Genres: Avant-Garde, Pop/Rock, Jazz
Styles: Modern Composition, Minimalism, Experimental, Post-Minimalism, Chamber Jazz, Avant-Garde Jazz
Although often described as a minimalist jazz band, England's Icebreaker combines such additional styles as contemporary classical, rock, and alternative, and is comprised of 12 members (featuring pan pipes, saxophones, electric violin, cello, guitars, percussion, and keyboards). Originally formed in 1989 by James Poke and John Godfrey, the group's self-described goal has been to make "contemporary music with balls"; hence the amplification of all of their instruments. Icebreaker toured extensively since their inception, including appearances over the years at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Wiener Musik Galerie in Vienna, and the NYYD Festival in Estonia, as well as stateside shows at New York's Bang on a Can Festival and at Carnegie Hall (the latter alongside the American Composers Orchestra). Although best experienced on stage, Icebreaker has issued several recordings over the years, including 1994's Terminal Velocity; 1996's Trance (a collaboration with composer Michael Gordon); 1996's Rogue's Gallery (which compositions by Michael Torke, David Lang, and Godfrey, among others); plus a pair of releases in 2002, Extraction and Diderik Wagenaar (additionally, Icebreaker has appeared on a few compilation albums, including Century XXI UK: A-M). Icebreaker's music was also featured in performances by both the West Australian Ballet and the Pacific Northwest Ballet of Seattle, and in 1998, the group appeared alongside the Royal Ballet for a performance of Ashley Page's Cheating, Lying, Stealing, part of the celebration for Dame Ninette de Valois' 100th birthday. Icebreaker's future seems bright as well, as in 2002 they performed with the Bochum Symphony Orchestra, and toured with the Dutch ensemble Orkest de Volharding, performing works by Diderik Wagenaar, Cornelis de Bondt, Yannis Kyriakides, and Joe Culter (as a BBC commission).
- Greg Prato (All Music Guide)