I’m happy to announce that my trio has received a New Music USA Project Award! The award will help support performances and a recording centered around “Somewhere In The Upstream,” a composition I premiered with the trio last fall that is dedicated to and inspired by Yusef Lateef. I look forward to performing and recording this work with Chris Tordini and Dan Weiss this coming June, in Amherst MA and NYC. For more, please visit the New Music USA project page.
We had a great telematic concert on Feb. 13 between San Diego and Zurich for the second event in “Changing Tides: A Telematic Translocational Concert Series,” a series I’m co-directing with Mark Dresser. Myra Melford, Nicole Mitchell, Stephanie Richards, and Mark and myself performed in CA, along with Matthias Ziegler and Gerry Hemingway in Zurich. Brian Cross and Benjamin Burger provided visual art and as always, we had an amazing tech crew at both sites. Thanks to all!
On Feb. 19 and 20, I have the privilege and pleasure of joining concerts at UC Irvine with a trio led by Kei Akagi, an outstanding pianist with a long and deep history in the jazz world including work as a sideman with Miles Davis, Stanley Turrentine and so many others. Kei has worked in a trio format for over 20 years with the other two fantastic musicians on these concerts, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Jason Harnell. The concert will feature Kei’s own music as well as other musicians who worked with Miles Davis. [Photo by Skye Schmidt]
After well over a year of planning, it was fantastic to finally perform this telematic concert with our friends in Korea, for the first of three concerts in “Changing Tides: A Telematic Translocational Concert Series,” which I am co-directing with Mark Dresser. In addition to Mark and myself, the quartet in San Diego included Myra Melford and Nicole Mitchell, and performing with us from Ansan, Korea at the Seoul Institute of the Arts were pansori singer Bae Il Dong, daegum player Kim Young Dong, and gayageum player Lee Jungpyo. The concert also included work by visual artists Brian Cross, Kim Bo Sul, Jesse Ricke and others. I composed a new work for this concert, along with compositions by Mark, Nicole, Young Dong and Jungpyo. Many thanks to Trevor Henthorn, Tay Yoo, Jun Oh, Kim Bo Sul, the incredible tech crews at both sites!
After almost a decade of doing telematic projects, I’m excited to announce the release of our first DVD documenting this work: Virtual Tour: A Reduced Carbon Footprint Concert Series was just released on pfMENTUM, and documents a telematic concert series that I co-directed with Mark Dresser, with premieres by eight different composers, myself included. The DVD contains all three concerts, each featuring the core quartet of Nicole Mitchell, Myra Melford, Mark Dresser and myself in San Diego, performing on three different days with Marty Ehrlich, Jason Robinson, and Bob Weiner in Amherst, MA; Matthias Ziegler and Gerry Hemingway in Zurich; and Sarah Weaver, Jane Ira Bloom, Min Xiao-Fen, Ray Anderson, and Matthew Wilson in Stony Brook, NY. You can also watch this excerpt from one of my own compositions, or see the DVD trailer above.
I started 2016 recording new albums with two of my favorite bandleaders and friends: the Mark Dresser Septet and Jason Robinson’s Janus Ensemble. Dresser’s group features Marty Ehrlich, Nicole Mitchell, myself, David Morales-Boroff, Joshua White and Kjell Nordeson. After a couple concerts in SoCal, we recorded in Hollywood’s famed EastWest Studios with the great engineer Ron Saint Germain (pictured here). That album will be out on Clean Feed Records later this year. Jason Robinson’s Janus Ensemble features Marty Ehrlich, JD Parran, Oscar Noriega, Marcus Rojas, Bill Lowe, myself, Liberty Ellman, Drew Gress, George Schuller, Ches Smith, and we recorded at Systems Two in Brooklyn after a gig at Shapeshifter Lab. It’s such a privilege to collaborate with all these fantastic musicians!
I had a great time subbing with the Steve Lehman Octet on a concert at Brown University in October. I’ve admired Steve’s music for years so it was great to experience it as a player, and a real pleasure to perform with this outstanding group of musicians that included Jonathan Finlayson, Mark Shim, Chris Dingman, Dan Peck, Drew Gress, and Tyshawn Sorey.
I enjoyed starting fall 2015 performing with many outstanding and diverse musicians on a string of concerts in California. They included a double bill at REDCAT as part of the Angel City Jazz Festival, the first set with bassist Lisa Mezzacappa’s Glorious Ravage (pictured above), a wonderfully innovative, multimedia work about Victorian-era “lady explorers” featuring a 15-piece ensemble and several video artists, and the second set with the always-inspiring Mark Dresser Quintet. The contrast made for a unique evening that Greg Burke captured creatively here. The next night, Mark premiered a new septet (and a lot of new music) at San Diego’s Athenaeum Music and Arts Library Jazz Series, which Robert Bush reviewed here, and shortly after that I enjoyed a couple days in San Francisco where we performed Lisa’s work twice at the Brava! Theatre for Women and the Arts in the Mission district.
In September, I was thrilled to do a one-week residency in Korea at the Seoul Institute of the Arts, where I was invited to share some of my work in telematics with with faculty and students and to meet the artists and technologists who will be collaborating on a California-Seoul telematic concert in 2016 that I’m co-directing. I’m so grateful to my hosts in Korea – Jun Oh, Tay Yoo, Woody Pak, Kang Ho-Jung, Kim Young-Dong, Bae Il Dong and many others – for facilitating this trip and for all the dialogues that it sparked. I was incredibly impressed by the wide-ranging and innovative international collaborations that SIA has cultivated through telepresence, and the trip left me even more excited about this upcoming concert, which features incredible musicians at both sites. More info on that soon…
We had another great telematic concert between UCSD and Zurich last week, working once again with musicians Matthias Ziegler and Gerry Hemingway as well as their excellent team of artist-technicians, including VJ Benjamin Burger, all based in Zurich. At UCSD, I was part of a quartet of Mark Dresser, Joshua White, and Stephanie Richards, along with filmaker Brian Cross, and we also had an amazing support team (with special thanks to Trevor Henthorn). This was part of the Filmatic Festival at UCSD, and we’re looking forward to pushing the visual dimension even further in more collaborations with many of these same people next year. Pictured above is Mark on stage next to a video projection mixing Gerry and Matthias, and on the screen above, filmic content from Brian Cross.
I had a fantastic experience in Manizales, Colombia in late April 2015, participating in the Festival Internacional de la Imagen, sponsored by the Department of Visual Design at the University of Caldas. I really enjoyed the people there, including so many curious and diverse students, and I’m so grateful to Mario Valencia, Juan Reyes, Juan Pablo Cáceres, Hector Fabio Torres, and Elizabeth Granados, among many others. I gave a talk and solo performance and also participated in a telematic concert, performing with Juan Rubio and Kyle Motl in San Diego. This image is from the telematic space that Mario and Elizabeth designed in Manizales, with three panels, the outer two used for projection, and the middle one between the live performers and the audience (photo by María Arango). Looking forward to working more there!
It was a pleasure and privilege to join Nicole Mitchell, Joelle Leandre, and Derf Recklaw for a set of improvised music at the Blue Whale in February. Joelle was passing through SoCal and gave a fantastic talk at our university that morning. She and Nicole have a unique duo together and played an incredible first set that night to celebrate a new duo CD release.