Neal Kosaly-Meyer: Gradus…

Gradus for Fux, Tesla, and Milo the Wrestler (Three Rungs) is a piano composition in perpetual progress. The score, in a nutshell is: “learn to play the piano one note at a time.” Since 2002, that is more or less what Neal Kosaly-Meyer has been doing, first working through all the A’s and all combinations of all the A’s, devoting a lengthy improvisation session to each A and to each combination. Since completing combinations of the A’s, E’s, C#’s, G’s and B’s have been added to the mix. In performance, a two hour time-frame is divided into sections of 60′, 40′ and 20′, and each section is assigned either a single pitch, a pair of pitches, or a set of three or more pitches, currently selected from the total set of all the A’s, E’s, C#’s, G’s and B’s (37 pitches total). Silence is also an extremely important element in Gradus and is considered in the Cagean sense: all the unintended environmental sounds which occur in the course of the performance. Assuming nice weather, the windows will be open to let in more of that kind of silence.

(photo: James Holt)

Earshot: Friends & Heroes + DX-tet

Earshot’s annual juried series, Jazz: The Second Century, returns with three evenings of innovative music. Artists are selected by a peer panel through a blind jury process to perform original work in a concert setting that is questioning and expanding the conventions of the jazz form. This year’s choices reflect our city’s current dialogue surrounding the art form, in all its nuances and subtleties.

Friends & Heroes

Haley Freedlund is a musician rooted in improvisation and a composer rooted in songwriting. In a musical landscape that she describes as “often dominated by a mix of athleticism, machismo, and perfectionism,” her take on jazz offers something more tender. Her narrative output takes the shape of longer melodic ideas, repetition, and thematic composing. Freedlund’s music is like the first stretch of morning, limbs reaching, eyes open to the light of a new day. Friends & Heroes is comprised of mainstays of Seattle’s creative improvised music scene: Haley Freedlund, trombone; James Falzone, clarinet; Tom Varner, French horn; Abbey Blackwell, acoustic bass; Evan Woodle, drums.


Recent Cornish College of the Arts graduate Dylan Hayes has been gaining momentum as a sought-after pianist, composer, and bandleader. Notably, Hayes recently took the reins of the Jim Knapp Orchestra. “My compositions are brought to life through arrangements and I enjoy arranging for all of the various instruments, which is why I am drawn to writing for larger ensemble’s such as big band or octet,” says Hayes. His octet, DX-tet, is co-led by Xavier Lecouturier. Both originally from the Bay-area, the two are long-time friends and collaborators. Their music draws from a wide range of genres including hip-hop, pop, funk, and jazz.

Jared Hall, trumpet
Nicole McCabe, alto sax
Rex Gregory, tenor sax
Stuart MacDonald, baritone sax
Martin Budde, guitar
Dylan Hayes, piano
Michael Glynn, bass
Xavier Lecouturier, drums

Twenty Six Minutes Equals One Day

“Ladies and gentlemen, will you please turn on your cellphones.”

Presented by Nadya Kadrevis and David Haney as a collaborative approach with Blake DeGraw and guest star Nathan Breedlove.

Improvisers, composers, and field contributors worldwide present Twenty Six Minutes Equals One Day
A Multi Media Interactive Performance in Eight Movements: PRIME, TERCE, SEXT, NONE, VESPERS, COMPLINE, VIGIL, MATINS

In early 2019, participants all over the world submitted 2-3 minute field recordings, plus photos for this project. Each participant was asked to record at a specific time. The end result is a 26-minute recording that starts with the 6 AM submissions and proceeds throughout the day at intervals of 3 hours. Additionally, a piano score was written by David Haney and two drummers: Bernard Purdie and Dave Storrs were commissioned to create a percussive response, a drum sound track, to the field recordings.

Tonight’s performance will be in three parts:

– Short presentation of project
– Listening to the field recordings & Syncing all phones in room with selected instruments (26 minutes)
– Live musicians performing with field recordings (26 minutes)

The opening act will be a 20-minute set by Blake DeGraw & Guests performing The Ersatz, an experimental work for guitars, which tells the story of a brood of cicadas emerging from their gestation period only to be attacked by a predatory flock of birds.

David Haney studied composition for six years with Czech composer, Tomas Svoboda. After several years of working with the Society of Oregon Composers, Haney began applying his skills as a working jazz artist, often paired up with some of the greatest minds in jazz improvisation, such as Andrew Cyrille, Roswell Rudd, John Tchicai, Bud Shank, Bernard Purdie, Buell Neidlinger, Julian Priester, Han Bennink, Obo Addy, Wilbert de Joode, Gerry Hemingway, Wolter Weirbos, Perry Robinson, and Johannes Bauer. Haney has recorded 14 albums in ten years for C.I.M.P. Records and Cadence Jazz Records. David has also collaborated on 14 albums on other labels worldwide. He has received grants and commissions for his creative work from the U.S. State Department; Alberta Film Works; and the Oregon Ballet Theatre. Haney was awarded a travel grant from the U.S. State Department to present the music of composer Herbie Nichols in concerts throughout Argentina and Chile. Haney’s piano/trombone work Ota Benga of the Batwa was included in the critics pick for best Jazz Album of 2007 (Coda Magazine). Conspiracy a go go and Clandestine were both selected Top Ten Jazz Albums of 2009 (Cadence Magazine). David’s current release Solo received Top Ten honors in 2014 (Cadence Magazine).

Blake DeGraw is an experimental composer/performer whose chief interests are in alternative means of scoring and conduction, particularly as applied to performance by notation-illiterate and self-taught musicians in large-group settings. Utilizing such means as text, graphics, video, light, and audio to guide his works, DeGraw has been actively premiering compositions in Seattle since 2015, having collaborated with over 80 musicians in doing so. “The combined sound of [DeGraw’s] ensemble could be described as if Charles Ives had access to white noise, electronic amplification, extreme distortion, and possible mind-altering psychedelic substances.” –

Nadya Kadrevis is an experimental performer and filmmaker with an MFA in film. She is continually pushing the boundaries between reality and fiction within her films, and finding the harmony between things with her musical compositions and sound experimentations. She’s performed and collaborated with David Haney and friends and Blake DeGraw, with guest stars such as Bernard Purdy and Julian Preister.

Nathan Breedlove, leader of The nu Trio, is a twice Grammy-nominated jazz trumpeter and composer. He began life at Fort Lewis, WA and was raised in Memphis,TN where his musical life began at age ten. Breedlove is the former front man for the legendary Skatalites, Lionel Hampton Orchestra, etc. He returned to the Seattle area after many years in NYC and abroad. Nathan has performed, toured and recorded with many legendary artists and five years ago created The nu Trio, with bassist Phil Sparks and drummer Brian Kirk. The relationship of the trio goes back over 25 years and can be experienced in their nu CD release, Captain of the Light Brigade.

Sound of Late: Let the Light Enter

Sound of Late presents a program exploring poetics and music through the lens of voices crossing generations and cultures. Inspired by a trio of composers from the ensemble’s second annual call for collaborators, the concert features the world premiere of Anthony R. Green’s Collide-oscope V.

Scored for a small mixed ensemble of winds and strings, Green’s music explores concentrated colors that spin and collide much like the colors and shards of material found in a kaleidoscope. The work is partially inspired by a poem by Francis Ellen Watkins Harper entitled Let the Light Enter. In her poem, Harper reflects on Goethe’s last words, a prayer for light.

On a Poem By Miho Nonaka: Harvard Square by Shawn E. Okpebholo is a virtuosic solo for flute that plays with the concept resonance. Although it has specific meaning in music, figuratively speaking, resonance can also mean evoking images, memories and emotions, which the Japanese poet Miho Nonaka beautifully achieves in her poem Harvard Square.

Evan Williamsthe waters wrecked the sky for solo clarinet takes its name and subject from a poem by Emily Dickinson. Just as the poem anthropomorphizes a storm and the affected area, the clarinet brings life to the words with tremolos representing the winds, beautiful gestures and multiphonics representing the sky, and violent sweeping gestures representing the stormy waters.

The program also includes Eve Belgarian’s mystical solo for horn and electronics, Einhorn, and Tina Davidson’s joyous Never Love a Wild Thing.

Founded by a tightly-knit collective of musicians, Sound of Late introduces audiences in Portland and Seattle to the leading creative voices of our generation. Since their first concerts in 2015, the ensemble has premiered over 100 works by American composers through concerts, residencies, and community projects.

LovePunk + Christian Swenson

LovePunk is a love-fueled, passion-driven, penetrative musical beast! Utilizing voice, motion, & both traditional and explorative instrumentation, LovePunk leads the listener into the rich, textured heart of inspiration. Unique, while familiar, the essences of jazz, folk, funk, blues, world and tribal are recognizable, and color the group’s eclectic stylings. LovePunk’s founder, Mama Amelia Love Clearheart (Indigo LovePunk), channels and freestyles poetry and voice, afloat astounding innovations, extending from the creative Spirits of Carol J. Levin on electric harp, Carlos Snaider on guitar, Kelsey Mines on upright bass, Heather Bentley on 7-string violin, Leanna Keith on flutes, and Don Berman on percussion.

Together, these artists traverse & relay spiritual-emotional, philosophical and logical, and sometimes even socio-political insights, from the utterly simple to the thrillingly transcendental. LovePunk’s interest and intention is a healing musical contribution to the exploration & restoration of the neglected and malnourished aspects of human strength, beauty, resilience, and dedication to life and thriving.

Christian Swenson is a shaman of delight. A solitary performer dreaming out loud in the wilderness of the bodyvoice, he interweaves the mysterious and the obvious with immediacy, power and vulnerability. In 1979 Christian began accompanying his dancing with his voice and has toured the world sharing his joy in “our original instrument”. He has developed a wholly original mode of performing he calls “Human Jazz” where his body shapes his voice and his voice shapes his body. His pioneering work has been presented throughout North America and in Europe, and Asia. In 1977 he received a B.A. in Theater from the University of New Hampshire and moved to Seattle to apprentice with the Bill Evans Dance Company. Further training has included work with Tony Montanaro, Ruth Zapora, Andy Shaw, Korean shaman Hi-ah Park, and with the late Pakistani master singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. For many years he has been involved in a wide variety of Seattle’s improvisation communities including Contact Improvisation, Vocal Improvisation and Playback Theater.

Doors at 7:30.

Lotus Lungs + Welch + Coulter/Freedlund

Lotus Lungs is a trio of three innovative and accomplished guitarists: Matt Benham, Bill Horist and Tom Scully. Based in Seattle, they’ve left footprints in jazz, classical, rock, avant-garde, free improvisation and experimental music, contributing to a dynamic local scene. Individually, they have each stretched the boundaries of the instrument along three dimensions: improvisation, experimentation and tradition. In combo they fuel each other, developing themes and new sonic textures to produce spectacularly varied soundscapes that chart new, eye-opening territory. Tonight they’ll play improvised acoustic and electric sets to celebrate the release of their first album, Guitar Improv Summit Vol. 1.

Neil Welch will perform acoustic solo works on soprano, tenor and bass saxophones, traversing abstract “resonance imaginations” through multiphonics, air and non-tempered melody. Recognized as a major voice of the Seattle jazz and experimental music fields, Welch’s work is derived from improvisation, using largely non-traditional techniques that explore sonic resonance. With a strong connection to place, he performs and documents audio recordings prolifically within the urban and rural landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Neil embraces a variety of resonant musical styles, with work spanning avant-garde jazz, modern composition, solo saxophone, North Indian classical music, and electronic sound processing. His playing unabashedly confronts the acoustical limits of the instrument.

Haley Freedlund is a trombonist and vocalist, working primarily in free improvisation, jazz, pop, and new works. She has been based in Seattle since 2011, where she has since been establishing herself as a multi-disciplinary powerhouse in the performing arts community. She is a frequent collaborator with Wayne Horvitz, Tom Varner, Christian Pincock, Heatwarmer, Karl Blau, Inverted Space Ensemble, and Verlaine & McCann. She has enjoyed collaborations with Cherdonna Shinatra, iji, Phillip Greenlief, Boom Tic Boom, The Empty Pockets, BATTERY, and St. Paul de Vence.

Amelia Coulter plays the alto trombone. She works mainly with alternative techniques, including modified/prepared trombones and vocal-, text-, location-, and object-oriented performance, with a focus on the Gregorian chant tradition. She has: a bachelor of music from Cornish College of the Arts, and a cat named Hippo.

SIMF: Improvised Dance + Music

(Originally scheduled for Feb. 9 as part of the 34th Seattle Improvised Music Festival, but cancelled due to snow.)

Seattle Improvised Music Festival presents a performance of Dance & Music, curated by Stephanie Skura.

Scruffy & determined, with fierce eyes, sharp beaks, & hearts melting! Nine deep-diving, life-long-improvising, shamanic music/dance mavens come together for the first time, guided by ancient instincts & minimal oxymoronic scoring. A rare-breed, wizardly dream-team for lovers of non-sequitor, alternative flow, & multi-versal realities:

Dancers: Linda Austin (PDX), Paige Barnes, Vanessa DeWolf, Nate Dryden (SLC), Jordan MacIntosh-Hougham, Stephanie Skura; Musicians: Dave Knott, homemades; Steve Peters, field recordings, found things, Jenny Ziefel, clarinets [replacing Beth Fleenor, who is sadly unable to join us as originally planned]

“Performance is political not because of its subject matter but because of the way
performances are made, how they’re structured, and what they show about people
relating to each other.” [from Skura’s essay “Politics of Method”, in Reimaging America: The Arts of Social Change. New Society Publishers, 1990]

Nuanced, ego-dissolved music & dance!
Rarified & recalcitrant!
Ragged, restless, brainy, besmirched!

Seattle Modern Orchestra & Erin Gee: Mouthpieces

Seattle Modern Orchestra will be be joined by composer and vocalist Erin Gee for the performance of five of her on-going Mouthpieces Series. About these works for voice and ensemble, Gee explains that “the articulatory possibilities of the mouth are often mapped onto the instruments, mirroring and expanding the vocal sounds to form a kind of “super-mouth” that can move beyond the physical limitations of a single vocal tract. Merging the voice with both the instruments and with breath, and repeatedly returning to formlessness through “a more (or less) pronounced utterance of the mouth.” Gee’s sound world is paired with Kaija Saariaho’s Aer, the last movement titled Phoenix from her 1991 ballet Maa.

ERIN GEE, Mouthpiece II
ERIN GEE, Mouthpiece Remix
ERIN GEE, Mouthpiece – segment of the 4th letter
ERIN GEE, Mouthpiece XXIX
ERIN GEE, Mouthpiece X
KAIJA SAARIAHO, Aer for 7 instruments and electronics

(Photo: Jonah Sutherland, still from video)

Feder / Gilleran / Han = Recess

Years of geographical dislocation finally find guitarist Janet Feder (Denver), drummer Jen Gilleran, and pianist James Han reuniting as Recess at The Chapel for an evening of compositions and improvisations based on structure, film, weather patterns, and politics. Maybe. We’re sure about the first two at least. We welcome your company for this rare convergence.

Rae + Levi Gillis

A relatively new group, Rae consists of Abbey Blackwell (bass), Ronan Delisle (guitar), and Evan Woodle (drums). Abbey has written a set of songs with lyrical tunes and sometimes jarring harmonies that complement each other, offering relatable melodies with an avant-garde undercurrent. Abbey, Ronan, and Evan’s background in free improvisation and jazz bring the songs to life — the individuals are a part of the Racer Sessions community and play in a wide variety of jazz, rock, and avant-garde projects. All of those strands can be found in Rae’s music.

Levi Gillis writes intricate songs for guitar and voice. His beautiful harmonies and heartbreaking melodies expand past his background in jazz and into the realm of folk music.