Clean Feed Releases for January 2014

From Clean Feed:

English: Jonas Kullhammar from Sweden performi...
Jonas Kullhammar

Matt Bauder and Day in Pictures
Nightshades
Jason Ajemian (b), Kris Davis (p), Matt Bauder (ts), Nate Wooley (t), Tomas Fujiwara (d)

Michael Dessen Trio
Resonanting Abstrations
Christopher Tordini (b), Dan Weiss (d), Michael Dessen (tb)

Kulhammar / Aalberg / Zetterberg
Basement Sessions Vol.2
Espen Aalberg (d), Jonas Kullhammar (sax), Torbjörn Zetterberg (b)

John Hébert Trio
Floodstage
Benoît Delbecq (p), Gerald Cleaver (d), John Hébert (b)

Kris Davis Trio
Waiting For You To Grow
John Hébert (b), Kris Davis (p), Tom Rainey (d)

Adriana Sá / Tó Trips / John Klima
Timespine
Adriana Sá (zither), Tó Trips (dobro), John Klima (bass)

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Coming to the Vortex Jazz Club

From London’s Vortex Jazz Club:

British saxophonist Evan Parker
British saxophonist Evan Parker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FRI 24 JAN • 20.00 • £12
PARTISANS
Partisans have been thrilling audiences since its formation in 1996, often cited as godfathers of the ferocious “post-jazz” groups. Expect experimental jazz of the highest calibre tonight from Phil Robson (guitar), Julian Siegel (sax, bass clarinet), Gene Calderazzo (Drums) and Thaddeus Kelly (bass).

SUN 26 JAN • 20.00• £9 • MD
PHIL MEADOWS GROUP
Dubbed by BBC Radio 3‘s Jez Nelson as ‘a collection of rising stars on the British jazz scene’ Meadows’ clever episodic writing balances an eclectic range of contemporary influences, strong improvisational language, and wit. Combining soaring melodies, a collection of grooves and elements of the avant-guard the group showcases players from an important new wave of rising British talent, featuring acclaimed trumpeter Laura Jurd, pianist Elliot Galvin, bassist Conor Chaplin and drummer Simon Roth.

TUE 28 JAN – SAT 1 FEB
EVAN PARKER’S MIGHT I SUGGEST FESTIVAL
Back once again for a five-day jazz extravaganza, the extraordinary and truly inimitable Evan Parker brings us this fantastic festival featuring some of the best musicians around. The line-up this year focusses particularly on French musicians who Evan has personally selected and brought together for this legendary annual event. Tickets can be bought for each individual gig, or you can pick up a bargain with our three-day pass giving you entry to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday’s shows.
TUE 28 JAN • 20.00 • £12
Joelle Leandre, Alex Ward & Michel Doneda + John Russell & Roger Turner.
WED 29 JAN • 20.00 • £12
Christine Wodraschka, Mark Sanders & Guillaume Viltard
THU 30 JAN • 20.00 • £12
Tony Hymas Duo + Benoit Delbecq / Evan Parker
FRI 31 • 20.00 • £14
Trance Map with special guest Peter Evans
SAT 1 • 20.00 • £14
WHAHAY (Paul Rogers, Robin Fincker, Fabien Duscombs) + Paul Rogers and Guests

 

AMN Interviews: James Saunders

James Saunders (http://www.james-saunders.com) is a composer who makes modular compositions and series. He performs in the duo Parkinson Saunders, and with Apartment House, and is Head of the Centre for Musical Research at Bath Spa University. His music has been played at numerous international festivals, including Bludenz Tage fur Zeitgenossiche Musik, Brighton Festival, BMIC Cutting Edge, Darmstadt, Donaueschingen, Gothenburg Arts Sounds, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Inventionen Berlin, The Kitchen, Music We’d Like to Hear, Ostrava New Music Days, Rational Rec, Roaring Hooves, Ultima, and Wittener Tage fur Neue Kammermusik. His edited book The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music was published in 2009, and Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation (with John Lely) was published by Continuum in 2012 (and reviewed by AMN). We recently had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his work.

There are many facets to your compositional output, but I want to focus on what appear to me to be perhaps the three most salient features—the use of words, modularity, and an interest in the sound qualities of material. So, to start with words: How did you come to verbal notation, and what avenues did you find it opening up to you?

My first exposure to verbal notation was, like for so many people, through Michael Nyman‘s book Experimental Music. My first reading, as an undergraduate, left me somewhat baffled but intrigued: the concepts seemed so strong but at that time I felt inclined to work with stave notation so didn’t take my interest any further. On rereading it a few years later, the time was right, and in combination with a developing interest in British experimental music and a trip to the first Ostrava summer school in 2001 where I met Alvin Lucier and Christian Wolff, I began to explore it more actively. I should say that this was at this point primarily from the perspective of realising the pieces, and also teaching a class. This practical experience taught me a lot and revealed a need to know more about the range of performance practices associated with the various approaches taken by composers. I put together a research project in Bath which led to the book on verbal notation written with John Lely. At this point I was still not considering writing verbal scores. My focus was on open form and modular work, but always using stave notation. On completing the project in 2010, I began working in a slightly different way, keeping notebooks and thinking more generally about ideas for pieces, some of which were not enacted (and still aren’t). I think it was at this point that I began to use verbal notation seriously for the first time. My motivation was driven by the need to generalise: I was thinking through the nature of my decision making and tended more and more towards situations in pieces where the arbitrariness of specific choices seemed to be superfluous. Verbal notation provided a solution. It allowed me to frame concepts, and particularly relationships between material more than the material itself, in a way that prioritised the essence of the piece over the detail. I think this is still the case for me at the moment, although at times I find it difficult to be so distant from some of the specifics, making me consider a more hybridised approach, but on reflection this always seems unnecessary.

Much of your work is based on a modular conception of composition. Can you tell us a bit about how modularity informs your engagement with structuring sounds?

Modularity predates my interest in verbal notation, but has informed everything I’ve done since about 2000. I wonder if I just find it hard to make decisions! Again it can be reduced to a consideration of why a particular choice might be the only possibility from the near infinite range. I use modularity to create pieces which can be configured differently each time, rather than in one fixed structural relationship. I like the way this allows different facets of the material or a concept to be revealed each time. Of course, that can perhaps be said of all open form work, and arguably all pieces where interpretation is necessary, but modularity is a mid-point, allowing this flexibility with a grounding in something fixed and proven. In the modular piece #[unassigned] which I worked on from 2000-9, I produced about 400 modules – mostly short fragments or scalable drones for solo instruments- which could be recombined using a time structure for each performance. I made a new version for each performance, but some of the modules were present on a regular basis, helping to give the work some kind of sonic identity. I tended to weigh modules against each other, matching sounds in different ways based on timbral similarity, or through identifying other points of contact (such as pitch, register, or articulation). So it was very intuitive really, and I began to identify certain correspondences between the modules on this basis, writing new ones to work alongside in subsequent pieces.

Since finishing working on #[unassigned] I have continued to work in a modular way occasionally, although this has perhaps been replaced by a more general interest in open forms and indeterminacy. In the series divisions that could be autonomous but that comprise the whole (2009-11) the 13 pieces each use a consistent structure, comprising a sequence of A4 pages, each lasting between 40″-1’20”, and subject to reordering and recombining in different ways. This model is now more useful for me, and a number of other recent pieces use the page as a module.

You have a number of series devoted to the exploration of the sound qualities of materials, the implication of which is that the tactile is or can be a crucial factor in sound art. Can you elaborate a bit on the role of touch in your work?

It’s present in the #[unassigned] pieces from about 2002 when I began to be more interested in quiet sounds. This was not driven by a desire to create quiet music – this was certainly in the air for me, with my first exposure to the Wandelweiser composers building on my experience of some of the London/Berlin improvisers at that time – but more through necessity. The sounds I was interested in were fragile and only apparent on the threshold of sound. By playing a bowed sound on a cello with a very slow bow for instance, it has a tendency to fragment and can be paired with a barely blown flute sound to make a correspondence. This intimacy naturally focused on the subtlety of touch, and developed into an interest independently. I made a piece in 2006 which was originally part of #[unassigned] but was subsequently retitled with paper. It initially involved specifying ways of touching and manipulating paper with the fingers – striking, rubbing, scratching, flicking etc. – but later included drawing and cutting. Later pieces, such as the one for paper cups and more recently the collaboration I did with Simon Limbrick, touch is a means to explore the inconsistency and specific properties of materials in a direct way.

And finally, a quick question about influences. Your use of verbal instructions and modular construction seem to recall, or perhaps harmonize with is the better way to put it, the conceptual art of the 1960s-1970s. How did that moment in visual arts come to be an inspiration to the development of your own aesthetic?

This is more difficult to explain. Superficially the titles for the divisions series all come from statements by (mostly) artists from that period. They are all quotations, and were either used as a starting point or applied later after working out what the piece did. I guess other than that I’m just drawn to the work. I like the simplicity, the efficiency of the medium and the use of instructions to generate it in some cases. It’s a period in art which is rich in ideas though, and I found that useful as a way of thinking through what I was doing, what I am doing, and so the reference acknowledges that I guess. It’s not supposed to be representational, although it is there in the background.

Ars Nova Workshop 2014 Season

From Philadelphia’s Ars Nova Workshop:

Saturday, January 25, 8pmAmerican Jazz musician and composer Mat Maneri. LUCICAN BAN / MAT MANERI DUO
Lucian Ban, piano; Mat Maneri, viola
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street, $15

Wednesday, January 29, 8 pm
HEMINGWAY-MCMANUS DUO
Gerry Hemingway, drums + acoustic and electronic addenda; Terrence McManus, homemade guitars
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, free

Saturday, February 1, 8 pm
TOOTIE HEATH-ETHAN IVERSON-BEN STREET TRIO
Ethan Iverson, piano; Ben Street, double-bass; Albert “Tootie” Heath, drums
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street, $15

Saturday, February 8, 8 pm
MELVIN VAN PEEBLES WID LAXATIVE
Melvin Van Peebles, storytelling & vocals; Bruce Mack, keyboards & vocals; Michael “MK” Kammers, tenor sax & vocals; ‘Moist’ Paula Henderson, bari sax & vocals; Jared Michael Nickerson, electric bass & vocals; Chris Eddleton, drums & vocal
Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Avenue, $25

Wednesday, February 12, 8 pm
ETHNIC HERITAGE ENSEMBLE
Corey Wilkes, trumpet + flugelhorn; Ernest Dawkins, saxophones; Kahil El’Zabar, percussion
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, free

Saturday, March 8, 8 pm
CELEBRATING CECIL: CECIL TAYLOR 85TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
Bobby Zankel, alto saxophone; Dave Burrell, piano; Henry Grimes, double-bass; William Parker, double-bass; Andrew Cyrille, drums
Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, $20 advance / $25 day of show

Friday, March 21, 2014
Celebrating Ornette: Ornette Coleman 84th Birthday Celebration
The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia $20 advance / $25 day of show
Denardo Coleman Group: Tony Falanga, bass; Al MacDowell, bass; Denardo Coleman, drums; More, TBA

Tuesday, March 25, 8 pm
SUSANNA / CHARLES COHEN / CHRIS FORSYTH
International House Philadelphia, 3701 Chestnut Street, $15
Susanna, vocals + piano; Helge Sten, guitar; Fredrik Wallumroed, drums

Saturday, March 29, 8 pm
BRADFORD-GJERSTAD QUARTET
Bobby Bradford, cornet; Frode Gjerstad, reeds; Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten, double-bass; Frank Rosaly, drums
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street, $15

Saturday, April 19, 2014
Still the New Thing!
WARRIORS OF THE WONDERFUL SOUND & THE SUN RA ARKESTRA LED BY MARSHALL ALLEN
The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia $20 advance / $25 day of show

The Civic Minded 5 Winter and Spring Shows

From Orlando’s thecm5:

Marilyn Crispell
Cover of Marilyn Crispell

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
An Atlantic Center For The Arts Outreach Event
Marilyn Crispell solo and with the ACA Ensemble
Timucua white house
2000 S. Summerlin St., Orlando
7:30 pm concert, free admission, all ages welcome

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
Ballister
(Dave Rempis, Fred Lonberg-Holm and Paal Nilssen-Love)
Timucua white house
2000 S. Summerlin St., Orlando
7:30 pm concert, free admission, all ages welcome

Friday, April 4th, 2014
Sun Araw Band plus D/P/I,
Moon Jelly and Kris Gruda
Will’s Pub
1042 N. Mills Ave., Orlando
9:00 pm concert, $8/$10 admission and ages 18+

Sunday, April 6th, 2014
UCF Collide Ensemble play Toru Takemitsu plus
Sun Araw solo set
Timucua white house
2000 S. Summerlin St., Orlando
7:30 pm concert, free admission, all ages welcome

Sunday, June 1st, 2014
Brötzmann/Drake/Parker Trio
Timucua white house
2000 S. Summerlin St., Orlando
7:30 pm concert, $20/$24 admission, all ages welcome

The Saga of the Bonus Video Tracks from Present’s “Le Poison Qui Rend Fou”

From innerpixels, an interesting story of how the video for this upcoming reissue CD from Cuneiform Records was selected and processed:

Every effort was made to include a DVD of the entire concert. Unfortunately, the concert was shot using a primitive color VHS video camera, and the resulting footage was generally so poor that only 25 minutes was deemed to be usable, and even with that, the quality was not sufficient to justify a DVD. After more than two years (off and on) of trying to salvage the entire concert, the decision was made to take the best sections and release them as bonus Quicktime files.