with Nels Cline (solo), Julian Lage & presented by 2016 NYC Winter Jazzfest
Sun January 17th, 2016
Minimum Age: 18+
Doors Open: 5:00PM
Show Time: 6:00PM
Event Ticket: $25
Day of Show: $30
free for members
On Sunday January 17th the festival will close with a John Coltrane project by San Francisco Bay Area saxophone quartet Rova. With an all-star cast of New York improvisers celebrating the DVD/BluRay release of Channeling Coltrane, Rova presents a NY premiere performance of their Electric Ascension – a 21st century reimagining of John Coltrane’s late master work Ascension. Famed for its monumental scale and raw emotional power, John Coltrane’s milestone recording, Ascension, was released on LP 50 years ago in 1966. It now gets a 21st century reimagining and arrangement by Rova, and its first NY show at Winter Jazzfest, featuring special guests Nels Cline (who has appeared in all but one of Rova’s 11 performances of this show since 2003), Zeena Parkins, Nate Wooley, Ikue Mori, Trevor Dunn, Gerald Cleaver, Charles Burnham and Jason Kao Hwang, plus the four Rova stalwarts on saxophones. True to Coltrane’s intentions, the sonic landscape of Electric Ascension changes with every performance, depending on the cast of musicians, and the tenor of the moment. Expect this band to take the music to places it has never been before.
2016 Winter Jazzfest 5 Day Festival Pass (includes admission to WJF events from Jan 13-17th)
$125 early bird 5 day festival pass (until October 22nd) // $145 5 day festival pass (Click here to purchase)
$30 day of show
This is a general admission, partially seated event. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. A standing room area is available by the bar. Food and drinks can be purchased either at the tables or at the bar.
Channeling Coltrane: Rova’s Electric Ascension
Famed for its monumental scale and raw emotional power, John Coltrane’s Ascension has been reimagined in electrifying style by Rova Saxophone Quartet, to be performed by a “dream team” of master improvisers.
A very special work that was once considered an uncompromising concentration of sounds is now welcomed as music to open and close major-city jazz festivals, as music with a transcendent appeal. While the electric arrangement is part of this transformation, it’s more that listeners in this time period have caught up to and now can hear the original intent of the work.
John Coltrane’s Ascension stands as a watershed that links his most creative periods. Recorded in 1965, this large-scale piece is part of his late work, which was characterized by augmentation of the early ‘60s quartet, longer compositional forms, higher energy in solos and a free dialogue in ensemble improvisations.
But John Coltrane was nothing if not a relentless innovator. In the spirit of that search for knowledge and innovation, and in the spirit of Coltrane’s search for the new, Rova proposed in 2003 to imagine a new instrumental line-up and a modified compositional form, tailored to that new line-up, for this 21st century performance of Ascension.
For any Electric Ascension performance, Rova’s Larry Ochs gathers together a group of daring improvisers whose own musics are created with the same spirit of exploration and innovation. It is not our intention to replicate the original Ascension recording, but rather to use it as a springboard to improvise in our moment of the creative continuum. So we have gone electric, and electronic. And we have chosen to employ masters of free improvisation. Musicians who, in general, have spent years learning how to listen and how to respond, and who understand intuitively when to play lead roles and when to play support or orchestral roles in a group improvisation. We are indebted to Coltrane (and other great artists) for inspiring us to engage uncompromisingly in the risky business of creativity.
The Sunday January 17 show at (le) Poisson Rouge features an amazing ensemble: Nels Cline (el gtr), Charles Burnham (violin), Gerald Cleaver (drums), Trevor Dunn (bass), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Ikue Mori (electronics), Zeena Parkins (el. harp), Nate Wooley (trumpet, effects) plus the four Rova stalwarts on saxophones (Ochs, Raskin, Ackley, Adams).
Julian Lage (guitar) opens at 6 PM; Rova Channeling Coltrane at 7 PM.
Rova official site
Nels Cline (solo)
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.
Photo credit Yuka C. Honda
“There’s a disarming spirit of generosity in the musicianship of Julian Lage, and a keener sense of judicious withholding. A guitarist with roots tangled up in jazz, folk, classical and country music, he has spent most of his life bathed in a bright, expectant light.”
–New York Times
On Modern Lore, Julian Lage’s second studio recording with his trio, the composer and guitarist focuses on the groove, building his melodies and solos around the work of the prodigious rhythm section of double bassist Scott Colley and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Modern Lore finds Lage playfully flipping the script he followed on his acclaimed 2016 Mack Avenue debut, Arclight. That album — produced, like Modern Lore, by Lage’s friend and collaborator, the singer-songwriter Jesse Harris — was his first trio set on electric guitar and found Lage inspired by the sounds and the attitude of the freewheeling, pre-bebop jazz era, when, as he puts it, “country music and jazz and swing were in this weird wild-west period.” This time he incorporates the sensibility, if not the outright sound, of early rock and roll, a similarly hybrid form driven by rhythm, personality and a passion for the electric guitar.
“Last time it was specifically a combination of the electric guitar being a lead voice interacting with those pre-bebop songs. I wanted to do a jazz record the way I had always craved to do one,” Lage recalls. “Modern Lore is the evolution of that sound, through the lens of original compositions. These pieces are more designed in the image of early rock and roll, early Little Richard, early Bo Diddley, wherein the first measure of music sets the tone for the whole experience. The sound of the band driven by these grooves and the guitar is more of an explosive voice, it bends more; it’s more dynamic.”
Opening with the exuberant “The Ramble,” Lage’s set of all-original new material is largely up-tempo, though on tracks like “Atlantic Limited” and “Splendor Riot” the trio adopts a hypnotic, lyrical stride. And, on “Revelry” and “Pantheon,” it grows more pensive. Throughout, the beat is concise and steady. Lage’s solos are action-packed musical monologues, stuffed with brilliant melodies and off-the-cuff inspiration. The penultimate track, “Earth Science,” is an outright scorcher.
“I wanted all the songs on this album to be borne out of a danceable groove, a kind of sensuality, something that felt great even before the guitar was a part of it,” Lage explains. “Kenny and Scott have this unique way of transforming these pieces, creating variations that morph into completely new feels. It’s kind of kaleidoscopic. With that in place, I wrote melodies that were singable to me.”
Lage was already an established guitar virtuoso when at age 27, he picked up the Telecaster for the Arclight sessions. That was, in a sense, a return to his roots: When he was four years old, his dad, a visual artist, had made him a plywood guitar, based on a Fender Esquire he’d traced from a Bruce Springsteen poster. As a young and preternaturally gifted musician, Lage found supporters in such artists as vibraphonist Gary Burton and veteran jazz guitarist Jim Hall, who would become Lage’s mentor and friend. Though Hall passed away in 2013, he remains a profound influence on Lage. In fact, Lage first encountered Colley and Wollesen when they were backing Hall at the famed Bay Area jazz club, Yoshi’s in Oakland, CA. Since then, Lage has more than fulfilled the promise of his youth, collaborating with a diverse range of fellow artists, including guitarist-singer Chris Eldridge of Punch Brothers, bassist Steve Swallow, and iconic avant-garde composer John Zorn; often appearing with the house band on Prairie Home Companion; and composing for and fronting this trio.
For Modern Lore, the trio cut the tracks at Reservoir Studios in midtown Manhattan. Then Lage brought in keyboardist Tyler Chester from the Blake Mills trio to add some very subtle textures. As Lage notes, “In the most tasteful way, Tyler brought a spirit to everything that really ignites the sonic palette.” Tom Schick, Wilco’s longtime engineer, mixed the album in Chicago and producer Jesse Harris contributes acoustic guitar on “Whatever You Say, Henry.”
Once again, producer Harris was an important editorial voice, both arbiter and cheerleader. Says Lage, “Jesse and I shared a vision and a craving for a body of tunes that focused on directness and the space we could leave. We were adamant about keeping the music in that zone, that warmth and clarity, within which the beat of the song could really thrive. This was our dream for these songs.”
“Every time I record with Scott and Kenny, I wish I could do this every day,” Lage admits. ” The sound I’m craving takes many forms; it can be very restrained or it can be wild and crazy. It kind of depends on the context. With Modern Lore, the music sets the foundation for a mutlitude of directions, all rooted in a kind of sensual narrative.”
As one of the most prodigious guitarists of his generation, Lage has long displayed an ability to explore a wide range of sounds, ideas and genres. But what delights him here — and will, in turn, captivate his listeners — is the the artful simplicity of Modern Lore.