Noertker's Moxie
Sketches of Catalonia, Vol.2: Suite for Miró


Annelise Zamula - tenor saxophone, flute
Bill Noertker - contrabass


Jason Levis -
drums (tracks 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Jenny Maybee - piano (tracks 1, 4, 5, 7, 8)
Jim Peterson - alto and baritone saxes, flute (tracks 3, 4, 7, 8)
Niels Myrner - drums (tracks 2, 3)
Yehudit - 5-string electric violin (track 2)
Hugh Schick - trumpet (track 6)


1) Dutch Interior
2) Burnt Picture
3) Ladders Cross the Sky in a
Blue Wheel of Fire

4) Dona Del Càntir
5) Dancer
6) the Red Sun
7) Harlequin's Carnival
8) Catalan Peasant in the Moonlight   
all music composed and arranged
by Bill Noertker
(Deuh Jauh Music BMI)

 Join bassist Bill Noertker and Moxie as they dance into the whimsical world of Catalan surrealist Joan Miró. From the broad brushstrokes of Noertker's surrealist anthem, "Dutch Interior," to the wistful beauty of "Dona del Càntir," from the rollicking freebop of "Dancer," to the tender soulfulness of "Catalan Peasant in the Moonlight," Suite for Miró paints a phantasmagorical musical portrait of one of Catalonia's leading artistic lights.

In the last decade, Bill Noertker has composed over 150 original pieces of music for jazz ensemble. His compositions point to the continuity between the jazz tradition and the avant-garde. His use of group improvisation and his attention to the individual voices of each of his bandmates call forth the human element so sorely missing from much of today’s jazz.

selected CD reviews

selected writings of Massimo Ricci

Contrabassist and composer Bill Noertker is a prolific writer, having scored more than 150 pieces for jazz ensemble only in the last decade. SOC is a three-part suite of which the first volume was inspired by Salvador Dalí, while the third will be dedicated to Antoni Gaudí. All three, in case you didn't notice, from Catalonia, where the leader went twice to experience the direct view of these masters’ paintings, visits that instigated the preparation of this opus. The involved players are Annelise Zamula (tenor sax, flute), Jason Levis and Niels Myrner (drums), Jenny Maybee (piano), Jim Peterson (alto & baritone sax, flute), Yehudit (5-string electric violin), Hugh Schick (trumpet), the lot unknown to me but definitely formed by remarkable instrumentalists. Music calling back atmospheres from the past, swing, beguines and dainty ballads often making us think to an old-fashioned but still extremely fascinating dance hall. The arrangements are definitely on the “austerely linear” side while maintaining the necessary technical finesse, not privileging egotism (although solo spots are featured), rather looking for a delicate textural balance. Intriguing contrapuntal combinations and disguised virtuosity help to find the way to an instant comprehension of Noertker's intention. It's difficult to name a favourite track, although the double whammy of “The Red Sun” and the subsequent “Harlequin's Carnival” deserves a place in the light - truly great music, independent from genres. In essence, a recording that sounds pleasantly out of time and, as such, a welcome divergence from the customary productions coming from the always-at-the-forefront Californian label.


KZSU, 90.1 FM

Inspired by Joan Miró, this is the second in a trilogy of albums born of bassist Bill Noertker's journeys to Catalonia. The first was dedicated to Salvador Dalí, and the third will be based on Antoni Gaudí. The music is mostly breezy, melodic jazz, taken from the bebop era but infused with some old-world charm, evidence of how the Catalonia trip affected Noertker... I'm thinking mainly of the cabaret-style piano and flute that color "Dona Del Càntir." Some tracks like "Dancer" come from a rough avant-garde neighborhood, but others like "Ladders Cross the Sky" stick to bebop turf. "Harlequin's Carnival" is a particular treat, a dreamy song crafted from two flutes spinning fast, twiny lines.
Noertker has had this band around for a while. I first saw them years ago (2000?) in a show with Rent Romus' Lords of Outland; Noertker was Romus' bassist at the time. It's great to see him keep the Moxie going as a long-term project.


review by Mike Wood
24 October, 2007

Contrabassist Bill Noertker has spent a good part of the last several years exploring the musical possibilities of paying tribute to the area of Spain that has produced Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí and Antoni Gaudí, among others.

The mystery, poetry and pain of Catalonia, and the influence of some of its residents on experimental art and film is what has driven Noertker to create several sets of largely improvised jazz that sonically explore that influence and contribution to many forms of art. Here, impressionistic and passionately spontaneous tunes mingle in the twilight, with the sax/flute work of both Annelise Zamula and Jim Peterson creating and extending the groove. The man known only as Yehudit, on the five-string electric violin, is the clear hero of many of the eight tracks.

Noertker’s love of the artists and the atmosphere of Catalonia is clear, and in addition to being a labor of love, these releases are also able to stand in their own right as adventurous and inspiring jazz. rating: 7/10

(Noertker comments: Yehudit is a woman, not a man. She appears only on track 2.)

Inspired by the work of Catalonia native Joan Miró, this disc is the second in a trilogy of discs offering homage to various Catalonia legends (the first lauded the work of Salvador Dalí; the forthcoming one is based on the life of Antoni Gaudí). Led by composer and contrabass player Bill Noertker, the ensemble at work here includes Annelise Zamula on tenor sax and flute, Jason Levis on drums, Jenny Maybee on piano, Jim Peterson on alto / baritone sax and flute, Niels Mymer on drums, Yehudit on 5-string electric violin, and Hugh Schick on trumpet. For such a large ensemble, the pieces are surprisingly airy and sparse; then again, the eight pieces here rarely feature more than a few players at a time, and even when the ensemble is large, the players all give each other plenty of room to move. This is cool jazz with a hint of swing, and while they're definitely in the avant garde tradition, their approach is understated enough and sufficiently rooted in traditional structures to be accessible to listeners who would normally have nothing to do with the avant garde. The standout track is "Dona del Càntir," a haunting and beautiful slow ballad that straddles the line between traditional jazz and soundtrack music, and while some of the other tracks are more upbeat, for the most part this is quiet, reflective music heavy on the woodwinds. The piano playing is frequently a highlight of the ensemble's sound, particularly on the closing track "Catalan Peasant in the Moonlight." Is this the jazz equivalent of chill-out music? I think it just might be.