PLAY – New and Improved Improv on Saturday

Thollem McDonas, photo: Peter Gannushkin

LaDonna Smith has organized another jam-packed evening of improvised music with a host of special guests, featuring pianist Thollem McDonas.

Saturday, September 22 7:30pm
PLAY – New and Improved Improv
Homewood Community Center – CDF
1715 27th Court South
Homewood AL
$10/$5 students (sliding scale) kids free

Thollem will perform solo and with Stella Nystrom, dance; Davey Williams, guitar; Craig Hultgren, cello; Andrew DeWar, saxophone. Also on the bill are Hunter Bell, Si Reasoning, myself and LaDonna Smith. Dianne McNaron will preview her upcoming Marlene Dietrich retrospective and Caroline Karson will play Chopin. Come early and stay late, there’ll be lots to take in.

Location Ensemble: Release, Review, Perform, Repeat…

I failed to mark the release of the Location Ensemble’s debut disc on Tape Drift (td49). Luckily it didn’t escape the attention of Andrew White at The Upstate Soundscape who posted a review of the release. He rightfully singles out drummer Matt Weston as “the unsung hero in this guitar ensemble”. Andrew describes my Six Chords Every Rock Guitarist Should Know as “…a dizzying sound that spirals up with sheets of sound whipping around, building up and then falling apart.” Sounds good to me.

Listen to Eric Hardiman’s Diversion #3 from the release here.

Location Ensemble will perform at Valentine’s on April 18, opening for Disappears (Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and Brian Case of The Ponys) and Lotus Plaza (Lockett Pundt of Deerhunter). I’m unable to play with the group that night–but what’s one less electric guitar in a group of eight or nine?

Today’s Fun: Diddley Bows

Inspired by Mike Orr’s Handmade Music Factory book I grabbed some scrap wood and empty soup cans and hacked together three diddley bows. They sound a bit like a berimbau crossed with a one-string Resophonic guitar. I’ll post some sounds once I find my way around the instruments. I’ll likely add guitar pickups or contact mics, too.

Cigar Box Guitar

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Had a great time building a cigar box guitar under the direction of John Nickel at Nickel Cigar Box Guitar.

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Here’s a detail of the piezo pickup that we installed in the cigar box. The small block of wood on the left is later glued to cover the piezo element.

Location Ensemble Catch-Up

Here’s the latest on all things Location Ensemble:

  • Read a review of our recent show at Saratoga Arts in Nippertown.
  • Listen to the recording of my piece Six Chords Every Rock Guitarist Should Know from the Saratoga Arts performance.

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  • Listen to an Upstate Soundscape broadcast featuring Eric Hardiman’s Diversion #3.

The Woodstock Quantum Ensemble & Holland Hopson/James Keepnews in Kingston, June 3

One from the archives: James Keepnews taking us to school in 2002. Photo: Chris Funkhauser

I’m super excited to reunite with partner James Keepnews for this duo show at Backstage Productions in Kingston on Friday June 3. We’ll be performing duets for saxophone, guitar and lots o’ electronics. There may be a banjo piece in there, too.

Our hosts for the night are the Woodstock Quantum Ensemble featuring Johnny Asia (guitar), Damon Banks (electric bass), Joakim Lartey (percussion) and Gus Mancini (reeds).

Fri, June 3, 2011 7:30 pm
The Woodstock Quantum Ensemble &
Holland Hopson/James Keepnews
Backstage Productions
Kingston, NY
$15
$10 students/seniors

Find all the info at AllAboutJazz.com

Back from the Atlantic Center for the Arts

The view of the Florida scrub outside my window

I’ve just returned from an energizing and productive residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts where I worked with David Behrman and an inspiring group of fellow composers and performers. We shared our time there with an outstanding group of visual artists led by Diana Cooper and a delightful gathering of writers led by Victoria Redel.

Here are some signs found around the beautiful ACA campus. I’ll post recordings (and hopefully video) of the work I did there soon.

Troy Night Out: Plants and Insects at the Arts Center of the Capital Region

I’m excited to play with members of Albany Sonic Arts Collective‘s Century Plants and Insect Posse for a performance dubbed Plants and Insects. The event is part of Troy Night Out so it’s free and drop-in friendly (how else do you say “come on by and stay as long or little as you’d like?”).

Friday, August 26, 5-9pm
The Arts Center of the Capital Region
256 River St.
Troy, NY
Free!