Joshua Abrams’ Natural Information Society

Saturday, February 22, 2014
7:30 PM
Joe’s Cafe
6014 Kingsbury Ave. (map)
(SW corner of Kingsbury and Des Peres)
St. Louis, MO 63112
Park on Des Peres Ave.
  • Josh Abrams — guimbri
  • Lisa Alvarado — harmonium
  • Frank Rosaly — drums
  • Emmett Kelly — electric guitar
  • Ben Boye — autoharp
  • Mikel Avery — drums
Bassist, composer, and collaborator Joshua Abrams has been an essential voice of Chicago’s vibrant music scene for the past fifteen years, playing and recording as leader and sideman in a wide range of projects and spanning all genres (Hamid Drake, Tortoise, Tony Conrad, Sam Prekop, Jandek, Craig Taborn, Bill Dixon, Kevin Drumm, Bonny “Prince” Billy).Abrams’s most recent project, Natural Information, represents yet another fascinating entry in his composing oeuvre, gathering aesthetic input from all over the globe and melding these influences into his own vivid personal statements. At the heart of Abrams’s sound here is the guimbri, a three-stringed animal hide bass, traditionally used by the Gnawa of North Africa in healing ceremonies. Combining quintet formats with adroit use of sampling techniques, Abrams creates intricate psychedelic environments that join the hypnotic character of Gnawa guimbri music with more contemporary musics and methodologies. Comparisons to “Brown Rice” era Don Cherry, Sandy Bull’s “Blend” recordings, and Can’s “Magic” albums are well drawn.

For more information on this concert, visit our Facebook page, or check out these articles:

St. Louis Jazz Notes Joshua Abrams Video Showcase
St. Louis Magazine Joshua Abrams interview

Order tickets online.


Olivia Block, Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder


  • Dissolution, solo piece for 4-channel electronic sound by Olivia Block
  • Untitled, for dual 16mm projection and electronic sound by Sandra Gibson, Luis Recoder, and Olivia Block.
Friday, November 15, 2013
doors 7:00 PM, concert 8:00 PM
Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
3750 Washington Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63108
Block, Gibson, Recoder
New York filmmakers and artists, Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder will present an original piece of “live cinema” using film projectors and simple mechanical means to create slowly shifting abstract light sculptures, and will be joined by Chicago electronic musician and sound artist, Olivia Block. Gibson and Recoder often manipulate, modify, and construct their own apparatus to produce ethereal light effects. For example, in Untitled (2008) they constructed an electronic humidification system to mist glass panes situated in front of two projectors running monochromatic 16mm films, creating beautiful and constantly changing abstractions on the screen.

Olivia Block combines field recording, scored segments for acoustic instruments, and electronically generated sound. Her release Mobius Fuse was voted one of the best albums of the decade by Pitchfork. In a recent feature article in the The Wire magazine, Block’s compositions were described as finely “nuanced textures of environmental material and occasional surges of sonic power blended with an elegant instrumental architecture”.

Since 2007 Gibson Recoder, and Block have continued their film and sound collaborations around the world, including recent performances at the Tate Modern and Chicago Underground Film Festival.

Special FREE following-day workshop and artist talk:
Saturday, November 16, 2013. 1pm – 3pm at CAM.

New Music Circle and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis will host a workshop and talk with artists Olivia Block, Sandra Gibson, and Luis Recoder. The artists will demonstrate their extended techniques and approaches to film and sound. This event is free and open to the public.


William Parker: In Order To Survive Quintet


Friday October 25, 2013
7:30 PM
Mad Art Gallery
2727 S. 12th Street, St. Louis, MO 63118
  • William Parker — bass
  • Rob Brown — alto sax
  • Lewis Barnes — trumpet
  • Cooper-Moore — piano
  • Hamid Drake — drums

Photo: Nick Ruechel
Bassist and renowned New York avant-garde jazz icon, William Parker, pursues music with a visionary approach, and it is such a vision that has informed Parker’s massive works as an improviser, composer, poet and overall master musician for over 40 years, thus warranting The Village Voice’s accolade: “…the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time”.

Born in 1952 in the Bronx, Parker studied bass with Richard Davis and Jimmy Garrison, but by the age of 20, Parker had so quickly become the bass player of choice among his peers that he was soon asked to play with figures like Ed Blackwell, Don Cherry, Bill Dixon, Milford Graves, and Sunny Murray. In addition to his notable sojourn with the Cecil Taylor Unit from 1980 through 1991, Parker has cultivated a strong following through countless collaborations over the years with performers such as Alan Silva, Rashid Ali, Peter Brotzmann, and Matthew Shipp.

Since 2000, Parker has continued his musical quest with the ongoing quintet, In Order To Survive, uniting some of the most powerful voices in free jazz today: Hamid Drake (percussion), Cooper-Moore (piano), Rob Brown (alto sax), and Lewis Barnes (trumpet).

 With special support from Piano Distributors, and Jackson Pianos


Two Special free events with Cooper-Moore

New Music Circle presents two special free events with Cooper-Moore on Thursday, October 24, 2013.

(1) Northside Project Workshop with Cooper-Moore

5pm – 6pm
at the Northside Workshop
(in conjunction with Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group)
1306  Saint Louis Ave., 63106 (map)
cost: FREE

*Additional information:

(2) Special performance by Cooper-Moore at Foam

7:30pm – 8:30pm
at Foam Coffee + Beer
3359 S. Jefferson Avenue., 63118 (map)
cost: FREE

As a composer, performer, instrument builder/designer, storyteller, teacher, mentor, and organizer, Cooper-Moore has been a major, if somewhat behind-the-scenes, catalyst in the world of creative music for over 30 years. As a child prodigy Cooper-Moore played piano in churches near his birthplace in the Piedmont region of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. His performance roots in the realm of avant jazz music date to the NYC Loft Jazz era in the early/mid-70s. His first fully committed jazz group was formed in 1970 with David S. Ware and drummer Marc Edwards. Sonny Rollins asked them to open for him at the Village Vanguard in 1973, and they did so with aplomb.  earned a B.A. in Music Education from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and later studied composition-arranging at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.

From 1981 to 1985, Cooper-Moore focused his energies on developing and implementing curriculums to teach children through music via the Head Start program. Returning to New York in 1985, he spent a great part of his creative time working and performing with theatre and dance productions, largely utilizing his hand-crafted instruments. It was not until the early 90s, when William Parker asked him to join his group In Order To Survive, that Cooper-Moore’s pianistic gifts were again regularly featured in the jazz context.

The New Music Circle will present a concert by In Order To Survive (featuring William Parker, Cooper-Moore, Hamid Drake, Rob Brown, and Lewis Barnes) onFriday, October 25th, at the Mad Art Gallery (2727 S. 12th Street).


Marty Ehrlich and the Rites Quartet

For our season opener we are pleased to present St. Louis native Marty Ehrlich and the Rites Quartet. Plus KWMU Jazz Unlimited’sDennis Owsley will host a talk and discussion with Marty (see below for details).

Friday October 4, 2013
7:30 PM
Kranzberg Arts Center
501 N. Grand
St. Louis, MO
Multi-instrumentalist Marty Ehrlich is celebrating 30 years as a significant composer, performer and educator on the international music scene. He began his musical career in Saint Louis while in high school with the now renowned Human Arts Ensemble. He graduated with honors from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1977, where his teachers included George Russell, Jaki Byard, Joseph Allard, and Gunther Schuller. Ehrlich has made 25 recordings of his compositions for ensembles ranging in size from duo to jazz orchestra. He has recorded a CD length work for 26 musicians entitled “The Long View”. He has performed and recorded with such acclaimed musicians as Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, John Carter, Julius Hemphill, and John Zorn.

His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship in Composition and Clarinetist of the Year from the Jazz Journalist Association. He serves as Associate Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Music at Hampshire College.

This concert is part of the American Arts Experience St. Louis.

Two related events:

KWMU’s Jazz Unlimited host Dennis Owsley will host a free talk and discussion with Marty Ehrlich on Thursday October 3rd at 7PM at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112 (across the street from the Pageant). Refreshments will be served.

On the Jazz Unlimited program on Sunday September 29, Dennis Owsley will broadcast an in-depth interview with Marty as well as a selection of his music. The interview will air from 9PM to 10PM on KWMU (90.7FM).