Ars Nova Workshop Fall Schedule

John Coltrane
Cover of John Coltrane

From Philadelphia’s Ars Nova Workshop:

Thursday, September 4, 8 pm
Ethan Iverson, piano; Ben Street, bass; Albert “Tootie” Heath, drums
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street, $15
Ars Nova Workshop is thrilled to welcome back Philadelphia legend Albert “Tootie” Heath along with Ethan Iverson and Ben Street in what is sure to be a very memorable evening. Tootie, of course, is the youngest member of one of the first families of jazz, the Heath Brothers. Along with bassist Percy and saxophonist Jimmy, the Philadelphia-raised drummer became a first-call player while still a teenager, backing up visiting New York artists like Lester Young and Thelonious Monk. Throughout his professional career of over fifty years, Heath has remained a crucial link to the art of be-bop drumming. Ethan Iverson and Ben Street are two musicians steeped in tradition thanks to their rigorous study of and participation with members of the jazz pantheon, and the trio of Heath, Iverson and Street has been together for nearly five years, recently convening for a residency at New York’s famed Village Vanguard. Their most recent recording, Tootie’s Tempo, was released on Sunnyside Records in August 2013.

Friday, September 5, 8 pm
Ingrid Laubrock, tenor + alto saxophones; Tim Berne, alto saxophone; Ben Gerstein, trombone; Dan Peck, tuba; Tom Rainey, drums
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street, $15
Ars Nova Workshop is proud to welcome the Ingrid Laubrock Quintet. An award-winning composer and performer, Laubrock’s style “balances impulsive spontaneity with a structural cohesiveness that occasionally sounds surreal; each of her sophisticated pieces embodies its own distinctive sound world” (Troy Collins / Point of Departure). This new group performs Laubrock’s latest compositions, written for saxophones/brass and drums. These new compositions are tailor-made for this cast of hand-picked musicians, all of whom have established themselves as great improvisers and interpreters of creative new music alike. Featuring saxophonist Tim Berne, trombonist Ben Gerstein, tubist Dan Peck and drummer Tom Rainey, the collective experience of the members includes work with Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Bill Frisell, Julius Hemphill, Joe Lovano, John Abercrombie, Lee Hyla, John Zorn, Dave Liebman, ICE, Kronos Quartet, Alarm Will Sound and many others.

Tuesday, September 23, 5:30 pm
Robert Kenyatta, musician; John Szwed, critic; Francis Davis, critic; Carl Grubbs, musician; J. Michael Harrison, moderator
Temple University Paley Library, 1210 Polett Walk, Free
Ars Nova Workshop joins forces with Temple University Libraries and Resonance Records to celebrate the life, work and birthday of John Coltrane in conjunction with the release of Offering: Live at Temple University. This film documents a legendary concert by John Coltrane at Temple University’s Mitten Hall in on November 11, 1966, nine months before his untimely death. It captures Coltrane in exemplary form, navigating a language he had developed during the last phase of his musical path with passion and clear logic. Direct transfers of the original master reels from a location recording by Temple’s then student-run WRTI-FM were tracked down in the stations archives by Coltrane Scholar Yasuhiro Fujioka. Temple University Libraries, Ars Nova Workshop and Resonance Records will host a panel discussion on this historic concert with noted Philadelphia-based jazz critic and author Francis Davis, noted Sun Ra biographer and jazz historian John Szwed, local Philadelphia percussionist Robert Kenyatta (who appeared on the Temple concert) and Baltimore saxophonist Carl Grubbs. The panel will be moderated by J. Michael Harrison of WRTI-FM, host of “The Bridge,” a 15-year-old program that bridges the gap between jazz and hip-hop and other contemporary black music.

Friday, October 17, 8 pm
Sam Amidon, voice, fiddle, banjo + guitar; Bill Frisell, guitar; Shahzad Ismaily, bass; Chris Vatalaro, drums
FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd, $20
ANW and FringeArts are pleased to present singer/fiddler/banjoist/guitarist Sam Amidon with jazz great Bill Frisell in celebration of Lily-O, the new album of reimagined folk songs on Nonesuch Records. The album, produced by Valgeir Sigurosson, also includes Amidon’s other frequent collaborators, bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Chris Vatalaro. Amidon first heard Bill Frisell at the Village Vanguard during a teenage visit to New York. The two musicians stayed in touch and had their first live collaboration in 2011, and Amidon invited Frisell to join him, Ismaily and Vatalaro to record what became Lily-O. The folk songs, shape-note hymns, and country ballads that Amidon performs deal on the surface with the darkest, most fundamental of issues—the specter of death, the looming clouds of war, unquenchable longing, unrequited love. The Vermont-born and raised, London-based Amidon’s particular gift is not to compose new songs, but to rework and repurpose traditional melodies into a striking new form that makes them feel very much his own. As Pitchfork has said, “his interpretations are so singular that it stops mattering how (or if) they existed before.”

Sunday, November 2, 8 pm
Xavier Charles, clarinet + harmonica; Ivar Grydeland, guitar + banjo with preparations, sruti box; Christian Wallumrod, prepared piano + harmonium; Ingar Zach, bass drum, percussion
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 215 S. 18th Street, $15
Ars Nova Workshop welcomes the return of Dans les arbres to Philadelphia, accompanied by a solo set by fellow Norwegian Kim Myhr. Dans les arbres finds its roots in a few iterations of the ensemble, including Ivar Grydeland and Ingar Zach’s concurrent studies towards a Master’s degree in Chamber music and their work as a duo, Christian Wallumrød’s involvement with that duo, and Xavier Charles’ guest appearance on a release of another project, No Spaghetti Edition – in short, these musicians have a long and accomplished history of collaboration. In 2006, the quartet met to work on a cohesive sound and to compose music for their self-titled first release. Since then, the band has been touring in Europe, North America and Japan as a quartet. Dans les arbres have also performed with guest musicians such as Yumiko Tanaka, Otomo Yoshihide, Jim O´Rourke and the young Norwegian duo Vilde & Inga. The ensemble’s second release, 2012’s Canopée, incorporates the additional layer of Grydeland’s electric guitar.

Sunday, November 9, 8 pm
Peter Evans, trumpet; John Hébert, bass; Kassa Overall, drums
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 215 S. 18th Street, $15
Ars Nova Workshop is proud to present Peter Evans’ Zebulon Trio. Named for the now-defunct Brooklyn club where they recorded a live album, the trio is comprised of Peter Evans on trumpet, John Hébert on bass, and Kassa Overall on drums. Evans, who the New York Times describes as “a trumpeter with an expressive command of timbre and texture,” has an expansive resumé, with solo albums, quartet, and quintet chops as well as his work with Mostly Other People Do The Killing, Mary Halvorson, Weasel Walter, Evan Parker, and many more. Louisiana native John Hébert has worked with musicians like Fred Hersch, Andrew Hill and Mary Halvorson, and as a bandleader on releases like 2009’s Byzantine Monkey. Kassa Overall’s history includes work with jazz, indie pop, and hip-hop artists including Geri Allen, Mayer Hawthorne, Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Das Racist, Wallace Roney, and many others, and in addition to percussion he’s also contributed to projects as a producer, rapper and singer. Evans’ label More is More released the trio’s live album in 2013.

Thursday, November 13, 8 pm
Aram Bajakian, guitars; Eyal Maoz, guitars; Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, gimbri; Kenny Grohowski, drums
Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel, 2015 S. 4th Street, $15
Ars Nova welcomes the return of Abraxas to the historic “Little Shul,” Philadelphia’s last active pre-World War I rowhouse synagogue. A significant part of John Zorn’s radical Jewish music movement and his Masada project, Abraxas contributed to the Book of Angels 2. They continue to utilize the gimbri to reflect Blumenkranz’s Sephardic roots and to give the music a primeval edge, and play to their rock roots (guitarist Aram Bajakian, for example, has played with Lou Reed) to amplify their particular interpretation of Zorn’s compositions both figuratively and literally – this is truly modern, radical Jewish rock. “Psychomagia” is the newest work by the celebrated tribal rock unit led by Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz for the Book of Angels series. Here they perform a complex new suite of music written expressly for them by Downtown alchemist John Zorn – a surprising new volume in Zorn’s mystic series that matches the intensity and power of Moonchild, PainKiller and Naked City.

Thursday, November 20, 8 pm
Travis Laplante, tenor saxophone; Jeremy Viner, tenor saxophone; Matthew Nelson, tenor saxophone; Patrick Breiner, tenor saxophone
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Free
Ars Nova Workshop welcomes the tenor saxophone quartet Battle Trance. Described as “plumbing the depths of sound in very brave, very vulnerable ways” (Northern Spy), the quartet is led by Travis Laplante, known for his solo saxophone work and his long-standing relationship with Little Women. Laplante’s other projects include musicians like Trevor Dunn, Gerald Cleaver, Michael Formanek, Mat Maneri, Ingrid Laubrock, Tim Berne, and others. Jeremy Viner’s past work has included ensemble work with Steve Lehmen, John Hollenbeck and Tyshawn Sorey, among others. California native and Oberlin graduate Matt Nelson has performed with acts and musicians spanning several genres, including Timosaurus, Arts and Sciences, Beep!, Weasel Walter, Peter Evans, Ben Goldberg, genevbaker, 8 Legged Monster, and others. Brooklyn performer and educator Patrick Breiner rounds out the quartet, recently coming off shows and releases from two of his other projects, ZhirtZ n ZkinZ and Double Double (with Will McEvoy, Adam Hopkins, and Flin Van Hemmen)

Tuesday, December 2, 8 pm
Klaus Ellerhusen Holm, reeds, electronics + field recordings; Roger Arntzen, double bass; Ivar Grydeland, guitar, pedal steel guitar + banjo
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Free
Ars Nova Workshop welcomes Ballrogg, a Norwegian trio that defines itself by inviting the influence of styles as varied as Americana and neo-classical. Beginning as a duo, Klaus Ellerhusen Holm and bassist Roger Arntzen previously released two albums on Bolage, drawing influences from both the European and American contemporary and avant garde scenes. Klaus Ellerhusen Holm studied at the Trondheim Music Conservatory and before Ballrogg, led the Klaus Holm Kollektif (awarded Young Nordic Jazzcomets 2003). He has played with the Norwegian quartet Murmur and with artists like Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Ingar Zach, and Jim Denley, among others. Roger Arntzen, known for his work in the award-winning trio In the Country, has also performed with ensembles like Chrome Hill and the Håvard Stubø Trio and artists like Mark Ribot, Susanna Wallumrød and others. Guitarist Ivar Grydeland’s contributions on guitar, pedal steel and banjo skew towards the direction of Country and Western, a sound he’s contributed to other ensembles including Dans les arbres, Huntsville and the Norwegian singer Hanna Hukkelberg. Ballrogg’s most recent recording, Cabin Music, was released on Hubro in 2012.