BIPOLAR: The Jazz Odyssey of Jed Feuer and Friends

BIPOLAR: The Jazz Odyssey of Jed Feuer and Friends

In the vibrant world of jazz, where improvisation and spontaneity reign supreme, a jazz group called BIPOLAR emerged to the unexpected twists and turns that mark the musical journey of its founder, Jed Feuer. Born out of an impromptu desire to return to jazz playing after a prolonged hiatus, BIPOLAR dramatically evolved into a dynamic quintet that captivated audiences with its energy, taste, and departure from the norm.

The genesis of BIPOLAR can be traced back to July 2005 when, as if struck by a bolt of inspiration, Jed Feuer had an intense longing to go back to jazz. The vision of a quintet took shape in his mind, and the prospect of reuniting with his dear friend. Craig Swanson, a pianist of many talents, became a reality. Swanson’s response fueled the project, setting the stage for the formation of a quintet that would soon redefine contemporary jazz.

The ensemble’s lineup fell into place with the addition of Stephanie Long on saxophones (alto and soprano) and flute, David Ostrem on double bass, and Barbara Merjan on drums. Although the origins of Long’s introduction to the group remain shrouded in mystery, her inclusion added a layer of complexity and richness to the sound. Ostrem, a virtuoso on the double bass brought technicality and improvisations. Barbara Merjan, the powerhouse behind the percussion, infused the group’s sound with bold and imaginative chops.

A few rehearsals were all it took for BIPOLAR to find its rhythm and synergy. The chemistry among the members clicked in a way that defied the usual challenges of forming a band. Within a remarkably short span of six weeks, the quintet was rocking the stages of various New York venues, signaling the beginning of a musical journey that would leave an indelible mark on the jazz scene.

Their debut album, “Euphrates, Me Jane,” was conceived during these early rehearsals and subsequently recorded. The album showcased talent within the ensemble and earned unanimously excellent reviews. The title itself hinted at the diverse influences and unexpected twists that characterized BIPOLAR’s sound.

In his reflections on the individual members of BIPOLAR, Feuer provides a glimpse into the virtuosity and passion that define the ensemble. Craig Swanson’s piano playing is quite known for its extreme concentration, rhythmic imagination, and comprehensive technique that reflect jazz piano.

Stephanie Long’s contribution to the group is described as a mastery of tones, ranging from sweetness to brashness. Her improvisations, marked by unexpected leaps and turns, inject a sense of unpredictability into the group’s performances. Feuer also praises her remarkable sight-reading abilities.

David Ostrem, the young maestro of the double bass, is known for his technical talent and impassioned improvisations. Feuer’s intentional use of the upper register allows Ostrem to navigate complex passages with clarity, something that sets him apart from other jazz bassists.

Barbara Merjan’s percussion skills are celebrated for their boldness and imaginative flair. Her playing consistently imparts a sense of reserved power, creating a dynamic foundation for the ensemble’s sonic explorations.

BIPOLAR showcases variety, energy, taste, and a departure from the norm. The quintet’s repertoire spans three centuries, allowing them to reinterpret music written in a fresh and contemporary light. The deliberate choice to challenge traditional jazz, and a commitment to musical excellence, puts BIPOLAR as an exciting addition in the genre.

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