KHOOMEI TAIKO

October 25th, 2009

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Kaoru Watanabe and Shoji Kameda played Japanese taiko drums at Town Hall Sunday night.

In one of the more unusual and interesting presentations of the Earshot Jazz Festival the Khoomei Taiko Ensemble presents cultural history while forging rare musical pathway by partnering ancient Mongolian and Japanese traditions.
Mongolian, Japanese, and U.S. artists come together for a fascinating collaboration, highlighting the popular Mongolian art of khoomei (throat singing) with the driving rhythms of Japanese taiko (drums). The Khoomei-Taiko Ensemble features Shinetsog Dorjnyam (khoomei), Shoji Kameda and Kaoru Watanabe (taiko), the legendary folk musician Tserendorj Tseyen (magtaal-praise songs, morin khuur-horsehead fiddle, jaw harp), Kaoru Watanabe (fue and Noh Kan-flutes) and Miki Maruta (koto – zither). The program also includes the captivating voice of Mongolia’s urtiin duu (long song) vocalist Khongorzul Ganbaatar, a featured artist in Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project.

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Miki Maruta on koto.

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Jason Parker Quartet at Lucid

October 25th, 2009

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Jason Parker Quartet at Lucid Saturday celebrating the release of their new CD No More, No Less in front of a standing room only crowd. Lots of cameras in the room to video and still. A great night. Nice to see so many people in such a great space.

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Evan Flory-Barnes on bass.

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Jason Parker on trumpet.

The Jason Parker Quartet’s second album, No More, No Less, was released at this special Lucid Jazz Lounge event. The JPQ is: Jason Parker (trumpet), Josh Rawlings (piano), Evan Flory-Barnes (bass) and D’Vonne Lewis (drums). They will be joined on stage, as they are on the album, by guest Cynthia Mullis (tenor saxophone). “No More, No Less” is the follow-up to the JPQ’s self-titled debut album from 2007. The new CD documents the growth the band has gone through during the past two years and illustrates the cohesive, passionate playing that prompted Earshot Jazz to call them “the next generation of Seattle Jazz.” More photos to come.

LUCID JAZZ LOUNGE is at  5241 University Way NE, Seattle

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Ikue Mori and Zeena Parkins on stage at a packed house at the Chapel Performance Space Saturday as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival.

For more than 20 years Ikue Mori and Zeena Parkins have etched music with perhaps unlikely sound tools.

Parkins has long explored the expansive potential for improvised and innovative music of both acoustic and electronic harps. Mori, who in the 1980s was the drummer for the radical No Wave band DNA, captures, processes, and mutates live and stored sounds with a laptop computer and other electronics, including drum machines. She also contributes projected images to the duo’s stage presentations.

The result is some extremely captivating sculpted sound, rich in tectonics and shifting planes, and transporting in its lyricism, mystery, and surprise. Certainly, in their collaboration, Phantom Orchard, Parkins and Mori have produced some of the most startling freely improvised music of recent times. ” – Peter Monaghan

Parkins has lately gained broad renown thanks to her performances with the Nordic pop diva Björk; but her accomplishments date from the 1980s, when she settled in the fertile New York experimental-music scene and began to perform and record with the likes of Fred Frith and Jim O’Rourke. She has, in fact, worked with just about every forward-thinking musician on the New York and European scenes, appearing on more than 70 albums with many of the big names in new music, including John Zorn, Pauline Oliveros, Elliott Sharp, and Tin Hat Trio. She has also worked with a host of dance and theater companies, chamber orchestras such as Bang on a Can, and film and video makers.

She has developed radical approaches to playing the harp, often treating it as an electrified sound source for the most arresting musical experiments. Her extended playing techniques include the analog and digital processing of her harps’ sounds, as well as the preparation of their strings with household and hardware-store objects.

In Ikue Mori, she finds the perfect partner and foil. The Tokyo native began playing drums when she arrived in New York in 1977. She soon after formed the lopsidedly rhythmical and dissonant cult band, DNA, with Arto Lindsay and Tim Wright. In the mid-1980s Mori began to improvise with drum machines, modifying their output to suit her purposes. About a decade ago, she branched into the use of computers in music. Along the way she, too, performed with a host of other artistic adventurers such as Fred Frith, Dave Douglas, Mike Patton, and Butch Morris, and won many grants, commissions, and awards for her musical innovation. Her current projects include Mephista with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and drummer Susie Ibarra and various collaborations with John Zorn including his Electric Masada.

Her collaborations with Zeena Parkins have been as outstanding as any of her work – strange, compelling, and unpredictable. Critic Stephen Gossett nicely summarized: “Phantom Orchard presents a reflection of modern life’s ugly beauty, delivered with exacting restlessness. The familiar analog tones lure you in; the otherworldly sound-swirls and digital disruptions create a subtle-to-harsh juxtaposition.”

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HAL GALPER at the piano at Tula’s
Well known for his work with Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley, and Phil Woods, pianist Hal Galper brings crazy chops and a lifetime of jazz knowledge to each new project. As on the outstanding disc, Furious Rubato, he points to new directions for jazz with drummer John Bishop and bassist Jeff Johnson. The performance tonight, and again tomorrow on Saturday night are being recorded. Looks like a possible live album in the works.
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JEFF JOHNSON

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JOHN BISHOP

The Origin release Furious Rubato, which JazzTimes noted “contained the most complex, daring, exhilarating music of Galper’s career,” pushes jazz into bold new directions. With Johnson and Bishop, Galper explores standards, originals, and group improvisations utilizing original approaches to rubato, an open and circular approach to time and melody that Galper has explored and developed over the last several years.

MYRA MELFORD BE BREAD

October 23rd, 2009

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MYRA MELFORD BE BREAD on stage at the Seattle Art Museum on Friday night played to a pretty full house and were simply amazing. Myra on piano, Stomu Takeishi, bass, Ben Goldberg, clarinet, Cuong Vu, trumpet,  Matt Wilson, drums, and Brandon Ross, guitar

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Myra Melford

Here is what they say about them in the EarshotJazz Festival guide:
“Capping a week-long Cornish College residency, this remarkable electro-acoustic ensemble cleverly draws upon a myriad of influences, including the Hindustani forms that Melford studied in India. Joining her is an all-star lineup of instrumental heavy hitters: trumpet ace Cuong Vu, bassist-like-no-other Stomu Takeishi, drummer Matt Wilson, clarinetist Ben Goldberg, and the towering guitarist Brandon Ross. Their first CD, The Image of Your Body, was released on Cryptogramophone, in 2006. The band is now performing the music from their upcoming Cd release and 2004 CMA/New Works Presentation commission “The Whole Place Goes Up.”

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I have been wanting to add some more of the photos from Earshot Jazz Festival performance of the exciting Roosevelt High School Jazz Ensemble with the Matt Wilson Quartet since the night of the concert. Here are some more shots from Monday October 19th performance at the Triple Door.
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MATTHEW SHIPP & JOE MORRIS

October 22nd, 2009

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Following Peggy Lee and Saadet Turkoz at the Seattle Asian Art Museum Thursday night were Matthew Shipp on piano and Joe Morris on bass in a beautiful performance.
“f the casually curious observer were perusing Matthew Shipp and Joe Morris’s discographies, they might think they’d come upon a pair of potentially unnerved math/science-heads. Shipp’s “Harmonic Oscillator” and “Algebraic Boogie,” Morris’s more surreal “Stare into a Lightbulb for Three Years” and “Radiant Flux”: the tune titles suggest more than a hint of the experiment, of the long focus and aesthetic unreeling of new knowledge.

Indeed, that sense of discovery is what binds Shipp and Morris. They’ve found myriad ways to build their compositions and improvisations, each delving into dozens of musical configurations and always bringing to them a semi-singular voice that metamorphoses as they play in different contexts. And just as Shipp headed into almost-uncharted territory when he began curating Thirsty Ear’s Blue Series in 2001 and recorded with the Antipop Consortium, El P, and DJ Spooky in 2002 as part of the series, Morris continually re-drew himself into new bands that challenged his prevailing language and, eventually, switched from his first real instrument, guitar, to playing acoustic bass.

But we get ahead of ourselves.

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For Shipp, the journey started when he was in Wilmington, Delaware, in his single digits, as a 5-year-old taking piano lessons. He progressed into a love of jazz at the turn of adolescence, and with that in mind headed to New York in 1984. It took him a few short years before Shipp recorded a set of duos with alto saxophonist, Rob Brown, and then a few more years before Shipp’s real first-move came out: Circular Temple, with William Parker and Whit Dickey. Released on post-Black Flag-era Henry Rollins’s Infinite Zero label, Circular Temple was a bold statement for its sheer thoughtfulness, its slow efflorescence, its unbending patience.

The way Shipp struck chords and notes, his narrative sense, these demonstrated one of the freshest sensibilities available. He wasn’t trying to stoke kinship with the energy clusters of Cecil Taylor, but Shipp found much to embrace in the overall sonics, the shadows and the echoes and the moods that Taylor and, say, Bill Dixon embraced. Quickly Shipp went on a tear, recording multiple albums almost every year from ’97 up to and including ’09. Trios, quartets, solo sets, duets, a dizzying 15 albums with tenor saxophonist David Ware, Shipp has been among the most tireless players. He’s found in-the-pocket grooves and energy bursts and cryptic abstractions all incredibly tantalizing.

Up in Connecticut, Joe Morris came to the guitar as a teen, playing gigs within his first year of playing. His jazz epiphany happened with John Coltrane’s Om, as unbridled a display of energy as any in the history of recorded music. Morris took his growing musical curiosities and headed to Boston, where in the 1970s he delved into free improvisation, spent the ‘80s starting his own label and releasing his albums, and then during the ‘90s created swirling, dense, and then crystal-clear (if nervy) guitar work alongside Shipp, Joe and Mat Maneri, Rob Brown, Eugene Chadbourne, et al.

Morris’s sound on guitar was sui generis, unlike anyone else. He had a meaty tone, free of distortion, and he had a mangled way of tying and untying knots, moving in long, sometimes loping, always tireless bursts of creativity. In 2000, Morris decided to play bass, too, making himself a guitarist’s bassist, someone who could weave rhythms as if they were harmonies. He’s played with Shipp for more than a decade, starting with the Morris ensemble set Elsewhere in 1996, moving to Thesis: Duos in 1997, continuing in ’09 with three separate sessions bringing the pair together. But the duo, that’s a level of intimacy and close listening that commands attention, and the Shipp/Morris pairing will do that ineluctably with this event.
From Peter Monaghan’s description in the Earshot Jazz Festival Guide.

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PEGGY LEE & SAADET TÜRKÖZ

October 22nd, 2009

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On Thursday night at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, Peggy Lee (cello) and the mesmerizing Saadet Türköz (vocals) mixed free improvisation with the Kazakh and Turkish forms of Türköz’s childhood transformed through her knowledge of Western music, particularly free jazz, and through the most unleashed of improvising.

“After beginning her career with an impromptu performance at a friend’s wedding, she recorded her first CD Kara Toprak in 1994, and her second, Marmara Sea, in 1999, before traveling to her parents’ homeland to lay down her third release, 2006’s Urumchi. It comprises love songs, lullabies, dirges, and folk songs, extended through improvisation and accompanied by Kazakh musicians playing such instruments as the dombra lute and the kilkobuz, another stringed instrument.

Her stunning technique aside, the essence of her performances is the conjuring of the most mysterious and transporting of moods and hues. As Türköz has put it: “I seek to evoke pictures and atmospheres by means of voice and music which transcend cultural boundaries.”
Tonight Türköz performs with the cellist Peggy Lee, who has been a fixture since 1989 of the fertile music scene of Vancouver, British Columbia. A participant in many projects there, including the renowned NOW Orchestra, she also has been a frequent collaborator with Canadian, American, and European players. She is, for example, a first-call band member for visitors to the city’s famed annual jazz festival, including trumpeter Dave Douglas, guitarist Nels Cline, and Seattle-based keyboardist Wayne Horvitz. Her repertoire takes in improvising, new chamber works, and electro-acoustic ensembles, among them her Peggy Lee Band, formed in 1998 to perform and improvise around her own compositions. And it has won wide acclaim; Downbeat said it “exemplifies the strength and maturity of the Vancouver jazz and improvised music scene,” while the New York Times praised its flowing, organic sound.

Raised in Toronto and trained in classical music at the University of Toronto, Lee has said that her evolution as a musician quickened when she arrived in the West and interacted with musicians like, her now husband, percussionist Dylan van der Schyff: “It wasn’t just a matter of the kinds of sounds; it was more breaking out of being a reader and trying to get the flow happening – of hearing and playing at the same time. Some of the techniques that I use in written music, and especially in new music, I’ll use as an improviser, but sometimes I also like to play with a nice tone. Or in tune. I’m not trying to discard my whole training, but just get the other part of my brain working as far as thinking creatively at that moment.”

Those are qualities that lend themselves ideally to her duo with Saadet Türköz. As Lee noted in a 2005 interview: “I don’t know that I even play experimental music. It’s just music that makes sense to me given who I am and where I come from.”

From Peter Monaghan’s description in the Earshot Jazz Festival Guide.

MARC SEALES GROUP

October 22nd, 2009

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Seattle pianist Marc Seales showed the breadth of his current artistic projects with The Paris Suite featuring Evan Flory-Barnes, Larry Barrileu, and D’Vonne Lewis, Fred Hamilto, and Thomas Marriot on Wednesday night at Tula’s. Beautiful evocations of Paris in the ear. Intense energy across the group enjoyed by a full house.
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“Seattle pianist and UW jazz studies educator Marc Seales will exhibit the breadth of his artistic vision and his immense talents as a soloist across two nights and two distinct performances at Tula’s. Wednesday’s performance presents his Paris Suite, featuring bassist Evan Flory-Barnes, drummer D’Vonne Lewis, and percussionist Larry Barrileau. On Thursday, Seales will lead the American Songbook Group with drummer Garry Hobbs, bassist Dave Captein, trumpeter Cuong Vu, and the guitarist Fred Hamilton. Seales has earned great regional and national acclaim for his work with bop legend Don Lanphere and his trio New Stories, which includes drummer John Bishop and bassist Doug Miller. Seales has also performed with such legends as Joe Henderson, Benny Carter, Bobby Hutcherson, and Art Pepper. ” from Earshot Jazz Festival Program

Omar Sosa Afreecanos Quartet

October 22nd, 2009

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Omar Sosa brought his Afreecanos Project to the Earshot Jazz Festival stage at the Triple Door Weds for a spectacular performance.
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Omar Sosa brings further explorations of his charming musical spirit to the Triple Door. The music of his Afreecanos Quartet promises deep emotional appeal. Informed by the rhythmic diversity and intensity of his band mates – Marque Gilmore (drums and electronics), Childo Tomas (bass, kalimba, vocals), and Mola Sylla (vocals, m’bira, xalam, kongoman) – Sosa emerges as a fierce and passionate performer rooted in deep traditions brought with global cosmopolitan flair.