eff Novotny JAZZPRJKT’s latest release is the sprawling 15-minute single “Cygnus X-1”, out now on digital platforms. Fans of adventurous artists like Mr. Bungle, Animals As Leaders, King Crimson and Frank Zappa should enjoy.
The music of modern jazz composer Jeff Novotny is a bold, adventurous mixture which defies easy categorization. An overarching jazz character combines with classical, rock, metal, EDM, ska, and world music styles, with a few “legit” forms such as bebop and stride piano, all incorporating a modern flavor. Unpredictable in both harmony, form, and texture, the listener never knows quite what to expect in the next few seconds, much less how the pieces will unfold over time. The structure of many of these pieces lies somewhere between developing variation (akin to modern classical music) and a through-composed format, giving the pieces a movie-like development as they progress.
Jeff studied classical music at the University of Pittsburgh and jazz composition at the University of Massachusetts, where he received a Master of Music (M.M.) degree. He has written and produced music for many types of jazz groups, solo piano, concert band, orchestra, and electronic music.
His favorite composers include John Zorn, Alfred Schnittke, and Richard Wagner, with whom he identifies for their eclecticism and unpredictability. His music has been published in International Piano magazine and also recorded by the German jazz-rock band Panzerballett. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, he is now based in Phoenix, AZ.
Phoenix, AZ-based modern jazz composer Jeff Novotny and his ambitious project Jeff Novotny JAZZPRJKT play “high concept jazz fusion”, boldly mixing styles such as rock, metal, EDM, ska, and world music, along with purer examples of jazz such as big band, bebop and swing.
“But I always impart my own personality to any style, trying to enrich rather than imitate.
And there’s also an infusion of humor at times.” says Jeff.
“Also, harmony is a rich element of music with virtually unlimited possibilities, and accordingly I try to create interesting harmonic ideas. The music generally wanders among different tonal centers rather than staying in a particular key, so you could say it’s somewhat pantonal. There aren’t a lot of conventional chord progressions or ii-V-I cadences, except in my older pieces which are more oriented toward traditional jazz.”
About “Cygnus X-1”:
A bit about this piece: believe it or not, it started as a recomposition of RHCP’s “Breaking the Girl,” though the only trace of this still extant is the guitar part over the pedal tone at the beginning. Some use is made of microtonality, especially in the synthesizer parts.
The overall theme could be described as creepy radio transmissions (and other sounds) in space, so sound effects play a large role in the piece. Some of these sounds are actual radio transmissions; others were created from the ground up. The title refers to the name of the black hole thought to be at the center of the galaxy. Bet you can’t predict how it’s going to end!
More Information :
- Artist Name: Jeff Novotny JAZZPRJKT
- Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
- Release Title: Cygnus X-1
- Label: Independent
- Musician Names/Instruments:
- Jeff Novotny: programming, sound design
- Engel Solomon: additional sound design
- Jason Kendall: saxophone
- Jeff Muzerolle: drums
- Producer Name(s): Jeff Novotny
- Similar/RIYL: Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa, John Zorn, Naked City, Panzerballett, Animals as Leaders, King Crimson
- Genre(s): Jazz fusion, modern jazz, progressive rock, swing, stride piano, big band, bebop, world music
- Classic: Decarboxylation, Incontinental Breakfast, Harold Brown, The Uninformed Security Guard, Pleonasm, Svratka/Svitava
- “No One is Flying the Plane” was recorded by Panzerballett on their album “Planet Z” (2020), which is nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year by Progspace.
- “The Uninformed Security Guard” was published in International Piano magazine (2016).