When friends come from afar, is there not joy?
– Confucius (孔子)
I’m keenly looking forward to once again play with Brno-born Czech composer | accordionist | dancer | sound artist Lucie Vítková, in a unique quartet with San Francisco instrument-inventor Brian Day, and supreme bass virtuosa Lisa Mezzacappa, just back from Paris.
☞ Sliding scale tix at the door
☞ Examiner.com preview: here
Last time Lucie was in town, our progamme focused on game pieces like my Drak nebo krokodýl? (Dragon or Crocodile?) and Sheldonian パチンコ….
…This time we’re going to balance chairs and turn somersaults on the ethereal tightrope of free improv… whilst tap-dancing (at least in Lucie’s case).
◉ Lucie Vítková is a composer, improviser and performer (accordion, harmonica, voice and tap dance) from the Czech Republic. Her compositions focus on sonification (compositions based on abstract models derived from physical objects), while in her improvisation practice explores characteristics of discrete spaces through the interaction between sound and movement. In her recent work, she is interested in the musical legacy of Morse Code and the social-political aspects of music and art in relation to everyday life.
She graduated in accordion performance at Brno Conservatory and composition at Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts. Along with her study of music she taught tap dance at the Theatre Faculty of JAMU. She is a member of the Brno Improvising Unit, Ensemble Marijan, Dunami Ensemble, Dust In The Groove, and Pražský improvizační orchestr (Prague Improvisation Orchestra, or PIO), co-founded by Bay area expat, George Cremaschi. She is a founder of Temporary Ensemble.
Lucie began her graduate studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague & at California Institute of the Arts. She’s studied with Martin Smolka, Jaroslav Šťastný, Martijn Padding, Gilius van Bergeijk, & Michael Pisaro. Her Ph.D research began at Universität der Künste, Berlin, under Marc Sabat, & now continues at Columbia University, where she’s a Visiting Scholar with George Lewis.
She’s analyzing music of Christian Wolff, researching hierarchy & social relations in his music and looking for the composition techniques which express this phenomena. Furthermore, Lucie is putting his music and scores into the context of free improvisation to explore the definitions of composition and improvisation.
One of the most mind-opening aspects of Lucie’s work for me is embodied in a series of pieces with collaborator Pavel Korbička under the rubric of Akustický obraz (Acoustic Paintings), which combine dance, sound production, and ritual, often employing large, or even room-size, invented instruments, sometimes augmented by sound from an unseen source that provides a stark un-physical contrast with the completely physical means of sound production that Lucie is employing. These slay me.
Check out Akustický obraz 10:
◉ Bryan Day (invented instruments)
Bryan Day is an improviser, instrument inventor, illustrator & installation artist based in San Francisco. His work involves combining elements of the natural and man-made world using field recordings, custom audio generation software and homemade instruments. Bryan’s work explores the parallels between the patterns and systems in nature to those in contemporary society.
Bryan has toured throughout the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Argentina, the Philippines, & Mexico, performing both solo as Sistrum and Eloine, and in the Shelf Life and Seeded Plain ensembles, as well as with innumerable collaborators, and has over 40 solo and ensemble releases.
Since 1997 he has been running the new music label Public Eyesore and its sister label Eh?. Through Public Eyesore and Eh?, Bryan has produced and released over 200 albums of improvised and experimental music by artists from all over the globe, in addition to curating the music series at Meridian Gallery in San Francisco.
◉ Joe Lasqo (keyboards | laptop | objects)
Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century. His recent album, Turquoise Sessions, is available on Edgetone Records; with new releases planned in 2016.
Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the piano series at Viracocha, with recent residencies at San Francisco’s PianoFight. He’s appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, the London Improvisers Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), and Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London), saxophonists Adrian Northover & Sue Lynch (London), and many others.
Late July will bring a networked collaboration based on the ancient Indian Vāstu architectural system between Joe, electronic musician Jorge Bachmann, algorithmic video artist Bill Thibault, pipe organist David Hatt, dancer Nan Busse, and improvising AI agent / architect, Maxxareddu. The project, Vāstu Vidyā (वास्तु विद्या) 2.0, will be performed on 29 Jul at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral as part of the Soundwave((7)) Biennial.
◉ Lisa Mezzacappa draws on a palette of sinister drones, punchy vamps and acoustic bass manipulations to weave storylines through gnarly rhythms, pointillistic shapes and ecstatic melodies.
“…mysterious, complexly textured improvisations that sometimes take shape as the aural equivalent of abstract expressionist paintings, whether the ethereal, mystical canvasses of Mark Rothko or the jittery, splatter techniques of Jackson Pollock.”
— Derk Richardson, KPFA radio host and music critic
Lisa Mezzacappa is a bassist, bandleader, composer, curator and producer. She leads her own groups Bait & Switch, Nightshade, Eartheaters & the Lisa Mezzacappa Trio, and co-leads the ensembles BODABODA, duo B., Cylinder, the Mezzacappa-Phillips Duo, and the Caribbean folk band Les Gwan Jupons. Lisa also performs as a sideperson in original jazz, improv and chamber ensembles led by esteemed bandleaders and West Coast musical visionaries, like Phillip Greenlief, Aaron Novik, Beth Custer, Randy McKean, Marco Eneidi, Vijay Anderson, Aaron Bennett, Myles Boisen, Steve Adams, Graham Connah, Jon Raskin, Cory Wright and Ross Hammond, and as well collaborates frequently with Vinny Golia, Katy Stephan, Aram Shelton, Kjell Nordeson, Murray Campbell, Dina Maccabee, Noah Phillips, Rob Ewing, Kasey Knudsen, Sam Ospovat, John Hanes, and many many others.
Lisa’s most recent triumph on our shores was the acclaimed Glorious Ravage, a panoramic free jazz multimedia song cycle based on writings of lady explorers of the 19th century, which toured northern and southern California in fall 2015.
She’s followed that up with another big ambitious project developed during her recently completed residency at Paris’ Cité Internationale des Arts, ORGANELLE, which models music on bioprocesses, and has recently received performances in Napoli, Roma, and Köln. It will receive its US premier later this year at Berkeley’s BAMPFA.
◉ Phillip Greenlief’s BARBEDWIRE: 37 graphic scores for trio (selections), Set 1, 8pm
BARBEDWIRE is a series of 37 new graphic scores, composed by Phillip Greenlief in Dec 2014 during a composing retreat in coastal Maine, and performed tonight by Phillip Greenlief (reeds), Evelyn Davis (voice | electronics) and gabby fluke-mogul (violin).
These works were recently featured on the Crosswinds Program on KALW, National Public Radio, and you can hear Phillip talk about them from that show: here.
Aside from the raw beauty and intensity of these works, as I’ve heard them realized by various of Phillip’s trios, I’m fascinated by them structurally.
Looking at the score above, you can see the starting points for the 3 players, #1 in the upper right, #2 in the lower right, and #3 in the lower left. They advance along their paths at will, but they’re also constrained to cross paths with and interact with their trio partners.
Although notated very differently, this system of free progressions, constrained to sync and interact with partners at path-crossings, is mappable to the system used by John Cage in his Two², which I had the pleasure to perform with Patti Deuter, and which also served as the basis for an expanded methodology which we’ve used in the large-scale Renga-kai (連歌会) ensemble.
“The Bay Area’s do-it-yourself ethos has produced a bevy of dazzlingly creative musicians, but few have put the philosophy to work as effectively as Phillip Greenlief.” – Andrew Gilbert, San Francisco Chronicle
Internationally acclaimed saxophonist/composer Phillip Greenlief began early as a guitarist and trumpet player, later gravitating towards the sax. His playing reveals an expansive sound vocabulary, extreme dynamic range, a deep regard for melody and form, and a rollicking humor and wit. As a free improviser, he’s performed solo; in duo with David Boyce, Fred Frith, Joëlle Léandre, Thomas Dimuzio, Trevor Dunn, Scott Amendola, & choreographer Michelle Ellsworth; in trios with John Bischoff & Karen Stackpole, w Ken Filiano & Andrew Drury, in FPR w Frank Gratkowski & Jon Raskin, and in The Lost Trio with Dan Seamans and Tom Hassett; in the metal/thrash band PG13, in the LA noise-hop trio Skeleton Wire; and in the large ensembles Orchestra Nostalgico and OrcheSperry. As a composer, he has created over 400 works for practically every configuration, including solo sax, jazz ensembles, chamber groups, electro-acoustic improvisers, film soundtracks, live theater, dance companies, and works for large ensemble and orchestra with choir.
Phillip is the founder of Evander Music, an independent record label presenting original composition, improvised music, and jazz. Since 1986, his recordings and performances have received critical acclaim in Down Beat, All About Jazz, Jazz Times, Cadence, Modern Saxophone, and European periodicals. His duo recordings of improvised music with bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Scott Amendola received 5 stars in the Music Hound Jazz Essential Album Guide. He is a recipient of the San Francisco Bay Guardian Goldie Award and recently completed an artist residency at the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts.
◉ Evelyn Davis (voice | electronics)
Detroit native and general wanderer Evelyn Davis is an inside/prepared/new music pianist, improvisor, pipe organist, composer, vocalist, synthesist, teacher, songstress, and maker of / participator in oddly shaped musics with an occasional side of performance art. Most recently this last propensity manifested in joining with Bay Area weirdos Jack o’ the Clock, Cheer Accident, and longtime indie-pop band Lunchbox, outside of which life is full of the constant hum of teaching, song-writing and recording, exploring classical music, and improvising with friends.
Evelyn studied music at Southwestern Community College, the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and most recently earned a Master’s in Performance and Improvisation from Mills College.
An instigator of supremely cool organ-related events such as Drone Church, Evelyn has contributed to some of the Bay Area’s most intriguing avant duos and trios, including musicians such as Jason Hoopes, Jennifer Wilsey, and Phillip Greenlief, with vocals, electronics, and a complex — simultaneously forceful and delicate — approach to the piano, focusing on the soundboard and interior playing area and unusual piano preparations. Recent appearances at the Makeout Room gave samples of how Evelyn’s unique aesthetic projects into the vocal/electronic space she’ll use in this show.
◉ gabby fluke-mogul (violin)
gabby fluke-mogul is a performing, teaching, composing & collaborating-improviser based out of the Bay Area. ((gabby has existed as a violin-body//body in South Florida, Western Massachusetts, & the wider New England area.))
gabby performs in & with a variety of projects, installations, bodies, & instrument-bodies in addition to facilitating community-based workshops, & teaching (toddlers-adults) in public, private, & non-profit learning spaces. their compositions//text-scores take up intimate issues of the politic & poetic of improvising bodies.
gabby has worked with Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, Zeena Parkins, Roscoe Mitchell, Kala Ramnath (கலா ராம்நாத்), & Kara Davis at Mills College in the MFA program for improvisation performance, collaborating with Nava Dunkelman, kelley kipperman (as neem), Adam Hirsch & John McCowen (as room 47), Christina Carter, & Aurora Josephson, & throughout the years with Chelsea Dunn (as patchwrk), Jordan Kneckt & Ryan Mihaly (as knekt), Baron Collins-Hill, & Lucy Hollier at Hampshire College in amherst, ma where gabby received a B.A. in improvisation, education, & childhood studies.
Accordions, tap dance, BARBEDWIRE — what could go wrong…? Come vibrate with us at Canessa Gallery on Wed 06 Jul!