I’m so excited to be part of Anthony Braxton’s week-long residency at the University of Alabama kicking off tonight with a free solo saxophone concert at the Bama Theatre and running through February 25th. Sonic Frontiers is presenting these events; visit their site for the full schedule of events. All events are free.
I’ll be performing on Friday’s concert as part of the Falling River Music Septet along with Anthony Braxton (reeds), Taylor Ho Bynum (brass), Andrew Raffo Dewar (soprano saxophone), Tim Feeney (percussion), Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Ingrid Laubrock (reeds). This is such an amazing lineup, and it’s just one of many throughout the 6-concert residency.
In preparation for this residency I’ve been listening to many Braxton recordings, starting with For Alto and moving through the entire Arista Records box set. I thought I had a grasp of Braxton’s work having heard selections here and there (likely beginning with the Muhal Richard Abrams duo on the Smithsonian Jazz compilation). But I was completely unprepared for both the amount of musical material and the incredible range represented: from ragtime and marching band music to post-bop solos and Sun Ra-like grooves, from the density of his music for four orchestras to the spare, spacey explorations on For Trio. And that barely gets us through the 1970s! I can’t think of another composer with such stylistic richness and diversity.
Here’s the second-generation prototype of a soprano sax / trumpet mouthpiece hybrid. This was printed on a Makerbot Replicator 2X. I modeled the soprano sax mouthpiece base and appended the geometry of a Bach 1-1/2C trumpet mouthpiece found on Thingiverse. The trumpet cup is a bit roomier than the previous prototype; I think I’ll try a trombone-sized cup next. Here’s the STL file so you can download, modify and print your own.
Whenever I try this mouthpiece on my horn my son yells at me to “Stop that horrible noise!” So it must be working…
Saturday, April 16, 8 pm A Night of Amazing Sounds
Bob Gluck/James Keepnews/Ras Moshe/Dean Sharp
Duojoggle (Mitch Elrod/Mike Lopez)
Holland Hopson and Matt Weston Valentine’s
17 New Scotland Ave
Here’s a great way to spend Saturday night! This will be the first time Matt Weston and I have performed as a duo, and I’m really excited about playing with such an amazing drummer. Every time we’ve rehearsed it comes out a little differently, so it should be a fun surprise to hear what happens at Valentine’s.
“A Night of Amazing Sounds”
April 16. In an out-of-the-ordinary move, the normally straight punk-oriented Valentine’s presents “A Night of Amazing Sounds,” a free jazz/experimental electronics program with the quartet of keyboardist Bob Gluck, guitarist James Keepnews, saxophonist Ras Moshe, and drummer Dean Sharp; Duojoggle, featuring saxophonist-guitarist Mitch Elrod and drummer Mike Lopez; and Hopson-Weston, starring Holland Hopson on sax and laptop and Matt Weston on percussion and electronics. Here’s hoping the venue has similar bills in store. (The Charlie Watts Riots and the Last Conspirators plot destruction April 1; the Downtown Fiction hits April 27.) 8pm. Call for ticket prices. Albany. (518) 432-6572; www.valentinesalbany.com.
DEEP FREEZE: Experimental Music for Snowy Times
Saturday, February 19
8:00 pm Upstate Artists Guild 247 Lark St.
$5 suggested donation
This will be my first Albany show of 2011 and my last performance before heading to the Atlantic Center for the Arts for a residency with David Behrman (more on that later…). I’ll be performing a set of music for soprano sax and computer. My current plan includes a piece using a DIY plate reverb as the primary electronic sound source.
Composer and instrumentalist Holland Hopson has been a contributor to the region’s avant-garde music scene for the better part of 20 year—whether it’s vocal excursions that meld Gregorian chant and Dada, or soprano sax forays that come pretty close to “straight-up” jazz, the breadth and range of this iconoclast’s musical journey has always been intriguing, albeit way outside of the box. Hopson’s recent blending of traditional tunes (performed with vocals and banjo) and subtle electronics has turned him into one of the area’s most mesmerizing and memorable live performers. Catch him if you can, as his local shows tend to be few and far between.
Metroland has identified plenty of other (probably more deserving) best-of recipients including such friends and colleagues as Jason Cosco/Grab Ass Cowboys (Best Noise Wrangler); EMPAC (Best Music Curation) — this ought to read Micah Silver, in my opinion, since he is the Music Curator at EMPAC; The Sanctuary for Independent Media (Best Activist Community Arts Center); and Emily Zimmerman (Best Emerging Curator).
These accolades come on the heels of a conversation with a friend at the latest show presented by the Albany Sonic Arts Collective. We were talking about how important it is for a community of artists to receive some recognition from the local press and the concomitant pitfalls of letting it go to your head. A timely conversation for the former and hopefully we’ll avoid the latter. The ASAC event was a great set of performances, by the way, particularly from Fossils from the Sun (Ray Hare) and Family Battle Snake (Bill Kouligas).