Classical Music in NYC This Week 

Source: The New York Times.

ERIC HUEBNER AND STEVEN BECK at Miller Theater (Jan. 23, 6 p.m.). The first of this winter’s pop-up concerts in Morningside Heights, where the audience sits on the stage and has easy access to beer, is a double-piano feast: Ligeti’s “Three Pieces for Two Pianos,” Steve Reich’s “Piano Phase” and, dauntingly, Pierre Boulez’s “Structures I.”

FOCUS! FESTIVAL at Peter Jay Sharp Theater (Jan. 19, 7:30 p.m.). For this year’s Juilliard festival, director Joel Sachs has chosen to showcase composers living and working in China, with one honorable exception. This first of six free programs, which conclude on Jan. 26 with the Juilliard Orchestra proper, sees the New Juilliard Ensemble play two world premieres, from Wang Shuci and Liu Sola, plus music by Ye Xiaogang and that one interloper, Chou Wen-Chung, a student of Martinu’s and Varèse’s who has lived for decades in New York.

JULIUS EASTMAN at The Kitchen (Jan. 25, 8 p.m.). Any retrospective for this composer, who died in 1990 but whose music is having a renaissance, is a welcome one. A thoughtfully constructed project at this Chelsea space, complete with an exhibition of archival material, is particularly so. On this program, two works from 1974, “Joy Boy” and “Femenine,” both played by a group that Eastman had a close relationship with, the S.E.M. Ensemble, under the direction of Petr Kotik. Other events run through Feb. 10.

Jazz in NYC This Week 

English: Violinist Jenny Scheinman at the Aust...

Source: The New York Times.

JENNY SCHEINMAN’S MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM at Jazz Standard (through Jan. 21, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.). Ms. Scheinman takes the violin into jazz, Appalachian folk, experimental rock and many zones between. This weekend at the Jazz Standard she presents Mischief and Mayhem, a quartet that makes experimental music of textural enigma, white-knuckle throb and, occasionally, moments of startling melodic clarity. The expert group features Nels Cline on guitar, Todd Sickafoose on bass and Jim Black on drums.

ZS, OLIVER LAKE AND MORE at H0L0 (Jan. 25, 8 p.m.). Pouring together no-wave, free jazz and electronic incitement, Zs might be improvised music’s ultimate 21st-century cult group. The band, which has gone through a number of lineup changes, currently features Sam Hillmer on tenor saxophone; Patrick Higgins on electric guitar and electronics; Greg Fox on drums and percussion; and Michael Beharie on electronics. Zs celebrate their 15th anniversary with this show, at a basement space in Ridgewood, Queens. The night will see appearances from a range of other performers, including the master alto saxophonist Oliver Lake and the young cellist Leila Bordreuil.

Milford Graves Interview

Milford Graves

Source: BOMB Magazine.

When I stepped into the Artist’s Institute at Hunter College in Manhattan this past fall, I didn’t know what to expect. Milford Graves was premiering a new work titled Beyond Polymath. I’ve studied music with Graves since 2015, seen him play drums with various musicians, and attended gatherings at his home in Queens. At these informal meetings he draws connections between his work in biology, martial arts, music, and acupuncture, all while telling stories of his experiences as a drummer in the 1960s. Beyond Polymath, however, was unique in that it was his first work of sculpture. The installation was a three-dimensional expression of Graves’s “biological music” concept. The density of this sculpture struck me—its medical and cultural symbols intertwined with brightly colored veins, their shapes and lines creating a sense of movement between static objects. A human skeleton was connected to four separate computer monitors, each displaying various expressions of the human heartbeat. The effect was simultaneously ancient and futuristic.

Graves has dedicated his life to understanding how people vibrate, creating works that resonate within us. This inquiry has led him to pursuits beyond any single discipline and to settle into a number of diverse communities. Some know him as a musician, while others regard him as a martial arts instructor or herbalist, but he seamlessly combines all of these interests. Rather than work within any specific idiom, Graves mines the creative process to engineer new works out of the components common to each subject.

San Francisco Scene: January 19-26, 2018

Albert Ayler

Source: Bay Improviser.

Friday, January 19

Fri 1/19 7:00 PM Adobe Books [3130 24th St SF]
Thomas Dimuzio –
Kris Force –
Fluorescent Grey –
Gradient Fade

Fri 1/19 7:30 PM San Francisco Conservatory of Music [50 Oak St. SF]
In a special guest appearance, maverick vocalist and composer Meredith Monk joins SFCMP for a performance and discussion of two of her works, Ellis Island for duo pianos and Cave Song from her film project The Book of Days. Also on the program are Zorn’s “Cobra” and Frederic Rzewski’s “Les Moutons de Panurge”, which engage the large-ensemble energies of the performers to create unheard-of possibilities. Completing the program are Pulitzer Prize finalist Don Byron’s 7 Etudes, and two works by Bay Area composers, Under the Rug by Ryan Brown, and Twist for guitar and violin by Vivian Fung.

Fri 1/19 7:30 PM SFJAZZ Center [201 Franklin Street (at Fell) SF CA]
Vijay Iyer’s longstanding trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore

Fri 1/19 8:00 PM EastSide Cultural Center [2277 International Blvd Oakland]
Dohee Lee / ARA Ritual III- Waterways, Time Weaves

Fri 1/19 8:00 PM Radius Gallery [1050 River St #127 Santa Cruz]
Arrington de Dionyso and Ben Bennett channel the ecstatic moment through strikingly limited physical and musical materials. Saxophonist Arrington de Dionyso’s perpetually touring moniker THIS SAXOPHONE KILLS FASCISTS is a recombinant performance of touring and local musicians, with the aim of channeling Albert Ayler’s recognition of music as the healing force of the universe. Percussionist Ben Bennett works with a deconstructed set of drums and resonant objects intended to fit in a backpack for bicycle tours and easy transportation. In addition to his live performance practice, Bennett is known for his more than 200 four-hour livestreams of himself called “Sitting and Smiling,” which The Atlantic described as “an extreme version of engagement with the present.”

Fri 1/19 8:00 PM Community Music Center [544 Capp Street SF]
Jazz in the Neighborhood presents the Ben Goldberg School performing music from the newly released CD, Ben Goldberg School, Vol. 1: The Humanities. The ensemble will be Ben Goldberg, clarinet; Kasey Knudsen, alto sax; Jeff Cressman, trombone; rob reich, piano and accordian; David Ewell, bass; and Hamir Atwal, drums. Joining them on vibraphone will be Emerging Artist Dan Neville.

Saturday, January 20

Sat 1/20 3:00 PM EastSide Cultural Center [2277 International Blvd Oakland]
Dohee Lee / ARA Ritual III- Waterways, Time Weaves

Sat 1/20 7:30 PM SFJAZZ Center [201 Franklin Street (at Fell) SF CA]
Vijay Iyer Sextet
Vijay Iyer piano, Fender Rhodes
Graham Haynes cornet
Steve Lehman alto saxophone
Mark Shim tenor saxophone
Stephan Crump bass
Marcus Gilmore drums

Sat 1/20 8:00 PM EastSide Cultural Center [2277 International Blvd Oakland]
Dohee Lee / ARA Ritual III- Waterways, Time Weaves

Sat 1/20 8:30 PM The Lab [2948 16th St SF]
Witness: Tashi Wada compositions performed by Charles Curtis, Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, Wada, and Julia Holter

Sunday, January 21

Sun 1/21 4:00 PM Ivy Room [860 San Pablo Ave Albany]
Online record label MINUS ZERO announces MUSICAL ACTION TO BENEFIT PLANNED PARENTHOOD: A NEW YEAR OF RESISTANCE. Minus Zero is an Oakland-based online record label founded in 2017. All music is donated by the artists, and all proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood. This live one-day festival featuring noteworthy Bay Area improvisers Ben Goldberg, Hafez Mordirsadeh, Scott Amendola, Rova Saxophone Quartet, Duo B, Francis Wong and many more will promote Minus Zero’s mission and new releases.

Sun 1/21 7:00 PM SFJAZZ Center [201 Franklin Street (at Fell) SF CA]

Sun 1/21 7:30 PM Temescal Arts Center [511 48th Street Oakland]
Doors That Only Open in Silence (open participation workshop in free improvisation)

Wednesday, January 24

Wed 1/24 6:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Robert Howard & Elizabeth Schumann
20th century masterpieces for cello and piano

Wed 1/24 7:45 PM The Bindery [1727 Haight St SF]
Shadow Revolutions
Radio Healer
Surabhi Saraf
Jonathan Crawford & NOS Visuals ||

Wed 1/24 8:30 PM The Strand Theater [1127 Market St San Francisco]
Sarah Cahill – piano
Kate Stenberg – violin
Alexander String Quartet
William Winant Percussion Group

Thursday, January 25

Thu 1/25 8:00 PM Luggage Store Creative Music Series [1007 Market Street SF]
8pm: Sarkamere (Josh Marshall – sax, Matt Chandler – bass, Daniel Pearce – drums)
9pm: Chase The Map
Lenny Gonzalez – baritone electric guitar, Kevin Thomson – electric guitar, Erik Ellestad – clarinet/saxophone

Friday, January 26

Fri 1/26 7:00 PM Temescal Arts Center [511 48th Street Oakland]
Hardly Strictly Personal 2018 — NextNow Production Festival/Benefit – Celebratiing Post-Beefheart Projects – the bay area creative music community performing NoWave, Wabi Sabi, Improv and experimental avante rock and jazz… friday evening and saturday afternoon-evening back to back performances of uniquely original music. Benefiting Homeless advocacy, and environmental justice organizations.

Fri 1/26 7:30 PM Point Richmond Jazz [201 Martina St., Point Richmond, CA 94801]
Guitarist Howard Alden and violinist Kit Eakle and his DjangoSphere project present the music of Thelonious Sphere Monk in the 100th year since his birth along with Music by Django Reinhardt and Ellington as vehicles for improvisation at Point Rischmond Jazz on Friday, January 26 at 7:30. Howard Alden is widely considered one of the greatest jazz improvisors on guitar, and Kit Eakle, founder of Point Richmond Jazz, a concert series devoted to improvising violinists, struts his stuff as one of the most daring and innovative improvisors on his instrument.

Fri 1/26 8:00 PM Z Space [450 Florida St SF]
Paul Dresher – The Electro-Acoustic Band + Living Earth Show

Fri 1/26 8:30 PM Strand Theatre [1127 Market Street San Francisco]
PIVOT: New Adventures in the Performing Arts with Timo Andres piano

Audrey Chen with Phil Minton in Houston, January 27

Source: Nameless Sound.

Nameless Sound presents
Saturday, January 27
at Chelsea Market Theater
4617 Montrose Blvd.

It is thought by some that the immediacy of improvisation allows for a more direct communication between performer and audience, an expression unmediated and unhindered by predetermined compositional concerns. But the instrument also mediates musical communication. And vocal improvisation, without the shield or veil of an instrument, can sometimes feel like the most direct and immediate of improvisational expressions. Though abstract, wordless vocal improvisation can feel strangely intimate, especially when sound and texture are emphasized over pitch and melody. These sounds may be uncomfortably and humorously familiar. And though there may be no words (and few melodies) to narrate meaning, we might find something unexpectedly funny (in spite of the lack of humor) or poignantly sad (in spite of the lack of pathos). Something may strike us as grotesque, though no decorum has been offended. Maybe even more than dance, this is an art form that emphasizes the immediacy of the body. These intimately familiar sounds come from inside of the body. And for many vocal improvisers, it is not only the voice that is emphasized. It’s the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat as well. This is abstract sound made from the organs responsible for our most direct and emotional communication.

A Feral Choir is an improvisational ensemble often consisting of people who have never performed before as vocalists. It works on a principle that “anyone who can breathe, is capable of producing sounds that give a positive aesthetic contribution to the human condition and many of these contributions are without any cultural influences or references.”