Earshot’s juried series, Jazz: The Second Century, presents Seattle artists, selected by a peer panel, performing original work, in a concert setting. From the core of this series – a question about the expansion of conventions of jazz – one might expect a tendency to grandiose re-invention. Instead, the series is a current, subtle, perhaps refreshing, un-sentimental look at our local engagement with this diffuse, vibrant art form.
Triptet features Tom Baker on guitar, Greg Campbell on drums, and Michael Monhart on saxophone. “In our music we seek to integrate interactive electronics into the continuity of the jazz tradition,” the trio says. “Our use of electronics and computer music programming came to us slowly and organically, growing naturally out of playing together on our respective instruments – guitar, percussion and saxophone.” Integrating interactive electronics into the continuity of the jazz tradition.
Bloom is a new, acoustic quartet led by trumpeter/composer Brennan Carter, with Levi Gillis on tenor sax, Mark Hunter on bass, and Jarred Katz on drums. Their aesthetic is characterized by rich and earthy timbres, playing off of and highlighting each individual’s musical personality. A program that is equally as dark and mysterious as it is lush and charming.
Brad Anderson (Noisegasm, Coreena) plays keyboard-based electronica with keyboard lines that range from beguiling to horrific and a wide range of abstract sound textures. Individual tracks can go from a delicate whisper to an all out noise assault. Multiple layers of computer-generated textures create a psychedelic atmosphere that may leave listeners untethered to reality.
Greg Weber is one half of the electronic duo Noisegasm. As a solo artist he concentrates on ambient soundscapes. He sometimes performs under the name Goldenrod. Reverb-drenched pianos, swirling electronics, radio static, and bass drones create a texture that draws the listener in with its beauty yet leaves them with a sense of menace and foreboding.
Berlin-based Julia Hülsmann began playing piano at the age of 11, and formed her first band at 16. Renowned for her pristine technique and a breadth of creative influences ranging from Thelonious Monk to Emily Dickinson, Hülsmann is gaining international attention through two new records for Munich’s respected ECM label. On this rare North American tour, she is accompanied by bassist Robert Landfermann and drummer Heinrich Köbberling. Watch video.
Barcelona-bred bassist Giulia Valle brings a unique musicianship to the contemporary scene with her compositions and playing. Her trio presents a lineup of great maturity, in which the interplay among the musicians is the common denominator. The project includes Marco Mezquida on piano and David Xirgu on drums, and features new compositions as well as “revisited” topics Valle has introduced on previous recordings. Listen on YouTube.
Presented by Earshot Jazz, with support from the Institut Ramon Llull, the Spanish Society of Authors Composers & Publishers, Spain Arts & Culture, and Spain/USA Foundation.
Neal Kosaly-Meyer‘s Gradus: for Fux, Tesla and Milo the Wrestler is a continuing micro-epic contemplation of a small but growing collection of piano pitches, and a demonstration of the infinite sound-worlds potentially present in a few notes.
Gradus began with the sentence “Learn to play the piano one note at a time.” Thirteen and a half years ago, Neal Kosaly-Meyer began the project, devoting an extended improvisation session to each individual “A” on the piano keyboard, and to each combination of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 A’s. Working through those combinations took 12 years; since then all the E’s and a couple C-sharps have come in as well. Throughout this time Kosaly-Meyer has endeavored to let the project teach him: to find just how many sounds are available from a single piano note; to hear and play the possible relations between two or more notes; to permit the always lively silences to participate as a chorus; to let each sound be itself, and to allow a music to emerge in which each sound is always its own center.
Since 2002, Gradus has occasionally been brought out for public hearing, at first with only three or 4 A’s, later with more and ultimately all the A’s, last year at the Chapel including the highest E. This year’s performance will include A’s, E’s and the lowest C sharp. In performance, three sections (or “rungs”) are presented, one of 20 minutes, one of 40, and one of 60 minutes for a 2-hour continuous piece. One section always centers on a single pitch, a second on two pitches, and the third on a collection of three or more pitches. Gradus is an occasion for deep listening, for mindful immersion and contemplation of the varieties of pianistic sound.
Seattle composer/violinist Julio Lopez presents four new small-scale pieces for mixed ensembles, as well as Snakemouth, an extended composition/improvisational form for solo violin and electronics. These pieces are built on a conception of music as a performative engagement with ontological structures of thought. Fueled by questions of identity, subjectivity, empathy, and togetherness, these pieces attempt to seek out radical conceptual spaces of “being” (and performing “being”) as well as ways of inhabiting them with beauty and meaning.
Colleen is the alias of French musician Cécile Schott. Over the course of five albums, she has consistently reinvented herself by taking acoustic instruments out of their usual context and pushing the boundaries of their playability, with compositions ranging from the mysterious and contemplative to kinetic and playful. For this concert she’ll be playing the Baroque viola da gamba with live electronic processing and singing. Her new album Captain of None (Thrill Jockey) is the most melodic in her repertoire, featuring fast-paced tracks rooted by prominent bass lines and assorted percussive effects.
Seattle composer/vocalist Hanna Benn opens with a rare solo set. Benn studied composition and sacred vocal music at Cornish College of the Arts. Her works and arrangements have been performed by various ensembles including Saint Marks Cathedral Choir (Seattle), Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the CMF Festival Orchestra, Saint Helen’s String Quartet, Seattle Chamber Players and Opus 7. She is currently on commission with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra and a recipient of the National Science Foundation grant to create a site-specific work.
Robert Millis is a founding member of Climax Golden Twins and AFCGT, a solo artist and a frequent contributor to the Sublime Frequencies label. Millis has scored long and short films, created sound installations, produced and designed audio projects, and released many LPs and CDs. His work veers haphazardly between sound art, music concrete, instrumental, improv, field recording, song and collage. Millis has a deep interest in folk and traditional music, so imagine Pete Seeger trying to cover Revolution 9 by the Beatles.
The Vlatkovich 5tet is an ensemble of possibilities. The group focus is to explore and create new possibilities. The possibility of five musicians moving the jazz tradition forward by their non-traditional interactions of melody, accompaniment, harmony, and rhythm. The quintet explores the relationships each of the instruments in the group have with one another. The possibility of changing the orchestration. The possibility of instrumental roles expanding and contracting. The possibility of possibilities is the quest. Creating new music that changes with each listening. Changing not to make the composition unrecognizable, but to develop the core ideas and concepts, to explore all the possibilities. The 5tet demonstrates that the possibilities are infinite. Michael Vlatkovich, trombone; Jim Knodle, trumpet; Jared Burrows, guitar; Clyde Reed, bass; Greg Campbell, drums and French horn.
Inverted Space, the University of Washington’s contemporary music ensemble, concludes its inaugural Long Piece Fest in dramatic fashion with Morton Feldman’s epic 75-minute work For John Cage. Violinist Luke Fitzpatrick and pianist Brooks Tran perform this hypnotic work that blends Feldman’s propensity for expansive time and harmony with Cage’s silence. It is a piece that explores poetic dissonance in a state of prolonged stillness.
For its season finale, Seattle Modern Orchestra presents two works for soprano and ensemble by American composer/vocalist and Guggenheim fellow Kate Soper, including a world premiere of a new ensemble version of her 2012 piece, Now is forever: I. Orpheus and Eurydice, with text by Jorie Graham, written specifically for SMO. This work explores a discrete moment in the story of Orpheus and Eurydice when the pair meets, that perceptually expands in time. Door (2007) for soprano, flute, saxophone, electric guitar and accordion with text written by Martha Collins exudes a wide emotional range from buoyant and playful to dark and moody. The finale concert will also include two Seattle premieres from celebrated Italian composer Fausto Romitelli and Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas. Romitelli’s Blood on the floor, Painting 1986 (2000), inspired by the Francis Bacon painting of the same name, emphasizes the violence and destructiveness of projecting reality into fiction. Friedrich Haas’s Monodie for 18 instruments weaves the melodic narrative through the fabric of a virtuosic and highly focused ensemble sound, effectively turning the ensemble into a virtual solo instrument.
Each month, Nonsequitur and a community of like-minded organizations and artists present ten concerts of adventurous and experimental music in the gorgeous Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center (which sits on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish people): contemporary/post-classical composition, free improvisation and the outer limits of jazz, electronic/electroacoustic music, new instruments, phonography, sound art, and other innovative musics. Watch a video clip about us on the Seattle Channel.