The members of Human Feel attended music schools in Boston and independently released an eponymous debut album in 1989, before recording the album Scatter for Gunther Schuller's GM Recordings label.
After the departure of bassist Joe Fitzgerald, the Beantown quintet continued on as a New York-based foursome, reaching a peak of activity during the mid-'90s as the musicians all became mainstays in the city's so-called downtown jazz scene. During the '90s, saxophonists Chris Speed and Andrew D'Angelo, drummer Jim Black, and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel recorded two more Human Feel albums as a collaborative quartet, Welcome to Malpesta on New World (1994) and Speak to It on Songlines (1996). Around the same time, their visibility was increasing through involvement in other bands, including many led by other downtowners. During the '90s and into the new century, Speed and Black both joined Tim Berne's Bloodcount and separate Dave Douglas groups; they also performed together in Pachora, Speed's yeah NO quartet, and Black's AlasNoAxis quartet. Black played with Ellery Eskelin's trio and with Laurie Anderson, D'Angelo joined Matt Wilson's quartet, and Rosenwinkel garnered substantial critical notice after landing his own contract with Verve. Human Feel's CDs provide good examples of these musicians' work in a collaborative small-group setting, and the quartet recordings are particularly noteworthy in demonstrating the band's unique approach to modern creative and avant-garde jazz. The foursome reunited to release Galore on Speed's Skirl label in 2007, and toured sporadically thereafter. They announced that a new album, Human Feel's sixth, would be released in the summer of 2014. ~ Dave Lynch, Rovi