet.

Why the preamble? Merely to point out that the time taken to create this music is the exact amount of time it will take to hear it. One must enter into a contract with this type of music. Is the time worth it? Absolutely. Consider all the reasons why that is true.

Sensitive listeners attuned to creatively improvised music don’t need to be told that this is an exceptional quartet who has delivered a superb collection of music with “Promotional Copy.” For those who may be coming to this music for the first time, I can only express envy. This experience is like no other.

Carl Baugher January 2017

Monk Meets East Meets West                         11:20

On Their Shoulders                                           13:19

24-8 Aren’t We All?                                            6:03

Fun Key                                                                 5:25

In Between Gigs…Can You Dig?                    12:30

Spirits Here And Not Hear                              8:00

Band Website:

Music is an art that exists only in time. Unlike painting and literature, it cannot be appreciated without the passage of time. One cannot freeze it to study it. You cannot stand in front of a piece of music and examine every detail for as long as you want, at least not the actual sound element of music. A music score is not music; it is merely a visual representation of how to play a written piece. Therefore, one must enter into a time continuum to experience music, whether it be completely notated/composed music or completely improvised music, as is practiced by the New York Free Quartet.

Why the preamble? Merely to point out that the time taken to create this music is the exact amount of time it will take to hear it. One must enter into a contract with this type of music. Is the time worth it? Absolutely. Consider all the reasons why that is true.

“Cage” is a moody, introspective meditation of sorts that slowly shifts between tones and timbres. Bass clarinet probes and bubbles while percussion and contrabass drive the momentum forward. The piano frames the music only to dissolve into the spirit of shakuhachi. The overall effect may be internal but each individual listener will take their own mood from the hearing of it. Micheal Moss reaches into his own personal history to briefly quote Mussorgsky. What does it mean? It means that he exists in the music. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Dorje” begins in much the same way but this time there is a deepening of the meditative quality of the music. A guttural voice beckons and the instruments slowly enter the swirl. Inventive, extended techniques can be heard from all four musicians. The effect is akin to a summoning. Something is going on and it is serious but it is not simple nor is it commonplace. Rather, the music is a lovely tangle of texture and emotion.

“Trane Blew What He Knew” features Larry Roland’s poetic utterances on the historic impact of John Coltrane’s artistic presence in the world. The musical framing of the poetry does not imitate Coltrane, however, except in the most general way. The improvisations leave plenty of space and each of the musicians is mindful of what the others are doing. Their interactions are dovetailed as opposed to leading or following. As things get more active, a special group aesthetic emerges that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the great Trane. A suitable tribute, to be sure. Roland’s delivery is idiomatic and dramatic while never sounding contrived or pretentious. It’s clear that his poetry is struck with the same talent as his bass artistry.


We are slowly drawn into a progressively shifting melange on “Diamondback Dragonfly.” Steve Cohn suggests an almost timeless melding of modern textures with the insistent presence of the blues always working as an undertow in the musical currents. Moss’s flute is precisely probing while Chuck Fertal provides the kind of rhythmic momentum and commentary at which he always excels. In fact, it should be pointed out that much of the quartet’s success could be attributed to Fertal’s ability to listen, react, instigate and direct the music while accompanying his cohorts with solid, sympathetic and inspired contributions. This piece also benefits from Cohn’s dynamic and unfettered trombone playing. Needless to say, his improvisations are unique and his phrasing will be recognizable to those familiar with his pianism. Inside this web of creation, Roland’s active and articulate bass points the way and, like all the members of this improvising ensemble, he both leads and follows with equal eloquence. One of the most impressive features of this extended improvisation is the degree to which the quartet leaves space between their phrases. When improvisers are confident in their abilities, they have no need to play every lick they know in every performance. This seasoned, veteran ensemble is the embodiment of that virtue.

The quiet grace of “Birthday 41” arrives on waves of pianistic expansion and it clearly exemplifies the unique approach of Steve Cohn. For years, commentators have attempted to compare Cohn’s style with other popular and well-known artists. Most of those comparisons are invalid because Steve sounds like nobody but himself and has worked a lifetime to make sure his playing stays that way. Michael Moss brings the warmth of clarinet lyricism into the picture before things get more agitated and excited but this music surges and recedes as a matter of course. Listen to the way Roland and Fertal enter and lay out throughout this piece. Masterful. The aggregate effect is pointillistic but moody to a degree and perfectly illustrative of the dreamlike quality of the whole session.

Larry Roland delivers more poetic wisdom and street-level reality in “In Between Gigs…………..You Dig?” The musical accompaniment is sophisticated and shifting as the piano rumbles and the drums scamper. Larry’s pithy statements reflect the daily trials and tribulations of the working musician in New York City. There is also a palpable sense of unity between the words and the musical elements in this piece. This is carefully considered composition, both premeditated and inspired in the moment. When Moss joins the fray the music swirls and propels the poetry to a new level. Cohn’s trombone seems to mark out the boundaries of the ensemble parameters. The walking bass comes and goes and the sense of movement and activity evokes nothing more than the evolution of the struggle to create.

“For Roy” effectively conjures the spirit of the late, creative trumpeter Roy Campbell in a fitting tribute. Michael Moss gets things underway with a beautiful tenor saxophone introduction whose tender lyricism is contrasted with Cohn’s sensitively abstract piano work. Again, Fertal and Roland give the excursion shape with rhythmic jabs and silences. But this quartet is always concerned with forward momentum. Despite the spaces they all leave for each other, they continually push forward and effectively avoid even momentary instances of coasting, the bane of some improvising groups. Moss calls up the spirits of Coltrane and Ayler here but never in an imitative fashion. As the piece comes to a close, it becomes fittingly dramatic and declamatory, with all four musicians blending their statements with great unity.

The album ends with the appropriate “Shaku Yaqui” and a sense of calm conclusion is conveyed. Moss and Cohn blend flute and shakuhachi in a dreamy melange of almost ceremonial intensity. The flow is carefully ramped up and pulled back with percussion punctuating over a continuous arco contrabass background. The timeless quality of this last track is maintained by what can best be described as “group think.” In other words, everyone is on the same page.

Sensitive listeners attuned to creatively improvised music don’t need to be told that this is an exceptional quartet who has delivered a superb collection of music with “Dream Time.” For those who may be coming to this music for the first time, I can only express envy. This experience is like no other.

Carl Baugher

January 2017


Open-form extended group improvisation as practiced today has become a highly evolved art. It is as hard to do right, without a safety net, in the full public eye, as anything humanity has taken on in its history. It takes decades of dedication to come together and really play, to make all the difference between a good record and one that is truly transcendent, beyond the given and into a higher plane.

The New York Free Quartet does it–some prime examples of the art, as set down on a live recorded gig (cd entitled FREE PLAY released in 2015) in the heart of New York, on a summer day, July 29, 2014.

When you hear the results in all subtlety and expression, it should come as no surprise that these four artists have put in significant time, both together and in a myriad of similar playing situations. Reedist Michael Moss has been interacting with pianist and multi-ethnic instrumentalist Steve Cohn and bassist Larry Roland for some time now. And Steve’s association with drummer Chuck Fertal goes back 30 years. They all have been musical gladiators in the fight to make improvised music anew for a long time. Mike’s key experience in the early loft scene in Manhattan is only a part of the involvement of all in the music of the trenches. So that by now they well know who they are and how they can channel the experience of the history of improvisation, the wide world of musics, the musical heritage of the eternal Afro-diaspora, the world slipstream that we all still participate in. The music you hear is the culmination of all that.

Then there are the poetic utterances that we get an excellent taste of here, with Larry’s evocative recitations. Like the music it is about being there, becoming in the spirit of creation, surviving a world mostly disposed to have you “eat, lay eggs and run,” to live like roaches, with no room for what else there can be unless like the NYFQ you insist on a repeating soundings of the depths. In spite of it all.

But most of all this is about totality, total sound generation. You can hear them speak with the sure vocabulary and eloquence of masters long apprenticed, chained to the lodestone of woodshedding, gigging, communicating in the classroom, on the stage, in the streets. It all leads up to this moment in July when the New Free Quartet gives out with definitive individuality-in-togetherness. Check Michael Moss on bass clarinet or any instrument in his reed arsenal, flowing out with the very together freedom that takes years to reach. Steve Cohn as the pianist who by touch and thought brings significance into sound like very few pianists alive can do. Larry Roland on bass, never wasting a note, making it all mean something. Chuck Fertal on drums, a master of tone, everything hit in just the right place, with second-splitting soul science.

And the more of it, the totality of collectivity. You don’t get what the NYFQ achieved that day in July without all the jousts of life in alleys and cold-water flats combined with the extended free-thinking togetherness of group playing that comes only with much time, talent and perspiration. It’s all here. All on this recorded set. Just sit back and listen!
– Grego Applegate Edwards

Chuck Fertal

Born New York City, New York

Studied at Berklee College of music, Boston, Mass., I completed my formal music education at Berklee College of music where I was a member of the instrumental performance program.

I majored in drums, percussion and piano. Other subjects studied music theory, your training, harmony, improvisation, music history, jazz history, arranging and composition. I studied privately on drums with Alan Dawson, and Sam Ulano.I studied piano with a scholarship from Connie Crothers two years.

Played with Sonny Stitt 1972, Dorothy Donegan 1975 Sir Charles Thompson 1976, Artie Barsamian Orchestra traditional Armenian music, Cecil Payne, the Hoofers–an international jazz tap dance team, worked with Mal Waldron 1979 through 1987, guitarist Roland Prince, Marvin Horn, Steve Cohn trio with Reggie Workman on bass, Jeremy Steig, Harold Danko, Ron McClure, Ratzo Harris, Malachi Thompson, Calvin Hill, Lyle Atkinson, Arnie Lawrence, Byard Lancaster, Bob Neloms, Cameron Brown, Bill Saxton, Sonny Fortune, Jack Wilkins, Santi  Debriano, Junior Cook, Bob Cranshaw,  George Cables, Adam Mackiewicz, Cecil McBee, Richard Wyans.

Credits include stints in which he played with Sonny Stitt, Dorothy Donegan, Sir Charles Thompson, Cecil Payne, the Hoofers, Mal Waldron, Roland Prince, Marvin Horn, Steve Cohn Trio with Reggie Workman, Jeremy Steig, Harold Danko, Ron McClure, Malachi Thompson, Calvin Hill, Lyle Atkinson, Arnie Lawrence, Byard Lancaster, Bob Neloms, Cameron Brown, Bill Saxton, Sonny Fortune, Jack Wilkins, Santi  Debriano, Junior Cook, Bob Cranshaw,  George Cables, Adam Mackiewicz, Cecil McBee, and Richard Wyans.


LARRY ROLAND is an acoustic bassist, and poet.

He has performed with trumpeter Raphé Malik, Charles Gayle, Sabir Mateen, Steve Swell, Daniel Carter, Mike Wimberly, Marvin “Boogaloo” Smith, Jamyll Jones, Warren Smith, Waldron Ricks, JD Parren, Donel Fox, and many others here and abroad on the free improvisational music scene, plus award winning dancer/choreographer Adrienne Hawkins. He appears on his Boston Composer Group label and 4th Stream Records.

As a poet, Larry has published in several anthologies and magazines, as well as, received awards for his writings. His most recent recording has been with Yoron Israel’s “VISIONS” CD. Larry also has a solo Bass and Word CD which features his original poetry entitled, “AS TIME FLOWS ON”, on the BCG label. Larry’s most recent recording (2013) has been with the Charles Gayle Trio, “STREETS”.









Steve Cohn

Music, art and poetry surge through the spirit of pianist & Shakuhachi innovator Steven Louis Cohn. Steve has conducted master classes at the Paris National Conservatory and has had his compositions commissioned for performance with the Wantanbe Dance Company in Japan. Cohn has been awarded performance grants from the NJ Council of the Arts, performed at ‘Ottawa Jazz Festival (’88 & 2000), Fiesta International USSR. Cohesively, Steve With over 25 recordings in his name,has worked with a number of well-renown musicians: Reggie Workman, Jason Kao Hwang, William Parker, Tom Varner, Fred Hopkins, Karl Berger, Oliver Lake, Barry Altschul, Bob Stewart.

Ever innovative, Steve has developed a unique style of improvisation over the course of his career, which has taken him across styles of jazz as well as across the world. With over 25 recordings in his name, Steve has played with the likes of Eddie Henderson, Sonny Simmons, and Reggie Workman, among many others, and has performed his own works at venues such as New York City’s Miller Theatre, the Newport JVC Festival, The Great American Music Hall, and the World Shakuhachi Festival.

“Cohn’s playing is hypnotic and remarkable throughout. He is a true original.” -Robert Spencer “Cadence Magazine”

His playing shows a kind of freedom that can happen when personal vision breaks the boundaries of tradition. Anyone with an open mind will benefit from his workshop”-Perry Yung Shakuhachi Maker

“Cohn’s intricate counterpoint and drama-infused harmonies are equally effective on muscular jazz-hued sprints and pointilistic passages. His cogent use of ethnic instruments goes well beyond stock poses of texture and transcendentalism. There are few American pianists who have Cohn’s talents”-Bill Shoemaker Downbeat


PH.D. Counseling Psychology (1991)     

Reeds–tenor and soprano saxophones, Bb and bass clarinets, flute, karnatic flutes, bamboo flutes, penny whistle, zurna, Thai khean; piano

4th Stream Records (1976)-founder

ERG Publishing (1976)-founder

CEO: Fourth Stream Records (1976-present), CEO: ERG Publishing (1976-present), Publicity Chair:  Westbeth Artists Residents Council (2011-2014), Director, Board of Directors, Madison Music Collective, Madison, Wis.  (1987-1991), Artistic Director, Loft in the Sky Summer Jazz Festival at Art Awareness, Lexington, NY (1982-1986), Director, Board of Directors, Art Awareness, Lexington, NY (1981-1986), President:  Free Life Communication, Inc., New York, NY (1972-1975), Secretary/Vice President:  Free Life Communication, Inc., New York, NY (1970-1972)

Webpage:  www.m2-Theory.com


            Michael Moss:

            Accidental Orchestra:

            New York Free Quartet:


            In Between Gigs . . . CAN YOU DIG?!? w/ New York Free Quartet w. Steve Cohn, Larry Roland, Chuck Fertal (ERG 10004, 2019)

            HELIX w/ Accidental Orchestra (ERG 10013, 2018)

            DREAM TIME w/ New York Free Quartet (ERG 100019, 2018)

            FREE PLAY w/ New York Free Quartet (ERG, 2015)

            INTERVALS w/ Billy Stein (ERG 2013, 2013)

            DEATH AND TRANSMIGRATION OF SOULS / BLACK HOLE, w/PRO VISO w. Ralph   Denzer, Louisa Bieler, Dan Scholnick (ERG 0220, 2008)

            QABALLA/ENTANGLEMENT; PRO VISO (ERG 0130, 2008)

            THE IMITATIONS GREAT HALL CONCERT 1965 (ERG 0310, 2008)

            DOUBLE VISiOn, w/PRO VISO (ERG 0022, 2007)

            PROVISiOns, w/ PRO VISO (ERG 0013, 2005)

            THE VESSEL w/ Nick DelGreco, John Shea (ERG 044, 2001)

            PYRAMID w/ Mikko Mikkola, John Shea (ERG 040, 1982)

            LIVE AT ACIA w/ 4 Rivers w. Bob Stern, Mike Mahaffay, John Shea (ERG 031, 1980)

            CROSS CURRENT w/ 4 Rivers–Bob Stern, Greg Kogan, John Shea, Muruga, Armen Halburian, Laurence Cook (ERG 022, 1978)

            UPSTREAM w. 4 Rivers–Greg Kogan, John Shea, Mike Mahaffay (ERG 013, 1976)

Selected Discography (from recordings not produced by Moss):           

             COLORATIONS-EXPLORATIONS, composition by Joe Daley, performed by Dance Clarinets (2021)

            NATURAL, Willamette River Pirates, Michael Mahaffay Archives (2013)

           NEW YORK AND ME, Regina Ress-storyteller (2012)

           ETHER-REAL, Jack Bowers-leader (2004)

           BENNY & THE WILDACHAYAS, Ben Laden-leader (1996)

          DREAMCATCHER w/ Collective 4tet w. William Parker, Mark Hennen, Heinz Geisser (Stork Music 008, 1993)

          BINDU w. Collective 4tet (Stork Music 009, 1993)

          ATZILUTH w/ Fourth World (1993)

          I’M THE ONE (Annette Peacock, Paul Bley, Mark Whitecage, Perry Robinson (RCA, 1972))

Leader: Accidental Orchestra (2016-present), Moss Music Group (1986-91), Mike Moss/4 Rivers (1974-86), Free Energy (1972-74)

Member: Dance Clarinets (2020-present), Michael Moss/Billy Stein Duo (2013-present), (2016, 3d Ear Band 1981-1986), New York Free Quartet (2014-present), ZONE (2009-2016), PRO VISO (2003–2009), Atziluth (1990s), Benny & the Wildachayas (1990s), Greene/Moss w/ Burton Greene (1986), The Collected Works (1970s)

Conductor:  Accidental Orchestra (2018-present), Jazz Composers Orchestra at New York University (1970s), Free Energy enhanced at WBAI-FM (1970s), Free Life Communication at the Space for Innovative Development (1970s)

Film and video: 

    Accidental Orchestra at Scholes Street Studio ( 2019):  C# or Bb:  See Sharp or Be Flat, VIMEO:

     Southwestern Suite (2019), Ted Timreck cinematographer and sound design, Michael Moss, composer and soloist on Bb clarinet.  Smithsonian Museum (2019). VIMEO:  Southwest Suite          

     New York Free Quartet (2018) @ Bushwick Improvisational Series:

     KETHER (5.18.18), Accidental Orchestra:

      YESOD (5.18.18), Accidental Orchestra:

     Conjunction (1.15.15):  ShapeShifter Lab

     Inspired (8.6.15):  NYFQ at Bridge Street Cabaret

     Pyramid (8.6.15):  NYFQ at Bridge Street Cabaret

     Mirror (8.6.15):  NYFQ at Bridge Street Cabaret

     Riverside After Dark:  Billy Stein (g) & Michael art Moss (Bb clarinet).mov


     Larry Roland/Michael Moss/Chuck Fertal-Children’s Magical Garden—Arts for Art (Sept. 24, 2016):

     THE KEY:  ZONE (Michael Moss, ss; Mel Nusbaum, p; Larry Roland, b; Lou Selmi, d. Composition by Nusbaum:

Theatre:  composed and performed score for Exile Is My Home by playwright Domnica Radulescu


            2018:  Arranged for 22-piece Accidental Orchestra:  Qabballah::Entanglement—Ain Soph, Kether, Binah, Hokhmah’, Hesed, Pa’had, Tiphereth, Netza’h, Hod, Yesod, Malkuth; Can We Forget Remembering Being Born?, sestina by Louisa Bieler

            2016: See Sharp or Be Flat/C# or Bb; The Old One–I Inception, II Bridge/Dorje, III Qabbala / Tree Of Life, IV Bardo Thödol // Angels And Devils / Wizards And     Deatheaters, V The Mind Of God / StreamingThrone Of Gold; Al Buraq Wailing Wall Road

            2015:  Judy’s Jump, Krishna Emerging from the Weeds, Maestro Higgs, For Roy

            2014:  Peace Time, Menorah / Chordal Experiment, Mirror, Mount Sinai, Moses on the Mountaintop, Haunted

            2013:  Westbeth Blues, Swimmin’ Hole

            2012:  3 Points-4 Dimensions, Autumnal

            2011:  O’Shea Oy Vey, 7.27.11 Blues

            2010:  Chordal Experiment, Elegy for Danny, Going Direct, ‘Hesed-Love, O’Shea Olé, Say It Like It Is, Superstring, Touch Me

            2008:  Can We Forget Being Born Remembering?

            2007:  Qabbala/Entanglement: A Suite in Ten Movements

            2006: Black Hole: A Suite in Eight Movements, Für Frida

            2001:  Nichts Mehr, Collective Compositions for The Vessel

            1993: Collective compositions by the Collective 4tet Dreamcatcher (Stork 008, 1993): Flytrack, Oracle, Snap Decisions, Dreamcatcher; Bindu (Stork Music 009, 1993):  Bass Clarity, Did You Hear Everything?, Beyond Reason, I Remember Now, Bindu, Jig Jag

            1982:  Pyramid, Shira Luck

             1978:  Ain Soph

             1977:  Fertile Crescent, St. Patrick’s Shillelagh, Amitabha

             1976:  Jig

             1975:  Rising Canyon Shadows, Freedom Chant, Waeving

             1974:  Bibbity Bop, Ergic Mandala

             1973:  Astral Blue, Wakan, Suite for Middle C or Tout en Rond

             1972:  Free Life Communication, Emergence/Consciousness: A Suite in Six Movements

             1971:  Inside

             1970:  March On, Hardly, Interaction

             1969:  After Thought, Resurrection

             1968:  Judy’s Tune, Melba toast

             1967:  Coal Sack

             1963: Bad Bessie, Samson’s Walk

Studied with:  H. Baron Moss (his father), Harvey Estrin

Worked with:

Reeds:  Sam Rivers, Dave Liebman, JD Parran, Marty Ehrlich, Lee Odom, Ken Meyer, Charles Waters, Claire Daly, Fred Rosenberg, Isaiah Johnson, Isaiah Richardson, Jr., D. Zisl Slepovitch, Randolph Murphy, Peter Hess, Don Slatoff, Richard Cohen, Ivan Barenboim, Paul Austerlitz, Gunter Hampel, Ras Moshe Burnett, Elliot Levin, Michael Lytle, Richard Keene, Dave Sewelson, Sabir Mateen, Perry Robinson, Mark Whitecage

Brass:  Steve Swell, Peter Zummo, Brian Groder, Waldron Mahdi Ricks, Vincent Chancey, Marty Cook, Jeff Hoyer, John Jensen, Ralph Denzer, Jimmy Parker

Pianists: Alexis Marcelo, Steve Cohn, Dave Burrell, Paul Bley, Richie Beirach, Mark Hennen, Greg Kogan, John Fischer, Ben Sidran, Burton Greene, Jack Bowers, Mel Nusbaum, Dave Stoler, H. Baron Moss

Bassists:  Larry Roland, Ken Filiano, Michael Bisio, William Parker, Cameron Brown, Bryce Sebastian, Bill Vishnu Wood, Frank Tusa, John Miller, Noah Young (Richard Youngstein), John Shea, Francois Grillot

Drummers: Warren Smith, Newman Taylor Baker, Jackson Krall, Mike Wimberley, Rashid Bakr/Charles Downs, Badal Roy, Bob Meyer, Nasheet Waits, Clyde Stubblefield, Andrew Drury, Laurence Cook, Armen Halburian, Bobby Moses, Mike Mahaffey, Heinz Geisser, Muruga, Chuck Fertal

Vibes:  Warren Smith, Chien Chien Lu

Guitarists: Billy Stein, Dom Minasi, Rick Iannacone, Gabriel Abularach, Steve Kahn, Mel Nusbaum, Dan Rose, Paul Collins

Strings: violin–Jason Kao Hwang, Rosi Hertlein, Fung Chern Hwei, Elinor Speirs, Ludovica Bertone, Mikko Mikkola, Louisa Bieler, Michal Urbaniak, Bob Stern ; viola–Stephanie Griffin, Melanie Dyer; cello–Tanja Hoehne, Lenny Mims, Carol Buck, George Crotty, Martha Siegel, David Eyges 

Poets/Story Tellers:  Larry Roland, Regina Ress, Elliot Levin, Diane Wolkstein, Steve and Gloria Tropp, Robin Bady, Emanuel Chassot

Vocalists:  Tracy Nelson, Arlene Gottfried, Bobby Harden, Michael Kasper, Sabrina Lipton, Irma Routen

Puppeteers:  Ralph Lee, Bread and Puppet Theater

Dancers: 1968 — present:  Judith Moss; 1960 — present: Esmé Boyce, Andrew Chapman, Hope Plumb, Martin Davis, Rosalind Newman, Beth Soll, Leslie Satin, The Collected Works, Turks & Caicos Fine Arts Foundation, Spaghetti Dinner (NYC)

Radio appearances:  WKCR-FM (NYC), WBAI-FM (NYC), WNYC-FM (NYC), Little Water Radio, WMFM-FM, WORT-FM and WHA-FM in Madison, WI, WLAV-FM in Grand Rapids, MI

Performed at:

ShapeShifter Lab (2014, 2016), ABC-No Rio (2013) ), River Street Theater (2014-16), Westbeth Music Festival, NYC (2007-2013); Westbeth 40th Anniversary Festival (2010); PS 122 NYC (2009), Philadelphia Fringe Festival (2005 & 2006), Fishtastacon Music Festival, Philadelphia (2005 & 2006); Turks & Caicos Friends of the Arts Foundation (2003); Isthmus Jazz Festival, Madison, WI (1990s); Swiss Embassy, Washington, D.C.; Swiss Institute and Piano Magic. NYC, and Convergence Centre, Philadelphia, as part of tour sponsored by Pro Helvetia–a Swiss foundation; NYC jazz lofts including Studio Rivbea, Environ, Space for Innovative Development, Sunrise Studio, The Brook, Jazzmania, Studio WE, and in the First and Second New York Jazz Loft Celebrations (1970s), the New York Musicians Jazz Festival (1970s), Jazz and Blues Festival at Grand Valley State College, Michigan (1970s), Borough of Manhattan Community College CUNY (1970s), SUNY at Stony Brook opposite Anthony Braxton (1970s), the University of Wisconsin—Madison (1960s), Northeastern Illinois University (1960s).

Dancers: 1968 — present:  Judith Moss; 1960-present: Roz Newman, Beth Soll, Leslie Satin, The Collected Works, Turks & Caicos Fine Arts Foundation, Spaghetti Dinner (NYC).

Contact:  Fourth Stream Records, 463 West Street #1006D, New York, NY 10014

(CELL) 646-691-4330


Webpage: m2-Theory for further information, writings about music, creativity, physics, and quantum mind. 

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