MSP/piano w Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra @ Crane House, Oakland (Sat 28 Jul, 8pm) | Set 2: “Jacob L”/Kanoko Nishi (西鹿乃子)

The stunning series at Crane House in Oakland has made it into one of the most interesting places to hear improv & new music in the Bay Area. I’m excited to again be adding MSP & piano into the mix with Aaron Bennett’s amazing EMTPO at this unique venue.

If you’ve already heard the first album released by Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra (cover below) you know exactly what I’m talking about, and you’re already coming to this great show. If not, run, don’t walk, to get a copy at and hear what the fuss is about.

Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra (cover art: Nancy Bennett)

Among Aaron’s many stellar contributions to the Bay Area improv and new music scenes (like sax trio arrangements of Bollywood standards!)  are fantastic “breathing chart” compositions for large improvising groups that deliver heightened coherence and adventure at the same time. They stand as Himalayas of group improv music. And Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra is the Mt. Everest.

Vapor Trails of Structure in Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Improv

To quote Aaron: “The members of this ensemble utilize the electro-magnetic field of their collective mind to attain a unitive transcendent state of sonic consciousness and in turn, create sublime and/or unusually expanded sonic experiences for their listeners.”

‘Nuff said…

Aaron Bennett in Space

Bio note: Saxist/composer Aaron Bennett has been bending space in the Bay Area jazz and improvised music communities for more than 15 years. Beyond his studies in composition and performance of western music at California Institute of the Arts, Aaron has also studied and played the music of West Africa, Indonesia, India, and Traditional Japanese 雅楽 (Gagaku) music. He has performed throughout the United States and abroad including performances with Wadada Leo SmithPeter KowaldJohn ButcherDonald RobinsonMarco EneidiGianni GebbiaWeasel WalterAdam LaneLarry OchsSteve AdamsJohn RaskinVictoria WilliamsAphrodesiaLagos-RootsThe Rova Saxophone Quartet and many others.

Aaron Bennett in Time

He leads his own groups Go-Go-FightmasterElectro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra and performs in the Oakland Active OrchestraLisa Mezzacappa’s Bait & SwitchVijay Anderson Quartet, and Guerilla Hi-Fi. Aaron has composed for large ensembles, chamber groups, plays, films, dance performances, wind quintet, saxophone quartets and trios as well as pieces for solo instruments.

In addition to Aaron Bennett (sax & compositions), the line-up at the moment looks like this (pending final confirmation…):

Darren Johnston – trumpet

Darren Johnston

Rob Ewing – trombone

Rob Ewing

Jeff Hobbs – violin

Jeff Hobbs (L) & Bob Marsh (R), performing in OPEYE Orchestra, @ Tuva Space

Crystal Pascucci – cello

Crystal Pascucci

Bishu Chatterjee (বিশু চ্যাটার্জি) – bass

Bishu Chatterjee (বিষু চ্যাটার্জি)

Joe Lasqo – piano & MSP

Meridian Gallery, 11 Jan 2012 (Photo:,

Set 2: “Jacob L”/Kanoko Nishi (西鹿乃子)

“Jacob L” will play clarinets.

Idea Of West, album by Tony Dryer, Jacob Felix Heule, Jacob L

I’ve been listening quite a bit lately to the great album Idea of West by “Jacob L”Tony Dryer, and Jacob Felix Heule, and I want to particularly recommend it.

Piercing and subtle, the unfolding improvisation and compositional structures emphasize purely acoustic sound production in a type of music/sound-art more typically dominated by electronics and create a new kind of “dim-lit chamber music… the interaction of the musicians is on the contrary revealing an utmost responsiveness to the slightest movement” (Massimo Ricci). Go buy it at the link above.

Kanoko Nishi (西鹿乃子)... yes, that is a styrofoam plate used as a combination plectrum/damper

Kanoko Nishi (西鹿乃子) is an improviser currently based in SF/Bay Area and holds a BA in music performance from Mills College. Although her primary training is in classical piano performance, she’s also interested in improvisational music making, both solo and in collaborations with other artists. Her mastery of various extended techniques on the piano and koto (箏), in addition to more traditional techniques, is brilliant and has widened the rage of vocabularies on each instrument and enabled them to adapt to different musical genres. Kanoko also enjoys collaborating with dancers, poets and visual artists to push the limits of her musical language and find ways to communicate with other forms of performance art.

Her recent interest has primarily been in performing 20th century and contemporary music on piano and koto, and free improvisation in a variety of contexts.

I’m very excited to be sharing the bill with Kanoko and Jacob — can’t wait to hear what they do together!

Join us for this special, intimate concert at the fantastic Crane House!


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