From Baltimore’s Creative Differences:
Creative Differences presents a remarkable improvising collective featuring three artists at the forefront of Jazz and contemporary music. The concert will mark the release of their first recording together, “Mirage” on Clean Feed Records,recorded last year at Towson University.
ELLERY ESKELIN – SAXOPHONE
For that past thirty years Ellery Eskelin has been at the forefront of the global creative improvised music scene. Raised in Baltimore and now resident in New York City, he has traveled widely performing, recording and amassing a very personal and iconoclastic body of work. And yet Ellery Eskelin has always remained deeply committed to the traditions of jazz and American music. Eskelin embodies this seeming contradiction with ease. He does not see jazz as a style or idiom but as a process. Further, a process of creative development that has great relevancy to our time. In this pursuit Eskelin consistently delivers to the listening public unadulterated, passionate music with no excuses and no apologies. Eskelin’s recordings as a leader and co-leader have been named in Best of the Year critics’ polls in the New York Times, The Village Voice , and major jazz magazines in the US and abroad. He also appears on over fifty recordings as a side person. DownBeat Magazine named Eskelin as one of the 25 Rising Stars for the Future in its January 2000 issue (“…players who not only insure the music’s survival but promise to take it to the next level”) as well as including him in the “Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition” category of their Annual Critics Poll in 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Eskelin was a nominee for the prestigious Danish Jazzpar award in 2003 and was the recipient of a Chamber Music America French-American Exchange grant in 2007 as well as a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant in 2009.
MICHAEL FORMANEK – DOUBLE BASS
Michael Formanek’s singular approach to the acoustic bass has led to an impressive range of musical associations. During his thirty-plus year career, he has played and/or recorded with Elvis Costello, Tim Berne, Uri Caine, Freddie Hubbard, Stan Getz, Marty Ehrlich, Chet Baker, Tony Williams, Gerry Mulligan, Bob Mintzer, Fred Hersch, Dave Liebman, Joe Henderson, Mark Isham, Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band, Mingus Big Band, Joe Lovano, and many others.
In 2010 Formanek’s first CD as a leader and composer in more than a decade was released on the ECM label. The Rub and Spare Change features the amazing group of Tim Berne, Craig Taborn, Gerald Cleaver and Formanek , and has received numerous accolades including Five Stars in Down Beat Magazine, and a place on many best CD’s of 2010 lists. As a result the Michael Formanek Quartet toured Europe in April of 2011, and continues to perform whenever possible in the US and elsewhere.His latest ECM release,”Small Places” has recently received widespread critical acclaim.
SUSAN ALCORN – PEDAL STEEL GUITAR
Susan Alcorn is an American composer, improvisor, and pedal steel guitarist.
Having started out playing guitar at the age of twelve, she quickly immersing herself in folk music, blues, and the pop music of the 1960s. A chance encounter with blues musician Muddy Waters steered her towards playing slide guitar. By the time she was twenty-one, she had immersed herself in the pedal steel guitar, playing in country and western swing bands in Texas.
Soon, she began to combine the techniques of country-western pedal steel with her own extended techniques to form a personal style influenced by free jazz, avant-garde classical music, Indian ragas, Indigenous traditions, and various folk musics of the world. By the early 1990s her music began to show an influence of the holistic and feminist “deep listening” philosophies of Pauline Oliveros.
Though mostly a solo performer, Alcorn has collaborated with numerous artists including Evan Parker,Pauline Oliveros, Eugene Chadbourne, Peter Kowald, Chris Cutler, Joe Giardullo, Joe McPhee, LaDonna Smith, Mike Cooper, Walter Daniels, Ellen Fullman, Jandek,Janel Leppin,Fred Frith, Maggie Nicols and Johanna Varner.