October 2011: Living for the City

Greetings and welcome to cooler, shorter days and the start of year-end holiday pilfering.  Its one of my favorite seasons when we actually have one. This year feels promising.  Brisk and crisps days warm enough for a rigorous walk through this illustrious city…and by that I do mean Brooklyn.  Oh I know people still think of Manhattan as the city and it is to a certain extent.  Yet Brooklyn is where it’s happening these days.  I’d argue (no throwing tomatoes!!) that Brooklyn is one of the most vibrant boroughs in our New York City.  My perspective may be jaded yet just to give a small example, my gig list this month, with one exception, is all in Brooklyn.  Mostly within an hour’s walk from where I live.  I say walk because if I get my act together, that’s how I’ll get to my gigs this month, reducing my carbon footprint just a smidge.  I hope you’ll join me.  Here’s what’s coming up…

On FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7th and SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8th – I am honored to be  small part of Anthony Braxton’s 4-Day festival (Starting on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 5th) called Energies, Ideas, Institutions: The Music of Anthony Braxton.  Its the most comprehensive representation of his music thus far in the USA!  Please go to Roulette for all the details and visit the Tri-Centric Foundation for more details on all things Anthony including the Release of Trillium E, the wonderful project recorded last year and I’m in the cast alongside amazing vocalists such as Kyoko Kitamura, Michael Douglas Jones, Jen Shyu, Nick Hallett and more.  The 4-CD Box set will be released on October 11th, some will be available for purchase at the Festival this upcoming weekend. What a thrill to be part of this incredible production where the musicians and vocalists all were at service to Anthony’s music.  It was one of the richest experience I’ve had as a vocalist and to now have it in my hands leaves me speechless.

This SATURDAY, on the final night of the Braxtonian Festival, we’ll premiere two Acts from a new opera Trillium J and FRIDAY, I’ll take part in the Syntactical Ghost Trance Music Choir.  Towards the end of October the wonderful Austrian pianist Elisabeth Harnik will come to Brooklyn and we’ll play two concerts, one premiering our ReDDeeR group with UK bassist Dominic Lash.  We all met last year as fellows at Music OMI and hit it off musically there.  Since then I’ve played with Dominic (who is in NY for just a short while more) and Elisabeth has played with him in London.  These upcoming concerts will be first time we’ll play as a trio since our Residency last year. We’re at Korzo as part of the Konceptions Series curated by James Carney on TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25 and then Elisabeth and I will play a duo set at I-Beam on FRIDAY, October 28th as a double Bill with Go-Zee-Lah (Kyoko Kitamura & Yayoi Ikawa). Get all the details on the PERFORMANCE section of the site.

Wrapping up the month, Anders Nillson and I as the ExPosed Blues Duo will round out the last Monday on the Evolving Series this month. YES, we’re back up as of October 10th.  Please go to the Vision Festival website for the schedule and other info. On Halloween, The Evolving Series has a themed evening called “Blues Hues for Halloween” with vocalist Ayana Lowe and Roy Nathanson bringing thier own takes on the idiom in their respective sets.  This is my only gig in the Manhattan this month.  As a matter of fact its my last scheduled gig in town for the time being.  Early November I head out of town to work with musician/composer Ab Baars on a wonderful project called The Invisible Blow.  We’ll tour the Netherlands and Europe culminating in a recording of the project on the last day of the tour.  I just saw Ab in Amsterdam and we got together with the music and what I heard and will get to sing is just glorious.

Speaking of Amsterdam, I must say this past Sepetmber was something special.  I went out to the West Coast for the first time to teach a workshop and perform at the Jazz School in Berkeley.  As I mentioned in my last post, a feature on me ran in the SF Chronicle, which bought out lots of people to the concert  (that was well received!) plus a good showing on the workshop too. Not to mention San Francisco itself.  What a beautiful place to be.  I enjoyed my very short stay and stay turned for future plans in the Bay Area.  One of the most beautiful things I experienced when I was out there was being at the Memorial for drummer Eddie Marshall, who passed away in early September.  A veritable who’s who of the Bay Area Jazz Scene came out to express love and admiration for him.  A beautiful thing to experience, see and feel.

Later in September I went to Germany to perform some concerts in and around Munsterland, passing in and back through Amsterdam. I’m always happy to go to Amsterdam but this trip was especially fulfilling and rich.  The connections, the amount I packed together in a few days. While I was away, I was once again reminded and took a moment to reflect on what a blessing it is to go through this life making music to share.




The Evolving Voice Series

The Evolving Music/Voice Series is a weekly series run by RUCMA/Arts for Art. Inc. on Monday Nights at THE LOCAL 269, a venue in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.  The Evolving Music Series started back in April of last year with the Vocal Series starting up in August 2009.  I curate the Vocal Series and I’ll talk mostly about that…so you have some information on what the series is about and why it is turning into such a wonderful thing!

When the owners of THE LOCAL 269 approached Patricia Nicholson Parker, Executive Director of the Arts for Art. Inc & The Vision Festival, to curate a Vocal Series, they had something else in mind.  They wanted breezy vocals to coax in passers-by on weekend afternoons during the summer. THE LOCAL 269 IS on a fantastic corner – so not a bad idea at all. But Patricia and I had something else in mind that we wanted to try…she being a staunch supporter of innovation and avant-garde art, music and dance (she did start and curates The Vision Festival after all) and myself an improvising vocalist with a definite affinity to vocalists that think out of the box with their voices and concepts.  We thought lets make the series more experimental, not exclusionary by genre or style and focus on vocalist/poets/spoken word artists that have a strong way of saying their own thing. THE LOCAL 269 liked the  programming direction we wanted and so we started, booking Tuesdays at first with two vocal sets on that night.

I am most grateful to the vocalists that signed on at the beginning, who were enthusiastic and felt the need in the community for a space like this to perform, especially since we didn’t know how it would work out. That vocal legends like Ellen Christie and Jay Clayton expressed joy at the idea and support for it from the start was just magnificent. What ‘evolved’ was a true cavalcade of deliciously interested and interesting vocalists who presented themselves with their voice.  Many things I heard, I hadn’t before or knew that it could even be done that way! So inspiring to hear strong voices proclaiming their thing and fortunately we have the space to make it happen. A true gift.  In addition to these riches are the musicians the vocalists carry in tow, usually just as unruly and rebellious as they are. Many musicians come and hang at the series as well. Now that the Vocal Series has merged with the Experimental Music Series, expect more melding too…more contact, more community and hopefully more inspiration. Please tell all your friends or anyone that loves good music and vocalists.  Things are good now but for that to continue, we need your support and your faces in the place!

Here’s a small list of the vocalists that have appeared on the Series so far: Jay Clayton, Ellen Christie, Leena Conquest, Jean Carla Rodea, Lola Danza, Lorin Benedict, Pyeng Threadgill, Lisa Sokolov, Yoon Sun Choi,  Juju Seahorse, Mossa Bildner, Jen Shyu, Sarah James, Golda Solomon, INTUIT,  Kyoko Kitamura, Chris DiMeglio,  Gina Leishman, Andrea Wolper, Becca Stevens, Mary DeProphetis, Ingrid Sertso, Nora McCarthy, Rosi Hertlein, Dean Bowman, Adam Matta, Steve Dalichinsky, Alison Wedding.

I thank ALL the vocalists and wordsmiths that have taken the stage and some of the upcoming vocalists on the series will BE:  Sara Serpa, Theo Bleckmann, Katie Bull, Mary DeProphetis, Yoon Sun Choi, John Zorn’s Vocal Masada Quartet and much, much more…Keep in touch with the Evolving Music/Voice Series schedule here and here.

We hope to see you and thanks for reading. More practical info below.

Corner of Suffolk Street & E. Houston
F/V Train to 2nd Avenue
First Set of Music: 7:00PM
Doors open: 6:00PM

GET in TOUCH at evolvingvoice@gmail.com
KEEP in TOUCH with Evolving Music/Voice Series:

Set Times will vary for the Vocal sets, please check schedule for exact times.

Vocalists in photos from top to bottom: Dean Bowman, Leena Conquest, Yoon Sun Choi & Sissel Vera Pedersen