Pneuma

Pneuma is:
Rose G., voice
James Falzone, clarinet and electronics
Frankie Howe, clarinets
Michael Winograd, clarinet

“It’s strange to think that a band of three clarinets and a single voice can conjure up a world of infinite possibilities, but that’s what Pneuma delivers. Music this beautiful, intricate, and heartfelt deserves to be celebrated—and treasured.” — Alexander Varty of The Georgia Straight, Vancouver, BC

PNEUMA (πνεῦμα) is an ancient Greek word for “breath”, “spirit” or “soul”. Pneuma’s sound is kaleidoscopic – many worlds entangled – with extended techniques and layered effects blending with soulfulness and an exposed vulnerability. Jewish-music intertwines with contemporary classical compositions and free-jazz improvisations. Pneuma’s instrumentation is unusual and full of breath, allowing every band member to reimagine their role and find their ground in new and innovative ways. The quartet zooms in-and-out, shifting perspectives from the very personal to the global, from intimacy to a loud roar. The poetry (sung in English) comes from many corners of the world including Christina Rossetti (UK), Forugh Farrokhzad (Iran), James Joyce (Ireland), Mayumi Terada (Japan), and Ono no Komachi (9th century Japan). These texts coincide with wordless pieces such as Gottlieb’s “Neither You Nor I”, inspired by a solo by the late bassist Ora Boasson-Horev. Pneuma made their premiere at the 2017 Vancouver International Jazz Festival and their 2019 debut album, “Who Has Seen The Wind?” on Songlines Recordings.

Earshot: Travis Laplante

Travis Laplante is a saxophonist, composer, and qigong practitioner. His tornado of a performance with Gerald Cleaver at last year’s festival was one of the great Earshot shows. He returns, this time solo, for what is sure to be a breathless showing.

Laplante has made a name for himself through his imaginative compositions and fierce playing style, endlessly fueled by circular breathing. His mystifying and transporting playing qualities align with his belief that music “should be played and heard with every cell of the body.”

Heavily influenced by Taoism and the practice of qigong, Laplante seeks to empty the ego of its own desires and wants. He’ll often walk into a room with no agenda except to become one with the room and the audience.

This was the inspiration for performing live and recording seven consecutive nights of pure improvisation in southern Vermont — a brutal process of emptying to discover moments of magic and crushing vulnerability. The result are self-churning moments of humility and growth with profound new depth, compiled on Laplante’s album, human, set to be released in November on New Amsterdam Records.

Presented by Earshot Jazz Festival.

GraceANN Cummings

Pianist GraceANN Cummings gives the Seattle and World premiere of the first seven of Garrett Fisher’s new Ragas for Solo Piano. Although these pieces may appear to resemble classical compositional “studies” by title, they are unique in both process and product. With their brevity, connectedness, and improvisational nature they demand a unique signature from each performer’s interpretation. Each etude is a silent blueprint – a set of visual descriptions that intentionally disguise Fisher’s inspiration to allow the performer’s unique discovery process and interpretation, which ultimately leads to a mutual, co-creation of the music and its meaning for performance. These etudes are more similar to rules for a board game or even a play than traditional musical compositions. Neither fully represents the intended creation; both depend on a player’s selection from multiple, if not innumerable, interpretive possibilities, yet each execution reflects a recognizable essence of the game or play.

Also included in the concert will be Gorecki’s Sonata for Piano, African Diaspora inclusive of composers Nkeiru Okoye, Joshua Uzoigwe, Wallace McClain Cheatham, J.H. Kwabena Nketia and Scriabin etudes.

Body.Space.Time.Sound Vol. 4: Cube

An Evening in Sound and Movement Performance
Created and Curated by Alia Swersky and Tom Baker

Two sound artists, and two movement artists merge from duet into quartet. One music, movement pair begins in a slow, spacious conversation of sounds and gestures. The other duet begins their own conversation parallel to the first. Gradually, through moments of synchronicity, resonance, and overlaps of space, the duets begin to converge. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts as the two duos become a quartet, but more than a two dimensional shape…a square, a rectangle…they become a cube, three dimension and six sided…four performers, the audience, and the space.

Sound: Tom Baker, Kate Olson
Movement: Alia Swersky & Corrie Befort

What is B.S.T.S? What happens when seasoned musicians and movers come together to create variable durations of improvisational performance?

These improvisational events will consist of a varying selection of curated sound and movement artists who will be brought together in purposeful improvisational collaborations. These ongoing performance happenings will selectively group artists with the intention of instigating dynamic collaborations. Each event will consist of a unique set of guidelines in relation to body, space, time and sound, but the constant for each grouping is that they connect in some way before the performance. Selected artists will be introduced, then asked to score and rehearse their piece in accordance with the indeterminacy of meeting one another, the performance themes of each event, and the convening of their shared interests. A goal is to bring together artists in different disciplines, and bridge diverse performance aesthetics. Performers will be asked to create structured scores that harness the unknown spontaneity of performance.

Earshot: Dreamstruck (Crispell/Fonda/Sorgen)

Avalanches of chords, earthquakes of hits and rolls, tsunamis of pizzicato plucks: these are the warp and woof of the improvisational trio Dreamstruck, featuring pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist Joe Fonda, and drummer Harvey Sorgen.

Veterans orbiting the cosmos of the experimental scene, the three bring “a broad spectrum of moods and color” from their instruments, released on their self-titled debut this year. All About Jazz calls it a “distinctive and fascinating interplay that explores the contours of romance, blues, free playing, and abstraction.”

Exploring the repertoire of players like Paul Motian and guitarist Bob Windbiel, Dreamstruck recombines the codes of musical genes spread across a spectrum of velocity, impact, and delay. Sorgen is a cunning timekeeper with a big heart. An educator and recipient of multiple grants, he’s played and recorded with the likes of Ahmad Jamal, Dewey Redman, Dave Douglas, and others.

Sorgen has long cultivated his interplay with Joe Fonda, a primary member of Anthony Braxton’s iconic groups from 1984-1999. Fonda, a student of the Berklee College of Music, is a commissioned composer whose creative focus has been paired most recently with Barry Altschul and Jon Irabagon in the trio 3dom Factor; with reedman Gebhard Ullmann in his supergroup Conference Call; and in his own groups, including the Off Road Quartet.

Crispell remains “one of the very few pianists who rise to the challenge of free jazz,” (New York Times). In a career that boasts six ECM albums, she has been an integral part of Reggie Workman’s group and has played with Henry Grimes, Anders Jormin, Wadada Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell, and others. As of recent she has expanded her bluesy sound-world with Tyshawn Sorey, and in Trio Tapestry, with saxophonist Joe Lovano, and drummer Carmen Castaldi.

Presented by Earshot Jazz Festival.

Jesse Myers: Feldman’s “Triadic Memories”

Jesse Myers performs Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories for solo piano. This mammoth work for solo piano is large in scale, though sparse and delicate in tone. Feldman described the work as “The largest butterfly in captivity.”

This music demands deep listening while luring our thoughts to drift into a vast spaciousness. The audience is encouraged to forego the chairs, bring a mat and pillow, and lie on the floor for this meditative program. Chairs will also be provided.

Seattle-based pianist Jesse Myers is an adventurous explorer of music that expands the possibilities of the piano. With a strong interest in performance that pushes piano music into new realms, Myers frequently performs music for prepared piano, new music for piano and electronics, as well as traditional classical literature in nontraditional settings.

(photo: Lee Goldstein)

Hernán Reinaudo & Mirta Wymerszberg

Guitar virtuoso Hernán Reinaudo visits from Buenos Aires to present his own compositions, a personal journey from contemporary Argentine tango to folk fusion and Afro-Latin influence, performing together with local musician Mirta Wymerszberg on flute, bandoneon and vocals, plus special guests.

Hernán Reinaudo has made his name as one of the leading guitarists of the new generation of Argentinian musicians who reunited with tango at the turn of the new century. With a background in both the conservatory and the rock scene and a passion for the works of Leopoldo Marechal and Xul Solar’s concept of Neocriollism, he moved from Córdoba to Buenos Aires in 2001, joining the 34 Puñaladas ensemble who were, in his own words, “appropriating and relearning a genre that, although it was ours, we didn’t know how to play”. Further education followed as an in-demand accompanist to a number of leading tango singers amid the formation of his various projects, culminating in his first album, Neocriollo – string-laden and rhythmically rich, bringing a cosmopolitan approach to the emblematic Argentinian musical genre.

An accomplished flutist, bandoneon player and vocalist and native of Buenos Aires, Seattle-based musician Mirta Wymerszberg brings extensive experience in authentic tango music from Argentina. She appears regularly in Seattle with her tango band Sol de Noche, as well as singing flamenco repertoire with Cuadro Azahares, La Peña Flamenca de Seattle, and as a guest artist in a diversity of projects. She has recorded several CDs: Flor de Tango (2000), Figuracion de Gabino Betinotti (2009), A Dos Puntas (2016) with Hernan Reinaudo; Ay Margarita (2011, children’s music in Spanish); and Endiablada de Tangos (2016) that had been selected to be part of the Playback collection at the Seattle Public Library.

Earshot: Larry Grenadier + EarthToneSkyTone

Though the bass can sometimes drop to the background, bassist Larry Grenadier has always stood out. He’s been a key part of Brad Mehldau’s trio since the early 90s and has recorded with Paul Motian and Charles Lloyd. His recent work includes the supergroup Hudson, with Jack DeJohnette, John Medeski, and John Scofield.

Grenadier’s newest album, The Gleaners (ECM) is a solo-outing that takes its title from Agnés Varda’s film, The Gleaners and I. Like the “gleaners” in the documentary – scavengers who gather the remains of crops after harvest – Grenadier finds his own way in what he calls a “search for a center of sound and timbre, for the threads of harmony and rhythm that formulate the crux of a musical identity.”

Guitarist/vocalist Carlos Snaider and bassist Kelsey Mines open with their duo, EarthToneSkyTone. The group combines the storytelling of song with fresh harmonic and rhythmic concepts, in what Snaider calls “a meditation of collectivity and community.” A graduate of Harvard University, where he studied with Vijay Iyer, Yosvany Terry, and others, Snaider’s incumbent curiosity and serious creativity has flowered in projects with performance artist Josefina Báez and percussionist Rajna Swaminathan, among others. Mines, a ubiquitous and adroit musician, plays in symphonies and teaches at the university and high school level throughout the Northwest. A recipient of the Holland Scholarship where she studied with contrabassist Sorin Orcinschi and a graduate of the University of Washington, her recent work includes recordings with Neil Welch and tours with singer-songwriter ings.

Presented by Earshot Jazz Festival, welcomed by KNKX.

CEEYS + Christopher Sky + Goldmund

East German cello/piano duo CEEYS and California composer/multi-instrumentalist/producer Christopher Sky visit Seattle on their first West Coast tour together. They are joined by Portland composer Keith Kenniff (aka Goldmund), giving his first public performance in four years.

Christopher Sky is an American composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer based in Los Angeles. His first EP, Cotton Dream, featuring contributions from Paul Espinoza on guitar, was released in 2011 through his own label, Sejatski Ltd. This was followed by Audio Memory, with a stronger emphasis on guitar-based loops and sound design. After taking time off to focus on his Let’s Drive to Alaska project – releasing In the Fifth House in 2016 – Sky returned in 2018 with By the Ocean, his first solo work in seven years, featuring five brand new songs, plus remixes by Mirror, Jubilant Ecstasy Dream and HEARTMIND. Two-track EP Orpheus and Eurydice, an ode to the classic tale of love and loss, was released on Valentine’s Day 2018. Vastness was released on Aagoo Records and Hidden Shoal Recordings in November 2018, followed by a UK and European Tour December 2018 and California Tour January-October 2019.

CEEYS’ beautiful abstract compositions have received excellent press and their releases can be found on the acclaimed labels 1631 Recordings, Oscarson and Neue Meister. “It’s an extraordinary piece of music. It’s a work of two brothers, Sebastian on cello and Daniel on piano, and together they play as CEEYS. I saw them premiere tracks from their new album at Neue Meister gig that I went to very recently in Berlin. This is a project, which is actually dedicated to their parents and it is written about the buildings that surrounded them in their childhood, growing up on the streets of East Berlin.” – Mary Anne Hobbs BBC Radio 6 Music

A Pennsylvanian by birth, Keith Kenniff is an honors graduate of Boston’s esteemed Berklee College of Music, best known as the brains behind dulcet ambient/electronic practitioner Helios and post-classical piano minimalist music as Goldmund (the latter’s music once described by no less an authority than Ryuichi Sakamoto as “…so, so, so beautiful…”. Together with his wife Hollie, Keith also records as Mint Julep, and the two released their debut album, Save Your Season, which NME coined as “Unquestionably beautiful”. A succession of albums under those aliases has made Kenniff the darling of discerning critics and his music has been widely used in film, TV, and advertising, for clients such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Paramount, MTV and Warner Brothers.

“…his accomplishment and expertise on various instruments is gratifyingly apparent…” – PITCHFORK

“Exuding beauty but also suspense, this is the sort of minimalist music that fills a room with even the faintest of its sounds, not the sort that disappears into the walls without anyone noticing.” – POP MATTERS

“…The overall effect is cinematic, like a film score composed by Erik Satie.”- NPR

Earshot: Briggan Krauss

Throughout his career, saxophonist and composer Briggan Krauss has pushed the limits of acoustic performance and improvisation. An iconic performer, his approach to composition has developed into a morphology of sound, documented most recently on this year’s release Art of the Saxophone: The Lethe Lounge Sessions (Iluso).

Krauss’ connection to Seattle is strong. He studied at Cornish College of the Arts, worked with guitarist Brad Shepik, and played in pianist Wayne Horvitz’ Pig Pen quartets. Moving to New York City in 1994, he immersed himself in the downtown scene, stretching sound as part of Steven Bernstein’s Grammy-winning group Sexmob, among other projects. With a roving musical imagination that has brought him to the guitar, sound art, and media installation, Krauss has counterbalanced his critically acclaimed recordings as a leader and sideman—notably on Bill Frisell’s 2004 release Unspeakable, with academic work and installation art. Currently, he is a professor in the Performance and Interactive Media Arts [PIMA] and Sonic Arts MFA programs at Brooklyn College.

Art of the Saxophone continues a series of landmark recordings that mark his major contribution to solo-saxophone performance. Recorded over two days at the Lethe Lounge, Krauss practically manifests his experimental extension of practice. Through various forms of muting—including his signature towel-mute—he uses a repertoire of long tones and multiphonics to rigorously sculpt his sound. The product is boundary-pushing.

Presented by Earshot Jazz Festival.