AMN Reviews: Jazz em Agosto Festival Review – Part II

By Irwin Block
Photo credits: Gulbenkian Música_Petra Cvelbar

LISBON – European free jazz took over the outdoor amphitheatre stage midway through the ten-day Jazz em Agosto festival of new and improvised music, but last night’s show by the Norwegian-American group Starlite Motel injected a heavy dose of rock ‘n heavy-metal energy into the proceedings. The biggest crowd of the first nine concerts, or some 800 younger and older fans, sat in the outdoor amphitheatre of the Gulbenkian Foundations’ cultural complex to hear crackerjack Norwegians Gord Nilssen (drums), Kristoffer Alberts (saxophones), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (electric bass) and John Zorn-favourite Jamie Saft (keyboards).

03.08.17_Starlite Motel©Gulbenkian Musica Petra Cvelbar_1.jpgAfter listening to three nights of more cerebral European jazz that preceded this gig, Starlite came out like a house on fire, with an avant-rock wall of sound and saxophonist Alberts laying melody lines over the tumult. There was just no way to hear the passenger jets that flew low overhead during previous concerts preparing to land at the nearby airport. Saft was flying high, playing joyous sustained chords and roaming the keyboard on a first-generation Hammond B-3 organ – a sound I would qualify as Saftig, meaning juicy or succulent in Yiddish. Bassist Flaten then fell to his knees and fiddled with some electronica to add texture to the canvass as Saft switched to Fender Rhodes keyboard for an avant-jazz excursion, the four musicians laying out separate tracks, all seeming to fold together as one.

03.08.17_Starlite Motel©Gulbenkian Musica Petra Cvelbar_2.jpgThe concert continued along these lines, with saxophonist Alberts switching to tenor, then back to alto, with high volume the norm in varying degrees of intensity. Saft played some lovely melodies on steel lap guitar, adding a quasi-Hawaiian flavouring to the ensemble as he encouraged drummer Nilssen to continue powerful polyrhythmic drumming. The encore began with a quote from Ornette Coleman’s Lonely Woman, a beautiful song, in tribute, perhaps, to his harmolodic philosophy. The concert was improvised, though a few riffs were from the group’s two CDs.

31 Jul_PeterBrötzmann&HeatherLeigh©Gulbenkian Música_Petra Cvelbar01.jpgOn Monday night, the trio of European free jazz shows began with German avant saxophonist Peter Brötzmann in an unusual pairing with American Heather Leigh on electric pedal steel guitar. They are on tour. As Leigh developed some shimmering, drone-like, and dissonant sounds, Brötzman poured out short bursts on tenor, and she then injected texture by scratching sounds on the strings. Brötzman, now 76 and still very much a musical powerhouse, made a gritty melodic statement, and Leigh returned to lay out a melodic and textural canvas, using the guitar’s pedals to shift tones.

31 Jul_PeterBrötzmann&HeatherLeigh©Gulbenkian Música_Petra Cvelbar02.jpgAs would be expected, the saxophonist was the dominant presence, though he was much more lyrical than in previous outings – he could be heard singing as he blew his horn –, calling up melodies and alternating on clarinet while Leigh added texture and dissonant notes. He ended the concert playing melodies, a tender offering from a musician associated since 1968 with a fierce attack and staccato blasts.

1 Ago Susana Santos Silva© Gulbenkian Musica Petra Cvelbar 3.jpgOn Tuesday, we discovered Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva, leader and most distinctive player on her acoustic quintet, Life and other Transient Storms, with Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker, the Swedish rhythm section of bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg and drummer Jan Fält, and Portuguese pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro.

1 Ago Susana Santos Silva© Gulbenkian Musica Petra Cvelbar.jpgIt felt like stream-of-consciousness for the ear, the musicians setting out on a voyage of discovery, searching each other out, seeking ways to enhance, accentuate, or contrast, especially with the trumpet and saxophonists playing into and alongside each other. Though improvised, their hour, with high-points of intensity followed by denouement, and consistent and meaningful interaction made it all sound like a suite.

02 Ago_Sudo Quartet© Gulbenkian Musica Petra Cvelbar_1.jpgThe Sudo Quartet of improvisers came on strong Wednesday night, as Portuguese violinist Carlos Zingaro, French bassist Joëlle Léandre, Italian trombonist Sebi Tramontana, and German drummer Paul Lovens immediately established their collective presence in a display of density and unity. When trombonist Tramontana started to dance around his spot on stage, exuding some unusual sounds from his horn, and then pushed out a flurry of notes as bassist and drummer began to play off each other, it was a sure sign that a wild night lay ahead.

When ensemble musicians saw openings, they took them, offering original sorties to move the group sound ahead. Léandre at one point began shouting as she played bass, later chanting as part of her exploratory effort

02 Ago_Sudo Quartet© Gulbenkian Musica Petra Cvelbar_2.jpgTramontana wailed away on his horn, with violinist Zingaro matched the sound and bassist Léandre supported their track, unusually using both hands to strum and pluck. The whole thing sounded like a Miro painting ­– many disparate parts on the canvas, but they have a cumulative and meaningful effect. Certainly, his trombone antics – growls, snorts, warbles, etc. – injected playfulness and humanity into the collective improv effort and made this a memorable and fun show.

The festival continues with four more concerts, ending Sunday.

San Francisco Scene: August 4-11, 2017

English: Yahya Abdul-Majid of the Sun Ra Arkestra

Source: Bay Improviser Calendar.

Friday, August 4

Fri 8/04 7:00 PM The Monkey House [University Ave Berkeley]
Loretta Lynch will be celerating our 15 year anniversary, oh my! More details coming soon, and for now, we are excited to share the stage with the ever charming Special Ghosts!

Fri 8/04 7:30 PM SFJAZZ Center [201 Franklin Street (at Fell) SF CA]
Sun Ra Arkestra

Saturday, August 5

Sat 8/05 7:00 PM Adobe Books [3130 24th St SF]
POETRY and MUSIC! Sarah Elena Palmer, Jason Hoopes and guests

Sat 8/05 7:30 PM SFJAZZ Center [201 Franklin Street (at Fell) SF CA]
Sun Ra Arkestra

Sat 8/05 8:00 PM Piedmont Piano Company [1728 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA 94612]
Lorin Benedict Group

Sunday, August 6

Sun 8/06 2:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Michael Tan: Modernism and Beyond
Guam-born pianist Michael Tan performs an adventurous program of solo music from the mid 20th century onward. The concert features works by Messiaen, Boulez, Finnissy, and Sciarrino.

Sun 8/06 7:30 PM SIMM Series @ The Musicians Union Hall [116 9th St @ Mission SF]
7:30 Rent Romus’ Life’s Blood Ensemble
Joshua Marshall – tenor saxophone, Heikki Koskinen – e-trumpet/flutes, Rent Romus – alto saxophone, flutes
Safa Shokrai – double bass, Max Judelson – double bass, Timothy Orr – drums/percussion
8:30 The Hung Professionals
Tom Weeks – alto saxophone, Nathan Corder – guitar, Scott Siler – drums

Sun 8/06 7:30 PM SFJAZZ Center [201 Franklin Street (at Fell) SF CA]
Sun Ra Arkestra

Monday, August 7

Mon 8/07 7:00 PM Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive [2155 Center St. Berkeley]
Full: Spaces
Performances that push the boundaries of sound, film, and movement, by Julius Smack; Ashley Bellouin and Ben Bracken; and Paul Clipson, Amma Ateria, and Kevin Corcoran.

Mon 8/07 8:00 PM Make-Out Room [3225 22nd St SF]
The Monday Make-Out
The cutting edge of Bay Area jazz and improvised music–
Set #1: Jon Arkin + Ben Goldberg (electro-acoustic duo)
Set #2: IJKL (modern jazz)
(Ian Carey-tpt, Kasey Knudsen-sax, Lisa Mezzacappa-b,Jon Arkin-dms)
Set #3: Brian Pedersen Trio (free improvisation)
(Brian Pedersen-sax, Sung Kim-ozukuri, Robert Lopez-dms)

Mon 8/07 9:30 PM Studio Grand [3234 Grand Ave, Oakland]
Oakland Freedom Jazz Society: Erika Bell & Ben Levinson + Jakob Pek (solo)

Tuesday, August 8

Tue 8/08 9:00 PM Uptown Nightclub [1928 Telegraph Ave Oakland]
Active Music Series:
– Jupiter Blue (members of Sun Ra Arkestra)
– Thea Farhadian/Tim Perkis duo
– Kim Nucci/Dmitri Glickman

Wednesday, August 9

Wed 8/09 7:45 PM Peacock Lounge [552 Haight Street]
Jupiter Blue
From the Arkestra’s engine room, Jupiter Blue’s tone scientists D.Hotep and Jupiter Girl emerge to reveal elements and precepts of another kind of language, another tomorrow, learned through years of discipline to be given freely in the present. Hotep’s own ARP (Akimbo Research Projects) develops through-composed and free-improvised performance based on sonification of pitch-sets derived from elemental particles. Expect the never-expected as electronics, electric guitar, celestial vocals, percussion, and violin call forth shadows of unseen worlds.
Las Sucias
Quit with your clean, put your lips on it already. With Danishta y Alexandra at the controls, what starts as Fever Pitch reggaeton gets stickied up fast once that contact-pineapple busts out. This is riot romance and you’re about to break up with your spectator seat. “A dembow beat skitters and woozy waves of coarse noise ebb and flow; then Buschman pours the Puerto Rican pre-mixed cocktail Gasolina into her cervical cup and ceremoniously offers it to onlookers, all of whom imbibe with nearly religious fervor.” -KQED
Her prolific collaborations range from Replicock, Pigs in the Ground, Tarantism and Caroliner to Tainted Pussy and Jeweled Snakes but to hear her solo as Sharkiface is to glimpse the anchorline beneath it all. In sunless depths where noord, tranoe, toe fetish and larynx converge, an immense hunger hunts without rest. Now, as the sonic ocean roils about your thighs, is an excellent time to realize that if you can hear it, it can hear you!
Map Collection
The duo of Curt Brown and Fletcher Pratt, formed at Mills College in 2015, moves in oblique tandem as if entangled by quantum gravity, warping as they traverse the topographic lines of an astral soundmap that had been silent until trodden, undetectable until woven into their singular sound tapestry. Hypnotic warp stitches pulsating weft, snaring nameless specimens in its drift. Quit your squirming, float your ineffable mind into the cosmic net and join the menagerie of Map Collection.

Wed 8/09 9:00 PM Ivy Room [860 San Pablo Ave Albany]
The Ivy Room Improv/Noise Hootennany presents side one of Myles Boisen’s Ornettology, the portable big band with a 5-year history of interpreting the music of alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Featuring Steve Adams (sax), Vijay Anderson (drums), Myles Boisen (guitar), John Finkbeiner (guitar), Phillip Greenlief (sax), Darren Johnston (trumpet), Lisa Mezzacappa (bass) and an Ushi-matsuri Ritual celebrating the day Richard Nixon left office.

Thursday, August 10

Thu 8/10 6:00 PM ProArts Gallery [150 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612]
Music and Ecology: An Evening of Performance and Discussion
Please join us for this event that aims to bring people together to learn from, awaken, and influence one another. Throughout the evening there will be performances by musicians working at the intersection of sound, the arts, and ecology. A panel discussion exploring collaborative opportunity and possibility will be at the center of the eve, featuring several of the night’s performers in conversation with ecological restoration practitioners, scientists and artists.
Musical performances by Cheryl E. Leonard, Jorge Bachmann, The Kristina Dutton/Kanoko Nishi-Smith/Adria Otte Trio, and Secret Drum Band. Panelists include artist Elise Brewster, ecologist Ed West and the San Francisco Estuary’s cartographer Ruth Askevold.

Thu 8/10 6:30 PM Pro Arts [150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza (around the corner from Awaken Cafe) Oakland, CA 94612]
Music and Ecology. Musical performances by Cheryl E. Leonard, Jorge Bachmann, The Dutton/Nishi-Smith/Otte Trio, and Secret Drum Band. Panelists include artist Elise Brewster, ecologist Ed West, the San Francisco Estuary’s cartographer Ruth Askevold, and conservation biologist Dr. Claire Kremen.

Thu 8/10 7:00 PM Temescal Arts Center [511 48th Street Oakland]
Grex, ShimaMusic (LA), VOCO, Scott Quay
An evening of explosive song and exquisite surrealism at Oakland’s Temescal Arts Center: Oakland art rock band Grex (Karl Evangelista, Rei Scampavia) presents a program of ecstatic song and majestic, free jazz-inflected noise, joined by cinematic rock maestros VOCO and a rare solo set from powerhouse vocalist Scott Quay. ShimaMusic visits from LA, offering a set of lilting, deconstructed doom metal.

Thu 8/10 8:00 PM Luggage Store Creative Music Series [1007 Market Street SF]
8pm Theo Padouvas cornet, Cory Wright clarinet
9pm Gabriella Yi Wen (guqin & computer)
Nina Lavelle (cello)
J. Juliet Weight (violin)

Friday, August 11

Fri 8/11 7:00 PM Adobe Books [3130 24th St SF]
LIVE MUSIC! ZE BIB! / Kattt Atchley & Ron Heglin & Lorin Benedict

Bonnie Kane / Walter Wright Upcoming Shows in Massachusetts

KANE / WRIGHT UPCOMING SHOWS: August 4 – 6, 2017

Bonnie Kane – flute, sax, electronics – (Holyoke, Ma)
Walter Wright – drums, electronics – (Lowell, Ma)
John Voigt – upright bass, poetry (Fri and Sat)
Junko Fujiwara – cello, Chris Strunk – drums (Sunday)

Friday, August 4 Outpost 186 – 8pm
186 ½ Hampshire St. (rear), Inman Sq. Cambridge, Ma

Saturday, August 5 ALL Gallery – 8pm
307 Market Street, Lowell, MA

Sunday, August 6 Chailey Mansion
9 Spring Lane, Newburyport, MA

Oakland’s ActiveMusic Series Provides Relaxed Atmosphere for Strange Sounds 

Source: East Bay Express.

Composer and saxophonist Aram Shelton founded ActiveMusic Series in 2008, at first as a recurring event at the Ivy Room in Albany. It then moved to the Uptown and, when the club closed in 2014, occurred at the Omni Commons in Temescal. Shelton eventually bowed out, leaving things to co-organizers Jacob Felix Heule and Crystal Pascucci, who today helm Active at the reopened Uptown with Robert Lopez.

Christian Marclay and Okkyung Lee Play Perform Calder 

Okkyung lee 6021446sw

Source: I Care If You Listen.

By the end of the hour, however, the floor was dense with objects and potentiality. Marclay and Lee were suspended between insecure cause and effect, at once in and out of control of their concertized environment. Marclay sifted the sounds he preferred, and inserted intentional timbres; Lee watched the spectacle and deployed every unknown cello technique to participate.

Heterodyne, Asumaya, and Infinity Knives in Baltimore, August 9

MONDO is a new artist-owned, multi-use community hub and experimental performance complex comprised of three buildings on Baltimore’s historic Howard Street corridor.

On Wednesday, August 9, Heterodyne, a new improvisational music project, will debut at MONDO. Heterodyne consists of Maria Shesiuk on synthesizers and vocals and T. A. Zook on basscello. For its debut, it will be joined by Patrick Whitehead on Flügelhorn and trumpet, and Bob Boilen (host of NPR’s “All Songs Considered”) on ARP synthesizer. Heterodyne will be sharing the bill with Wisconsin-based Asumaya and Baltimore’s Infinity Knives.

MONDO is located at 406 N Howard St in Baltimore. Doors open at 7; performances begin at 8. There’s an $8 cover charge, cash only.