Sunday, October 28, 2007
A Little Nipa Hut
One of my very favorite things to do here in Hartford is to work with choreographer and good friend Olivia Davis.
We've had the great fortune to have a collaborative relationship for the past four years, centered on her company, Spectrum in Motion Dance Theater Ensemble.
This will be the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of Olivia's company. We do our thing together November 8, 9 & 10.
Photograph of Olivia Davis by Robert Reichert
Saturday, October 06, 2007
We are convening another serial installment of Adam's Go: Organic Orchestra at everybody's favorite longtime artist-run performance space: Manhattan's own Roulette.
This is a must-see event. Adam has a wonderful take on conducted improvisation blended with his notated themes and material.
We are all encouraged by this return engagement, as it bodes well for the development of an ever more cohesive east coast version of the ensemble. This current incarnation of the ensemble reads like a whos-who of creative musicians committed to the large ensemble environment. Look for unannounced additional musicians to surface as we move closer to the concert dates.
I am particularly excited to rejoin Graham Haynes, who I recently worked with in Bill Dixon's orchestra project this last summer. Two other close friends in the mix are JD Parran and Alex Marcello. Alex studied with JD and I many years ago at the Harlem School for the Arts before beginning his extended apprenticeship with the wonderful Yusef Lateef, also a frequent collaborator with Adam.
We perform on three Monday evenings in November, the 5th, 19th & 26th. Shows begin at 8:30 PM and will likely sell out as they did the last time we did this work. Get there early and sit up front. Surrender to the sound and enjoy the proximity and intimacy that Roulette affords it's artists and audience.
Go: Organic Orchestra/New York
Graham Haynes, Stephen Haynes, Martin Loyato, Steve Swell/High and Low Brass
Alex Waterman, Tomas Ulrich, Daniel Levin, Kirsten Jerme/Cello
Charles Burnham, Jean Cook, Sarah Bernstein/Violin
Stephanie Griffin, Miguel Atwood/Viola
Sylvain Leroux, Ze Luis, Michel Gentile, Jane Rigler, Emily Hay/Flutes
Batya Sobel/Oboe; Sara Schoenbeck/Bassoon
Ned Rothenberg, J.D. Parran, Charles Waters, David Rothenberg/Clarinets
Jerome Harris, Leni Stern, Kenny Wessel, Marco Cappelli, Matt Waugh/Guitars
Harris Eisenstadt, Brahim Fribgane, Gustavo Aguilar, Tim Keiper, Shaun Kelly, Neil Ochoa, Vong Pak, Mamadou Makan Kouyate/Drums & Percussion
Shanir Blumenkranz, Nick Rosen, Keith Witty, Stuart Popejoy/Acoustic Bass
Alex Marcelo/Acoustic Piano
Monday, July 16, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Bill Dixon Chamber Orchestra Redux
Vision Festival 2007
Aside from the exceedingly pleasurable experience of working with Bill and the ensemble (more on this later) to realize this new music, the past week has brought one particular thought persistently to mind: where are the reviews, the commentaries, the documentation that one expects to accompany such an historical event?
We were fortunate enough to receive a thoughtful preview piece in the NY Times thanks to Ben Ratliff, who spoke with Bill by phone in Vermont and did a wonderful job of utilizing Bill's voice to tell the story of intent, publishing a beautiful black and white image of Bill-this in tandem with Hank Shteamer's generous 'backstage" interview (conducted in Vermont) of Bill for TimeOut New York. Passing commentary is offered by Larry Blumenfeld in the Village Voice. Nate Chinen's thoughtful appreciation of the concert premier (most writers still struggle to accurately describe Bill's trumpet sound and technique, I suppose a measure/testimony to Bill's sonic singularity) has been the only review devoted solely to the piece that I have found to date in the mainstream press.
The silence has been shameful and somewhat puzzling. If one believes in the notion of the "community" in this music, one wonders who has chosen not to comment and why. Food for thought.
What is reassuring in all this is that the concert was recorded for release, and that Bill is engaged in the process of evaluating the raw recordings from the performance. A number of folks, arguably the true collegial community, have begun to share reflections and gathered quotes from Bill and we await postings of the images captured by the numerous photographers that were there engaged in collective witness that evening, to accompany those taken by Peter Gannushkin and just posted on the Downtown Music Gallery site. For that matter, the tireless Music Witness, Jeff Schlanger, was hard at it while the sound was being created.
In the end, the sound and spirit of the work are held in the hearts and minds of the audience, who leapt to their feet in thunderous applause at the conclusion of the performance, and in the cellular structure of the ensemble. On that note, a number of us hope to continue the work with Bill. More on that later.
Time to speak up folks. And the response needs to be as definitively articulate, passionate and aesthetically informed as the music and it's creator, Bill Dixon.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Vision Festival, New York, June 2007
I have been asked to join my mentor, Bill Dixon, in performance at this year's Vision Festival. The prospect of working with Bill in an orchestral setting is, unfortunately, a rare thing of late. The high brass section will incude Taylor Ho Bynum, Graham Haynes and myself. Old friends Joseph Daley, Warren Smith and JD Parran will also be aboard. The concert will take place on Wednesday, June 20. There will be an open rehearsal of the work the preceding day. I encourage folks to attend both! I understand that the music may be recorded during the process.