Heart of the Ghost is an improvisational unit from the Baltimore/Washington area. Comprised of Jarrett Gilgore (alto saxophone), Luke Stewart (bass) and Ian McColm (drums), this group is the culmination of years of encircling orbits. Collectively encompassing a massive variety of interests and collaborators-- including Dave Rempis, Tashi Dorji, Dave Ballou, Jaimie Branch-- and themselves known players in the circles of improvised music, these three find common ground within their individual vocabularies: an aim to deconstruct and reshape canonized creative tropes into a new & stunning language.
“For the past two years, few improvisation units have been as omnipresent in the D.C. area as Heart of the Ghost. For good reason: The trio of alto saxophonist Jarrett Gilgore, bassist Luke Stewart, and percussionist Ian McColm is something of a trinity of the finest free jazz improvisers in the region. If you’ve seen Heart of the Ghost in concert, then you know—Gilgore, Stewart, and McColm’s performances feel like a kind of séance, with the trio locked into a musical conversation with one another.
Though Gilgore’s skronked-out sax wailings anchor the tracks, no one part is greater than the sum of the whole. McColm’s inventive percussion techniques feel like a rhythm from another world, and Stewart—easily one of the most prolific and talented bassists in the region, if not the entire country—takes his instrument to new dimensions.” – Matt Cohen/Washington Citypaper
“…But free music is about right now, wherever you are at, anyplace that the right players get together and play. If you have a chance to hear Washington, D.C. trio Heart of the Ghost, rest assured that you’ve found another portal into the creative vortex that spontaneously lifts hearts, minds and bands off the stand. Their freewheeling improvisations tap into the same defiant spirit decanted by Mingus and the Minutemen, which is to say that the freedom is in the playing, but it’s also a conscious reaction to the ways in which people are not free. You can hear protest in alto saxophonist Jarrett Gilgore’s brays and peppery interjections. You can hear mourning and defiant creation in bassist Luke Stewart’s continually shifting frameworks of woody-toned dark motion. And you can hear the moment-to-moment dance necessary to keep it moving or just keep standing in drummer Ian McColm’s shifting tonal surfaces and rhythmic cascades.”-Bill Meyer/Dusted