In 2014, pianist Gianni Lenoci, bassist Kent Carter, and drummer Bill Elgart’s Plaything was released on vinyl by Lithuania’s NoBusiness Records and as a digital download by Italy’s Silta Records.
The album has compositions from each member of the jazz trio including “Splinter,” “Contusion,” “Spider Diagram,” “Leeway,” and “Kretek” by pianist Gianni Lenoci. Bill Elgart and Kent Carter each contribute one cut, the drummer “Drift” and the title track by the bassist.
Plaything was cut in October 2012 at Studio Juillaguet, a recording and dance space located in a rural part of southwest France run by Kent Carter and his wife, a professional choreographer. Carter also produced the album, along with Danas Mikailionis, Valerij Anosov, and engineer Ananda Cherer.
A video for Gianni Lenoci’s “Spider Diagram,” featuring Kent Carter on bass, Bill Elgart on drums, and Lenoci on piano, is on YouTube:
Kent Carter elaborates on the origins of the Plaything album:
Gianni invited me to come to the school in Monopoli, Italy to do a workshop with his orchestra. I wrote a piece and we worked on it for a week, along with a composition of Gianni’s. The students were exceptional and very creative with lots of musical energy.
We performed the works at the end of the workshop. It went very well. Gianni and I talked about future projects together and we came up with this recording date, the Plaything session.
The title track by Kent Carter is a new interpretation of a piece the bassist originally wrote for Paul Bley. In 1965, Carter made his recording debut on Bley’s Touching album–three years later Elgart made his on Bley’s Mr. Joy release.
Kent Carter’s “Plaything,” with Bill Elgart on drums, Gianni Lenoci on piano, and Carter on bass, is on SoundCloud:
Gianni Lenoci and Bill Elgart first came face-to-face at a music festival in Amsterdam organized by Evil Rabbit Records in 2010. In fact, Lenoci was already familiar with several albums of his, as Lenoci explains:
I was introduced to Bill’s distinct way of playing years ago when listening to a couple of Paul Bley albums, Paul Bley with Gary Peacock and Mr. Joy, and one by the great Italian jazz master Franco D’Andrea [Franco D’Andrea Trio]. I loved Bill’s fantastic interplay and relationship with the piano sound.
They guys running the Evil Rabbit label (bassist Meinrad Kneer and pianist Albert van Veenendaal) arranged a festival at the Bimhuis, inviting Bill and myself to play together with different groups and combinations, plus hornman Ab Baars.
Later, when the moment came for Kent Carter and I to choose the drummer for the trio recording session, we traded emails–and we each recommended the same drummer, at the same time, Bill!
A video for Bill Elgart’s “Drift,” performed by Gianni Lenoci, Kent Carter, and Elgart, is here:
Fellow New Englanders Kent Carter and Bill Elgart go way back, first meeting in Boston in the early Sixties when Carter was studying at the Berklee College of Music. New Hampshire-born Kent Carter comments on this early encounter with the Massachusetts native:
He was one of the first drummers I played with in Boston. I was taking some courses at Berklee and Michael Mantler asked me to join a rehearsal at Bill’s home, with Lowell Davidson. This was in preparation for a concert at Harvard University. Lowell was a student in Bio Chemistry there. This was a very interesting meeting and a new musical experience was under way.
By the mid-Seventies, both Kent Carter and Bill Elgart had relocated to Europe. In May 1977, they made their first album together, Patience, with fellow American expatriates Roger Jannotta and Tom van der Geld.
This is the second of four albums by Van der Geld’s influential avant-garde jazz group, Children At Play. Surprisingly, the original vinyl release still awaits reissue, in any format. (Hey good people at ECM Records, the time is just about right for a special 40th anniversary vinyl LP-digital bundle…)
The vinyl version of Plaything is limited to 300 LPs and is currently available from Lithuania’s NoBusiness records and most music resellers including Discogs. The album is also available as a digital download from Italy’s Silta Records as well as iTunes.
An audio file for Gianni Lenoci’s “Contusion” is on SoundCloud:
More from the Artists
Gianni Lenoci graduated from Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome before later studying improvisation with Mal Waldron and Paul Bley. He’s played solo and in groups with players like Han Bennink, Steve Lacy, Bob Mover, Enrico Rava, and Massimo Urbani.
Besides composing, Lenoci plays piano, keyboards, and synthesizer, among other instruments. And like his Plaything bandmates, he’s been a successful teacher for many years, when not performing in clubs, concert halls, and music festivals around the world.
Gianni Lenoci, Kent Carter, and Marcello Magliocchi’s “Free Fall”
In 2010, two of the three Plaything members, Kent Carter and Gianni Lenoci, with drummer Marcello Magliocchi released Free Fall for Italy’s Setola di Maiale label.
Tracks include new takes on two familiar compositions by Annette Peacock, “Touching” and “Mr. Joy.”
The title track of Gianni Lenoci, Kent Carter, and Marcello Magliocchi’s Free Fall is on SoundCloud:
Gianni Lenoci Hocus Pocus 4tet Live in 2012
Besides the Plaything album, Gianni Lenoci has been busy with several projects in 2014 including preparing for upcoming concerts in France at the end of September with the Steve Potts Quartet. Shows scheduled include venues in Paris and Nimes.
Empty Chair is the latest release from the Gianni Lenoci Hocus Pocus 4tet.
A full performance of the Gianni Lenoci Hocus Pocus 4tet live at the Kanjiža Jazz Festival in Serbia in 2012 is online:
Kent Carter-Gianni Lenoci-Jeff Boudreaux Live in 2014
This summer on a date Bill Elgart was unavailable, Kent Carter and Gianni Lenoci played a gig with drummer Jeff Boudreaux at Abbaye aux Dames in Saintes.
The live 11 July 2014 Radio France broadcast includes a pair of compositions each by Carter and Lenoci plus three by Carla Bley:
A Pair of Kent Carter Projects in the 1970s
Kent Carter’s prolific recording career began in 1965 when he played on Paul Bley’s Touching LP. His scores of projects as both a band leader and sideman include Spontaneous Music Ensemble’s Eighty-Five Minutes: Concerts Improvisations 1974, a project by a group composed of Derek Bailey on guitar, Kent Carter on cello and bass, Evan Parker and Trevor Watts on soprano saxophone, and John Stevens on drums.
Four years later, Carter was part of an improvisational ensemble that recorded Laboratorio Della Quercia live in Rome. The long list of distinguished players on the double LP include: Irene Aebi and Tristan Honsinger on cello; Kent Carter and Roberto Bellatalla, both on cello and bass; Alberto Corvini, Enrico Rava, and Kenny Wheeler on trumpet; Robert Gatto, Paul Lytton, and Noel McGhie on drums; Roswell Rudd and Danilo Terenzi on trombone; Martin Joseph and Frederik Rzewski on piano; and Maurizio Giammarco, Steve Lacy, Evan Parker, Steve Potts, Massimo Urbani, and Tommaso Vittorini on saxophone.
Currently out of print, a reference copy is currently available at the website Inconstant Sol. Click the album cover to access the album files in FLAC format.
Krisch-Höfler-Elgart feat. Lauren Newton Live in 2016
Vibraphonist Dizzy Krisch, bassist Karoline Höfler, drummer Bill Elgart, and vocalist Lauren Newton have been playing an ongoing series of live performances across Germany the last couple of months in support of their new Lonely Woman release on JazzHausMusik.
This includes a performance by the trio plus one on 28 December 2016 at Dieselstrasse in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany.
A live version of Dizzy Krisch’s “Green,” shot at the show by Koho Mori, features Karoline Höfler on bass, Bill Elgart on drums, Lauren Newton on voice, and Krisch on vibes:
Full versions of exclusive interviews with the Plaything‘s Kent Carter and Gianni Lenoci are located on this site. Each looks at some of the musical highlights of the jazz veterans and includes a selection of videos and audio files. In addition, an extensive overview of Bill Elgart’s career in music is located under the bio link at the top of the page.
And something special, since Patience, the Children At Play album Kent Carter and Bill Elgart made with band leader Tom van der Geld and Roger Jannotta has not been reissued in any format for four decades, this site has added a link to a reference copy from Musica degradata, a website specializing in music derived from broadcast recordings and out of print vinyl records.
Click the picture above to access an MP3 file. Per policy of this website, the approval of the primary musicians has been obtained before any links are publicized.