Cosmologic Music

Together from 1999-2011, Cosmologic traversed the broad terrain of creative jazz and improvised music, integrating high-energy playing, intense introspection, rich grooves, open textures, and collective alchemy. Central to the group's sound was a commitment to developing challenging and original compositions. While profoundly dedicated to improvisation, Cosmologic also performed complex pieces that were composed by an individual member and then transformed through extensive group work. This process often led the quartet into complex musical landscapes, while drawing on the individual strengths of each member. The creativity that we catalyzed in Cosmologic continues to be an inspiration for us regardless of context.

Cosmologic History

Cosmologic was founded as a collective quartet in 1999 and was active with its original members until 2011. The group initially incorporated interpretations of music by Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane and other artists into their performances, but quickly moved towards playing only original compositions by its members.

In the fall of 1999, Cosmologic used a weekly engagement at the Galoka Jazz Scene in La Jolla, California to develop its repertoire and sound. After half a year of weekly concerts to enthusiastic audiences at Galoka, Cosmologic recorded its first live album there, Staring at the Sun (2000), featuring all original compositions. The CD release concert at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in La Jolla featured a guest appearance by renowned trombonist George Lewis.

In 2002, Cosmologic's West Coast tour culminated in a live CD recording at Trummerflora's Rubble on Spruce series at Spruce Street Forum in San Diego. This was released as the group's second album, Syntaxis (2002).

In September of 2005, Cosmologic released III, their third album of all original compositions, featuring special guest appearances by guitarist Al Scholl. It included a live performance at the Zeitgeist series (Mat Bevel Institute) in Tucson, Arizona, as well as studio recordings made in Termite Studios in San Marcos, California.

Fall 2005 also marked Cosmologic's first tour of the Northeast US and Ontario, including an appearance at the Guelph Jazz Festival. And in Spring 2007, the quartet did their first European tour, performing in Belgium and the Netherlands.

In December of 2007, Cosmologic recorded a fourth album of all original material, titled Eyes in the Back of My Head, which was released on Cuneiform Records in May, 2008. Fall 2008 performances included the Ensenada Jazz Festival in Mexico as well as concerts in California. In February 2009 and March 2010 the group toured the Northeast, which included a performance at the Stone in New York.

Although the group officially disbanded in 2011, each of us are busily involved in various musical projects and we'd like to encourage you to join us in these other contexts. The creativity that we catalyzed in Cosmologic continues to be an inspiration for us regardless of context.

Cosmologic Members

Jason RobinsonThe music of American saxophonist and scholar Jason Robinson thrives in the fertile overlaps between improvisation and composition, acoustic music and electronics, tradition and experimentalism. Initially a devotee of post-1960s jazz and creative music, Robinson's music is a modern amalgam of cutting-edge trends in jazz practice and electroacoustic music. Described as a "potent improviser" by Bill Milkowski of JazzTimes and "wildly spontaneous" by Don Heckman of the Los Angeles Times, Robinson is a distinct voice in a new generation of creative musicians in equal dialogue with jazz, popular music, experimental music, and electronic music. His latest releases include The Two Faces of Janus (Cuneiform), featuring a New York-based ensemble that includes Drew Gress, Liberty Ellman, George Schuller, Marty Ehrlich and Rudresh Mahanthappa; Cerulean Landscape (Clean Feed), featuring the long time collaboration of Robinson and acclaimed pianist and composer Anthony Davis; and Cerberus Reigning (Accretions), the much anticipated second installment of the "Cerberus" trilogy, featuring Robinson's remarkable solo electroacoustic music. He performs regularly as a soloist (acoustically and with electronics), leads his own group titled Jason Robinson's Janus Ensemble, and performs in a variety of collaborative contexts. He has appeared at festivals and prominent venues in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe and/or recorded with Peter Kowald, George Lewis, Anthony Davis, Drew Gress, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Marty Ehrlich, Eugene Chadbourne, Earl Howard, Toots and the Maytals, Groundation, Bertram Turetzky, Mark Dresser, John Russell, Roger Turner, Gerry Hemingway, Kei Akagi, Mel Graves, Liberty Ellman, Babatunde Olatunji, Mel Martin, Marco Eneidi, Lisle Ellis, Raphe Malik, Mike Wofford, Philip Gelb, J.D. Parran, Dana Reason, David Borgo, Contemporary Jazz Orchestra (at Pearl's, San Francisco), the La Jolla Symphony, SONOR (UCSD), and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, among others. As a scholar, Robinson's work unpacks the relationship between improvised and popular musics, experimentalism, and cultural identity. He has published articles and reviews in Ethnomusicology, Jazz Perspectives, and Critical Studies in Improvisation/ Études critiques en improvisation. Robinson is an Assistant Professor of Music at Amherst College, holds a Ph.D. in Music from the University of California, San Diego, and is married to Stephanie Robinson, an acclaimed performer, composer, and electronic musician.,

Michael DessenMichael Dessen (trombone) is a composer-improviser who performs on the slide trombone and computer. Active in a variety of ensembles as leader or collaborator, he creates music for improvisers and engages new technologies of telepresence and digital networking. His music has been praised by critics in numerous jazz and contemporary music publications, and recorded on labels such as Clean Feed, Cuneiform, and Circumvention. Current projects include his own electro-acoustic trio, the collective quartet Cosmologic, solo performance on trombone and electronics, and telematic collaborations with Mark Dresser, Myra Melford and many others. Dessen's teachers include Yusef Lateef, George Lewis, and Anthony Davis, and he has also been schooled through extensive freelance experiences ranging from salsa bands to avant-garde new music ensembles. He has published writings on music and culture, and is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the University of California, San Diego. In 2006, he joined the music faculty of the University of California, Irvine, where he recently co-founded a new MFA emphasis in Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology (ICIT)..

Scott WaltonScott Walton has performed with luminaries from across the stylistic spectrum of jazz and improvised music. Active projects as a bassist include Cosmologic, the Isbin/Gauthier/Walton trio, the Vinny Golia Quintet, and Nathan Hubbard’s Everything After, with recent performances in Belgium, Holland, and Poland. As a pianist he has commissioned and premiered works by numerous composers, has collaborated in web-networked multimedia performances, and has a particular interest in works for piano and mixed-media. Walton is featured on recent CD releases by Ibsin/Gauthier/Walton (Venice Suite), Harris Eisenstadt (All Seeing Eye), and the Vinny Golia Quintet (One, Three, Two). 2008 releases include new CDs with Cosmologic, and the Alex Cline Ensemble. He is a member of the San Diego-based Trummerflora Collective.

Nathan HubbardPercussionist/Composer/Instrument Builder Nathan Hubbard works in many different fields, but in general his work shows a decided interest in exploring the possibilities of sound and embracing the passing of time. This interest in sound can be seen in everything from his extended sound language as an improvisor to his homemade and found instruments. The different rates of passing time become relevant as both a rhythmic impetus and defining element in his compositions and their changing definitions of form, shape and outcome. Musically his explorations range from solo improvisations through small group collaborations to large scale compositions for his twenty-six member large ensemble, Skeleton Key Orchestra. As a composer his works range from solo pieces to medium scale works for a variety of ensembles, works for tape, electronics and acoustics instruments, large works for orchestras, creative orchestras and traditional big bands as well as pieces involving text, voice and other mediums. In the last several years Hubbard has been more involved with musical situations incorporating acoustics, enviroments and field recordings. His work as an artist can be seen on several of his CD covers and his work as an engineer and producer can be heard on almost all of his recordings. His current projects include solo performances, collaborations with Curtis Glatter (the Glatter/Hubbard Duo), ARC Trio, and Cosmologic, as well as leading his own chamber quintet (Nathan Hubbard/Everything After), octet (Nathan Hubbard Octet) and the large ensemble Nathan Hubbard Skeleton Key Orchestra. In addition to all this work, Hubbard has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Martin Blume, David Borgo, Alex Cline, Anthony Davis, Brad Dutz, Harris Eisenstadt, Justin Grinnell, Vinny Golia, Phillip Greenlief, Rick Helzer, Mike Keneally, Steuart Liebig, George Lewis, Doug Lunn, Noah Phillips, Garth Powell, Tim Root, Jim Ryan, Moe! Staiano, GE Stinson, Kris Tiner, Bertram Turetzky, Phillip Wachsmann and Clay Walker. Hubbard is a member of the Trummerflora Collective.

For more San Diego-based creative music, please check out the following organizations:

Accretions Music   Circumvention Music   Trummerflora Collective