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All Music Guide:
Woodwind player Colin Stetson can play powerfully while circularly breathing for long periods, can draw multiphonics out of a sax with great skill, and can command an audience's attention with his focus and melodic improvisations. Stetson was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he became proficient on assorted saxophones, clarinet, and flute. He earned a degree in music from his hometown school the University of Michigan in 1997, studying with Roscoe Mitchell, Donald Sinta, and Christopher Creviston; afterward, he went on to study with Steve Adams and Henry Threadgill as well. While still in college, he co-founded Transmission (which later became Transmission Trio), and in 1998 he played with progressive Detroit-area jazz-rockers Larval on their Knitting Factory album Larval 2. He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area that summer along with the rest of Transmission, who released their first album in 1999. Stetson also branched out to play with the People's Bizarre, a chamber jazz group influenced by Eastern European folk, and Connector, which blended acoustic and electronic instrumentation. In the meantime, he also played live with the likes of Fred Frith, Peter Kowald, Ned Rothenberg, and Kenny Wollesen, and kept up his Detroit/Ann Arbor connections as well. Before moving west, he had played on his friend Recloose's debut EP for Planet E, and their collaborations continued over the years, culminating in the DJ's acclaimed full-length Cardiology in 2002. Also that year, Tom Waits tapped Stetson for reed work on his Alice and Blood Money albums, which led to significant exposure and a live performance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Stetson had a limited-edition 3" CD release of a 2002 performance at the Artship in Oakland, and his full-length debut as a leader came in the summer of 2003 with the quintet recording Slow Descent. He also has his own website at www.colinstetson.com. In 2008, Stetson delivered the primarily solo saxophone album New History of Warfare, Vol. 1. He returned in 2011 with the excellent New History of Warfare, Vol. 2: Judges, which featured spoken word sections from avant-garde singer Laurie Anderson, and later in the year, he released an EP, Those Who Didn't Run. He has toured with Arcade Fire and Belle Orchestre, and recorded with scores of artists, including Anthony Braxton and Bon Iver.
Colin Stetson, born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and currently based in Montreal, Quebec, is a bass saxophone player and touring member of Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre and Bon Iver. In addition to saxophone, he plays clarinet, bass clarinet, french horn, flute, and cornet.
Stetson has performed and recorded with dozens of artists, including Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Feist, Bon Iver, My Brightest Diamond, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Jolie Holland, Sinéad O'Connor, LCD Soundsystem, The National, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Angelique Kidjo, Kevin Devine, Beanie Burnett, and Anthony Braxton.
His first solo album, New History Warfare, Vol. 1, was released in 2008. His second album, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, was released by Constellation Records in early 2011. On June 16, the album was named as a longlisted nominee (one of 40) for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize. On July 6, the album was named as a shortlisted (one of 10) nominee for the 2011 award. Stetson was chosen by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that he curated in December 2011 in Minehead, England. His latest album, New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light, was released by Constellation Records in April 2013.