Far Side

Roscoe Mitchell, The Note Factory

Live at the Burghausen Jazz Festival 2007. One of the great conceptualists and musical architects of the post-Coltrane era with his band of paired instrumentalists. Two drummers, two bassists, two terrific pianists, and the composer himself and young AACM lion Corey Wilkes out front. Roscoe’s writing for the group is by turns complex and rigorously-controlled and freewheeling and wide open, with space for interaction and strong solos.

Featured Artists Recorded

March 2007, Stadtsaal, Burghausen

Original Release Date


  • 1Far Side / Cards / Far Side
    (Roscoe Mitchell)
  • 2Quintet 2007 A For Eight
    (Roscoe Mitchell)
  • 3Trio Four For Eight
    (Roscoe Mitchell)
  • 4Ex Flover Five
    (Roscoe Mitchell)

A live album from Roscoe Mitchell and his exceptional Note Factory band, “Far Side” features bracingly adventurous music from a performance at the Burghausen Jazz Festival in southern Germany in 2007. The Note Factory offers an uncompromising exploration of the levels and degrees of sound inside Roscoe Mitchell’s panoptic compositions, and the constantly-changing music harnesses great energies inside its broad structures.

“Far Side” is the second ECM disc from Mitchell’s Note Factory ensemble. Roscoe described the first, 1999’s “Nine To Get Ready” as “the coming together of a dream I had many years ago of putting together an ensemble of improvising musicians with an orchestral range.” The dream now a solid reality, Mitchell has continued not only to blur demarcation lines between composition and improvisation in this group - as he has in other bands before it - but also to inspire a generation of players. “Far side” features a particularly gifted cast of young trailblazers. Trumpeter Corey Wilkes, and pianists Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer are meanwhile all established as bandleaders in their own right, and playing with Mitchell has been a priority for each of them.

Craig Taborn explained why in an interview with Nate Chinen: “The kind of things that Roscoe works with [in the Note Factory] have to do with developing your ideas within a certain space, to make it as three-dimensional as possible. To make it full of activity and different currents so that it's a really deep structure, as opposed to being a one-dimensional structure. He likes a lot of depth. The meaning stems from the multiplicity of ideas. But coming out of that, the possibilities of sound change, because you're forced to evolve your sound, your ideas and everything on your own in that context... It really forces you to listen to everything almost with more clarity. You become really aware of the texture. Instead of focusing on one idea or one line of improvisation, you're focusing on this unified space in which all this stuff's occurring. Playing with Roscoe has made me hear that kind of space differently.”

(To facilitate soloist identification amid the flow of things on the present recording: Vijay Iyer, Jaribu Shahid and Tani Tabbal incline to the left side of the stereo panorama, and Craig Taborn, Harrison Bankhead and Vincent Davis to the right.)