Saxophonist Seth Trachy’s debut album “Zygmon” will be released June 6th on Ropeadope records. It features his mentor, Mccarthur fellow Miguel Zenon (Charlie Haden, David Sanchez). Born from Trachy’s childhood fascination with Pygmy music and culture, “Zygmon” fuses ancient melodies and rhythms of the Baka Pygmies of Cameroon with the fire and creativity of modern jazz, as well as styles ranging from electronic to classical. Both an artistic and social justice pursuit, half of all proceeds are donated to Globalmusicexchange.org which gives directly to the Baka as they struggle for survival in their increasingly threatened homeland.
“Seth has put together a very strong and focused album, full of musical moments of the highest quality. His research and commitment to the project alone is already something to admire, but the fact that he was able to bring it all together in such an organic way is what stayed with me. I’m sure the listener will enjoy it as much as I did”. ~Miguel Zenon
Seth Trachy fell in love with Pygmy music at the age of eight after reading Louis Sarno’s “Song from the Forest,” his account of living with and recording Pygmies in the Ituri Rainforest of the Congo. The Baka are one of the oldest musical cultures on the planet, having lived in relative isolation in the Ituri Rainforest for between 20,000 and 40,000 years. They represent, in the truest sense, the roots of rhythms heard in modern music of the African diaspora. Their music is characterized by two to six polyrhythmic vocal lines all with different starting and ending points revolving around each other without resolution. This is representative of a more spherical cultural perception of time versus our western linear perception. The music coaxes the listener to surrender their analytical mind to an intuitive experience where time is pulsating and multi directional. As traditional African music, Baka music is an exception in that it is a rhythmic language delivered largely through the voice as apposed to the drum. This has made it the perfect music for integrating on the saxophone, on which Trachy has developed a style that merges the lyricism of his jazz influences such as Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett with the undulating rhythmic phrasing of the Baka.
Trachy began studying with Miguel Zenon upon moving to NY. As a composer Zenon’s method of fusing music from the African diaspora with jazz served as a model and inspiration for the music that Trachy went on to compose for “Zygmon”. Private lessons in which they dissected and analyzed his compositions were fundamental in developing Trachy’s compositional approach, implementing classically inspired methods of reframing and developing thematic material as well as incorporating new thematic material as a composition progresses. These compositional concepts can be heard throughout the album and Zenon’s influence is reflected in the title (Zenon+Pygmy=Zygmon).
Joining Trachy and Zenon are an exciting cast of talent: Glenn Zaleski (Ravi Coltrane) on piano, Pablo Menares (Melissa Aldana) on bass, and Felix Lecaros (Melissa Aldana, Ana Tijoux) on drums.