The Fictive Five / The Fictive Five: Anything is Possible

Nate Wooley, Trumpet / Pascal Niggenkemper, Bass + Prepared Bass / Ken Filiano, Bass + Effects / Harris Eisenstadt, Drums / Larry Ochs, Tenor and Sopranino Saxophones



1 Immediate Human Response (for Spike Lee) 11:49
2 The Others Dream 19:25
3 And the Door Blows Open (for Cecil Taylor) 04:00
4 With Liberties and Latitude for All (for Warren Sonbert) 19:03
5 A Fictive Form of Closure 06:45
Year Of Release: 2019
Label: Clean Feed
Total Time: 61:02


Recorded May 29, 2018

Tracks 1,2 and 4 composed by Larry Ochs (Trobar / ASCAP / admin by BMG)
Tracks 3 and 5 composed by Ochs, Wooley, Filiano, Niggenkemper, Eisenstadt
Recorded by James Dellatacoma on May 29, 2018, at Orange Music Sound Studios, West Orange, New Jersey. Mixing by J. Goody at Megasonic Sound, Oakland, California. Mastering by Myles Boisen at Headless Buddha Lab, Oakland. Produced by Larry Ochs. Executive Producer: Pedro Costa. Special thanks to Jacki Ochs, Jan Kroeze, John Zorn, Lyn Hejinian.

Band Photo: Gulbenkian Música / Petra Cvelbar
Cover Art: Lyn Hejinian

Compositions for improvisers: frameworks with flexibility,  themes that can be cued in, rules that can be modified during performance. Hit it; enjoy the ride.

from Clean Feed: Larry Ochs quintet with trumpeter Nate Wooley, bassists Ken Filiano and Pascal Niggenkemper and drummer Harris Eisenstadt started with an intriguing ambition: to create soundscapes (landscapes with sound, or what the acousmatic French composers call “cinema pour l’oreille” – cinema for the ear in English) with the language of jazz and the procedures of improvisation. To fulfill this concept, Ochs sought inspiration from visual artists and film directors like William Kentridge and Wim Wenders. Or, the reverse: upon realization of the soundscspe, he dedicated the work to a film-maker; essentially invititing the invitee  (and all listeners) to create imagery for the now-existing soundscape. At their second opus, “Anything is Possible”, the connection with specific personalities and their works is more loose, but it continues. One piece is dedicated to Spike Lee and another to Warren Sonbert, but in the middle there’s a tribute to Cecil Taylor, in a gesture saying much about the recognition of the inner imagetic qualities of music itself, personified by a master in that domain. The presence of two double basses keeps the center of gravity of the music lower than in a common jazz combo, with crispy drumming on the bottom and, on the top, two horns contrasting harsh (Ochs tenor saxophone) and crystalline (Wooley) sounds, either when playing unisons or getting argumentative. If you know Larry Ochs from his work with the Rova saxophone quartet you’ll recognize the same type of structures and narrative strategies, but it will be different. Here, the ignition of your imaginative skills is intended.






The Fictive Five: Anything Is Possible

— Don Phipps July 2019

The music of Anything Is Possible reminds one of a Rubik's cube, with every twist and turn encouraging more twists and turns, promising a resolution that seems just beyond reach. Ochs and his bandmates use an incredible diversity of sound ranges, rhythms, tones, and electronic effects to fashion their abstractions. At times the music suggests hot red volcanic lava crashing upward against a dark night sky. But these crashes are not purely random. Instead they utilize an architecture reminiscent of The Art Ensemble of Chicago“s moving from simple root structures to complex layers of sounds in linear, non-linear, and sometimes circular progressions.

One interesting feature of the Fictive Five is the use of two bass players. Ken Filiano and Pascal Niggenkemper, keep busy throughout the sound collages, alternating between bowing and plucking and both contribute audio effects like fog horns, insect chirps, or rabbits scurrying through grass. The bassists are grounded by drummer Harris Eisenstadt's contributions, and his poly-rhythmic impulses and approach to the trap set bring to mind Tony Oxley.

The front section has Ochs offering up muscular, adventuresome, and rambunctious playing, and he elicits this diversity of sounds from both the tenor and the sopranino saxophones. Ochs is joined by trumpeter Nate Wooley, who—with his mouthpiece gyrations and tones that leap like dolphins from the ocean— sounds like the late Lester Bowie reborn.

Ochs wrote three of the numbers. One is dedicated to filmmaker Spike Lee, and another, a sad lament to the late, beautiful Cecil Taylor. The group together composed the remaining two numbers, and one of these is dedicated to the late American filmmaker Warren Sonbert. The music, like the work of its subjects, is experimental in form, and challenges all preconceived notions of swing, bop or any other type of "beat." There are times where the phrases seem to accelerate like a runaway roller coaster. There are other times when the music has a bluesy, drunk and staggering feel. There are dragonfly twitters and butterfly flutters.

For those seeking a musical journey, Anything Is Possible will certainly reward. And like any great journey, Ochs and his crew venture forth, always asking "What lies beyond the next curve or next moment of time?"

The Fictive Five - "Anything Is Possible"

— Avant Scena March 2019

“ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE” is a new release out now on “Clean Feed” records. Album was recorded by “The Fictive Five” – it’s Larry Ochs (tenor and sopranino saxophones), Nate Wooley (trumpet), Ken Filiano (bass and effects), Pascal Niggenkemper (bass and effects) and Harris Eisenstadt (drums). Five great jazz masters who have their own sound, driving style and innovative point of view, and have been collaborating and playing together many times. Each of them is a central figure of the American or European avant-garde jazz scenes….


“ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE” is filled with drive and passion. The compositions are based on free improvisations and have rich musical language. The musical pattern is multi-layered, polyphonic and wide – dozens of styles, textures, rhythms and other elements of musical language are joined here. Musicians have wide knowledge of musical language – they’re using inventive ideas, incredible and innovative instrumentation, passionate and modern expressions, wide range of dynamics, all kinds of rhythms, different ways of composing and ornaments. That’s why their music is sparkling and bright. It’s dynamic and filled with surprises – sudden turns, allusions, inclusions of various streams of avant-garde jazz, minimalism, breaking sessions, extractions of weird timbres and moods make an effort to colorful and variable sound. The sound experiments and new technical abilities are very important to the musicians…. Each improviser has his own style, playing manner and sound – drive, passion, joy and pleasure are the main basics of their playing. That makes an effort to bright and original sound.


The melody line is kept by Larry Ochs and Nate Wooley. Both musicians are experienced and talented innovators of avant-garde jazz scene. Their music is based on new and modern stream of experimental jazz, the newest innovations of Scandinavian, American and European avant-garde jazz, as well as soft intonations of bebop or other modern jazz styles. The saxophones are filled with energy and radiant power. Passionate melodies, expressive and vibrant riffs, moving and trembling solos, turbulent culminations, powerful and radiant

blow-outs – all mixed up together with dizzy passages, frantic scandals, gentle pieces, light excerpts, minimalistic samples or lyrical, dreamy and cool pauses. Trumpet is moving and expressive. Tremendous and powerful bursts of energy meet the silent pauses, light and joyful solos, vivid melodies, eccentric musical decisions, weird tunes, strange sounds, furious blow outs, breaking sessions, hypnotic series, sharp sequences and other tunes. Trumpet and saxophone surely form the melody line – it’s driving, suggestive, filled with spontaneous changes and wild ideas. Rhythmic section is formed by two bassists Ken Filiano and Pascal Niggenkemper, and drummer Harris Eisenstadt.


The two basses are filled with deep tunes, calm and stable lines which burst on thrilling, blowing, passionate and dizzy culminations. Modified tunes, special effects, electronics, impressive, strange, eclectic or original decisions makes an effort to innovative and dynamic sound. Both musicians are balancing between cool bass line, deep tunes, minimalistic samples and thrilling, crossing, flying, light, tremendous, perturbing, furious or simply beautiful excerpts. Drums section is illustrative and bright. All kinds of rhythms are used here. Music contains everything – roaring rolls, crossing stitches, thrilling and radiant solos, turbulent bursts, powerful beats, tremendous thunders, silent and gentle trills, luminous tremolo or wild, burning and driving free improvisations. Incredible and innovative instrumentation, experimental, specific and rare ways of playing, eclectic combos, wide range of dynamics, emotions and rhythms mixed up with drive, passion, expression and energy – all that makes an effort to marvelous and inspiring sound.