Alan Sondheim

Cutting Board

Alan Sondheim is the first artist from ESP-Disk's 1964-75 heyday to return, since it was revived in 2005, to issue an album of new material on the fabled label. Sondheim joined the roster with a 1967 session, Ritual-All-7-70, then followed up with 1968's T'Other Little Tune. (Drumming on the latter was Joel Zabor; now known as acclaimed writer Rafi Zabor, he reunited with Sondheim at ESP's 50th anniversary concert in November 2013.)

Sondheim got his musical start as a guitarist, but soon moved into a much more original sound utilizing a vast array of instruments from around the world. Cutting Board, his eighth album, is his first instrumental group album; his other albums have always either been solo (and there are two solo tracks on Cutting Board as well) or featured female vocalists. Though he's a pure improviser, Sondheim rightly insists that he doesn't play jazz; even playing with two saxophonists, he's outside that tradition's spectrum. The eclecticism of the sounds he's working with sonically can tenuously seem to connect him to world music, but he doesn't play the instruments in traditional ways. And on rare occasions you can hear the blues lurking, but it's not likely thatLiving Blues will be putting him on the cover. Maybe if somebody starts a music magazine (or website) called Beyond Category, then Sondheim can be a cover subject.


Alan Sondheim: ghichak, cura, chromatic harmonica, Chinese mouth harp, saz, tro so, electric saz, sarangi, sung lisu, ukulele, flute, cura cumbus, classical guitar;

Christopher Diasparra: tenor and baritone saxophones;

Edward Schneider: alto saxophone

Track Listing

Press Quotes

Of Ritual-All-7-70: "...if there is a concept here, it’s extremely simple: you never heard such sounds in your life." – Clifford Allen, Bagatellen

Of Avatar Woman: " prepared to listen to universes growing and collapsing within their sound worlds." –

Musicians: Alan Sondheim / Christopher Diasparra / Edward Schneider

Digital download Choice of WAVs or MP3s
Compact Disk Digipak with liner notes
  • Product Code: ESP5004
  • Availability: In Stock
  • CD $12.99
  • WAV Download $8.99
  • MP3 Download $8.99

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