Iva Bittová & Hamid Drake (duo)

PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE FOR THIS CONCERT (FRIDAY, JAN 20TH, 2017)

8 PM, January 20th, 2017
Joe’s Cafe
6014 Kingsbury Ave. 63112 (map)

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Iva Bittová – violin / vocals
Hamid Drake – drums / percussion

Vocalist/violinist Iva Bittová (Czech Republic) is internationally known for her unique music, which draws on influences from her native Moravia and her lineage in the rich traditions of Slovakia and the Roma people. Her ability to bring those influences together with such modern inspirations as Meredith Monk’s wordless vocal pieces and free improvisation,  creates music that feels both ancient and new, simultaneously surprising and familiar. Bittová is a storyteller who rarely uses actual language to convey the emotions of her stories. While either singing wordlessly or using an implied language of her own, she crafts intimate, engrossing narratives, ultimately creating her own truly personal style of folk music.

Hamid Drake is an American jazz drummer and percussionist, living in Chicago, but spending a great deal of his time touring worldwide. Drake is widely regarded as one of the great percussionists in jazz and improvised music, with a uniquely poetic approach to drumming; he draws from Afro-Cuban, Indian and African percussion instruments and influences. His musical involvements date back to 1974 when he began working with the AACM and felt impelled to explore earlier forms of drumming. He soon began working with several of the greatest innovators in jazz at the time: Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, and Peter Brötzmann. In live settings he continually takes collaborators to higher rhythmic levels, while at the same time carving out space for his own explorations. For over 30 years he has remained one of the most consistently venturesome and compelling drummers of his time.

Additional workshops/events TBA


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Artifacts Trio

  • Tomeka Reid – cello
  • Nicole Mitchell – flutes
  • Mike Reed – drums

8 PM, Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
Joe’s Cafe
6014 Kingsbury Ave. 63112

Cellist Tomeka Reid, flutist Nicole Mitchell, and drummer Mike Reed are torchbearers of Chicago’s innovative jazz scene, as well as the most prominent members and educators of the third generation of The Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM), a historically important Chicago arts organization. The trio served on the organization’s executive board from 2009-2011. Their music both touches upon and advances the organization’s motto, “Ancient to the Future”, and celebrates African-American culture while reaching across genres and integrating new ideas into the legacy of jazz, experimentalism, and composition.

Over the past decade, cellist Tomeka Reid has become an integral component of her city’s jazz and improvised-music communities, working regularly with Joshua Abrams and Matana Roberts. Reid currently plays in several high-profile groups, including collaborations with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, the AACM’s Great Black Music Ensemble, and has written music for a Millennium Park concert series. Nicole Mitchell is a flutist, composer, bandleader and educator, who has repeatedly been awarded by DownBeat Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association as “Top Flutist of the Year”. Drummer/composer Mike Reed has also extended his work into many creative territories. In addition to drumming in a rotating cast jazz and improvised groups, he’s a founding director of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and a director of the acclaimed performing arts venue, Constellation.

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Jen Shyu

Jen Shyu
Solo Rites: Seven Breaths
Friday, November 11. 2016
The Kranzberg Arts Center
501 N Grand Blvd. 63103 (map)
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Jen Shyu – voice, performance, multiple instruments

Born to Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, 2016 Doris Duke Artist Jen Shyu is an experimental jazz vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, producer, and Fulbright scholar. Known mostly for her virtuosic singing with saxophonist and 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow Steve Coleman since 2003 and having collaborated with innovators such as Anthony Braxton, she has performed her own music around the world in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and festivals around the world. The New York Times reviewed her live concerts as “the most arresting performances I’ve seen over the past five years. It’s not just the meticulous preparation of the work and the range of its reference, but its flexibility: She seems open, instinctual, almost fearless”. The Wall Street Journal said, “Her voice, a wonder of technical control and unrestrained emotion, tells a story dotted with well-researched facts and wild poetic allusions. She claims both as her truths.”

Jen is currently based in New York City, touring with her group Jade Tongue and performing Solo Rites: Seven Breaths in the US and abroad. In March 2016, she premiered Song of Silver Geese, a multilingual, ritual music drama composed for Jade Tongue, dancer Satoshi Haga, and Mivos Quartet at Roulette. She is currently working on this and her next solo work, which will result in a United States 50-state “Songs of the World Now (SOWN)” tour.

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Spring Roll Quartet

NMC and KDHX Present
Sylvaine Hélary’s Spring Roll Quartet
Saturday, October 22nd, 2016
The Stage at KDHX
3524 Washington Ave. 63103 (map)

Sylvaine Hélary (flute/compostions)
Antonin Rayon (piano/MS20 synthesizer)
Hugues Mayot (saxophones/clarinets)
Sylvain Lemêtre (vibraphone/percussion)

Sylvaine Hélary (France) is a composer, and flutist, active in a multitude of endeavors, from performance art, composing for large ensembles, to improvised engagements with Chicago figures such as cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and percussionist Mike Reed. Her most recent ensemble, working under the title Spring Roll, covers a span of styles in an almost collage-like manner. Spring Roll’s thematically dense surrealist arrangements with percussive counterpoint warrant comparison to composers like Ornette Coleman and Harry Partch, as well as underground-rock greats Henry Cowell and Captain Beefheart. The quartet includes Hélary, Antonin Rayon (piano/MS20 synthesizer), Hugues Mayot (saxophones/clarinets), and Sylvain Lemêtre (vibraphone/percussion).
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Kris Davis & Craig Taborn (Piano Duo)

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Kris Davis – piano
Craig Taborn – piano

Please join us for New Music Circle’s 58th Season opening concert
Saturday, October 1st at the 560 Music Center (E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall)
560 Trinity Ave, St. Louis, MO 63130 (map)
7pm doors / 8pm concert

Tickets available here
Performance and seating will be onstage in the main auditorium of the E. Desmond Lee room.
This concert will be professionally recorded and documented for an upcoming CD release.

Pianist-composer Kris Davis has prospered as one of the singular talents on the New York jazz scene, known for her ability to interweave jazz standards equally with experimental improvisations. Kris cites 20th century composers György Ligeti and Morton Feldman as inspirations in her quest to form complex compositions, yet she utilizes the sense of freedom found in avant-garde jazz to push these influences into new communicative territory. Her 2011 album, Capricorn Climber, made “best of the year” lists in The New York Times, NPR, and Art Forum. In 2015 she was granted the Doris Duke Impact Award. ( www.krisdavis.net )

Craig Taborn is as likely to be playing free-improvisation with Roscoe Mitchell (Art Ensemble of Chicago), as he is to be playing straight-ahead jazz at New York City’s Village Vanguard. Though as adept in composed solo piano settings (see 2011’s critically acclaimed Avenging Angel) as with electro-acoustic sound collage (see 2004’s electronic album Junk Magic), his work resists genre labeling. While he has had a transformative impact on jazz, he remains even more deeply invested in the avant-garde models he has been exploring ever since his teenage years in Minneapolis, citing Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra as influences. Jazz Times ranked Taborn in its 2013 critics’ poll as “best piano player”, and in 2014 he was granted a Doris Duke Artist Award. ( player.ecmrecords.com/taborn )

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