with John Medeski, Nels Cline, So Percussion, guests & Helado Negro
Tue January 7th, 2014
Minimum Age: 18+
Doors Open: 7:00PM
Show Time: 8:00PM
Event Ticket: $10
Winter Jazzfest celebrates 10 years launching the 2014 festival with a special show featuring drummer Bobby Previte’s TERMINALS with Nels Cline, John Medeski and special guests TBA. Helado Negro performs an opening set. This night is made possible with support from Six Point Brewery
****2014 WJF Full Festival Pass holders receive access to this event pending capacity****
Click here for details on WJF10 check-in, etc
This is a general admission, standing event.
Bobby Previte’s TERMINALS
TERMINALS, PART I: DEPARTURES, composed by Bobby Previte, is a thrilling and prolific meeting of the classical and the improvised worlds. The evening-length piece premierèd at Merkin Hall, New York City on March 28, 2011 as a joint production of WNYC/John Schaefer’s “New Sounds Live” and The Ecstatic Festival. TERMINALS featured SO PERCUSSION and soloists John Medeski, Zeena Parkins, DJ Olive, Jen Shyu, and the composer. The piece has also been performed by SO PERCUSSION at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston, and by STUDIO PERCUSSION GRAZ on tour in Austria and Hungary. In November 2013 TERMINALS will make its French debut with LES PERCUSSIONS DE STRASBOURG.
TERMINALS exists in two iterations: the concerto version and the percussion ensemble version (without soloists). The concerto version consists of five separate pieces for four percussionists and soloist: one each for harp/guitar, voice, turntables/electronics, drum set, and piano/organ. Pitting the precise percussion ensemble against the uncontrollable improviser, the inherent paradox in the concerto form is dramatically heightened in an attempt to reconcile the ever-fascinating comic book conundrum: What happens when an irresistible force meets an immoveable object? The percussion-only version, also in five separate cycles, is a perfect vehicle for students as it requires not only exacting reading and execution, but also provides explorations into improvisation, ensemble feel, and theatrical presence.
The complete 90-minute piece places standard orchestral percussion instruments (timpani, snare drum, triangle) alongside those that were codified into 20th Century percussion literature (brake drums, anvils, almglocken), regional instruments highly associated with folk music (cuica, spoons, talking drum, timbales), electronic percussion (drum machine), and other unclassifiable elements (bullwhip), to fashion a indelible landscape.
Bobby Previte Official Site
Keyboard master John Medeski thrives on the unpredictable, a trait that has kept his work with the trailblazing trio Medeski Martin & Wood (MMW) fresh and surprising for more than twenty years. With A Different Time, his first solo piano project, Medeski once again takes his sound in a completely unexpected direction – unexpected even to him.
“I had a more eclectic record in mind,” Medeski says. “I wanted to put out something that would be more representative of what my live solo concerts are like.”
Instead, A Different Time (out April 9 – the first release on Sony Classical’s newly-revived OKeh Records imprint) is a far more introspective, meditative collection than fans of MMW’s lively, groove-driven music might expect. Consisting mostly of Medeski’s own compositions and improvisations, with a familiar spiritual and a Willie Nelson song added into the mix, the album presents a different side of Medeski’s prodigious artistry, one which he was initially reluctant to display.
“In all honesty, it was a little scary to put this out because it’s so meditative and contemplative,” Medeski admits. “I know it’s not what anybody’s expecting, but it’s a side of me that exists. It’s really raw and open, stripped of all hipness. But it’s made me a little less afraid to just drop into the moment and play what’s coming to me as opposed to something that I know will work, something that I know is cool, something that I know will have a certain effect. The whole point is to get lost in the music.”
Not just a first for Medeski, A Different Time also marks the return of the historic OKeh label, once home for such jazz pioneers as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, King Oliver, and Sidney Bechet. Sony Classical has revived the label as an outlet for new jazz releases by artists like Medeski, Bill Frisell, David Sanborn, and Bob James, among others to be announced. “At this point,” Medeski says, “after everything that’s gone on in the music business, it’s exciting that Sony has come around to releasing new creative music again. I like the energy of being part of something new.”
While he’s become better known for a more buoyant, organ-centric approach that melds free-wheeling jazz with jam band eclecticism, Medeski says that sitting alone at a piano feels natural, returning him to his earliest experiences at the keyboard. “I grew up playing piano my whole life,” he says, “so it feels like home to me.” He began playing more solo concerts in recent years, and decided it was time to document that aspect of his playing.
The album was recorded at Waterfront Studios, producer Henry Hirsch’s recording studio built within a 19th-century church in New York’s scenic Hudson Valley. For his solo debut, Medeski wanted to aim for a sound quality that approached his personal “Holy Grail,” the recordings that classical pianist Arthur Rubinstein made for RCA Records. Hirsch shared his admiration for those sessions, so Medeski spent several days recording on Waterfront’s nine-foot Steinway piano.
But Hirsch also encouraged Medeski to try the studio’s other piano, a 1924 Gaveau – a French piano made in a pre-modern style, akin to Chopin’s preferred model, the Pleyel. The instrument, as it turned out, was a revelation and made a profound impact on the music that came to be A Different Time.
“The Gaveau required a very delicate, controlled touch,” Medeski explains. “It is much harder to get a good sound out of it than it is on a regular piano. You have to use a lot of control; touch makes a huge difference and when you play delicately you can get a lot of nuance and really make this instrument sing. I tried a lot of things that had never worked for me before, and when I went back and listened to all of the recordings, that stuff stuck out as the most unique.”
The entirety of A Different Time was recorded on the Gaveau, with minimal electronics in order to capture the instrument’s full dynamic range. The sessions were undertaken late at night, when outside noise was at a minimum and a more crepuscular mood settled over the church. As Medeski writes in his liner notes, he hopes that listeners approach the album in the same atmosphere, at a time “when social responsibilities are over, when the political questions of the day have been dealt with, when all gossip has come to an end, when all needs and wants have been put to momentary rest, when all plans have been made, when you are tired of words, and you are ready to yield to the sounds of these simple contemplations for the Gaveau.”
The album begins with the title track, a stark “spontaneous composition” improvised by Medeski at the Gaveau. The name has several connotations, evoking that night-time ambience but also harkening back to a time when records occupied a listener’s full attention, before the multifarious distractions of the modern world. “There was a time when people used to sit down and listen to music, when it wasn’t just the soundtrack to your life,” Medeski says. “I remember sitting in a room with a group of people, experiencing music together, at a time when we as human beings really got lost in the sound.”
A Different Time offers a sustained opportunity to become lost in Medeski’s deeply personal sound, presenting an intensely focused experience of keen emotional virtuosity. The selection ranges from the tender Willie Nelson ballad “I’m Falling in Love Again,” a piece which Medeski has long wanted to record and which finally found its best expression through the Gaveau; to “His Eye Is On the Sparrow,” a traditional spiritual that Medeski approaches with a lush reverence.
“Ran” is another tune for which Medeski has long sought the proper context, the album’s sole through-composed piece. The wistful “Otis,” which closes the album, was originally recorded on Notes From the Underground, MMW’s 1992 debut album. The sing-song “Waiting at the Gate” dates back even further, to a musical Medeski wrote in his teens. “It’s just a little tune that I wrote when I was a kid and never played for anybody,” Medeski laughs. “Ever.”
The heart-breakingly gorgeous “Luz Marina” was written for Mama Kia, the founder of an orphanage in Peru who passed away in 2010. Luz Marina was the name of her first adopted child, who died at a tender age. Medeski sought to depict Mama Kia’s inspirational and generous spirit through the piece. The final two pieces are both improvisations: “Graveyard Fields,” which shares the deceptively morbid name of a bucolic area in North Carolina, and the darkly tinged “Lacrima,” more aptly named for the Italian word for “tear.”
The fact that he didn’t try out the Gaveau until he thought he’d already gotten a full album in the can took a considerable amount of pressure off of Medeski’s shoulders, opening him up to the more naked, vulnerable sound of the album.
“I was just playing music,” he says. It was just about dealing with the instrument and the room and making the music that felt good. I just got lost in the sound, and that’s really the ultimate goal anytime you sit down to play.”
read more at johnmedeski.com/
Guitar explorer NELS CLINE is best known these days as the lead guitarist in the band Wilco. His recording and performing career – spanning jazz, rock, punk, and experimental – is well into its fourth decade, with over 160 recordings, including at least 30 for which he is leader. Born in Los Angeles in 1956, Cline has received many accolades including Rolling Stone anointing him as both one of 20 “new guitar gods” and one of the top 100 guitarists of all time.
Beyond Wilco, he leads The Nels Cline Singers (featuring Scott Amendola and bassist Trevor Dunn), and plays with Fig (a collaboration with Yuka Honda), BB&C (a collective with Time Berne & Jim Black), Pillow Wand (duo with guitarist Thurston Moore), and a new duo project with jazz guitar prodigy Julian Lage. A few of the other musicians with whom he has performed and/or recorded include: Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Yoko Ono, Jeff Gauthier, Mike Watt, Carla Bozulich, Vinny Golia, Marc Ribot, Tinariwen, Julius Hemphill, Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, Lydia Lunch, and Lee Ranaldo.
Nels Cline official site
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photo credit Yuka C. Honda
For over a decade, So Percussion has redefined the modern percussion ensemble as a flexible, omnivorous entity, pushing its voice to the forefront of American musical culture. Praised by the New Yorker for their “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” So’s adventurous spirit is written into the DNA passed down from composers like John Cage and Steve Reich, as well as from pioneering ensembles like the Kronos Quartet and Nexus Percussion. So Percussion’s career now encompasses 13 albums, touring throughout the USA and around the world, a dizzying array of collaborative projects, several ambitious educational programs, and a steady output of their own music.
When the founding members of So Percussion convened as graduate students at the Yale School of Music, their initial goal was to present an exciting repertoire of pieces by 20th century luminaries such as Cage, Reich, and Iannis Xenakis. An encounter with David Lang, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and co-founder of New York’s Bang on a Can organization, yielded their first commissioned piece: the 36 minute, three movement the so-called laws of nature. Since that first major new work, So has commissioned some of the greatest American composers of our time to build a new repertoire, including Steve Reich, Steve Mackey, Paul Lansky, Martin Bresnick, and many others.
Over time, an appetite for boundless creativity lead the group to branch out beyond the composer/interpreter paradigm. Since 2006 with group member Jason Treuting’s amid the noise, the members of So Percussion have been composing in their own right within the group and for others. In 2012 their third evening-length work Where (we) Live premieres at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, travelling to the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 30th Next Wave Festival and the Myrna Loy Center in Helena, MT. Where (we) Live follows on the heels of 2009’s Imaginary City, a fully staged sonic meditation on urban soundscapes. In 2011, So was commissioned by Shen Wei Dance Arts to compose Undivided Divided, a 30-minute work conceived for Manhattan’s massive Park Avenue Armory.
So Percussion’s artistic circle extends beyond their contemporary classical roots. They first expanded this boundary with the prolific duo Matmos, whom The New York Times called “ideal collaborators” on their 2010 combined album Treasure State. Further projects and appearances with Wham City shaman Dan Deacon, legendary drummer Bobby Previte, jam band kings Medeski, Martin, and Wood, and Wilco’s Glenn Kotche drew the circle even wider. In 2011, the rock band The National invited So to open one of their sold-out shows at New York’s Beacon Theater.
So’s recording of the so-called laws of nature became the cornerstone of their self-titled debut album on Cantaloupe Music (the record label from the founders of Bang on a Can) in 2004. In subsequent years, this relationship blossomed into a growing catalogue of exciting records. In 2011, So released six new albums, ranging from their definitive recording of Steve Reich’s Mallet Quartet – composed for them in 2009 – on Nonesuch Records, to Steve Mackey’s epic quartet It Is Time on Cantaloupe, to their collaborative album Bad Mango with jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas on Greenleaf Music. The BBC raved of So’s performance of Mallet Quartet that they “have it nailed, finding both the inner glow and the outer edge, and never letting the tapestry lapse into the flat or routine.”
So Percussion is heavily involved in mentoring young musicians. Its members are Co-Directors of a new percussion department at the Bard College-Conservatory of Music. This top-flight undergraduate program enrolls each student in a double-degree (Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts) course in the Conservatory and Bard College, equipping them with elite conservatory training and a broad liberal arts education. In 2009, they created the annual So Percussion Summer Institute on the campus of Princeton University. The Institute is an intensive two-week chamber music seminar for college-age percussionists featuring the four members of So as faculty in rehearsal, performance, and discussion of contemporary music for students from around the world. During the 2011-2012 academic year, So was an ensemble-in-residence at Princeton University, teaching seminars and collaborating extensively with talented student composers.
So has been featured at many of the major venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Stanford Lively Arts, Texas Performing Arts, and many others. In addition, a recent residency at London’s Barbican Centre, as well as tours to Western Europe, South America, Russia, and Australia have brought them international acclaim.
So would like to thank Pearl/Adams Instruments, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Remo drumheads, Black Swamp Accessories, and Estey organs for their sponsorship.
The son of Ecuadorean immigrants, Helado Negro was born in South Florida in 1980. His childhood was suffused with tropical heat, humidity, hurricanes, all refracted with the rich sounds and colors of the various Latin American cultures of southern Florida. Pounding bass beats from passing cars, boom boxes bouncing down the block, and late-night parties called “peñas” provided a foundation for Helado Negro’s interest in sound and lifelong quest to discover the unlimited variety of objects used to produce music. Most recently he created a new collaborative group with Julianna Barwick called OMBRE releasing their debut album in 2012 called Believe You Me. Helado Negro has worked with Bear in Heaven mixing their Pitchfork’s Best New Music album Beast Rest Forth Mouth. He also produced Prefuse 73‘s 2010 album Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian.
Helado Negro official site
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Photo credit: Ryan Dickie