59th Season Opening Concert: Steve Swell Quintet

Steve Swell Quintet
Saturday, October 7, 2017
The Stage at KDHX
3524 Washington Ave., 63103
Steve Swell – trombone & compositions
William Parker – upright bass
Chad Taylor – drums
Jemeel Moondoc – saxophones
Dave Burrell – piano

 

 

Veteran free-jazz trombonist and composer Steve Swell makes his St. Louis debut, performing with master bassist William Parker, drummer Chad Taylor, saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, and pianist Dave Burrell. Long associated with New York’s downtown avant-garde scene,  Swell began his career in 1975, and since then he has built one of the most expansive and wide-ranging careers in jazz, touring and recording with artists such as Tim Berne and Ken Vandermark. His work as a collaborator and sideman is extensive, and significant partnerships include Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, and John Zorn.

Dave Burrell is known for his solo-piano works as well as his collaborations with Archie Shepp and Pharaoh Sanders,. William Parker is an iconic musician who the Village Voice has called, “The most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time”. In 2013, he received the Doris Duke Performing Arts Award in recognition of his musical impact over the past 40 years. Jemeel Moondoc was a featured soloist for Cecil Taylor. Chad Taylor is a regular collaborator of Marc Ribot and Pharaoh Sanders, and continues his decade-plus role as percussionist in Chicago Underground Duo.

Presented in partnership with KDHX

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59th Season: Fall 2017 – Spring 2018

We are pleased to announce our 59th Season of New Music Circle. Year 59 is set to offer what may be one of the most far ranging, high quality seasons ever presented by New Music Circle. From electronic music and visual arts, avant-garde jazz and rock to modern composition, we have a dynamic program in store for you! Please come, interact, and enjoy the fantastic year ahead.

Please stay tuned for updates on these concerts, workshops, and special events. Tickets will be available this week to purchase – announcements to come.

Steve Swell Quintet
Saturday, October 7, 2017
The Stage at KDHX
3524 Washington Ave., 63103 (map) – FB event page here
Steve Swell – trombone & compositions
William Parker – upright bass
Chad Taylor – drums
Jemeel Moondoc – saxophones
Dave Burrell – piano


Veteran free-jazz trombonist and composer Steve Swell makes his St. Louis debut, performing with master bassist William Parker, drummer Chad Taylor, saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, and pianist Dave Burrell. Long associated with New York’s downtown avant-garde scene,  Swell began his career in 1975, and since then he has built one of the most expansive and wide-ranging careers in jazz, touring and recording with artists such as Tim Berne and Ken Vandermark. His work as a collaborator and sideman is extensive, and significant partnerships include Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, and John Zorn.

Dave Burrell is known for his solo-piano works as well as his collaborations with Archie Shepp and Pharaoh Sanders,. William Parker is an iconic musician who the Village Voice has called, “The most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time”. In 2013, he received the Doris Duke Performing Arts Award in recognition of his musical impact over the past 40 years. Jemeel Moondoc was a featured soloist for Cecil Taylor. Chad Taylor is a regular collaborator of Marc Ribot and Pharaoh Sanders, and continues his decade-plus role as percussionist in Chicago Underground Duo.

Presented in partnership with KDHX

John Wiese
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Xavier Hall University Theatre, Saint Louis University
3733 West Pine Mall, 63108
John Wiese – electronics & compositions for St. Louis ensemble


John Wiese is an artist and composer living in Los Angeles, California. He is a native of St. Louis, where as a young teenager he began experiments with home-recording on a cassette 4-track. He has since solidified his name as a tremendously prolific performer and recording artist, with expertise in composition, texture, and sonic experimentation. Wiese says he doesn’t really think of himself as a musician in the traditional sense, and instead of writing purely notated music he works with manipulating, cutting and arranging sounds electronically. The end product is more like a meticulous collage, built upon dense, nuanced sounds ranging from the minimal to the frenetic.

With a lengthy résumé of solo releases, Wiese’s projects as a collaborator have increased over the last decade to produce works with the likes of veteran jazz-improviser, Evan Parker, rock bands like No Age and Wolf Eyes, and metal groups such as Sunn O))). Recently, he has lead collaborative projects for large groups, developing a method of “text-based scores”. For his St. Louis performance he will debut a site-specific composition that includes over 20 local musicians, utilizing both traditional and non-traditional instrumentation.

Co-presented in partnership with Department of Fine & Performing Arts, Saint Louis University
Special support provided has been provided Arts and Education Council

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Battle Trance
Saturday, Dec 2, 2017
The Luminary
2701 Cherokee St., 63118
Travis Laplante – saxophone
Patrick Breiner – saxophone
Matthew Nelson – saxophone
Jeremy Viner – saxophone



The all-tenor sax quartet, Battle Trance, specializes in the uncanny transformations of their instruments.  Together they perform longform, meditative pieces with a strong emphasis on drone, circular breathing, and trancelike repetition, bringing to mind the works of 20th Century minimalist composers like Philip Glass or Steve Reich, but with an added primal energy and urgency reminiscent of Pharaoh Sanders or Joe McPhee.

Battle Trance has released two albums to date on the prolific indie-label, NNA Tapes:  Palace of the Wind (2014) and Blade of Love (2016). Both albums  have won praise for their genre-crossing compositions, drawing comparisons to the contemporary classical world, modal avant-garde jazz, and noise-based experimentalism. In live settings the quartet is capable of creating a hypnotic fury of notes, unifying both the harmonic and physical in sound.

 

presented in partnership with The Luminary

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ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble)
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Pulitzer Arts Foundation
3716 Washington Blvd, 63108
Claire Chase – flute
Tyshawn Sorey – drums, percussion, glockenpsiel , compositions
Corey Smythe – piano & compositions



Three years ago, NMC drew a standing-room-only crowd to the Pulitzer, to see Claire Chase, who The New York Times described as “one of the most electrifying flute players on the planet.” She now returns to St. Louis with multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey and pianist Corey Smythe, core members of the arts collaborative she founded, ICE, which The New Yorker described as “America’s foremost new music ensemble.”

Chase is a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, and through ICE, has premiered more than 800 new music works around the world. Sorey, a composer, percussionist, trombonist, and pianist, has just released his sixth record, Verisimilitude, this August; The New York Times called it “his most captivating album yet,” praising the effortless way it obliterates the line between composition and improvisation. Smythe, who performed on the album, is known for his strong jazz improvisation skills, as well as his work in classical and new music. He can be heard on Hilary Hahn’s Grammy Award-winning In 27 Pieces and at the Mostly Mozart festival in Lincoln Center.

For this concert, the trio will perform an eclectic program:  Pauline Oliveros’ Earth Ears and Environmental Dialogue, Morton Feldman’s 1978 work Why Patterns? and two new pieces: a Smythe/Sorey duet, and a Tyshawn Sorey composition for drums and contrabass flute.

Presented in partnership with Pulitzer Arts Foundation.

Special support for this event has been made possible by the Phoebe Dent Weil Charitable Trust.

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Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Urb Arts
2600 N 14th St, 63106
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe – modular synthesizer, electronics, voice, and video



Some artists find their voice and then spend their career perfecting it. There are others, however, who spend an entire lifetime in continual transition, as Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe has done. Beginning with his solo electronic work in the late-nineties, Lowe’s vernacular has continually evolved deeper into a world comprised of  spontaneous electronic sound, droning modular synthesizer, and vocal improvisations.

Lowe was a vital part of the thriving Chicago underground for some thirteen years before eventually moving to his current home in Brooklyn, where he entered a new chapter of musical creativity. Enamored with the possibilities of electronics, he began exploring the pliable workings of modular synthesizers: “They’re interchangeable, and have the potential to be ever-transforming,” he enthuses. Upon listening to his recorded works, one encounters Lowe’s intuitive method of using analog modular systems to echo the organic nature of the human voice to produce subliminal, trance-like sounds.

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The Thing
Exact dates TBA: March 22 – March 24, 2018
Off Broadway
3509 Lemp Ave., 63118
Mats Gustaffson – saxophones
Ingebrit Håker Flaten – upright and electric basses
Paal Nilssen-Love – drums

Swedish/Norwegian trio The Thing was formed to create a long awaited synthesis where garage rock and jazz styles could merge by means of this high energy vehicle. Though the group initially came together in 1999 as a tribute project dedicated to legendary composer/trumpeter Don Cherry, it quickly evolved and found its own identity, performing improvised music, informed by the urgency and simplicity of garage rock. If you line up a list of The Thing’s cover selections (songs by The Stooges, The Cramps, The Sonics, and PJ Harvey) beside their roster of collaborators (experimental-rock-luminaries like Jim O’Rourke, Joe McPhee, Peter Brötzmann, and Neneh Cherry) you can get an idea of where their sensibilities lie.

Boot! (2013) is The Thing’s sixth full-length album, and it is among the group’s finest efforts at pairing broad physicality with heady free jazz technique. The record opens with a high-volume reimagining of India, from John Coltrane’s 1963 album Impressions. Here, spiritual jazz is recast as raw and sludgy stoner rock, producing an album of genuine “fusion music” in the best sense of the word.

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C. Spencer Yeh / Andrew Lampert
Friday, April 6th or Saturday, April 7th, 2018
Venue TBA
C. Spencer Yeh – violin, voice, and electronics
Andrew Lampert – 8mm film, 16mm film, and digital video for site specific installation

C. Spencer Yeh is recognized for his interdisciplinary activities and collaborations as an artist, instrumentalist (on violin, voice, and electronics), as well as his music project Burning Star Core. Much of Yeh’s video work engages with avant-garde composition and performance, variously as studies in form and technique, or as documentation of other artists working within his musical, geographic or social spheres.  Born in Taiwan, he currently works out of Brooklyn, NY. Yeh’s sound draws inspiration from the late drone music pioneer Tony Conrad, with whom he has collaborated, and his videos reflect a prevailing fascination with experimental film. He edits both media with equal precision, inviting the audience to bridge any possible gaps between these disciplines. He was a 2015 Artist-in-Residence at ISSUE Project Room, and now works as a programmer for Spectacle Theater in Brooklyn NY. His video works are distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix, and he is a contributing editor to BOMB magazine.

Andrew Lampert is at the forefront of a new generation of artists engaging with film, video and performance, revisiting and extending the dialogue around an expanded definition of cinema. Utilizing everything from 8mm film to digital projections, Lampert pursues the synergy between artist, art, and audience in a public space, especially as it pertains to cinema. He brings unscripted and chance elements into cinema’s veneer of control, and often works with found material. Originally from St. Louis, he currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.  His work has been shown at the 2006 Whitney Biennial; The Getty Museum, and the British Film Institute. In addition to his work as an interdisciplinary artist, he was the Film Archivist at Anthology Film Archives in New York for over a decade, and in 2016 edited a book on Beatnik artist/avant-garde filmmaker, Harry Smith.

Presented in partnership with The Luminary

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Matana Roberts
Saturday, May 19th, 2018
Venue TBA
Matana Roberts – saxophone & spoken word


Jazzthetik describes composer, bandleader, saxophonist, and experimentalist Matana Roberts as “the spokeswoman for a new, politically conscious and refractory jazz scene.” She first came to prominence with the Chicago trio Sticks & Stones (with bassist Josh Abrams and drummer Chad Taylor), but it’s her more recent solo work that has attracted international critical acclaim. Thus far, three of a projected twelve chapters in her powerful Coin Coin project have been released, which makes use of a technique Roberts describes as “panoramic sound quilting.” Using a wide range of sounds—spoken oral history, poetry, hymns, fragments of American standards, opera, improvisation, and sometimes dense, almost symphonic soundscapes—Roberts has set out to describe the experiences of the Black diaspora, using the stories of her family and her ancestors (The namesake of the project is Roberts’s ancestor Coincoin, a Louisiana-born free woman of color).

Critic Peter Margasek wrote that with Coin Coin, Roberts takes “a long look at something ghostly, tragic, and beautiful. She is carving out her own aesthetic space,

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59th Season Kickoff at Tick Tock Tavern (8/22)

Help support New Music Circle’s upcoming 59th season by joining us for an evening of drinks and DJ’s on Tuesday, August 22nd (7:00pm – 9:30pm) at Tick Tock Tavern (3459 Magnolia Ave Saint Louis, MO 63118) located in Tower Grove East. RSVP here for updates.

A full announcement of our upcoming season concerts and events will soon be available. Please sign up on our mailing list for an upcoming email announcement.

FREE! – no admission cost or cover –

On August 22nd from 7pm-9:30pm DJ’s will play records and raffle prizes (including CD’s, LP’s, and tickets to upcoming NMC concerts). All proceeds of drinks purchased during these hours at Tick Tock Tavern will help support New Music Circle concerts and workshops throughout the coming year. Tick Tock Tavern is a cash-only bar with an ATM machine located on premises.

If you are unable to attend, and would like to make a donation to support our 59th season, please visit our donate page HERE, to make a tax-deductible donation.

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SUMMER BREAK! Upcoming Support Event + 59th Season Details….

Thank you to the incredible crowd who attended our May concert! You can find a detailed summary of this beautiful night at Sound Of STL’s review HERE.

We are currently on a summer break, however we will be announcing our upcoming season very soon (please stay tuned!) – and have a fundraising event coming up on June 13th (please see the details below).

STEINS FOR SUPPORT! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017. 5pm – 8pm. FREE

Please help support New Music Circle and join us at  Urban Chestnut, Midtown location (3229 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO 63103) on Tuesday June 13 from 5:00 to 8:00.  Hang out, drink beer and have fun.  A portion of beverage purchases will be donated to NMC and help us continue presenting concerts and workshops.

 

 

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Erik Friedlander Interview by Nathan Cook

 
St. Louis musician and artist, Nathan Cook, recently led an interview with cellist/composer, Erik Friedlander. Friedlander presents his new trio, Black Phebe this Thursday (March 16th, at The Stage at KDHX) – information is here.

How did your new group Black Phebe come together and what is it about Shoko Nagai and Satoshi Takeishi that compelled you to collaborate with them on this project?
I’ve been working with Satoshi Takeishi for almost 20 years. He played in my Topaz quartet which released 4 cds over a 10 year period starting in 1999. He recently was a featured performer on the soundtrack I wrote for Thoroughbred. I love working with Sato as he brings fireworks and energy to my music.  We started playing as a trio after an improv gig at The Stone where we played a whole set of completely improvised music.  I was struck by the chemistry we had as a group and I made a promise to myself to find more opportunities for us the work.  In 2012, we got together when I decided to record and expand the music I had just completed for the soundtrack of Nothing On Earth, a documentary about Murray Fredericks and his dangerous attempts to visit and photograph the stark beauty of the melting ice cap of Greenland. For months we worked closely together working on the the score…
Black Phebe (Satoshi Takeishi, Erik Friedlander, Shoko Nagai).
…later on the director and I collaborated intensely to get the score just right – as we had a stunning solo cello score at hand. As the director went on to complete the process of getting the film to the theaters, I felt a nagging sense that my job was still somehow unfinished….after a few sleepless nights I realized I needed to get into the studio and do more recording; “there are more possibilities to explore!”.  I brought Sato and Shoko into the studio and set about reinterpreting the soundtrack as well as recording new pieces I had written.
With Rings I dug deeper into what the group’s possibilities were. I discovered that Shoko’s charismatic performance on accordion or piano changed the feel of the group depending upon which instrument she played.

As a musician and composer from NYC, what is special to you about the much discussed Downtown New York music scene? What led you to work so closely with John Zorn throughout the years?
When I stop to think about it I am always amazed by the number of great musicians there are on what people call the “downtown scene”. It’s a truly inspiring thing to behold and a joy to be a part of the community of musicians here in NYC.
John approached me over 20 years ago to play some games pieces (Hockey, Archery) on his 40th Birthday month at the old Knitting Factory. We hit it off pretty much right away and I’ve been lucky enough to continue to work with John since then performing on numerous soundtracks, a handful of Masada cds, some of his classical music, and now the Bagatelles. It’s always inspiring to be around John.

In recent years you have composed several soundtracks for films such as Thoroughbred, which recently screened at The Sundance Film Festival. How does your compositional approach change for a score versus a regular studio album?
My father is a photographer and so I’ve been around images my whole life.  The relationship between music and picture has always been interesting to me.  The process of working with a director to create a score is a collaboration; but a collaboration in which the director has the final say and so it’s much different from creating music with my colleagues in New York. When I’m in the studio with my bands, I have the final word.  It was difficult at first to reconcile myself to having a piece of mine rejected when I just knew it was perfect for the scene.  It’s very tricky. You have to establish a relationship with the director, to gain their trust but also be able to move on when a favorite piece of music gets nixed.

 
Can you name a visual artist, a writer, or a musician/composer whose work has especially resonated with you throughout your life? 
Kiki Smith, Joseph Cornel, Schile, Balthus, Jerry Goldsmith, Mancini, Ennio Morricone,
Artist, Kiki Smith

 


 

I’ve encountered classically trained musicians who found it very difficult to improvise. What is your perspective on performing composed music versus free improvisation?
 
I don’t really believe in the idea of “free” improvisation. I mean I’ve used the term but I don’t think it’s free. I think of it as very fast composition..composition in the moment with all the tools available to any composer: dynamics, melody, accompaniment, harmony, rhythm, structure, pulse, meter, etc…it’s all in play

Do you have any exercises or techniques for sharpening your listening skills?
Not really, curiosity is really the spark for everything. I try and stay curious. That usually leads to something.
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