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.
As a leader, Krauss 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 releases are his first solo saxophone recordings called Art of the Saxophone Vol. 1: The Tunnel Recordings and Art of the Saxophone Vol. 2: The Studio Recordings which document the unique and innovative ways that he approaches improvisation and the saxophone. Produced by the legendary saxophonist Skerik, these recordings finds Krauss exploring the unusual sonic features of the cavernous Mt. Baker I-90 pedestrian tunnel in Seattle, WA, and also in the recording studio blending harmonics and employing multi-phonics on the saxophone. These recordings also highlights the signature towel-mute Krauss invented along with the broad vocabulary of extended techniques he has created for its use. Art of the Saxophone Vol. 1: The Tunnel Recordings was chosen in The New York City Jazz Record magazine's Top Ten Jazz Albums of 2016 list.
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 his 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.
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.
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.
Briggan continues to push his music into new areas with his passion for studying the guitar. For him, studying the guitar has completely changed the way he thinks about and approaches music and has even had a surprising and dramatic influence on his saxophone playing. He likens taking up a completely new and completely different instrument to planting a seed. He says “It’s as if one’s main instrument is a flower; planting a new seed next to it will not only give you a new flower but it will make the first flower bigger and even more beautiful.”
Briggan Krauss' newest project is his String and Reed Quartet. This project represents an important milestone in his work; formally putting his guitar playing and his alto saxophone playing together for the first time in the same musical context and exploring how these very different instruments can coalesce and share the same orbit in his work. This quartet features longtime collaborator Wayne Horvitz, clarinetist Beth Fleenor and Greg Campbell on drums and percussion and will be performing and recording Krauss' suite of seven compositions for this ensemble titled CLAP in October of 2017.