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The Montreal Manhattan Project


click here to listen to "Number Five" (mp3)

The Montreal Manhattan Project (TMMP) is an exciting new experimental  jazz trio, with Montreal's Norman Nawrocki (from the bands DaZoque!, Rhythm Activism, Bakunin's Bum, etc.), Aaron Shragge from New York, & Gregory Anderson Smith (DaZoque!, Loco Locass).

TMMP started as a studio improv experiment in 2003 when Nawrocki & Shragge recorded complementary improv sessions, then handed the work to Smith to add his tracks & mix down. The result: the trio's self-titled, full-length, instrumental first album, completed in 2004.

The music is a haunting potpourri of looped cello, viola & violin, with soaring horn and sparse, beautiful electronica. The cello anchors the mix, while violin, viola and trumpet share melodies. All of this is enveloped in an ever-shifting soundscape of original homemade loops and textures.The mood is dark, smoky, pensive, evocative of a film noire soundtrack or a moonlit walk under the stars.

On stage, TMMP starts from basic loops that Smith adapts on the fly. He then plays them with conventional musicians' techniques. The strings and horns improvise on the root theme. Nawrocki also uses an on-stage sampler to add new layers of loops, and switches instruments in the process. He plucks, rubs, and strikes his instruments with fingers and bow; will play the cello like a guitar or transform his violin into a percussive workbench that he drums, shakes & twirls upside-down. Shragge switches between trumpet flugel horn,  and Shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) , weaving improvised melodies that wonder in and out of the tonality.

Norman Nawrocki is a long-time Montreal musician with an international reputation. His newest (&18th) album, 'Duck Work,' was cited by The Montreal Gazette as one of the top 10 local CD releases for 2004.

Originally from Montreal, Aaron Shragge has played in Denny Christianson's CJAD All City Big Band and Phillipe Kyeser's big band Kappa. He is currently studying in New York with renowned pianist, Kenny Werner, Laurie Frink and Shakuhachi Grand Master Ronnie Nyogetsu Reishin Seldin
Gregory Anderson Smith the sampler, creates, plays, and manipulates samples as an instrument, live with other musicians. He is renowned as a sound engineer in Montreal's underground music scene, and plays guitar with Montreal's East European influenced ensemble,  DaZoque!, and francophone hip hop artists, Loco Locass .

Norman Nawrocki:
cello, viola, violin

Aaron Shragge:
trumpet, flugel horn, Shakuhachi

Gregory Anderson Smith:

samples, soundscapes