PETER EVANS trumpet
COLIN STETSON saxophones
KATT HERNANDEZ violin
What if Evan Parker played the trumpet? A possible answer to that captivating question comes in the personage of Peter Evans and his newly released solo venture on Psi. Evans adapts the familiar Parkerian extended techniques of circular breathing, split tones and multiphonics to a degree that the surname, first name similarity no longer seems simply a coincidence. Recorded within the reverberant acoustics of a chapel in Oberlin, Ohio, the location incidentally, of his alma mater, Evans holds an intimate recital. Five of the seven pieces feature him on piccolo trumpet, the remaining two on a regular-sized variant. The smaller instrument accommodates a surprising amount of tonal breadth as the busy opener ìSentimentî effusively demonstrates. Growls, slurs and glottal stops pepper an improvisation mainly concerned with pure sound over any semblance of conventional melody or rhythm.
Evansí pitch command and ability to parse sound are pretty amazing, especially in light of the unforgiving mouthpiece and the traditional octave limitations of his instrument. He regularly sets up a central striated line as base canvas, spectral drones materializing above and below to create a flickering metallic chorus of pigments. The occasional dry scuttling clatter of ungreased valve buttons adds another percussive element. His accelerated constructions on ìRitualî bring these components into bold focus and find him filling the performance space with a huge supply of constantly fluctuating sound. Embouchure puckered tightly against trumpet and air squeezed outward in precisely parceled gusts, the prolonged breath control on display is downright astonishing.
ìAirî is all laborious expulsions and pinpoint putterings with Evans referencing everything from throat singing to the reverberating drones of a didgeridoo, culminating in a repeating carousel of Doppler tones that reminds me strangely of a lonely lighthouse lamp illuminating a craggy desolate shore. ìSlender Explosions of Noisesî initially features him at his most jazz-like, sketching a busy, bouncing succession of notes that grows progressively more abstract and elemental to conclude in a wash of whirring harmonics. ìClothes of Inhabitants Near or Far Awayî caps the set with a delicate tone poem coda that uncannily echoes Parkerís mellifluous blurred pitch exercises on soprano. Evans works regularly with a handful of East Coast improv collectives covering a sweep between free jazz and free improv with a naturalistic ease. This work definitely resides at the latter end of that spectrum and proves fully that Parkerís faith in his younger protÈgÈ is well founded. ~ Derek Taylor. Photo: Catto.
Colin Stetson was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI, where he began to carve out his singular musical voice that channels John Coltrane’s sheets of sounds, as well as the post-modern beauty and angst of Sonic Youth and the Pixies. Using assorted saxophones, clarinet, flute and French horn, Stetson has played and recorded with some of today’s hottest and most revered musicians and bands, like Arcade Fire, Tom Waits, TV on the Radio, Antibalas, Anthony Braxton, Medeski, Martin and Wood and Burning Spear. Studying with the likes of Roscoe Mitchell, Donald Sinta, Steve Adams and Henry Threadgill, Stetson earned a music degree from the University of Michigan in 1997. More importantly, extensive gigging with his band Transmission around Ann Arbor and Detroit earned him a reputation for being an exemplary improviser, composer and circular breather.
Never one to cage himself into categories, Stetson joined forces with progressive jazz-rockers Larval, as well as DJ Recloose, which eventually led to Stetsons appearance on the acclaimed Cardiology recording. Along with the rest of Transmission, Stetson moved to San Francisco in 1998, befriending, playing and recording with the likes of Fred Frith, Kenny Wollesen, Beulah and the late Matthew Sperry. Stetson and his Transmission brothers anchored a musical community that garnered high praise in the Bay Area press, and eventually led to national and international attention when in 2002, Tom Waits recruited Stetson to record on the landmark albums Alice and Blood Money (which led to Stetson making an appearance on David Letterman with Waits).
While it is true to say that Stetson makes an impression whenever he plays, his ability to become the music comes through best when he is the leader of a band, or a one-man show. Since relocating to New York City in 2004, Stetson has been able to balance high-exposure gigs with innovative solo performances in front of captivated audiences. According to the Village Voice, Stetson’s solo work ranges from fireside-warm Hungarian folk tunes to bass squonking that jackhammers the mind. In 2002, Stetson recorded a solo, limited edition CD release of a performance at the Artship in Oakland, and his full-length debut as a leader came in the summer of 2003 with the quintet recording Slow Descent. Approaching songs as narratives, a trick he learned from Waits, adds an emotional dynamic to Stetsons playing that exceeds listeners expectations as to what sounds can issue forth from any of the instruments Stetson puts to his lips. No better is this virtuosic ability heard than on New History Warfare, Volume 1, Stetsons first full-length solo recording from Aagoo Records. On this album, the vast musical experiences that Stetson has accumulated over a short period of time have been crafted into 12 songs that defy genres, establishing a sound that is Colin Stetson in full bloom.
Katt Hernandez has recently moved to Philadelphia, after living in the Boston area for nine years, playing the violin, running spaces, and producing shows. She immediately became involved in performances with Bowerbird, Soundfield, Ars Nova, and Nicole Bindler’s Dance Ensemble upon her arrival. Over the last year, Katt has also toured the U.S. with Vashti Bunyan, and most recently also with Vetiver, including a rather magnificannt concert of this new and old form of music at Carnegie Hall as part of David Byrne’s Welcome to Dreamland event. Before leaving Boston, she also participated in the Voltaic Vaudeville festival, wherein she played Solo, with dancer Jennifer Hicks, and as part of the Beat Circus Vaudeville Orchestra.
Focused primarily on freely improvised music, Katt draws a firey array of electronic-like sounds and keening melodies from her completely accoustic violin. She works extensively with microtonality, drawn from a study of a mixture of sources, including traditional folk and sacred musics of the Middle East, Turkey, and Eastern Europe, various odd-ball whisps of old Americana, and the Maneri/Sims 72 note system. Playing with as wide and unexpected a variety of other performers as possible is tantamount to her sonic and spiritual pursuits. She has also played music of the late Ottman empire and Whirling Dervish ceremonies with the Eurasia Ensemble. She spent some time playing old-time, vaudeville, and early jazz tunes with Matt Somalis(a.k.a. Shoe) whilst channelling the spirit of Amelia Earhart in the duo Lindy’s Radio. And she also plays the mysterious incarnation of a disturbing cartoon character in the frightening music and performance art duo Dr. Selenium and Madame Margo. In fact, she plays somewhere for somebody at least weekly, come hell or high water.
Katt has collaborated with a magnificently variated sea of musicians, dancers, and others including- but certainly not limited to- Joe Maneri, Zack Fuller, David Maxwell, Beat Circus, Nicole Bindler, Matt Somalis, Vashti Bunyan, John Voigt, Allisa Cardone, Gordon Beeferman, Jonathan Vincent, Walter Wright, Joe Burgio, Eric Rosenthal, Jeff Arnal, Jaimie McGlaughlin, Andrew Neumann, Dave Gross, and Hans Rickheit. She has twice been invited to perfrom on the Autumn Uprising, High Zero, Mobius ArtRages, and Improvised and Otherwise festivals, and has also appeared at the Montreaux-Detroit, Brandeis New Music, Boston CyberArts, Michiania, IAJE, IASJ, and Ear Whacks festivals. She has been a guest artist at MIT, Harvard, University of Indiana and the New England Conservatory, performed in a vast slew of localized venues and life-making places throughout the east coast metropolii.
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