by Marc Weidenbaum
That line between classical and popular music is the crux of a musical philosophy that led to the formation of CounterCurrents, a year-old subsidiary of New World Records.
CounterCurrents was created by Arthur Moorehead in an attempt to expand New World’s perspective on American classical music.
Though Moorehead despises the term “chamber jazz”, it describes much of the CounterCurrents’ output, including work by the Jazz Passengers, Butch Morris, Tom Varner, Paul Dresher and Ned Rothenberg, and the New York Composers Orchestra. Moorehead explains his aversion: “If only because it’s a term that’s primarily associated with European classical music, and when I hear that term I think it’s an attempt to legitimize jazz, and I don’t think it needs it. The music is not played in chambers; it’s played in clubs. I prefer small-group music.”