Two Shows: Wednesday Night Treats

Two interesting shows are going to compete for your attention this Wednesday night, July 25.

As I’ve said before, the situation is frustrating for the artists, but the rest of us can feel lucky to live in a place where that many cultural options can present themselves.

First, Karl Evangelista (of Grex and numerous other bands) will present his latest idea for a concert series. Named X v. Y (“v” for “versus”), the series assigns a musician the task of providing original music and, separately, interpreting the music of a past jazz master. “Pitting the hearts and minds of Bay Area musicians against the legacies of legends,” is how the official blurb puts it. Specifics:

For his inaugural edition, Karl will be tackling the ideas and imposing legacy of Ornette Coleman. Karl has spent months of looking at, transcribing, and analyzing Ornette recordings of all eras (and even music of his associates—Old and New Dreams, etc.) in the hopes of getting inside both his compositions and his theoretical approach. The selections for this concert are off the beaten path, and Karl has asked some of his closest associates to join in for three short sets:

Set 1: Broken Shadows (the songs of/with Ornette Coleman)
w/Caitlin Moe-vocals, Zeina Nasr-vocals, Crystal Pascucci-cello, Jason Hoopes-bass, Jordan Glenn-drums

Set 2: Grex (doing your own thing with harmolodics)
w/Rei Scampavia Evangelista-keys, vocals, Robert Lopez-drums

Set 3: Moon Inhabitants (harmolodic shredding)
w/Aram Shelton-alto sax, Scott Brown-bass, Jon Arkin-drums

That’s at the Swarm Gallery in Oakland, 8:00 p.m.

The other show features saxophonist Biggi Vinkeloe from Sweden, a frequent visitor to the Bay Area.

One set will feature her with fellow saxophonist Phillip Greenlief. Official blurb:

These two saxophonists and veteran improvisers have been working together on and off over the past decade and will bring lots of sonic and melodic delight in their set of improvisations.

The second is a reconvening of the CBD Trio: Vinkeloe on sax, Chris Brown on piano, and Donald Robinson on drums. I remember really enjoying the sublime sound of their CD, Suspension (Rastascan, 2006). “Brown plays acoustic piano, but taps his electronics to tweak the sound and direction of the entire group in an interesting direction. There is a lot of variation within a single track, from serene meditations to full group blowouts,” I wrote at the time.

What I recall from vague memory is actually something between those extremes: flowing improvisations kept afloat by Robinson’s light, quick drumming, with the piano setting the foundation.

Of course, the music will be improvised, so it could go in any direction. Just be aware these folks have played together enough to have coalesced as a group. One final official blurb:

Come hear this long-standing trio whose history includes an acclaimed recording and an international touring schedule. Biggi Vinkeloe, Chris Brown and Donald Robinson, all master improvisers, fulfill the promise of free jazz without the burden of excess.

Biggi Vinkeloe and friends will be at Berkeley Arts, starting at 8:00 p.m.