Posts filed under ‘upcoming shows’
We are witnessing the Late Classic Period of Edmund Welles: The Bass Clarinet Quartet, apparently. You can bear witness to the last days of this period on Sept. 12 when the quartet plays in a bass-clarinet-heavy concert at the Center for New Music in San Francisco.
The show includes the bass clarinet duo Sqwonk and a performance of a bass clarinet nonet by Jonathan Russell. If you don’t like the sound of the bass clarinet, this will not be the place to be.
As for Edmund Welles’ different eras, bandleader Cornelius Boots lays out the whole chronology on his blog. This wasn’t a decades-long master plan; it’s more that, with benefit of hindsight, he sees the phases of his musical development. He’s been nurturing the idea of a heavy bass-clarinet band since the late ’90s (the Inspirational Era), developing some songs as part of hard-rock band Magnesium. I got turned on to Edmund Welles during the band’s Early Classic Era, as the album Agrippa’s 3 Books came out, and what I’ve written on this blog has covered the Classic Era and beyond.
Boots’ other foci have included teaching — the Edmund Welles album Tooth and Claw now has a companion book that teaches you how to play the songs — and the shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute. He recently recorded a shakuhachi album, Mountain Hermit’s Secret Wisdom, in a cave, exploiting the acoustics to produce meditative pieces such as “Banshiki” — listenable on Bandcamp.
But he’s also playing metal on the shakuhachi, making clever use of athletic tongue-trilling and the instrument’s ability to bend notes. Here’s his cover of “Run to the Hills.”
The world had better damn well miss Fred Ho. Radical, revolutionary, bandleader, writer, philosophizer — he was a brash, larger-than-life character, the type who doesn’t come into jazz’s orbit much any more. He championed the baritone sax specifically for its loud, unyielding sound.
His fight with colorectal cancer, which ended early this year, drew generous platitudes from the media, not for the tragedy of the story but for his inspirational energy and determination. He released CDs and was awarded a Harvard Arts Medal, and he managed to get one final master work onto the stage.
The ROVA Saxophone Quartet commissioned a work from Ho, back when. “Beyond Columbus and Capitalism” appeared on The Works (Volume 2) in 1996, and they’ll be revisiting it for a concert Sunday afternoon at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.
The piece plays like a big-band suite, with those same tight horn harmonies and some aggressive swinging rhythms. Like most of Ho’s work, it’s a fun ride — and it includes a burly, unaccompanied solo for the baritone sax, of course.
For more about Ho, check out his Big Red Media web site (which automatically launches a music player, so be forewarned); an early 2014 NPR interview; a detailed, pre-cancer, 2005 interview for Harvard Magazine, and his elegant obituary in The New York Times.
Here’s the info about the concert, cut-and-pasted from ROVA’s mailer.
STRUGGLE FOR A NEW WORLD: Fred Ho Memorial
Sunday, September 7, 2:00 – 4:30 PM
Oakland Asian Cultural Center
9th Street #290
The memorial will feature performance by many of the forward-thinking artists touched by Fred Ho‘s significant cultural contribution. Rova will perform Ho‘s 1992 composition, Beyond Columbus and Capitalism, a work commissioned by Rova through The Meet the Composer / Reader‘s Digest Commissioning Program.
Other performers include: Ben Barson, Royal Hartigan, Mark Izu, Jon Jang, Masaru Koga, Genny Lim, Hafez Modirzadeh, John Carlos Perea, Akira Tana, Marty Wehner, Francis Wong, Brenda Wong Aoki, with speaker/emcees: Diane Fujino and Matef Harmachis.
August 4, Sacramento, CA, 7:30pm at Luna’s Cafe (Nebraska Mondays, w/Luis Clifford Childers
August 6, Sacramento, CA, (Grex at 10pm), Live Broadcast on v103, at Marilyn’s on K (w/Devon Galley, Ken Koenig)
August 8, Seattle, WA, 8pm, at The Woodshed (w/Insistent Caterpillars, Honey Noble)
August 10, Seattle, WA, 7:30pm, at Cafe Racer (at Racer Sessions)
August 15, Long Beach, CA, 8pm, 4th Street Vine (w/Don’t Trip)
August 16, Los Angeles, CA, 8:30pm, at Curve Line Space (w/Dead Air Trio feat. Joe Berardi)
Monster Music, which came out in February, is a nifty package of pop/prog characterized by bubbly and dreamy electric piano, swinging chords, and regular doses of fiery guitar. Rei Scampavia and Karl Evangelista, the wife/husband team who both contribute vocals, augment the Grex duo with other instruments, but this time, drummer Robert Lopez is a fixture on every track, which somehow makes the songs feel more, well, songlike.
I think of Grex as a prog band, but really it crumples musical styles into one multicolored mix, willfully dropping jazz melody, experimental improv, or rock attitude. A track like “Romancing Stone” reminds me a lot of Pierre Moerlen’s Gong with that pleasant, floating keyboard sound, although here it gets augmented with the more tangly, grumpy free improv that’s also a Grex ingredient. “Christmas Song” is a quirkier brand of prog, with a stringy melody spelled out on warbly keys and/or guitar to introduce Scampavia’s smooth, airy vocal.
Rock elements show up on “Hurdles,” a swirling, jamming piece that pairs fuzzed-out guitar and weighty electric piano, and on the psych jam “Guinea,” with its towering piano-chord theme.
This is the kind of album that’s easy to digest but has a lot going on under the surface, making for multiple rewarding listens. It probably makes for a good show, too, so if you’re on the west coast, don’t sleep on this one.
You can download Monster Music on Bandcamp.
Now in their third year of monthly song releases, the Rabbit Rabbit duo of Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi are building up quite a catalog. Their second album of songs, Swallow Me Whole, is due out on July 8, and they’ll be coming to the Bay Area with a show at the Freight & Salvage on Thursday, July 10, augmented by Myles Boisen on guitar and George Ban-Weiss on bass.
The songs on come from the Rabbit Rabbit Radio web site, a kind of online multimedia magazine that showcases a new song each month, with an accompanying video, photographs from the couple’s life adventures (including their ever-growing children), and some user-generated input.
And the songs are something else, drawing from pop and Americana but also laced with the edgy experimentalism that’s defined much of Kihlstedt and Bossi’s careers. The styles range from delicate piano ballads to raw-nerve rock. They’ve been getting some deserved notice, too; “After the Storm,” from Year 1 of Rabbit Rabbit Radio, won in the “eclectic” category at this year’s Independent Music Awards.
You can sample the Rabbit Rabbit catalogue on YouTube. They haven’t yet posted this month’s knockout punch (“Nameless,” featuring Shahzad Izmaily on guitar) but here’s a video for “Falling Awake,” with guitarist Joel Hamilton, issued a few months ago.
Rabbit Rabbit is trying out a couple of new ideas. For this year’s songs, they’ve been working with a guitarist each month, and Kihlstedt has set aside her trademark violin, which helped make her name in groups like Tin Hat and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.
Here’s something even more different: In lieu of being a CD, Rabbit Rabbit, Volume 2 — Swallow Me Whole is being sold as a limited-edition poster featuring all the lyrics and credits, and a download code for the songs themselves.
It’s an interesting idea. I’ve been thinking that people buy CDs at shows more as souvenirs than anything else. Even in a digital age, it’s nice to walk away carrying something — so, why not a poster instead of a CD?
Rupa, of local world-music faves Rupa & The April Fishes, will be opening the Freight & Salvage show. The full Rabbit Rabbit itinerary looks like this:
- Thur. July 10 — Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
- Sat. July 12 — The Mint, Los Angeles
- Thur. July 31 — Union Hall, Brooklyn.
If you want to donate to the Outsound New Music Summit, you might want to do it before Sunday night.
I assume they’d take your contribution no matter what the date. But Sunday night is the deadline to contribute via Indiegogo and, for $100 or more, get a ticket to the dinner held each year for organizers and donors. Held at Berkeley Arts Festival, the dinner will include a set of music by percussionist William Winant and another set by Thea Farhadian (violin) and Amy X. Neuburg (vocals, loops, maybe electronics).
No, I don’t know what’s on the menu. But I do know it’s all for a good cause, a locally produced festival for creative music. Rent Romus has kept the fire burning going on 13 years now.
Here’s the lineup:
July 27- August 2, 2014, Co-Presented with KFJC 89.7FM Community Music Center, 544 Capp Street San Francisco, CA Advance Tickets: Brown Paper Tickets The Bay Area’s New Sound Festival Features Underground and Experimental Jazz, Electronics, Noise Art, Spoken Word, Poetry, Workshops, and Hands-onInteractive “Touch the Gear” Expo. Sunday July 27th 1:00 PM Pianist, composer, and educator Thollem McDonas will lead a collaboration/improvisation workshop for musicians and non- musicians alike. Monday, July 28th 8:00 PM Thollem McDonas and participants from the Sunday improvisation workshop will perform a set of structured and free improvi- sation. This event is free to the public. Wednesday, July 30th Q&A Sessions 7:30 pm, Performance 8:15 pm PoetryFreqs, a night of spoken word and poetry with electro- acoustic music. * Pitta of the Mind (Maw Shein Win – poetry and Amanda Chaudhary – electronics) * Original jazz beat poet Ruth Weiss with electronic pioneer Doug Lynner – Buchla Synth, Hal Davis - hollow log * Watkins/Trammel/McZeal (Zachary James Watkins - electronics, Marshall Trammell – drums with award winning poet Amber McZeal) Thursday, July 31st Q&A Sessions 7:30 pm, Performance 8:15 pm Guitars, a night showcasing seven talented and provocative guitarists Henry Kaiser; Amy Reed & Ross Hammond; Noah Phillips & John Finkbeiner; Sandy Ewen & Jakob Pek Friday, August 1st Q&A Sessions 7:30 pm, Performance 8:15 pm Constructions will bring two extremes together * Teddy Rankin-Parker/Daniel Pearce Duo, premiering new works by renowned composer Renee Baker * The Deconstruction Orchestra, a mass ensemble of 25 leading Bay Area improvising musicians led by tenor saxophonist and composer Joshua Allen, who will perform the debut of The Structure of Sound and Space, an original deconstructivist- inspired suite of cell structure game compositions, melding together post-modern, free jazz and non-idiomatic improvisa- tion. Saxophones: Aaron Bennett-as, Sam Flores-ts, John Ingle-bs, Matt Ingalls-as/c, Josh Marshall-ts, Dan Plonsey-bs, Dave Slusser-ts, Rory Snyder-as, Rent Romus-as, Cory Wright-bs Brass: Peter Bonos-trpt, Collete McCaslin-coronet, Matt Gaspar-Flugel, Ron Heglin-tuba, Jeff Hobbs-trpt, George Moore-trpt, Matt Streich-trombone Rhythm: Henry Kaiser-guitar, John Finkbeiner-guitar Timothy Orr-drums, William Winant-drums, Lisa Mezzacappa-bass, Matt Montgomery-bass Saturday, August 2nd 1:00pm Transformational Voice, an afternoon vocal workshop with bodywork/energywork master Jill Burton. Register at the door or Pre-Register @ Brownpaper Tickets Saturday, August 2 Q&A Sessions 7:30 pm, Performance 8:15 pm Improvisations, featuring three different groups of improvisers exploring the language of the unknown. * Obstreperous Doves (Karl Evangelista – guitar, Bill Noertker - bass, Nava Dunkelman - percussion, Christina Stanley - violin, and Jordan Glenn - drums) * The Emergency String (X)tet (violins: Mia Bella D'Augelli, Jeff Hobbs, Christina Stanley; lap steel guitar: David Michalak; cello: Doug Carroll; bass koto: Kanoko Nishi-Smith; and cello/director: Bob Marsh); who will premiere a new work in celebration of Bob Marsh’s 70th birthday * Jill Burton Trio (Jill Burton - voice, Tim Perkis - electronics, and Doug Carroll - cello) debuting their first-time collaboration
… and here’s what I wrote about last year’s Summit:
- Outsound: The Axiom
- Outsound: Vibration Hackers
- Bringing “Lords of Outland” to Outsound
- Outsound Summit: When the Machines Take Over
- Kyle Bruckmann Brings Pynchon to Outsound
- Outsound 2013
Ritwik Banerji has been developing (I think he would prefer to say “raising”) Maxine for several years now, posting the results on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. They’re mostly duets between Maxine and Banerji’s own saxophone playing, the idea being that Maxine learns and progresses as she plays more.
To celebrate, Maxine and a gathering of local friends will perform Thursday, June 26, at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) in Berkeley. It starts at 5:00 p.m. with an art installation featuring Maxine and some graphical computer programs called Maxineans. (Banerji has posted two representatives to Vimeo: Antoine and Bart.) Visitors are encouraged to bring an instrument and interact with Maxine and her friends.
A concert will follow, with Kaiser playing an opening set, followed by Maxine performing in varying improvising ensembles.
I first came across Maxine in the context of a concert with Maxxareddu, a similar artificial intelligence developed by Joe Lasqo. Here’s more about that:
- Outsound: Vibration Hackers
- Outsound Summit: When the Machines Take Over
- Improv — Human and Otherwise
Seeing that Human Feel has tour dates here in the Bay Area makes me nostalgic — not just for the band, but for the bygone era they represent to me.
Thursday, June 26, the band is playing at Yoshi’s Oakland, and Monday, June 30, they’ll be at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz — their only Bay Area appearances that I’m aware of since about 1997. They’re touring in advance of a new album, coming out in June.
Which is awesome news. All four members — Andrew D’Angelo, Jim Black, Chris Speed, and Kurt Rosenwinkel — have careers of their own, so it takes an alignment of planets to get Human Feel back in the studio, let alone on the road.
But here’s what’s really on my mind.
Tim Berne’s Bloodcount is the band that got me into the whole avant-jazz thing in the first place, an interest that eventually fueled the radio show that eventually fueled this blog.
That was around 1997, and I was in New York, visiting the Knitting Factory (which still supported avant-jazz big-time, for a few final, glorious years). I’d gotten to see Tim Berne play, and I’d picked up a free music magazine called M3 or something like that. In the back were CD reviews, including one for Human Feel’s second album, Speak to It.
That’s how I found out that Black and Speed, both from Bloodcount, had been in another band. I wanted to hear that band.
Understand this: The Internet in 1997 was not what it is today. You didn’t just look up a band’s web site — web sites literally hadn’t existed five years earlier — and digitizing music, let alone downloading it, was barely even a dream for most of us.
No — back then, you had to rely on magazines and real word-of-mouth. The blind faith of mail-order was always an option, but it was more exciting to stalk the record-store bins, bypassing the big names (Pat Metheny, Gary Burton) to go straight for the alphabetical dividers, where the more obscure “M” and “B” artists — or the ones the store’s clerks hadn’t heard of — were hiding.
At the time, I didn’t know any New York records stores other than Tower, and I didn’t have time to shop anyway. So the next time I was in Berkeley, I sped over to Amoeba Records and scanned the “H” bin, with little hope.
But there it was. A CD that, weeks ago, I would have bypassed: Human Feel’s Welcome to Malpesta. It had that same Steve Byram-looking cover that Tim Berne’s albums did, chaotic and scribbled, promising a mind-bending experience.
Listening to the album was a joy. Andrew D’Angelo’s “Sich Reped” opens it — a catchy, maddening 7/4 theme like a nursery rhyme gone bad (“Three Blind Mice” in a blender, I think a friend called it), hitting all the crazy angles my ears were hoping for. It’s followed by Chris Speed’s “Iceaquay,” the kind of drifting, improv-heavy piece I was just starting to appreciate.
That’s what it used to be like to find music. The hard work of panning for gold, and the sweet victory of discovery.
Today, I scan the bins, and the delight has faded. Some of that has to do with volunteering at KZSU, where I got exposed to a lot of new releases, but mostly it’s the Internet. I don’t get to hear every Clean Feed or Firehouse 12 release that comes out — but I do know that it’s come out. Little surprises are harder and harder to find.
That’s why Human Feel, in addition to being a good band, has a special place in my heart. They were one of my few great New York finds before the Internet brought New York to my doorstep. Don’t get me wrong; I love being able to follow musicians on the Internet, keeping up with their recordings and their careers. But, as old people will always say to young people, it’s not the same.