"With SpiderMonkey Strings, I am blessed to work with many of the finest musicians and improvisers on the East Coast," Bynum writes. "In 2002, I received a commission for the recording of a film score ("The First Three Lives of Stuart Hornsley," directed by Leigh Dana Jackson) for string quartet. I was so excited by the personalities and musicianship of that string quartet, that I combined it with the guitar, tuba, and drums I had been performing with to to create a working band, and my focus for composing and bandleading. Along with composing in the Ellington tradition of writing with specific musicians in mind, I have also been particularly influenced by the concepts of Charles Ives and Anthony Braxton for musically independent sub-ensembles coexisting in one sonic space. The instrumentation gives me a wealth of different compositional possibilities."
Bynum has been called "a cutting edge trumpet phenom" (Boston Phoenix), "a creative force" (Boston Globe), "a distinct voice that never succumbs to simple paths" (Cadence) and "a marvelous cornetist with an outwardly directed post-bop sensibility (AllAboutJazz.com). The Village Voice's Francis Davis adds, "Bynum is one of the savviest trumpeters to come along in recent years, a growling sound-and-space man in the tradition of Lester Bowie." In addition to sideman work with legends including Braxton and Cecil Taylor, he has appeared on more than 30 recordings and performs regularly with the Fully Celebrated Orchestra, the Jason Kao Hwang Quartet, the Matana Roberts Quartet, Ghanaian master drummer Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng's band and the avant-salsa group, Zemog el Gallo Bueno. He has also recently toured Europe and North America with Braxton's Sextet, Twelvetet, and Trio, with more performances coming this fall. Along with SpiderMonkey Strings, Bynum leads his own sextet and has an ongoing duo collaboration with dancer/choreographer Rachel Bernsen.
"I have had different projects called SpiderMonkey for many years. I have a fascination with trickster myths and trickster mythology and so SpiderMonkey, of course, being named after the two great trickster spirits: Anansi the Spider and the Monkey King, from Africa and Asia respectively. For me, the trickster embodies a lot of the attributes that are necessary to be a creative artist, a sense of humor, a sense of reverence, a type of spirituality, a willingness to play in the ambiguous areas. It is not all black and white. It is not all good and evil. It is the unknown and we should celebrate that. So I have always had this fixation with that and so often, when I have a project of unusual instrumentation, I named it SpiderMonkey... It is a totally different place to be, an incredible challenge for me because there are certain things that I know how to do when I am in front of a bass player and drummer that I just can't do in this context. It is a whole different way for me to blend as a cornet. I don't want it to be me with strings. I want it to be a band that has a sound that has strings and a cornet in an organic way, as opposed to a featured soloist with a string quartet behind them. It's a great challenge to figure out how to write for that, how to be a part of that, how to play in that." -Taylor Ho Bynum
Musicians: Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Jessica Pavone (violin & viola), Stephanie Griffin (viola), Tomas Ulrich (cello), Pete Fitzpatrick (guitar), Joseph Daley (tuba), Luther Gray (drums), Jay Hoggard (vibraphone) with Jean Cook (violin), Okkyung Lee (cello)
Check out the artist's website:
1. Supo Eno Part One
2. Supo Eno Part Two
3. Supo Eno Part Three
4. Supo Eno Part Four
5. Stuart's Theme
6. Small Mistakes
8. Dakinis' Dance