MSP/Piano: Post-jazz compositions for improvisers w Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra @ Berkeley Arts (Wed 15 May, 9pm) + Myles Boisen’s Ornettology (8pm)

Aaron Bennett’s phenomenal post-jazz ensemble Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra returns to the East Bay at 9pm, Wed 15 May at Berkeley Arts Festival (2133 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA – map).

It’s a great pleasure to once again play at the East Bay’s essential hub for new and creative music, a venue that’s delivered an amazing stream of cutting-edge music to the Bay Area community — especially in this very hot double bill of post-modern jazz & post-jazz modernism with Myles Boisen’s Ornettology (Set 1, 8pm).

If you’ve already heard the first album of Aaron Bennett’s unique compositions released by Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra (cover below),  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.”

The electro-magnetic field is tuned and amplified by means of unique “breathing chart” compositions using a special graphic notation Aaron has designed for large improvising ensembles to focus and unleash aural energies. The resulting sound is like nothing else and has amazed audiences in a string of orgone-accelerating Bay Area performances over the last year.

(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 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 for this show will also include:

Rob Ewing – trombone

Rob Ewing

Theo Padouvas (Θοδωρής Παδουβάς) – trumpet

Theo Padouvas (Θοδωρής Παδουβάς)

Crystal Pascucci – cello

Crystal Pascucci

Bob Marsh – accordion (and spiritual guidance counselor)

Jeff Hobbs (L) & Bob Marsh (R)

Lisa Mezzacappa – bass

Lisa Mezzacappa

Joe Lasqo – MSP & piano

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

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

Ornette Coleman

Beginning the show at 8pm in Set 1 will be Ornettology, Myles Boisen’s ongoing multidimensional re-prisming of one of the greatest modern masters.

Ornette Coleman

Myles has assembled a squad of players with deep knowledge of Ornette Coleman‘s music, bringing fresh arrangements of the free jazz iconoclast’s tunes, so expect a tornado of energy and trickster wisdom.

Ornette Coleman's Skies of America

Tonight’s Ornettology program will feature premieres of new pieces from Ornette’s Skies of America and the Naked Lunch film soundtrack.

A bar listener from Naked Lunch...

Myles Boisen

Myles’ vibrant stream of explorations in music, audio engineering and photography have made him a pillar of the Bay Area cultural scene.

Often sensed before he is seen — by the telltale scent of 13♯9 chords, earth after rainfall, and Martian wisteria — Myles Boisen is a recording and mastering engineer, album producer, film and television composer, journalist, and guitarist/bassist.

Myles Boisen (Photo by Michael Zelner)

His résumé includes hundreds of studio and live recordings for independant groups and labels, as well as for MTV/Comedy Central, CBS, Warner Bros., Polydor, PBS, et. al.

Myles was the engineer on The Gorey End CD by The Tiger Lillies and Kronos Quartet (EMI Classics), nominated for a Grammy award in 2004. His production and restoration work on Clarence “Guitar” SimsBorn To Sing The Blues CD (Mt. Top Records) garnered two awards from Real Blues Magazine in 1999: “Best West Coast blues reissue” and “Best studio sound technique”.

Myles Boisen (Photo by Michael Zelner)

In addition to musical performances with Tom Waits, John Zorn, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Fred Frith, Eugene Chadbourne, Splatter Trio, and The Club Foot Orchestra, Myles has contributed to a number of independent film soundtracks, plus director David Lynch‘s films Twin Peaks and Wild At Heart.

Throughout the 1990’s Myles was a composer and bassist in The Club Foot Orchestra, which is generally acknowledged as the first national touring ensemble to revive the art of original music performance with classic silent films and cartoons. During this period the CFO collective appeared at Lincoln Center (New York City) and Disney World (Orlando, FL) performing their scores for such vintage classics as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Pandora’s Box, and Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr.

The softer side of Myles Boisen (Photo: Joel Deuter)

As a composer, Myles has scored original work for the award-winning Onsite Dance Co (ODC; San Francisco/New York), Rova Saxophone Quartet, and numerous Bay Area new music ensembles. He’s currently the music director of Orchestra Nostalgico, a CFO spinoff dedicated to the live performance of film music (Nino Rota, Ennio Morricone, John Barry). Myles pursues his musical interests in Oakland, where he’s the chief engineer at Guerrilla Recording, a full service recording studio.

Steve Adams

A special bonus for tonight’s performance — Ornettology will be playing all of the arrangements for the group by Steve Adams, whom it has recently been my pleasure to collaborate with in duo and trio formats.

Steve Adams (M), Joe Lasqo (L), Aaron Bennett (R) @ the Makeout Room, 6 May 2013 (Photo by Michael Zelner)

Steve Adams needs little introduction to lovers of jazz and new music, having been a long-standing key player in various East & West Coast scenes. His work on various saxes, flutes, electronics and as a composer combines probing originality, playful improv structures and swing with a very specific angular momentum.

Steve Adams

Steve is best known as a member of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, whom he’s been with for more than 20 years. Steve is also a member of the Bill Horvitz Band, various Matt Small ensembles, and the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, as well as leading his own projects.

Steve lived in Boston in the ’70s and ’80s, where he was a member of Your Neighborhood Sax Quartet, Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, and Composers in Red Sneakers among others. A remarkable collaboration with avant jazz bassist Ken Filiano, which we in the Bay Area have the pleasure of hearing on his swings to the West Coast, was formed in this period.

Steve’s versatility, powerful musical imagination, commanding technique, and personal warmth and great sense of humor make him a wonderful collaborator, and it’s been great to have my ears expanded by his beautiful ideas.

In addition to Myles Boisen and Steve Adams, tonight’s Ornettology line-up will include:

Vijay Anderson – drums

Vijay Anderson (L), John Finkbeiner (M), Aaron Bennett (R), performing in the Vijay Anderson Quartet

John Finkbeiner – guitar

Chris Grady – trumpet

Seth Ford-Young (L) & Chris Grady (R), @ Darkroom Theater, 29 Oct 2008 (Photo by Ron Bosia)

Phillip Greenlief – tenor saxophone

Phillip Greenlief performing in Vexations [Re-vex’d] @ Berkeley Arts, 24 Mar 2013 (Photo: Joel Deuter)

Lisa Mezzacappa – bass

Noah Phillips & Lisa Mezzacappa @ LSG, 31 Jan 2013 (Photo-,

Strap in and join us for a wild and unforgettable night of music!


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