Saxophonist and composer Briggan Krauss connects the extreme edges of saxophone technique with the unexplored tonal possibilities of the instrument, making his work as much about shape as it is about a signature sound. In June 2014, Krauss led a weeklong residency at John Zorn’s The Stone, highlighting over twenty years as a key player in New York’s downtown and creative music scene and the intense musical relationships he has built with colleagues including Ikue Mori, Jim Black, Wayne Horvitz, Nels Cline and Elliot Sharp. He continues the tradition of bringing together the raw conceptual energy of a rotating cast of improvisers in a monthly series at Brooklyn’s Firehouse Space.
As a leader, Krauss has recorded multiple albums for Knitting Factory records, including the critically acclaimed 300 with Wayne Horvitz on keyboards and Kenny Wollesen on drums. Red Sphere was released in 2008 on Skirl Records with his trio H-Alpha (Ikue Mori on laptop, Jim Black on drum set and percussion) and features a unique atmosphere of collective improvisation where spectral lines of sound are emitted and absorbed in the moment. His most recent release is his first solo recording called Art of the Saxophone Vol. 1: The Tunnel Recordings that documents the unique and innovative ways that he approaches improvisation and the saxophone. Produced by the legendary saxophonist Skerik, this recording finds Krauss exploring the unusual sonic features of the cavernous Mt. Baker I-90 pedestrian tunnel in Seattle, WA, blending harmonics and employing multi-phonics on the saxophone. The recording also highlights the signature towel-mute Krauss invented along with the broad vocabulary of extended techniques he has created for its use.
In 2013, Krauss received his MFA from Brooklyn College’s unique PIMA (Performance and Interactive Media Arts) program, solidifying his role as a multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary artist in the electronic music and sound art sphere. In 2002 Roulette and the Jerome Foundation commissioned an eight-piece chamber work from Krauss, and in 2009 he was an Artist in Residence at Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center in New York City, where he produced a surround sound piece called “Singularity”. In 2015 he is developing a new project with abstract painter and filmmaker Raha Raissnia, who uses live projection techniques to work with Krauss and ensemble. Their previous collaborations have appeared at galleries and venues across NYC including Anthology Film Archives and the Kitchen, where they premiered Krauss’ composition for nine-piece ensemble entitled “Cosmography” in 2011.
Krauss has appeared on over fifty recordings as a sideman. His iconic voice has been a part of Steven Bernstein’s Sexmob from the band’s inception twenty years ago, spanning numerous European tours and a Grammy nomination for the 2006 Sexmob recording, “Sexotica”. He recorded with guitarist Bill Frisell on Frisell’s Grammy winning album “Unspeakable” and performed in several shows produced by Hal Willner including tributes to Neil Young, Doc Pomus and Leonard Cohen. Highly sought after in the studio and on stage, he has worked with a diverse range of artists from John Zorn, Robin Holcomb, Satoko Fuji and Anthony Coleman to Rufus Wainwright, Trey Anastasio, Antony and the band Medeski, Martin and Wood.
He is currently accepting national and international bookings for his spectral sound art trio H-Alpha (with Ikue Mori on laptop and Jim Black on drums) and the Briggan Krauss Jazz Quartet (also featuring Jim Black with pianist Jacob Sacks and bassist Scott Colley). In the time-honored jazz tradition of taking popular music and redefining it, the Briggan Krauss Jazz Quartet brings the jazz standard fully into the present in a way that is both recognizable to jazz fans and completely inseparable from Krauss’ signature sound.
Briggan Krauss is currently a professor in the Performance and Interactive Media Arts [PIMA] MFA program at Brooklyn College and teaches private students in New York City.