w/ David Byrne , Marilyn Carino & Mike Mills , Tift Merritt , John McCrea (Cake) , Elysian Fields 20th Anniversary Concert , Wendy Oxenhorn (Executive Director of Jazz Foundation) , Marc Ribot w/ Ikue Mori - (live score to Jennifer Reeves' "Shadows Choose Their Horrors" and other shorts) , Chris Ruen , Jason Moran (by video) , and Steven Reker (People Get Ready)
About This Event
Doors Open:6:00 PM
Show Time:6:00 PM
The United States is the only democratic country in the world where artists don’t get paid for radio airplay. Currently, the short list of countries that share the United States’ position on this issue includes: Iran, North Korea, China, Vietnam, and Rwanda. On February 25th join music makers and music lovers alike in urging Congress to support artists’ pay for radio play.
For more information and to sign the petition for Artists’ Pay For Radio Play visit CCC-NYC.ORG
Artists and activists to perform and/or speak include:
Marilyn Carino (Mudville) & Mike Mills (REM)
John McCrea (CAKE)
Jennifer Charles (Elysian Fields)
Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Allen Toussaint, John Zorn, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall)
Wendy Oxenhorn (Executive Director, Jazz Foundation of America)
Chris Ruen (author of “Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Hunger for Free Content Starve Creativity”)
Steven Reker (People Get Ready)
Many many more…
RSVP IS NOW CLOSED: Patrons who have submitted an RSVP have priority, but does not guarantee entry. Please arrive early to ensure entry. Walk ups will be permitted to enter if space permits.
This is a general admission, standing event. Happy hour from 6-7pm including $3 beer and $5 well drinks.
David Byrne official site
(photo via Fact Mag)
Elysian Fields came out of New York’s legendary Knitting Factory, a hotbed of musical exploration and genre mixing and a hub of the vibrant 1990s downtown scene. Drawn together by a mutual love of The Beatles, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Iggy Pop, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Captain Beefheart, Ravi Shankar, Frederic Chopin and Olivier Messaien, founders Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow had traveled parallel paths in Washington, DC and New York until a scholarship to New York University’s drama department drew Jennifer to New York. Both had been to see the Bad Brains and Lounge Lizards (for whom Oren would play bass in the early ’90s), both worshiped Woody Allen and Fellini, both went to alternative high schools and had become independent at an early age.
Jennifer introduced Oren to the work of Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death) and Nick Cave, as well as the Cocteau Twins. Oren showed Jennifer The Seven Samurai, failed to interest her in Fairport Convention, scored with Randy Newman, and, significantly, introduced her to the songs of Ed Pastorini, whose band 101 Crustaceans Oren had joined in his late teens on bass and who would become a constant fixture in their work. At the time of meeting Jennifer, Oren was fresh from his only year at music school (at New England Conservatory) and was working with Ed and several smaller downtown bands in the scene that was dominated by post-free jazz composers like Henry Threadgill, David Murray on one side and dissonant guitar shredders like Sonic Youth and Glenn Branca on the other. In the center was the Knitting Factory, where such sounds mingled in the work of Arto Lindsay, John Zorn and other musicians who had been working mostly in lofts and underground venues in the preceding decade. It was here that Jennifer worked as an intern in the busy office where the club’s bookings, package tours and record releases were planned. She ran her own poetry series, waiting tables for paltry tips at sparsely attended Charles Gayle midnight sets with the January wind circling about the empty club. Although New York had great hip-hop in those years, the city was due for an explosion of great bands, and many of them frequented or played there, Cibo Matto, Blonde Redhead, Soul Coughing and Skeleton Key are a few of the notables of the “Class of 1994.” Others like Jeff Buckley and Firewater were particularly close to Elysian Fields, sharing a lot of the same players and many late nights together.
When Oren and Jennifer began writing for Elysian Fields, they were playing jazz standards and a few T Rex songs, and were looking to create original tunes that could fit in between these styles. So they got Pastorini and some jazz guys into the studio and did some recordings. Of these songs, three ended up on a cassette that fell into the hands of Radioactive Records’ Gary Kurfirst, who had built a music empire managing a host of New York punk and new wave-era legends (notably Talking Heads), and had recently launched the label as a home for his new discoveries (such as Shirley Manson) as well as older signings like Big Audio Dynamite and the Ramones. Gary came to hear EF at the Mercury Lounge and very quickly Jennifer, Oren, Ed and the amazing rhythm section of James Genus (bassist, of Saturday Night Live fame) and Ben Perowsky (drums) were in New York’s Sorcerer Sound making the first EP, Elysian Fields, and in the Minnesota woods for the follow-up album Bleed Your Cedar, which sold comfortably and gained the band a foothold in indie circles around the US. Songs like “Lady In The Lake,” “Fountains On Fire” and “Jack In The Box” appeared in TV shows and commercials and both young music fans and the media were taking notice of the band and their distinctive style, founded on Jennifer’s inimitably sensual voice and confident pen, and the daring and depth of Oren and Ed’s unique guitar and piano work. (The gorgeous cover photo of Jennifer by underground legend JK Potter did not hurt either.)
While Kurfirst had a keen eye for talent, he was under pressure from his parent company, Universal, and insisted the band hire a name producer to bring in hits and drive up sales. The band’s choice, Steve Albini, whose name was at that time associated (promisingly, to the record executives) with Nirvana, and the record they brought home from Chicago ended up emphasizing the “even less commercial” side of the band, and after some back and forth, they asked to be let out of their deal. The record was never released, and a concurrent slump in the record business ensured that it wasn’t until 1999 that, thanks to an introduction by Tod Ashley of Firewater, EF signed a deal with Jetset Records and entered Brooklyn’s Good And Evil studios to record a fresh set of songs for their second album, Queen of the Meadow. A collection of songs based on the group’s original recipe of blues, punk, dissonance (all discernible in the underground rock/dance floor semi-hit “Bend Your Mind”), and their jazz-inflected ballads, QOTM also marks the introduction of a folk element in songs such as “Black Acres” and the title track.
In the meantime, they had been discovered in France, and had begun traveling there and to neighboring countries where they were greeted by large stories in major magazines, grand venues and television appearances. Upon the release of QOTM, Jennifer and Oren assembled a new band and hit the road in Europe appearing alongside French artists like Alain Bashung and good friend Jean Louis Murat, traveling in festivals like Les Inrockuptibles and Les Femmes S’en Melent and headlining their own tours. In the US, Queen of the Meadow went to the top five in the CMJ chart, was well-reviewed and was accompanied by moderate touring on the East Coast.
Their third disc, 2004’s Dreams that Breathe Your Name, featured contributions both from their newer cadre of collaborators and from the original band. The album continued their success in Europe, where they did more touring and appeared in festivals such as Nuits De Botaniques in Brussels. This record also set off a new era of the band recording both in the studio and at home. It was mixed at Philip Glass’s Looking Glass studios by U2 recording engineer Robbie Adams, featured some of the band’s most atmospheric and lush work (“Shooting Stars,” “Live for the Touch,” “Narcosmicoma”), and found a champion in the dean of British rock critics Nick Kent, who wrote, “Maybe we have their out-of-the-mainstreamness to thank for a sound that is still unique — as sensual as a sleepwalker’s wet dream.” The record was released in Europe by Play it Again Sam (PIAS) records and in the US on the band’s own imprint, Diluvian. American critics were also kind, with TimeoutNY music editor Mike Wolf rating it “Close to noir-rock perfection.” Cover art was done by the great psychedelic collagist/painter Fred Tomaselli.
The next album, Bum Raps and Love Taps, was released in Europe in 2006 on the Naive label and continued the band’s steady touring in Europe. The album is dedicated to Charles’ grandmother, from whose unfinished memoir the title (very confusingly to those unfamiliar with American slang) was taken. Another song “Duel With Cudgels,” at eight minutes and thirty seconds, takes its title from a Goya painting. In fall 2006, the video artist Vincent Moon filmed two live videos of Elysian Fields for La Blogotechque, one featuring Jennifer and Ed Pastorini’s song “We’re In Love,” the tender acoustic track that closes the album. This album was finally released in the US in late 2008 on the band’s own Diluvian imprint. In general, Bum Raps saw the band painting with a bigger canvas in terms of song forms and string arrangements, drawing on their mutual passion for surrealism. They were also incorporating a new element: having been given a piano by his stepmother, Oren began composing on it, with the parts being stylishly executed by new band member Thomas Bartlett (Doveman). Claude Coleman (Ween) played drums, and noted Icelandic composer Shahzad Ismaily (Ceramic Dog) appears on the record and was also a band member during this period. It was recorded by Joe Blaney of The Clash fame (another EF favorite), mixes were by Blaney and Bryce Goggin (Pavement), and the cover photo was a classic image by Michael Ackerman.
In 2009, the band released The Afterlife on Vicious Circle in France, which was received with high critical praise. European tours followed, along with sold out concerts in several major cities, and engagements like the prestigious Art Rock Festival in St Brieux. This classic breakup record features some of EF’s most intimate moments, more and stranger string arrangements, and among the new ingredients, some borrowings from the work of the great John Coltrane. Wistful and melancholic, The Afterlife explored deaths and their postscripts, both literal and metaphoric. The cover is a painting by Jennifer, entitled “The Red Shoes,” which takes its name from the great Powell and Pressburger film, another inspiration for the record.
A landmark was passed in this period when, having re-issued the under-distributed Queen of the Meadow, with new artwork by Lance Scott Walker, Vicious Circle became the first label to release more than one Elysian Fields album. Following that feat with the release of Last Night on Earth, also on VC, the band offered one of their most enjoyable discs of their career, drawing on the classic rock radio sounds of their youth and presenting some of Jennifer’s happiest love lyrics as well as meditations on intersections of childhood and the scary but exciting world of adults (“Sleepover” “Red Riding Hood”), a little bit of Brecht/Weil (“Johnny”), and the closing epic title track, the only EF song to in any way reference reggae (but not the only one to reference Pink Floyd).
That record was followed by the usual European touring cycle, with Parisian upright bass legend Sarah Murcia and drummer/pianist Chris Vatalaro joining the band. At this time the songs were written that became EF’s latest and possibly best record, For House Cats And Sea Fans. To be released in February 2014, it is a record that continues to mine the familiar veins of Beatles and blues, jazz and folk, Coltrane (“Love Me Darling”), Brecht and Weill (“Frank”), and includes longtime collaborators like John Medeski on the Czech bass flute fujara and no wave icon James Chance on saxophone, with JG Thirlwell mixing in sound. Lounge Lizard John Lurie contributes the naive and beautiful cover art. The record was mixed by Mark Plati (David Bowie, The Cure).
In addition to contributing to many of John Zorn’s produced compilation records, including one of Marc Bolan and the first track on the Serge Gainsbourg tribute, Charles and Bloedow have also released two complete albums of Sephardic songs on Zorn’s Tzadik label. The first was named La Mar Enfortuna, and that became the name of the group for the follow-up Convivencia in 2008. Charles sings in Ladino as well as in Arabic, Aramaic, Spanish and Greek on these albums, as the group gives ancient Moorish melodies a revamp with their signature sound.
Elysian Fields have also performed in several tribute concerts produced by the impresario Hal Willner, including an event in Los Angeles featuring the songs of Randy Newman, where Oren was a musical director, and another for Edgar Allan Poe. Elysian Fields performed at the Carnegie Hall on April 5, 2007, in Michael Dorf’s all-star tribute to Bruce Springsteen with Oren was once again as musical director, backing up several artists including Badly Drawn Boy, and Bruce Springsteen himself for the rousing finale of “Rosalita.” Elysian Fields rendition of “Streets Of Fire” was noted in both Billboard and Rolling Stone as being one of the show’s highlights, and described as “sensual” and “passionate.” In February 2009, Elysian Fields performed in Paris in a sold-out show at Salle Pleyel as part of John Zorn’s Serge Gainsbourg tribute concert alongside Marc Ribot and Sean Lennon.
Elysian Fields’ music has appeared in films as well as many television shows including Damages, Conviction, Smallville, Charmed, One Tree Hill, Extra, The Crow and Lipstick Jungle. “Black Acres” from Queen of the Meadow was used in 2011 in Lavazza advertisements across the globe.
Separately, Elysian Fields leadership have been involved in many projects of interest to music fans. Chief of these, to many, is the trip-hop classic album Lovage: Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By made by Jennifer with Dan the Automator, Mike Patton and Kid Koala. In addition, Jennifer has lent her voice and writing skills to an assortment of other musicians, including DJ Logic, Tweaker, and French artists Wax Tailor (on the 2012 single “Heart Stop”), and Jean Louis-Murat (on the 2004 album A Bird on a Poire). Incidentally, both French releases were nominated for French Grammys (Victoires de la Musique). Theatrical collaborations of Jennifer’s also include composer Michael Gordon’s Emily Dickinson-themed show Lightning at Her Feet (with films by Bill Morrison), and the ongoing underground theater spectacular “Dream of the Red Chamber,” directed by Jim Findlay. For his part, Oren traveled and recorded for many years with Meshell Ndegeocello and Chocolate Genius, was a key member of the band on the Broadway musical Fela! (which took him as far as Lagos, Nigeria to honor that great artist’s life), and among countless other talented artists, has worked for Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons) on the singer’s solo music and in the Robert Wilson show The Life and Death of Marina Abramovitch. Oren continues to play with Ed Pastorini in 101 Crustaceans.
Elysian Fields official site
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Marc Ribot, who the New York Times describes as “a deceptively articulate artist who uses inarticulateness as an expressive device,” has released over 20 albums under his own name over a 30-year career, exploring everything from the pioneering jazz of Albert Ayler to the Cuban son of Arsenio Rodríguez. His latest solo release, Silent Movies (Pi Recording 2010) has been described as a “down-in-mouth-near master piece” by the Village Voice and has landed on several Best of 2010 lists including the LA Times and critical praise across the board. 2013 saw the release of “Your Turn” (Northern Spy), the sophomore effort from Ribot’s post-rock/noise trio Ceramic Dog, and 2014 saw the monumental release: “Marc Ribot Trio Live at the Village Vanguard” (Pi Recordings), documenting Marc’s first headline and the return of Henry Grimes at the historical venue in 2012 already included on Best of 2014 lists including Downbeat Magazine and NPR’s 50 Favorites.
Rolling Stone points out that “Guitarist Marc Ribot helped Tom Waits refine a new, weird Americana on 1985’s Rain Dogs, and since then he’s become the go-to guitar guy for all kinds of roots-music adventurers: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elvis Costello, John Mellencamp.” Additional recording credits include Neko Case, Diana Krall, Elton John/Leon Russell’s The Union, Solomon Burke, John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, Marianne Faithful, Joe Henry, Allen Toussaint, Medeski Martin & Wood, Caetono Veloso, Susana Baca, Allen Ginsburg, Madeline Peyroux, Nora Jones, Jolie Holland, Akiko Yano, The Black Keys, and many others. Marc works regularly with Grammy® award winning producer T Bone Burnett and NY composer John Zorn. He has also composed and performed on numerous film scores such as “Walk The Line” (Mangold), “The Kids Are All Right,” and “The Departed” (Scorcese).
“…he can sit down with just his guitar and simultaneously confound you with technique, beauty, and surprise.” – John Garratt and Will Layman, PopMatters Picks: The Best Music of 2010 for the album “Silent Movies”
Marc Ribot official site
Marc Ribot on Facebook
Marc Ribot on Twitter
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SHADOWS CHOOSE THEIR HORRORS
2005, 16mm to Digital Beta, 31 minutes
Directed and Edited by Jennifer Reeves
Live score by Marc Ribot
Written by Jennifer Reeves with Winsome Brown
Starring Winsome Brown, Tanya Selvaratnam and Ariane Anthony
Shadows Choose Their Horrors is the dark and melodic diary of a necromancer living on the edge between the mortal world and the realm of lost souls. Sinister forces surround Madame G (Winsome Brown) as she tries to bond with her favorite undead. Using magic and ritual to give them new life and pleasures, Madame G is shocked by the devastating outcome. This camp and experimental reworking of early silent horror was inspired by both the un-staged Aaron Copland ballet Grohg, and the film that stirred the young Copland to write his ballet, Nosferatu.
Shadows Choose Their Horrors was originally created for a live performance of Grohg by the American Symphony Orchestra at Bard Music Festival, with Leon Botstein conducting.
Jennifer Reeves (b. 1971, Sri Lanka) is a New York-based filmmaker working primarily on 16mm film. Reeves was named one of the “Best 50 Filmmakers Under 50” in the film journal Cinema Scope in the spring of 2012. Her films have shown extensively, from the Berlin, New York, Vancouver, London, Sundance, and Hong Kong Film Festivals to many Microcinemas in the US and Canada, the Robert Flaherty Seminar, and the Museum of Modern Art. Full multiple-screening retrospectives of her work have been held in recent years at Era New Horizons Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, Kino Arsenal in Berlin, Anthology Film Archives in New York, and San Francisco Cinematheque. Her most recent film COLOR NEUTRAL premiered at the New York Film Festival in October 2014.
Reeves has made experimental films since 1990. She does her own writing, cinematography, editing, and sound design. Her subjective and personal films push the boundaries of film through optical-printing and direct-on-film techniques. Reeves has consistently explored themes of memory, mental health and recovery, feminism and sexuality, landscape, wildlife, and politics from many different angles.
Since 2003 Reeves has collaborated with some of the finest composer/ musicians today, including Anthony Burr, Skúli Sverrisson, Elliott Sharp, Zeena Parkins, Marc Ribot, Erik Hoversten, Pitt Reeves, Hilmar Jensson, and Dave Cerf. As the daughter of a trumpeter, gravitating toward film and music collaborations was quite natural for Reeves. Her most ambitious film and music performance, the feature-length double-projection WHEN IT WAS BLUE (2008), premiered at Toronto International Film Festival with live music by composer/collaborator Skúli Sverrisson.
Reeves has also made a number of experimental narratives, most notably her highly acclaimed feature THE TIME WE KILLED. The Village Voice Film Critic’s poll (2005) honored THE TIME WE KILLED with votes from six film critics for categories including: Best Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Performance.
Reeves also teaches animation part-time at The Cooper Union.
Jennifer Reeves official site