Human Feel

The members of Human Feel attended music schools in Boston and recorded the album Scatter on Gunther Schuller’s GM Recordings label. Losing bassist Joe Fitzgerald, the Beantown quintet continued on as a New York-based foursome, reaching a peak of activity during the mid-’90s as the musicians all became mainstays in the city’s so-called downtown jazz scene. Saxophonists Chris Speed and Andrew D’Angelo, drummer Jim Black, and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel recorded two more Human Feel albums as a collaborative quartet, Welcome to Malpesta on New World (1994) and Speak to It on Songlines (1996). Around the same time, their visibility was increasing through involvement in other bands, including many led by other downtowners. During the ’90s and into the new century, Speed and Black both joined Tim Berne’s Bloodcount and separate Dave Douglas groups; they also performed together in Pachora, Speed’s yeah NO quartet, and Black’s quartet heard on AlasNoAxis. Black played with Ellery Eskelin’s trio and with Laurie Anderson, D’Angelo joined Matt Wilson’s quartet, and Rosenwinkel garnered substantial critical notice after landing his own contract with Verve. Human Feel’s CDs provide good examples of these musicians’ work in a collaborative small-group setting, and the New York recordings are particularly noteworthy in demonstrating the band’s unique approach to modern creative and avant-garde jazz.

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