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THUMBSCREW (trio)

Friday, September 12, 2014
concert 7:30 PM
doors 7:00PM
Joe’s Cafe
6014 Kingsbury Ave., 63122 (map)
(SW corner of Kingsbury and Des Peres)
  • Mary Halvorson — guitar
  • Michael Formanek — bass
  • Tomas Fujiwara — drums
Under the title Thumbscrew, three foremost voices of NYC’s new jazz scene have come together to explore the crossroads of improvisation and composition. Comprised of Mary Halvorson (guitar), Michael Formanek (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums), Thumbscrew functions as a vehicle to navigate both the modal complexities of jazz composition as well as the challenges of collective spontaneity. Thumbscrew’ssound originates from the interconnecting bonds its members have forged, playing in many and various formats over the years, such as composer/cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum’s large groups as well as Anthony Braxton’s experimental/compositional ensembles. Their 2014 self-titled release on Cunieform Records was described as “exploring open, undulating grooves through a frequent tightening and loosening of their interplay along serpentine lines” by Dusted Magazine. Known for her unmistakable tone and approach to guitar playing, Mary Halvorson has been described by NPR Music as “A guitarist who sounds like no other, Halvorson can astound and confound, with craggy phrasing, strange pitch-bends and pedal effects galore”.A definite inspiration for bassist Michael Formanek’s creativity and versatility would be the broad generational range of distinguished musicians with whom he has performed, from Stan Getz and Freddie Hubbard throughout the ‘70′s-‘80′s, to Tim Berne and Marty Ehrlich during the ‘90′s and beyond.

Drummer Tomas Fujiwara works with rhythm as a pliable substance, resulting in a versatility that allows him to be continually active in collaborations with many different emerging voices, such as Matana Roberts and Matt Mitchell.



ELI KESLZER / RASHAD BECKER (solo performances)

Saturday, November 8, 2014
concert 7:30 PM, doors 7:00PM
The Luminary
2701 Cherokee St. 63118 (map)
  • Eli Keszler — drums
  • Rashad Becker — electronics
NYC based drummer and sound artist, Eli Keszler, engages in a frictional push-and-pull of percussive sound through instrumental means which are both traditional and experimental. His oeuvre is multi-faceted, consisting of musical scores informed by his print making/drawing practices as well as his construction of resonating piano wire installations (most recently an installation on the Manhattan Bridge commissioned by NPR Radio). His hyper-percussive improvisations are ripe with detailed and pointilistic attacks that build momentum to form frenzied sonic clusters, drawing inspiration from the sponaneity of Han Bennik’s percussion work as well as the harmonic density of Colin Nancorrow’s compositions.With full length albums on the vinyl-art label PAN and the legendary avant-garde jazz label ESP-Disk, Keszler’s releases have received “album of the year” awards from the Boston Globe and Wire Magazine. After studying composition with Anthony Coleman and Ran Blake, Eli Keslzer toured extensively, performing both solo as well as in collaboration with such diverse artists as Christian Wolff, Phill Niblock, Tony Conrad, Joe McPhee, Jandek, Roscoe Mitchell and Keith Fullerton Whitman.

Berlin electronic musician, Rashad Becker, utilizes realtime synthesis and sampling techniques that set into motion intricate sonic worlds that recall the complexities of human speech and various exotic aural phenomena, and warrant comparisons to the detailed sonics of pioneers like Tod Dockstader, and the GRM school of electronic music. Oscillating pitches conjoin, multiply and dissolve in unlikely configurations, creating a complex ecosystem of sound. Also, Becker’s work as a vinyl cutting and mastering engineer at Berlin’s Dubplates Mastering Studio (where he has overseen thousands of mastering jobs) has endowed him with a unique insider’s perspective on the practice and aesthetics of modern day electronic music and production.

After years of performing, Becker’s sole release came out on PAN in 2013, aptly titled Traditional Musics of Notional Species. Pitchfork described Becker’s LP as an album that “breathes in pointed, often hilarious detail. [Becker's] sounds actually sound like things.”

*** SPECIAL WORKSHOPS/ARTIST TALKS TBA ***



ROSCOE MITCHELL and CRAIG TABORN (duo)

Friday, December 5th, 2014
concert 7:30 PM, doors 7:00PM
The Stage at KDHX
3524 Washington Ave. 63103 (map)
  • Roscoe Mitchell — saxophones
  • Craig Taborn — piano
An internationally renowned musician, composer and innovator, Roscoe Mitchell began his distinguished career in the spirited 1960s of Chicago. In Mitchell’s own opinion, his work is a product of his heritage in the fertile art communities of the AACM (Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians) and The Art Ensemble of Chicago. Both organizations spawned large networks of musicians and inspired radical approaches to performance and musical thought, thus informing his own practice for over five decades. Primarily known for his saxophone playing, Mitchell’s multi-instrumental palette also includes various flutes, woodwinds and a broad range of percussion.Mitchell’s monumental 1966 album, Sound, introduced new ways of freely improvising and composing and has long been cited as an essential building block of the “free-jazz” vernacular. Now at the age 73, Mitchell has recorded works on over 83 albums and has written over 250 compositions. Throughout his composed works Mitchell expresses ideas that embrace a broad span of musics from energetic free jazz to traditional music methodologies to complex compositions for chamber groups. Longstanding collaborations have continued with a coterie of diverse musicians: Mujhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Lester Bowie and Pauline Oliveros. Mitchell has been named Darius Milhaud Chair of Composition at Mills College in Oakland, California, where he currently lives and works.

NYC pianist and ECM recording artist, Craig Taborn, has remained a ubiquitous presence on the jazz scene for the past two decades, performing with young jazz musicians and seasoned veterans as well as experimental rock and techno artists. His pianistic approach alludes to the explorations of Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and Cecil Taylor and expands further upon these models through his alternate use of Spartan subtlety and dense, hypnotic chord structuring. With regard to his performance sensibilities, Taborn explains that this takes shape by “listening to the really subtle details of instrumental sound, because you don’t just have to rest on notes and rhythms. You can rest on overtones and undertones and other nuances of sound to draw from. When you listen to silence, it’s really rich with possibility, and we start from that place.” At any given time his ongoing band/collaboration-list is over twenty names, which now include Tim Berne, Lotte Anker, Gerald Cleaver, William Parker and Vijay Iyer.

*** SPECIAL WORKSHOPS/ARTIST TALKS TBA ***



JOHANNA BALLOU

January, 2015 (date TBA) Venue TBA
  • Johanna Ballou — piano
Johanna Ballou is a young American pianist who has been enthralling American and European audiences with her magnetic stage presence and dynamic interpretations. She completed her studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in the UK and has studied with Daniel Martyn Lewis, Rolf Hind, Seth Carlin, William Phemister, Vera Parkin, and members of Grammy Award-winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird. After her acclaimed Welsh premier of Gyorgy Ligeti’s Piano Concerto, she toured alongside members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and London Sinfonietta for the contemporary chamber opera company Music Theatre Wales. She collaborated with Diversions, the National Dance Company of Wales, and worked in music for Welsh independent film, television, theater, and art installation projects. Since returning to the states in 2009, she has continued her performance career in both solo and collaborative piano. She works closely with composers in the performance of new music, and performs educational programs for children throughout Missouri and Illinois.


OKKYUNG LEE / LOTTE ANKER (solo sets and collaborative duo)

Saturday, February 21, 2015
Concert 7:30 PM
Doors 7:00 PM
Joe’s Cafe
6014 Kingsbury Ave., 63122 (map)
  • Okkyung Lee — cello
  • Lotte Anker — saxophones
Okkyung Lee has been developing her own approach to cello performance for over a decade. Unbound by any specific genre or style, her visceral yet communicative sound draws from her background in extended instrumental techniques, Korean traditional musics and contemporary “noise” aesthetics. Born in Korea but based in New York City since 2000, she has released several albums on labels such as Tzadik, Ideologic Organ, and Ecstatic Peace. A list of her musical partnerships is long and diverse and include such maverick sound-experimentalists as Christian Marclay, Thurston Moore, Laurie Anderson, Ikue Mori, Jim O’Rourke and C. Spencer Yeh, as well as master instrumentalists like John Zorn, Chris Corsano, Leo Wadada Smith, Vijay Iyer and John Edwards. Okkyung’s forays include collaborations with visual artists and choreographers to develop multi-disciplinary performances, many of these ultimately presented at Dance Theater Workshop, Issue Project Room and The Kitchen.In an unforgettable 2011 performance in St. Louis, Danish saxophonist, Lotte Anker, left a lasting impression on all those who witnessed and an eager anticipation for a return visit. Informed by the rich improvised music scene of Copenhagen during the late ‘80′s, Anker has honed a dramatic sense of pacing and tone, juxtaposing brisk sounds against long stretches of extended melody, creating an effect that is both moody and responsive…. and occasionally sounding as if Evan Parker were to sit in with Sun Ship-era Coltrane.

Anker has maintained her long-running engagement with the trio of Gerald Cleaver and Craig Taborn, as well as a trio with Ikue Mori and Sylvie Courvosier. Other regular collaborators include Fred Frith, Paal-Nilsen Love, and Fred Lonberg-Holm.



ON FILLMORE (Glenn Kotche, Darin Gray)

Saturday, March 14, 2015
Concert 7:30 PM
Doors 7:00 PM
The Stage at KDHX – welcomed by KDHX
3524 Washington Ave. 63103 (map)
  • Glenn Kotche — percussion
  • Darin Gray — bass
Once dubbed “the rhythm section’s revenge” by Jim O’Rourke, On Fillmore is the multi-instrumental duo of bassist Darin Gray (St. Louis) and percussionist Glenn Kotche (Chicago). Kotche and Gray first came in contact with one another at recording sessions in 1999 during which the On Fillmore project was conceptualized. Over a decade later the band is still stretching the very definition of the term “rhythm section” by their use of upright bass, exotic percussion, vibraphone, various small instruments and the superimposition of field recordings.Kotche and Gray both have long and impressive musical résumés. Well known for his tenure with Wilco, Kotche is a respected composer whose 2006 solo album, Mobile, was released on Nonesuch.Darin Gray’s output of recordings began in the ’90s, when he was a member of various experimental rock bands. Since then, Gray has been consistently active as a world class performer and improviser, releasing solo recordings as well as numerous collaborative works with musicians Loren Mazzacane Connors, Akira Sakata, Chris Corsano (as Chikamorachi), among many others. The past two years have seen Gray active in tours with NPR’s Radiolab series and Jeff Tweedy.

*** SPECIAL WORKSHOPS/ARTIST TALKS TBA ***



Tim Berne’s Snakeoil – (quartet)

Friday, May 8, 2015
Concert 7:30 PM
Doors 7:00 PM
The Stage at KDHX – welcomed by KDHX
3524 Washington Ave. 63103 (map)
  • Tim Berne — saxophone
  • Oscar Noriega — clarinets
  • Matt Mitchell — piano
  • Ches Smith — percussion
New York-based alto saxophonist Tim Berne has long been regarded as one of the Downtown scene’s most forward thinking bandleaders. Active in New York since 1974, Berne has fostered the creative talent of subsequent generations.Since learning music at the elbow of St. Louis master Julius Hemphill in the ’70s, Berne has built an expansive discography, and The New York Times described Berne’s signature sound as one consisting of “wide intervals, athletic tone, tiny grooves worked into the music’s pivots and hesitations”.

Within the project, Snakeoil, Berne writes highly investigative and intricate jazz, bringing together the talents of Oscar Noriega (clarinet, bass clarinet), Matt Mitchell (piano), and Ches Smith (drums, percussion). The group has released two highly acclaimed albums for ECM.