Sperryfest Preview II

A reminder that the Matthew Sperry Memorial Festival is upon us:

* Thursday June 3 | 8pm | $6 – $100 sliding scale (i.e., pay what you want within that range): Tag Team Trio Shift: Improvsations with 3 musicians at any given time, refereed by John Shiurba.
… At the Luggage Store Gallery: 1007 Market St., San Francisco

* Saturday June 5 | 8pm | $6 – $100 sliding scale … Chamber ensemble sfSound plays two Sperry Compositions: “Wadadaism” (1991) and “Veins” (1995). Also compositions by Anthony Braxton, Cornelius Cardew, James Tenney, and sfSoundGroup.
… At 21 Grand, 416 25th Street, Oakland

Sperry, killed in a traffic accident in 2003, didn’t leave behind a huge output of recordings or finished compositions. For these festivals, his friends have been taking ideas from his music notebooks.

The full program of the June 5 show is listed on Facebook, and it opens with two pieces out of those notebooks.  I don’t know what to expect from either one, other than noting the obvious humorous reference to Wadada Leo Smith in the “Wadadaism” title. Those pieces will be followed by one of Anthony Braxton’s — I’d noted the connection here — and pieces by Cornelius Cardew and James Tenney.

Expect good modern classical stuff, at least some of it played by a large ensemble of great local musicians.

On June 3, it’s probably going to be a series of free improvised pieces, but here’s the trick. I think it’s going to be game-like, with Shiurba shuttling people on and off stage to keep a perpetual trio going. That’s just a guess, but I think it’s a good one. The Luggage Store is right downtown in San Francisco, so there’s no harm in stopping in for a minute to check it out, is there?

Shiurba and others have worked to put some of Sperry’s live recordings on CD, giving Sperry more of a recorded legacy.  Click here for a list.  CDs will probably be on sale at both shows, proceeds going to Sperry’s wife and daughter. The music is abstract free improvisation — some terrific lively performances.

Click the Ghost Bike picture, above, for a short blog essay by Dara Kerr about ghost bikes and their significance.

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