Guitarist Henry Kaiser is a prolific member of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene, as well as being a globally recognized leader of the “second generation” free improvisers who came of age in the ’70s.
The title and cover artwork of Nearly Extinct refers to languages or methods of improvisation that are either no longer practiced or deemed by some to be “out of style”. The music on Nearly Extinct draws from all of these traditions, and recombines them in new and kaleidoscopic ways. All of the various methodologies represented on the CD’s cover map have been studied and grokked by all members of the ensemble, resulting in an improvisational paella of extraordinary juxtapositions and combinations of ideas and sounds. Despite many attempts over the years to state the contrary, improvisation remains a method and not a style. Nearly Extinct confronts certain methods head-on, while freely using material not commonly associated with the musicians who originally established those concepts. Henry Kaiser, for instance, brings in ideas from both transcendental Korean shamanism and ferocious psychedelic guitar musics, as well as his long-time deep knowledge of 20th century British Free Improvisation and Free Jazz. The three younger musicians bring post-AMM sensibilities and extreme attention to detail – primarily out of other British approaches from the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Iskra 1903.