Now available

on Innova Records

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Rushing Past Willow comprises solo works for alto, tenor, and bass saxophone, composed and performed by Nick Zoulek.

Conceived as improvised moments and refined over a decade of performance and reflection, the album coalesces into a narrative set against a solitary willow tree, serving as a totem that bears witness to lost love, compassion, connection, chaos, and time.

The works included on Rushing Past Willow create a meditative and raw tapestry of repetition, vocal techniques, circular breathing, unconventional articulation, and spectral exploration, all through the idiomatic use of the saxophone. Each piece was recorded using an array of carefully-placed microphones, arranged based on extensive research and experimentation. The array of microphones captured the saxophone’s rich textures from a variety of angles and distances. From these perspectives, sound artist Jason Charney assembled an immersive composite of the recorded solo performances.

Mr. Zoulek’s performance, on saxophones in every range, is stunningly virtuosic, whatever the genre. Circular breathing yields rapidly undulating, swirling figures that seem unstoppable. Overblowing produces ... fascinating chordal figures, as well as evocations of electronic timbres and feedback. None of that would matter much (except to saxophonists) if Mr. Zoulek were a less imaginative composer.
— The Wall Street Journal acknowledging the pure mindfulness and talent needed to construct such an individualistic world around the oft-underutilized saxophone, much respect is paid to the composer.
— PopMatters

Rushing Past Willow Video Series