MSP/piano w Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra @Meridian Gallery, SF (Thu 13 Sep, 8:45pm) + Cartoon Justice (8:10pm) & Key West (7:30pm)

Meridian Gallery, 535 Powell St., San Francisco

After a string of great East Bay shows @ CNMAT and elsewhere, astonishment-starved San Francisco listeners will finally be able to hear Aaron Bennett’s phenomenal ensemble Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra on their own ground,  appearing at:

Meridian Gallery (535 Powell St., SF) at 8:45pm on Thu 13 Sep.

I am again honored to be adding MSP and piano into the mix, and it will be a special pleasure to do so in Meridian’s acoustically vibrant pure space.

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…

(For a more detailed interview with Aaron about this music, please check out Craig Matsumoto’s post: Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Improv)

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 Quartetand 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 will also include:

Rob Ewing – trombone

Rob Ewing

Theo Padouvas (Θοδωρής Παδουβάς) – trumpet

Theo Padouvas (Θοδωρής Παδουβάς)

Crystal Pascucci – cello

Crystal Pascucci

Jeff Hobbs – violin

Bob Marsh – accordion (and spiritual guidance counselor)

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

Lisa Mezzacappa – bass

Lisa Mezzacappa

Joe Lasqo – piano & MSP

Joe Lasqo @ Meridian Gallery, 11 Jan 2012 (Photo:,

The Polychromatic Mika Pontecorvo

Our set will be the final set in Next Now 8, part of the ongoing Next Now series organized by guitarist, flutist, live electronicist, composer, improviser, & process architect, Mika Pontecorvo (for a few persepctives on Mika, see left).

Mika’s music specializes in in emergent structures of improvisation based on live interaction between an ensemble of musicians and generative sound architectures and systems he constructs in MAX/MSP and other hardware/software elements .

Playing in set 2, Mika’s band Cartoon Justice melds free and modal improv with structured song and experimental noise processes. The resulting sound often draws on elements from world musics, jazz, dark psychedelic rock and funk, and European modern / post-modern experimental traditions, and is a sound like no other you’ve heard.

Cartoon Justice - Mika Pontecorvo: guitar/flute/live processing, Kersti Abrams: alto sax/rhaita (غيطه‎)/flute,, Greg Baker: clarinet/percussion/live processing, Aaron Levin: drums/percussion, Elijah Pontecorvo: electric bass

13 Sep’s personnel will include

Mika Pontecorvo – guitar/flutes/voice/electronics.

Mariko Miyakawa (宮川 真理子) – cello/voice.

Greg Baker – clarinet/percussion/electronics.

Elijah Pontecorvo – electric bass.

Stephanie Lak – vocals, electronics.

Elliot Racine – bass, voice

Beginning the show will be Brian Pederen’s ensemble Key West.

Key West is a free form amalgamation of improvisers. They started in 2000 as a sax and drum duo and stochastically expand outwards to four to eight players. They play completely improvised free jazz (with a high component of invented instruments like master woodworker Sung Kim‘s Holy Water Spinkler II) and will be coming fresh from fantastic shows at the SIMM Series and the Skronkathon.

Key West, 2010 Skronkathon

13 Sep’s personnel will include:

Sung Kim () – several modernist reinvented versions of the Tromba Marina, and invented instruments the Sympathetic Canon, and the Fawn (+who knows?), instrument inventor/builder

Dave DupuisBaritone Koto-gurdy

Note: Brian Pedersen himself has been called away at the last moment…

This show will burst with new sounds and animate the intense Meridian space with unheard-of-ness made audible.

Come fly with us — welcome aboard!


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