Action Figure + Crane/Mason/Harris + WA

ACTION FIGURE emerged from a trio originally formed for a single performance during bassist Birch Pereira’s Charlie Haden tribute concert in October 2014, and the three have continued gigging under this name. The trio – Seth Alexander (alto), Dave Abramson (drums), and Birch Pereira (bass) – plays original music inspired by Ornette Coleman, Henry Threadgill, and Eric Dolphy. They perform unique compositions and arrangements with unexpected angles and jagged edges. Freedom to escape the cages of established norms is built in. “This is emotional music, unafraid of failure…sometimes raunchy, sometimes beautiful.”

Seattle welcomes back drummer/percussionist Matt Crane for this concert. Matt is known for his work with Adam Diller in the group $.99 Dreams as well as collaborations with Paul Hoskin, Tom Swafford, Eric Barber, etc. Here he’ll be joined by the expansive analog synthesizer craftsmanship of Timm Mason (Master Musicians of Bukkake, Midday Veil, Mood Organ) and Chloe Harris (Raica, Further Records). These three commanding voices come together to create an original and fertile landscape.

WA is multi-instrumentalist Simon Henneman and drummer Gregg Keplinger. Called “cinematic, dark, beautiful and liberating” (CD Times, UK). Guitarist Simon Henneman (Diminished Men, Meridian Big Band) entered the public sphere with his work in the Seattle avant-garde and alternative music scene in the 80s. A tireless advocate for experimental music, Henneman’s artistic output is impressive. Gregg Keplinger is a legend of the Seattle jazz scene. A master drum maker and technician, he is known the world over for his control and impressive textural range on the drums. His six albums, Absurd World Country, Not Out For Anywhere, Lost Valentine, Language, Tribute, and Crush Velour–Eyes Opened, show a range of music without boundaries. His music is sourced from jazz, opera, rock, and an authoritative handle on the 60s avant-grade tradition.

Akiyama / Eubanks / Kahn / Nakamura

Tetuzi Akiyama (guitar), Bryan Eubanks (saxophone, electronics), Jason Kahn (drums, percussion) and Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board) fuse free improvisation, noise, experimental electronics and the uncategorizable in a fresh and vibrant approach to group playing and spontaneous music creation.

Tetuzi Akiyama is one of Japan’s most active experimental guitarists. He manages to successfully bridge many directions in his music, ranging from Texas boogie and free noise to highly restrained acoustic work.

Toshimaru Nakamura has made a name for himself since the late 1990’s in improvised and
experimental electronic music with his use of the no-input mixing board, an instrument yielding a wide range of sonic possibilities within the framework of a chaotic feedback system he has developed over many solo and collaborative concerts.

Bryan Eubanks is active as a composer of electronic music and as an improviser. He plays the soprano saxophone both as acoustic instrument and as part of a unique feedback system built and designed by himself, using open circuit boards and custom analog circuitry.

On drum set, Jason Kahn‘s playing swings across a wide spectrum of approaches, ranging from ecstatic propulsion and rhythmic drive to abstract sound textures using a variety of found metal objects and cymbals.

Presented by Nonsequitur. Supported by the Japan Foundation through the Performing Arts JAPAN program.

Nakatani Gong Orchestra

Tatsuya Nakatani is a creative artist/percussionist originally from Osaka, Japan who has released over sixty recordings in North America and Europe. Residing in the USA since 1994, he has performed countless solo percussion concerts and has collaborated with hundreds of artists in international music festivals, university concert halls, art museums and galleries.

His latest project is the Nakatani Gong Orchestra, which builds community ensembles performing on multiple bowed gongs under his direction, as recently presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The idea of NGO is to create a rich harmony of multiple gongs, by sharing simple techniques with players and audiences. For each show, he gives specialized training to locally selected gong players. Each player is able to quickly learn about the gong instruments, playing techniques and conducting signs. This is an ongoing, successful growing project and the only bowing-based gong orchestra in the world.

Seattle performers:

Joy Von Spain, vocalist & percussionist (Eye of Nix, Mongrel Gods)
Masaaki Masao, sound artist (Eye of Nix, Mongrel Gods)
Nym Penga, bassist, vocalist (Mongrel Gods)
Beth Fleenor, vocalist, clarinetist, percussionist
Greg Campbell, percussionist
vox vespertinus, vocalist
Eveline Muller, percussionist
Amber West, percussionist
Isaac Anderson, percussionist
Benj Cameron, sound artist and percussionist
Vanessa Skantze, dancer and percussionist

Earshot: Nate Wooley & Paul Lytton

Trumpeter Nate Wooley teams with free jazz percussionist Paul Lytton to form a textural, avant-garde duo. Wooley uses amplifying effects on his instrument, and impresses with virtuoso playing, using experimental registers and sentimental phrasing, creating lush, minimalistic sounds with electronics and obscure tones. The adventurous percussionist Paul Lytton incorporates a clutter of objects like water, a flour sifter, and wooden blocks into his kit playing. While British Lytton and American Wooley have a 27-year age gap, the musicians have found a commonality in their improvising styles, making for a collaboration that organically avoids a repetition of ideas.

Lytton has worked extensively on the London free improvisation scene in the 1970s and was a founding member of the London Musicians Collective. The percussionist has appeared on over 40 recordings and worked with Roscoe Mitchell, Barry Guy, and the London Jazz Composers Orchestra.

Wooley has released multiple records under his own name since 2009 and has been gathering international acclaim for his playing for the last three years. The “iconoclastic trumpeter” (Time Out New York) has had his compositions featured in art festivals in New York, Copenhagen, and Poland. Wooley also acts as the curator of the Database of Recorded American Music.

Presented by Earshot Jazz Festival. Photo by Kevin J Reilly.

Tomeka Reid / Mike Reed / Nicole Mitchell

After 15 years of collaborations in a variety of ensemble contexts, the all-star trio of Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid and Mike Reed come together to celebrate their long-term relationship and their common cultural and aesthetic threads. All are members of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and served on the organization’s executive board from 2009 to 2011. Their forthcoming album celebrates some of the music composed by AACM members over the past 50 years, dipping into the fathomless well of its musical history.

Cellist, composer, and educator Tomeka Reid is equally adept in classical and jazz contexts, but predominantly finds herself in experimental and improvisatory settings, and composes for a wide range of instrumentation, from big band to chamber ensemble. Ms. Reid’s music combines her love for groove along with freer concepts. She is an integral part of Dee Alexander’s Evolution Ensemble, Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble, Mike Reed’s Loose Assembly, the AACM’s Great Black Music Ensemble, and co-leads the internationally recognized string trio, Hear in Now with Italian bassist Silvia Bolognesi and New York violinist and vocalist Mazz Swift. She has worked with Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell, Jeb Bishop, Myra Melford, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Mary Halvorson, Denis Fournier, Edward Wilkerson and Harrison Bankhead. Ms. Reid also leads her own trio featuring guitarist Matt Schneider and bassist Josh Abrams.

Nicole Mitchell is a creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator. As the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Ice Crystal and Sonic Projections, Mitchell has been repeatedly awarded by DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association as “Top Flutist of the Year” for the last four years (2010-2014). Mitchell’s music celebrates African American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas with moments in the legacy of jazz, gospel, experimentalism, pop and African percussion through albums such as Black Unstoppable (Delmark, 2007), Awakening (Delmark, 2011), and Xenogenesis Suite: A Tribute to Octavia Butler (Firehouse 12, 2008), which received commissioning support from Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works. She formerly served as the first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and has been a member since 1995. Ms. Mitchell is currently a Professor of Music, teaching in “Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology,” (ICIT) a new and expansively-minded graduate program at the University of California, Irvine.

Mike Reed is a musician, composer, bandleader and arts presenter. Over the last two decades he has emerged as a dominant force within Chicago’s diverse artistic community, both through the music he makes and the live events he produces. He leads the bands People, Places & Things, Living by Lanterns (an octet that includes guitarist Mary Halvorson, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, drummer Tomas Fujiwara, and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock), and Loose Assembly. He also forged collaborative relationships with legendary musicians such as reedist Roscoe Mitchell and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. He’s a member of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, where he served as vice-chairperson between 2009-2011, and is founding director of the Pitchfork Music Festival, the current programming chair of the Chicago Jazz Festival, and the owner and director of the acclaimed performing arts venue Constellation.

Presented by Nonsequitur in cooperation with the 2015 Earshot Jazz Festival.

Monktailfest: Stephen Fandrich + Seman/Ostrowski

Monktail Creative Music Concern continues to celebrate fifteen years of bringing high-quality adventurous music to Seattle audiences. Tonight, Stephen Fandrich performs original music for gamelan, and John Seman and Mark Ostrowski play improvised solos and duets.

Seattle Modern Orchestra

Garcia_picSMO opens its 2015-16 season with the premier of a commissioned work by Cuban-American composer Orlando Jacinto Garcia for UW faculty and pianist Cristina Valdés, titled From Darkness to Luminosity. In this new work, Garcia’s piano writing explores moments of traditional virtuosity as well as extended techniques that amplify the timbral possibilities of the instrument, contrasting against the quiet canvas held by the ensemble.

Also on this program are works from three celebrated composers: Edgard Varèse’s Octandre (1928), Morton Feldman’s The Viola in My Life I for viola and 5 instruments (1970), featuring violist Melia Watras, and 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Wolfe’s Singing in the dead of night (2008). Varèse and Feldman’s non-developmental approach, Wolfe’s repeated pattern and static harmonies, and Garcia’s slow evolution of musical material with a counterpoint of register, density and timbre all explore darkness and light with their unique voices.

There will be a pre-concert presentation at 7:30 PM.

Dialectical Imagination + Christian Pincock

Dialectical Imagination is the duo of pianist Eli Wallace and percussionist Rob Pumpelly. Based in Oakland, CA, their music is sparked by the dialectical relation of compositional structure and spontaneous creative volition, resulting in a unique embrace of the composition/improvisation paradox. The key performance aim is the happening of aesthetic ecstasy. For any given performance, the aesthetic experience, itself and altogether, is primary. No abstract cause or theory validates or qualifies the directly presented aesthetic offering. Dialectical Imagination generates ecstatic music for ecstatic people.

Eli Wallace is a dexterous pianist, composer and educator. Well versed in a broad range of styles, his wide-ranging practical knowledge of the keyboard leaves him in constant demand as a musical collaborator and accompanist. Also a soloist and bandleader with interests in jazz, improvisation, and contemporary avant-garde classical music, Eli’s performance schedule is extensive and broad covering much of California as well as other parts of the U.S. and even abroad. He earned his Master’s in Music (Jazz Composition) at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA where he studied with Jason Moran, Jerry Bergonzi, Ken Schaphorst, Frank Carlberg, and Kati Agocs.

Rob Pumpelly is an adept composer, multi-instrumentalist, theorist and educator. His compositional activities span a wide range of styles and platforms including works for classical and avant-garde chamber ensembles, vocal ensembles, percussion ensembles, jazz combos, rock groups, hardcore groups, and improv collectives. Rob is responsible for the compositional structures and formal arrangements utilized by Dialectical Imagination. In addition to his extensive percussion experience, he is also an accomplished guitarist and pianist. Rob earned a Master of Arts degree in Composition at Mills College, where he studied with Fred Frith, Alvin Curran, David Bernstein, Pauline Oliveros, and Chris Brown. In the field of aesthetic theory, Rob advocates a Transcendental Realist approach to art encouraging ecstatic participation in the primary aesthetic experience offered through art.

Christian Pincock is a composer/performer who performs on trombone and electronics. Informed by a firm background in jazz, his current work integrates many musical styles and elements and focuses on narrative, gesture and detail to inspire and entertain while exploring new musical territory. Christian’s current projects include a jazz-influenced original band Slipstitch and solo works on trombone and computer using custom controllers including organ pedals, sensors and computer software for live control over computer-generated sounds and processing.

Daniel Corral + noisepoetnobody

LA-based composer Daniel Corral performs Diamond Pulses, a 32-minute aural experience that combines spacey electronic polyrhythms, intricate tuning systems, and noisy ambiance to open new sonic dimensions. Constantly evolving minimalist grooves recall Terry Riley, Cluster, Tangerine Dream, or Dawn of Midi. The microtonal tuning systems recall Harry Partch, James Tenney, LaMonte Young, or Arnold Dreyblatt. Meanwhile, the counterpoint of noisy washes recalls the sound of ocean waves on the shore. Diamond Pulses will be performed with live video feed of the piece’s colorful interactive score.

Casey Jones, AKA noisepoetnobody, is a sonic improviser, instrument builder, instrument destroyer, wave distorter, and analog synthesist. He will play a set of all analog modular synthesis.


Scrape! is an unconducted string ensemble performing the works of Jim Knapp and various guest composers. Our instrumentation is 15 bowed strings, with harp and electric guitar. Founded in 2010, we perform regularly and our first album has just been released on Origin Classical.

Tonight’s performance will feature compositions by Sumi Tanooka, Jarrad Powell and Jim Knapp. Soloists include guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi, violinist Julian Smedley, and bassist Chris Symer. They are joined by guest pianist Gus Carns.