October 26th, 2012
At the Kirkland Performance Center, one of America’s greatest living composers, trailblazer Philip Glass performed last night, with African kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso, and percussionist Adam Rudolph in an evening
of wonderful and masterful music.
The 2012 Earshot Jazz festival continues. Click on the schedule here 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival
Born in 1937, raised in Baltimore, Glass went on to study at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud. Finding himself dissatisfied with much of what then passed for modern music, he moved to Europe, where he studied with the legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger (who also taught Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson and Quincy Jones) and worked closely with the sitar virtuoso and composer Ravi Shankar.
He returned to New York in 1967 and formed the Philip Glass Ensemble – seven musicians playing keyboards and a variety of woodwinds, amplified and fed through a mixer. Glass’ new music, eventually dubbed minimalism, worked with extended reiterations of brief, elegant melodic fragments that wove in and out of an aural tapestry.
n the last 25 years, through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble and his collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.
The 2012 Earshot Jazz festival continues. Click on the schedule here 2012 Earshot Jazz Festival
October 25th, 2011
Saturday night was my second time to see and hear a performance of Evan Flory-Barnes Acknowledgement of a Celebration. Earshot Jazz Festival 2011 presented it at the Kirkland Performance Center. What a wonderful achievement. As a reprise of the 2009 Earshot Golden Ear performance of the year, Evan brought back his Earshot- and Meet the Composer-commissioned work for large-ensemble fusion of jazz, hip-hop, and classical music with dancers and break-dancers. I was taken with how much fun he seemed to be having this time. Here are some pictures from the performance. ans some of the words from the Earshot Jazz program guide by Steve Griggs
Check out the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule to see what’s next in the 2011 Festival lineup.
“Evan Flory-Barnes stands six foot three, in suit and tie, in front of a thirty-five member chamber orchestra at Seattle’s Town Hall. He scans the musicians. Left. Right. He rubs his palms together. No baton. He smiles broadly and adjusts his jacket. He glances down at the score. His head tips back. His eyes close. He whispers in a slow tempo, “One, two, three, four …” as he conducts with both hands, fingers gently closed. The count off is more like a jazz ensemble leader starting a familiar ballad than a conductor launching a symphony debut.”
“Violas and cellos sway back and forth in unison between two notes. A celeste chimes like an old fashioned clock. Glissandos rise from a harp. Dense chords drift in from wind instruments. An oboe moans. French horns herald an opening melody. Acknowledgement of a Celebration, a ten movement, fifty-five minute opus commissioned by Meet the Composer, rises into the air.”
“The commission for Celebration requires four public performances. It premiered November 8, 2009, at Town Hall and was restaged in 2010 at Benaroya Hall. Flory-Barnes’ alma mater, Garfield High School, is being considered for the final yet to be scheduled performance. We will let you know when it will be performed next.”
“Celebration combines rhythmic loops, orchestral instrumentation, and melodic improvisation to propel a group of male break dancers and female modern dancers in spontaneous choreography. In the second movement, dancers lie on the ground while an oboe and cello solo over a slow drum pulse and bowed chords. One by one, feet and legs rise, twist slow motion in the air, bodies upended on heads and hands. Another movement matches a break dancer with a modern dancer in a contact version of Brazilian capoeira. Yet another section has side-by-side break dancers hypnotically stepping in unison then breaking into solos.”
“The scale of this work transcends the leadership of a single artist. While Flory-Barnes cultivates a growing reputation as composer, collaborator and catalyst, violist Brianna Atwell handles personnel and logistics for Celebration. Dancer Emma Klein organizes the gravity defying sliding, tumbling and spinning performers. Ryan Price leads the technical direction for the Kirkland performance space.”
“The full title of the piece is Acknowledgment of a Celebration: Inheritance, Authenticity and Healing. Flory-Barnes explains the autobiographic title as the inner process to open one’s heart to life, family and self. This enables a compassionate, loving response to negativity. “My mother provided lessons of unconditional love and my father provided a way to practice those lessons.” Flory-Barnes father, a Vietnam veteran, struggled with substance abuse and died when his son was sixteen. “There were times I wanted to remove ‘Barnes’ from my last name,” he says.”
“Hints of the narrative arc in Celebration can be traced by the movement titles – Please Know This, A Boy’s Dream A Man’s Majesty, Dance of the Girl Obscured, The End of Old Days, Letting Go of What Isn’t Yours to Begin With, Marching Towards the Now, An Alarm Call to Presence, A Hero Driven by His Tears, Requiem for a Love Misunderstood, Return to a Home Unseen.”
“Chances to hear Flory-Barnes in the Pacific Northwest are becoming more precious as his career begins to take flight. Frequently on the road with Meklit Hadero, recent tours took him from Bumbershoot all the way to Kenya and Ethiopia. “Meklit’s music is deep and simple. We can stretch it and grow. She’s like Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, and Nora Jones – a modern song writer through an Ethiopian filter.” Deep throated, dark and musky vocals croon of flirty love and loss to catchy grooves.” – Steve Griggs Read more in the Earshot Jazz Festival Schedule
Near the end of the performance, Evan jumped down from the conductors podium and picked up a standup bass and dove into the music. After handing off the bass he moved stage center and joined in with the dancers.
October 1st, 2011
Trio Commando made their public debut last noght at the chapel Performance Space opening up for Eric Barber, performing improvisations, excavations and conversations through a high powered trio configuration featuring Wayne Horvitz (piano), Samantha Boshnack(trumpets), and Beth Fleenor (clarinets/voice). Unexpected and brilliant set of music with exciting electronic and vocal intermixing.
Since arriving in Seattle in 1998, clarinetist/vocal percussionist/ composer Beth Fleenor has carved a place for herself as an energetic multi-instrumentalist and dynamic generative artist. Her robust sound, organic approach, and openness to experimentation in all forms, actively fuels a long and varied list of collaborations. Ranging from shows in nightclubs, festivals, schools and galleries, to prisons, parties and concert halls, Fleenor’s work has been featured in live music, theater, performance art, recordings, modern dance, film, sound art and art installations.
Samantha Boshnack has composed and performed with a plethora of Seattle-based musicians and groups since arriving from New York in 2003. The Bard College graduate uses a broad palette in her compositions, including jazz, rock, hip-hop, Balkan, and contemporary classical music influences. Her work has received acclaim from music critics around the world, and has received support from 4Culture, Jack Straw Productions, ASCAPlus, and the Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.
Wayne Horvitz is a composer, pianist, electronic musician, and producer. He has toured widely, and has collaborated with musicians such as Bill Frisell, Butch Morris, John Zorn, Robin Holcomb, Fred Frith, Julian Priester, Michael Shrieve, Bobby Previte, Marty Ehrlich, William Parker, Ron Miles, Sara Schoenbeck, Peggy Lee, Briggan Krauss, and many others. A recipient of numerous commissions and awards, his various ensembles include The President, Pigpen, Zony Mash, The HMP Trio, The New York Composers Orchestra, The 4 Plus 1 Ensemble, Sweeter Than the Day and The Gravitas Quartet.
Presented by NONSEQUITUR, which supports a wide range of adventurous music and sound art through recordings, performances, and exhibitions since 1989. They currently sponsor the Wayward Music Series in the Chapel Performance Space at the historic Good Shepherd Center in the Wallingford neighborhood.
December 9th, 2010
International jazz star and acclaimed saxophonist, flutist, composer and band leader James Moody died today in San Diego. Above picture was made at the Earshot Jazz Festival in 2008 when he played with the SJRO and came out on stage with Bill Cosby.
“Mr. Moody died at 1:07 p.m. at the San Diego Hospice, according to his wife, San Diego Realtor Linda McGowan Moody, who was by his side. His death came after a 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
“He couldn’t have gone more peacefully,” said Mrs. Moody, who on Monday had her husband moved from their San Carlos home to the San Diego Hospice.”
Continue reading at San Diego Union-Tribune
March 7th, 2010
The New York-based composer, conductor, and cornetist Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris redefined the roles of composer, conductor, and performer with this concert which featured two separate 15-member ensembles. Below is Butch working with the Associate Artists Ensemble.
The Associate Artists Ensemble was: Darian Asplund, soprano sax; Jacob Brady, drums; Colin Field, cello; Jacob Herring, trombone; Jamie Maschler, accordion; Evan McPherson, guitar; Steven O’Brien, trumpet; James Pfeffer, percussion; Matthew Reed, clarinet; Dick Robinson, flute; Sydney Robinson, voice; Jacob Stickney, tenor sax; Martin Strand, bass; Brent Vaartstra, guitar; Colby White, alto sax
The second group was the Master Artists Ensemble of: Brianna Atwell, viola; Heather Bentley, violin; Samantha Boshnack, trumpet; Greg Cambell, percussion; Lesli Dalaba, trumpet; Beth Fleenor, clarinet; Craig Flory, woodwinds; Wayne Horvitz, electronics; Paris Hurley, violin; Paul Kukichu, percussion; Joanne de Mars, cello; Lisa Miller, piano; Steve Moore, keyboards; Katie Rife, vibes; Monica Schley, harp; Tom Varner, horn.
This was one of the most interesting performances I have seen in a log time. Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris is recognized internationally as a leading innovator in the confluence of jazz, new music, improvisation and contemporary classical music and the principal theorist and practitioner in the evolution of Conduction®. Since 1974, his career has been distinguished by unique and outstanding international contributions to film, theater, dance, television, radio, interdisciplinary collaborations, concerts and recordings. Employing more than 5,000 musicians in 23 countries and 63 cities, Morris has opened the door to a new understanding of musical language. Morris has acted as a resident conductor and lecturer at institutions such as Princeton University, California Institute of the Arts, Yale University, Wesleyan University, New York University, University of Westminster, London, Orchestra della Toscana, Florence, Mito Museum, Mito, Japan, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and many others.
November 8th, 2009
Evan Flory-Barnes conducts his ensemble in the premiere performance of his large chamber composition ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF A CELEBRATION at Town Hall in the final presentation of the 2009 Earshot Jazz Festival.
What a great performance by the orchestra moving through a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, and classical music, complete with modern dancers and freestyle break dancers.
The Seattle bassist and composer is excited premiering the large chamber work, a snapshot of the abundance of inspiration that can thread artistic mediums together in Seattle. The premiere of Acknowledgement of a Celebration features 35 musicians and ten dancers set to Flory-Barnes’s new compositions.
Flory-Barnes credits his University of Washington instructor Barry Lieberman and contemporary double bass player Francois Rabbath for his own technical bass skills and expressive and inspired playing.
Flory-Barnes performs with an inclusive passion and expressive intensity, as though he were completely immersed in music. He regularly brings his trio, The Teaching, to the Lucid jazz club in the University District for an open community jam and hang. The Teaching appeared in the 2008 Earshot Jazz Festival at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.
March 12th, 2009
Toshiko Akiyosh conducts the Seattle Jazz Repertory Jazz Orchestra during a performance at Nordstrom Hall on March 7th 2009
In a fantastic and entertaining performance, internationally renowned, award-winning composer, pianist, and NEA Jazz Master Toshiko Akiyoshi lead the SRJO in a concert of big band works from her many years touring the globe with the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band. Born in Manchuria, Akiyoshi took up jazz as a teenager in Japan, coming to the US in her 20s to immerse herself in the sounds of Basie and Ellington. She became the first woman named “Best Arranger and Composer” by Down Beat magazine, and has recorded over 45 albums with a refreshing view of the art of jazz.
This was one in a series of concerts by the : NEA Jazz Masters Live a new NEA initiative and Earshot Jazz has been chosen to participate. The program celebrates the living legends who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz, NEA Jazz Masters Live supports meaningful, in-depth, extended engagements featuring NEA Jazz Masters that:
* honor their body of work, history, or styles
* provide understanding of their significance to jazz through thematically-designed or retrospective programming
* broaden audiences’ awareness of their unique contributions to this original American art form.
Photograph by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan, a photojournalist specializing in jazz photography, photojournalism and portrait photography for publications and corporations. He is also a Seattle wedding photographer with an unobtrusive, story-telling approach creating award winning wedding photojournalism among Seattle wedding photographers.