Zero-G Concerts: Mingus Tribute

Charles Mingus was one of the most important figures in twentieth century American music. He was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader, author, poet, civil rights activist, and a prolific composer. His number of jazz compositions is second only to Duke Ellington. He recorded over one hundred albums and wrote over three hundred scores. His compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music and blues while sometimes drawing on elements of free jazz and classical music. Yet Mingus avoided categorization, forging his own brand of music that fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz.

During his lifetime, Charles Mingus was widely recognized in jazz circles as one of music’s most talented contributors. It was only after his death that his brilliance as an indomitable creative force began to be fully realized. His legacy is enormous, but this evening’s program focuses specifically on Mingus’s impact as a composer. Mingus’s compositions pioneered new and extended forms in jazz: changes of tempo and meter, open vamps, blurred lines between composition and improvisation, advanced harmonic explorations, aggressive sounds, and idiosyncratic voicings. These innovations have fueled the compositional efforts of every generation of musicians since, and surely many (if not all) generations to come.

Guitarists Rik Wright and Jason Goessl, longtime devotees of Mingus, have organized a night of music to pay tribute to the man and his music. The concert will showcase groups led by Wright, Goessl, James DeJoie, Jim Knodle, Tim Kennedy and John Seman. The participants have selected and arranged a dozen different Mingus compositions, featuring performances by Alicia DeJoie, Darian Asplund, Dave Bush, Doug Lilla, Geoff Harper, Greg Campbell, Mark Ostrowski, Maxxine Smith, Pete Turner, and Robby Beasley. Time allowing, the night will end with a group improvisation of  “Canon”, a quintessential Mingus theme in which, as the title suggests, the melody can be superimposed upon itself. A fitting tribute to a compositional legend.

Noisegasm |Goldenrod |Brad Anderson |Matt Fay

Noisegasm is Greg Weber (guitar, keys, electronics) and Brad Anderson (keys, electronics). Influences ranging from Noise, Ambient, Heavy-riffage, Hollywood soundtracks, and Classical, combine to create an intense, psychedelic, and completely original sound.

Brad Anderson uses Audiomulch to shape a wide variety of sonic textures and mixes them with Classically influenced keyboard lines.

Ambient guitars slither through an undergrowth of orchestral samples. Goldenrod is the somber reptile in Mantovani’s garden. Mood music for the terminally relaxed.

Matt Fay sounds like this.

Carol Robinson

Paris-based composer and clarinetist Carol Robinson has a multifaceted musical life. Equally at ease in the classical and experimental realms, she performs in major festivals and concert halls the world over (Wien Modern, RomaEuropa, MaerzMusik, Huddersfield, Archipel, Musica, Festival d’Automne, Musica Contemporanea, etc.). In addition to working closely with composers, she pursues the new in more alternative contexts, collaborating with video artists, photographers, and musicians from diverse horizons.

She began composing by writing for her own music theater productions, subsequently receiving commissions for concert pieces, installations, radio, dance and film productions. Described by Derek Horton as “warmly sensuous but deeply cool”, her work often combines acoustic sounds with electronics, and her musical aesthetic is strongly influenced by a fascination for aleatoric systems.

In a rare Seattle appearance, she will be performing her recent works for basset horn, electronics and voice.

Presented by Nonsequitur.

Yann Novak | Robert Crouch | special guest

Join sound and visual artists Yann Novak and Robert Crouch as they kick off their west coast tour with their first performances in Seattle since 2012. They will be joined by a special guest.

Robert Crouch is a Los Angeles-based artist and curator who works across a wide range of media including photography, sound, installation, video, and sculpture. He has exhibited in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and London, and performed at venues including the Art Center College of Design, Human Resources, the Hammer Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Stone.

Yann Novak is a sound and visual artist living and working in Los Angeles. Through the use of sound, light and space, he explores how these intangible materials can act as catalysts to focus our awareness on the present moment and alter our perception of time. His performance works have been experienced internationally at sound art/electronic music festivals including the AxS Festival, Pasadena; Decibel Festival, Seattle; Forward Festival, Washington, D.C.; Mutek Festival, Montreal; Resonant Forms Festival, Los Angeles and at art venues and museums including the Human Resources, Los Angeles; LACMA, Los Angeles; Machine Project, Los Angeles; Oboro, Montreal; The Stone, New York; among others.

The special guest‘s experiments in modern audio vary from stark minimalist tones to densely complex textures with a sound palette that incorporates elements of field recordings, radio frequencies, hand-drawn waveforms, raw data, and digital sound synthesis. Focused on researching psychoacoustics, the perception of sound, spatiality, waveform anomalies, and various audio phenomena discovered while exploring the frequency spectrum, his compositions are excursions in abstract electronic music with influences including ambient, lowercase, microsound, noise, glitch, and drone.

Steve Griggs, solo saxophone

For more than 40 years, Steve Griggs has expressed his feelings through saxophones. Improvisation provides Griggs the freedom to explore ideas and emotions in the moment with audiences. Formally trained in classical music performance, skilled in composition, and seasoned in jazz rhythm, Griggs delved deep into free-form music with modern dancers. Although there are no dancers on this event, the performance reveals a long hidden side of Griggs’ muse that can be glimpsed in his more refined mainstream projects. With no written score and an empty stage, a blank slate awaits for audiences to witness the process of sculpting serenades with a saxophone (A serenade is music sung to a lover for the whole community to hear). 

Yesod

Yesod is a meeting of Middle Eastern and Middle Western musical influences where pure musical impulses flux between sound explorations and accessible improvisational hooks. Dynamic and bold percussion mix with intricate intertwining stringed instruments creating a foundation for voice, violin, clarinet and other melodic instrumental experimentation. Yesod dissects, digests and reshapes their individual influences and experiences into a uniquely familiar musical sum to create rich, living soundscapes.

Formed in Seattle in 2010 by multi-instrumentalist Bill Wolford and Kurdish percussionist Ahmad Yousefbeigi, Yesod were intent on creating improvisational music that conveyed their thoughts, emotions and heritage through a sincere and honest musical vocabulary. Bassist Ray Clements joined the group this year, completing Yesod’s core lineup. Lighting designer David Verkade is a Seattle artist who takes a multimedia approach to his work incorporating light, image projection, and sound for concerts, theater, and other major events.

In March of 2011, Yesod released the first installment of their Improvisations series; an ongoing collection of live performances, recorded at Wolford’s own, Vividsound Studios. They have performed live sets to enthusiastic audiences at the Alki Arts Festival, Lucid Jazz Lounge in Seattle and recently collaborated with the Cabiri, a Seattle-based non-profit aerial dance theater company that specializes in folklore and mythology.look forward to meeting and sharing our music with music lovers all around the world.

Watch videos here.

Paul Taub: New Works for Flute & Ensemble

Venerable Seattle flutist, professor at Cornish, and Seattle Chamber Players member Paul Taub is one of Seattle’s best-known proponents of contemporary music, prominent nationally and internationally through his work with the Seattle Chamber Players. For this independent project, he has invited five composers to write new chamber works to be performed by some of Seattle’s finest “new music” instrumentalists.

Composers Tom Baker, Andy Clausen, David Dossett, Jessika Kenney, and Angelique Poteat have been chosen to participate in this project because of the high artistic quality of their work, the diversity of their styles, the varied stages of their career trajectories, and above all, because their music truly speaks to the public.

The variety of musical styles is a key element of the project. Baker and Kenney are well-established “mid-career” composers, with impressive resumes and works that have been played internationally. Poteat, in her late 20s, is emerging as a significant voice in the Seattle and national music world, with recent pieces commissioned by the Seattle Symphony. Emerging composers Dossett and Clausen (whose band The Westerlies has taken the jazz world by storm), are recent college graduates (Cornish College of the Arts and the Juilliard Jazz Program). The composers’ musical styles are varied and contrasting, with influences as diverse as jazz, electronics, Persian modes, classical music and improvisation.

The new works will be for various combinations of flute, clarinet, cello, contrabass, piano and percussion, written for Taub along with stellar instrumentalists Laura DeLuca (clarinet), Walter Gray (cello), and Joe Kaufman (contrabass), members of the Seattle Symphony; and Cristina Valdes (piano) and Matthew Kocmieroski (percussion), who are leading Seattle-based American interpreters of contemporary music.

Presented by Nonsequitur with assistance from Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Second Inversion.

17 x 3 Fest: new works inspired by a pair of numbers

A dozen composers from the Seattle area plus four instrumentalists rally around the theme of 17 x 3. Nominally a celebration of one of the instrumentalists’ 3rd 17th birthday (go on, do the math), the intriguing musical possibilities suggested by 17 x 3 were too enticing to pass up. Hence, an evening of new works inspired by a simple equation will be presented. The musical implications could be mathematical, metrical, structural, nostalgic, numerological…or…?

The instrumentalists are Paris Hurley, violin; Heather Bentley, viola; Beth Fleenor, clarinet/bass clarinet, and Steve Schermer, bass. Composers are (in no particular order) Amy Denio, Jim Knapp, Ben Thomas, William Hayes, Alex Guy, Michael Owcharuk, Nat Evans, Michaud Savage, Evan Flory-Barnes, Tim Carey, Ivan Arteaga and John Coons.

There will be cake, and that is not a lie.

Judy Dunaway + Susie Kozawa/Esther Sugai

Judy Dunaway performs avant-garde compositions and free improvisations on amplified latex balloons played as musical instruments. She is known internationally as a “virtuoso of the balloon.” She plays a variety of shapes and sizes of balloon instruments, each with it’s own special qualities, pushing the extremes of both pitch range and artistic limits. Her large rubbed “tenor” balloon gives Jimmy Hendrix’s guitar a run for the money and her giant balloon pulsates into the depths of the subaudio. Her abstract music and sounds are difficult to equate with other forms, depending upon the perception of the individual like the images seen in fire or clouds.

Dunaway has presented her balloon works at many major venues, festivals, museums and galleries internationally. She has performed as a balloon player in compositions by John Zorn and Roscoe Mitchell, and in improvisations and/or collaborations with the FLUX Quartet, performance artist Annie Sprinkle, vocalist Jennifer Walshe, visual artists Nancy Davidson and Ken Butler, percussionist John Hollenbeck, Fluxus sound artist Yasunao Tone, and numerous others. CDs of her works for balloons have been released on the CRI (Composers Recordings Inc) and Innova labels, among others.

Watch video of Judy Dunaway.

Seattle treasure Susie Kozawa performs using her trademark collection of homemade instruments, toys, and found objects, joined by subtle flutist Esther Sugai.

Presented by Nonsequitur

FHTAGN + noisepoetnobody

FHTAGN is an experimental spatial sound ensemble from Seattle, WA. Consisting of a rotating membership of musicians from various disciplines, FHTAGN explores alternative conducting techniques, aleatory music operations and free improvisation from everywhere in the room.

Tonight FHTAGN will present a program of controlled improvisation sessions directly inspired by selected works of Charles Ives, whose dense, polytonal style has been a primary inspiration for the ensemble’s creation and sound.

Opening up the evening will be noisepoetnobody’s Drifwood Orchestra, who has retrieved pieces of driftwood from the Cascade Mountains and fit them with metal objects found to have complementary acoustic properties. Small contact microphones will be utilized for capturing the voice of a forest under constant strain from civilization.

Review at I Care If You Listen.