Is that jazz? Explore improvisation, composition and more at Seattle festival

From the Seattle Times Newspaper:

Formal composition vs. spontaneous creativity is the prevailing theme at a series of experimental jazz performances called Is That Jazz? Seattle’s Avant Jazz Music Festival.

The festival convenes Friday night with two performances at the Chapel Performance Space in Wallingford by the Sunship quintet and the Sun Ra Tribute Band, named for the jazz composer, pianist and philosopher who helped pioneer free jazz in the 1950s and ’60s. The event continues Saturday night with performances by esteemed clarinetist Bill Smith’s trio and bassist Evan Flory-Barnes’ big band, called Threat of Beauty.

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Is Avant-Jazz Pianist Matthew Shipp His Own Worst Enemy?

Spinner some of Shipp’s more controversial moments.

The flip side of this confrontational approach is that Matthew Shipp is one of the most talented players of this era. Closing in on 50, he has released a string of dazzling solo and small-group recordings that range sonically from acoustic to electronic remix. His mix of complex improvisation and melody gets easy comparisons to avant-garde pianist Cecil Taylor, but, really, the two don’t have a whole lot in common. He also participated in (for 16 years) and subsequently broke up the David S. Ware Quartet, which has been hailed many times as one of the great quartets of our time. Shipp has also mentored younger or less-known artists by releasing their albums through his Blue Series on Thirsty Ear records and provided a home for other established artists who need to put out records.

Additionally, he was also interviewed recently.

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Earshot Preview

Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival is previewed.

As usual, the annual Earshot Jazz Festival (through Sun Nov 8, various venues, see http://www.earshot.org for details) boasts too many temptations for even the most succumbing fan to cover. Fans of the avant must not miss a double bill of two duos, Matthew Shipp/Joe Morris and Peggy Lee/Saadet Türköz (Thurs Oct 22, Seattle Asian Art Museum, 8 pm, $16). By turns poetic, harsh, knotty, lyrical, and abstruse, Shipp continues the legacy of Cecil Taylor by fragmenting the various styles of jazz into a kaleidoscopic, sometimes breathtaking unity. Guitarist/bassist Morris not only boosts Shipp’s flights into the sonic stratosphere but helps the pianist stay aloft in an irregular, interesting orbit with explosive modulations, silence, and unexpected riffs.

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Dutch drummer can’t help but play

Han Bennink im Club W71 in Weikersheim
Image via Wikipedia

Hn Bennink is featured on MiamiHerald.com:

Han Bennink was feeling frisky. Onstage with pianist Misha Mengelberg and saxophonist Kenny Millions at the Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center in 2007, the legendary Dutch jazz drummer displayed the mischievous wit and childlike exuberance for which he’s long been revered. Variously, he bounced a drumstick and caught it in mid-air, swung his foot atop his snare, percussively beat his ruddy cheeks and even created shadow puppets on the wall behind him.

Of course, in the same show he sensitively and creatively engaged in the three-way musical conversation taking place onstage, punctuating and commenting on his colleagues’ statements with dazzling acuity while continually ratcheting up the excitement.

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Firehouse 12 To Present The Peter Evans Quartet November 13th

Trumpeter Peter Evans
Image via Wikipedia

From Improvised Communications:

On Friday, November 13th, Firehouse 12’s fifth annual Fall Jazz Series will present the New Haven debut of The Peter Evans Quartet. The group, which recorded its highly acclaimed eponymous debut for Firehouse 12 Records in 2007, is led by trumpeter/composer Peter Evans, who critics have called “a new jazz star” (Brian Morton, Jazz Review) with “the kind of mad chops and conceptual smarts that surface just a few times in every lifetime” (Peter Margasak, DownBeat). The current version of the ensemble, his main outlet as a bandleader, features pianist Ricardo Gallo, bassist Tom Blancarte and drummer Kevin Shea.

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Interview with Gordon Beeferman

Roulette NYC offers this interview.

GORDON BEEFERMAN is a composer and pianist whose work spans opera, orchestral and chamber music, improvisation, and collaborations with dance and other arts. On Tuesday, September 22nd Gordon presents “Music for an IMAGINARY BAND” – a (real) 7-piece group comprised of some of New York’s most uniquely creative musicians. The band explores the territory where classical ‘new-music,’ jazz and free improvisation intersect. Beeferman’s compositions range from the gnarly to the operatic, and are both incredibly detailed and very free.

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The boundless sonic creativity of Okkyung Lee

From the Chicago Reader:

Okkyung Lee, who plays Sunday night at the Pritzker Pavilion in Min Xiao-Fen’s Asian Trio, is one of the most beguiling young figures in New York’s creative-music community. The Korean cellist—she came to the U.S. in 1993, at age 18—moves effortlessly between different worlds without changing her sound in any significant way. She plays in pianist Vijay Iyer’s multimedia project Still Life With Commentator as well as Laurie Anderson’s art-pop ensemble, but on her own she’s concerned mostly with improvisation.

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Ten Questions with Tyshawn Sorey

From Glowing Realm:

Tyshawn Sorey is a NY based composer and drummer. He first came to my attention as the drummer in pianist Vijay Iyer’s Quartet on the “Blood Sutra” album. He still plays with Iyer in the trio Fieldwork, with Steve Lehman rounding out the trio on sax. When Sorey’s debut as a leader came out on Firehouse 12 Records, I kind of freaked out about it here. It was so unlike anything I expected after hearing him in other contexts, and pretty much blew me away.

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Firehouse 12 To Present The Michaël Attias Quintet May 1st

From Improvised Communications:

On Friday, May 1st, New York-based saxophonist/composer Michaël Attias will make his Firehouse 12 debut as part of the venue’s ongoing 2009 Spring Jazz Series. Fresh off a two-week stint performing his original live electronic score for the Yale Repertory Theater’s production of Dostoevsky’s “Notes From The Underground” in late March and early April, Attias will return to New Haven with his new quintet. The group expands his longtime trio, Renku, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer/percussionist Satoshi Takeishi, to include French horn player Mark Taylor and pianist Jacob Sacks.

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