"Phase 1" Of Brian Adler's Helium Project Lifts Off


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Drummer/composer spearheads digital-only collaboration featuring the musical talent of Kate McGarry, Dave Eggar, Peter Ehwald, Mark Lau, and others.

“Adler is an amazing instrumentalist who has seemingly mastered all aspects of percussion... his bubbling, percolating rhythms carry the music forward in the most graceful possible ways."—Dave Wayne, Jazzreview.com.

Drummer and composer Brian Adler will release the first in a series of digital recordings from The Helium Project, his ongoing creative collaboration with jazz musicians that transcends, time, space and international borders. Entitled Phase 1, the digital EP will be available as a digital download on May 24 at HeliumMusicProject.com.

With his eyes and ears on the future, Adler is among the young generation of musicians and industry execs that sees physical media as archaic and is pushing the movement towards digital distribution, cloud based media and social media.

“I have led bands before, but I always felt limited having a fixed number of players," says Adler. “The Helium Project gives me the freedom to create music with anyone, anywhere..."

When Adler decided he wanted to record with these international groups of his favorite musicians, he didn't let their occasionally far-flung locations get in the way of the creative process. Instead, he and his fellow collaborators worked via Skype, Facebook and You Send it to record, revise and polish the compositions that resulted. Already two years in the making, Phase 1 will be followed by at least six more Phases in the coming months, though Adler says that, as long he and his collaborators remain inspired, the Helium Project could remain aloft indefinitely.

Phase 1 Track Listing:

1. Lazy River—An international process piece composed by Adler and Evan McCulloch and featuring lyrics taken from the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. Adler sent the music back and fourth via Skype to German saxophonist and pianist Peter Ehwald and Benedikt Jahnel. U.S. vocalist Kate McGarry and cellist Dave Eggar then joined Adler and company to create a cohesive and chillingly beautiful song.

2. Andei —Adler teamed up with Australian bassist Mark Lau to produce this layered musical collage written by Brazilian composer Hermeto Pascoal. The duo created a thick rhythmic foundation using sampled tracks of bass, drum set, tablas, percussion, and electronics then layered on the work of South African singer Nicky Schrire, as well as New York guitarist Sean Moran and alto saxophonist Nick Kadajski. The result is an endorphin-triggering feel-good song that embodies the Helium Project's vibrant spirit.

Well known for challenging musical boundaries and genres, the New York-based Adler is adept at many forms of improvised music: straight-ahead and avant-garde jazz, groove-based, ethnic, folk and Indian music. All About Jazz's Raul d'Gama Rose called Adler a “Percussion colorist and intrepid musician," and Mark E. Gallo of JazzReview.com noted that Adler's “command of the drums is stunning."

In 2003, Adler founded Prana Trio, an ensemble dedicated to exploring the ancient spiritual texts of Rumi, Hafiz, Lao Tzu, Kabir, Issa and others. The trio produced three albums: The Singing Image of Fire (2009), Pranam (2006) and After Dark (2004). They have performed throughout the United States and Germany.

Adler, who holds a Bachelor's Degree from the New England Conservatory, also has performed with Ran Blake, Frank Carlberg, David Fiuczynski, Mark Helias, Stomu Takeishi and Ray Vega, among others.

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