MSP/Piano: Post-jazz compositions for improvisers w Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, Thu 18 Dec @ Center for New Music, SF (Set 2, 8:30pm) ◉ avant-Bolly++ w Horn of Plenty, (Set 1, 7:30pm)

I’m excited to once again join wind giant Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra at San Francisco’s focal-point new music incubator and venue, Center for New Music (55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, CA – map), Set 2 (8:30pm).

To Bollywood… and beyond!

To Bollywood... and beyond!

It’s aways a high-warp adventure to play with this unusual ensemble, and I look forward with special pleasure to bringing the superluminal energy of Aaron’s fantastic “comprov” charts to CNM, together with a great program of festive avant-Bollywood and more from another of Aaron’s projects, Horn of Plenty.

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...

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 Smith, Peter Kowald, John Butcher, Donald Robinson, Marco Eneidi, Gianni GebbiaWeasel Walter, Adam Lane, Larry Ochs, Steve Adams, John Raskin, Victoria WilliamsAphrodesiaLagos-RootsBlack Water GoldROVA 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 E.M.T.P.O. line-up for this show will also include:

— Rob Ewing: trombone

Rob Ewing

— John Finkbeiner: guitar

John FInkbeiner

John FInkbeiner

— Ron Heglin: trombone & voice

Ron Heglin (photo by Tom Djll / Djll Pixels)

— Jeff Hobbs: violin

Jeff Hobbs performs at Vexations Re-vex'd I, 22 Mar 2013, Berkeley Arts Festival (photo - Joel Deuter)

Jeff Hobbs performs at Vexations Re-vex'd I, 22 Mar 2013, Berkeley Arts Festival (photo - Joel Deuter)

— Darren Johnston: trumpet

Darren Johnston

— Bob Marsh: cello

Bob Marsh

— Lisa Mezzacappa: bass

Lisa Mezzacappa

— Joe Lasqo: MSP/laptop, piano, objects

Joe Lasqo & Morgana perform w Jim Ryan's Green Alembic in the sfSoundSalonSeries at Center for New Music, San Francisco, 15 Apr 2014 (Photo by Carly Hoopes)

Set 1 (7:30pm) will be sax trio Horn of Plenty, consisting of Aaron Bennett,  Jon Raskin & Aram Shelton

Horn of Plenty (L → R) Aaron Bennett, Aram Shelton, Jon Raskin

Horn of Plenty (L → R) Aaron Bennett, Aram Shelton, Jon Raskin

3 saxophones reimagine music from 3 continents, from a multitude of traditions to create their own. Re-engineered sound track music from Bollywood films, original music, deconstructed blues, and more.

For info on Aaron Bennett, see above.

Aram Shelton

Aram Shelton

Aram Shelton is a saxophonist, clarinetist, improviser and composer based in Oakland, where the projects Sound Quartet, Tonal Masher, Broken Trap Ensemble, and Ton Trio II represent his music. He is connected to Chicago (where he lived from 1999 to 2005) through his Quartet, the  sextet Fast Citizens, and Jason Adasiewicz’ Rolldown. His writing and playing is grounded in and influenced by the rich history of avant-jazz and free improvisation in America and Europe since the 1950s and has been documented through more than a dozen albums since 2003.

After studying classical alto sax techniques in college, Aram moved to Chicago and became involved in the city’s creative music scene focusing on alto saxophone and clarinet, playing with Jason Adasiewicz, Jason Ajemian, Josh Berman, Tim Daisy, Anton Hatwich, Keefe Jackson, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jason Roebke and Frank Rosaly; and began to use Max/MSP for the live sampling and manipulation of acoustic instruments, primarily with Johnathan Crawford in the electro acoustic duo Grey Ghost.

In 2005, Aram moved to Oakland to study at Mills College, writing music with a focus on the technique of phrase modification, where phrases played by acoustic instruments are recorded in real time and rearranged via custom built patches in MAX/MSP, and he continues to improvise and compose electroacoustic music based on these concepts.

Since moving to California, Aram has developed his ensemble music with groups including musicians Scott Brown & Alex Vittum (Ton Trio II); Michael Coleman & Alex Vittum (Stratic); Darren Johnston, Lisa Mezzacappa, & Kjell Nordeson (Cylinder); his sextet Marches, inspired by the music of Shepp, Ayler & Sun Ra; and the Oakland Active Orchestra. He also curates the Active Music Series.

In addition to the above groups, Aram has recently performed with Britt Ciampa, Mark Clifford, Jordan Glenn, Aaron Novik, Larry Ochs, Safa Shokrai, William Winant and Cory Wright.

Jon Raskin

Jon Raskin

Also joining will be saxophonist & electronic musician Jon Raskin.

Jon has been a member of Rova Saxophone Quartet for 3 decades, exploring the relationship of improvisation and composition, developing and honing the language of ensemble music and researching linguistic possibilities of the saxophone.

Highlights of Rova founding member Jon’s early career include his ’70s participation in new music ensembles directed by composers John Adams and Barney Childs. Before Rova, Jon served as music director of the Tumbleweed Dance Company, was a founding member of the Blue Dolphin Alternative Music Space, and participated in the creation of The Farm — an art project that included a city farm, a community garden, Ecology Center, Dance and Theater companies and organized the creation of a city park.

Highlights as a member of Rova include composing a collaborative work for San Francisco Taiko Dojo/Rova, working with Howard Martin on the installation work Occupancy, composing music for Mr. Bungle/Rova, organizing the 30 year Anniversary Concert of John Coltrane’s Ascension, performing the music of Miles Davis at the Fillmore with Yo Miles!, the Glass Head project with Inkboat and the ongoing Electric Ascension project.

Jon has worked and recorded with Liz Allbee, Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, George Cremaschi, Fred Frith, Philip Gelb, Matthew Goodheart, Phillip Greenlief, Phillip Johnston, Henry Kaiser, Pauline Oliveros, Kanoko Nishi-Smith (西鹿乃子) Dana Reason, Gino Robair, Sam Rivers, John Shiurba, Wadada Leo Smith, Vladimir Tarasov (Владимир Тарасов), and poet Carla Harryman, among many others.


Join us for a fantastic double-shot of fiery soloist and composer Aaron Bennett in two completely different musical ecosystems, each populated by some very strange animals…


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