Pittsburgh New Music Net

cutting-edge music in the ’burgh and beyond

Thunderbird Summer Avant-Jazz Mondays, starting July 5!

Ever wish you had something interesting to do on Mondays? Well, a series of fortuitous bookings has provided our city with some great progressive jazz over the next couple of months: announcing the Thunderbird Cafe Summer Avant-Jazz Mondays series. All shows are at Thunderbird Cafe, 4023 Butler St., in Lawrenceville.

Concerts are over 21, held in a smoke-free, air-conditioned upstairs. Those still addicted can come downstairs to smoke. There are no physical tickets at outlets for these shows – instead, tickets are on sale now at

http://www.thunderbirdcafe.net

The purpose of this series “to keep bringing the progressive jazz artists which Pittsburgh’s funded cultural institutions and mainstream jazz venues tend to ignore.” And this is a valid point. Except for maybe a couple
concerts per year at the Warhol Museum, these artists currently have nowhere else to play in Pittsburgh, so this
is a much-needed resource. Plus, it’s a comfortable atmosphere where you can get food and drinks.

Here is the upcoming schedule. We hope to see you at some of these concerts.

Monday July 5
Kahil El-Zabar & Hamiet Bluiett Ritual Trio (from Chicago)
with Thoth Trio
8 pm $15/$20

Kahil EL’Zabar is a jazz multi-instrumentalist (mainly a percussionist) and composer. He regularly records for Delmark Records. He joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early 1970s, and became its chairman in 1975. He formed the musical groups Ritual Trio and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, both of which remain active. Musicians with whom Kahil EL’Zabar has collaborated include Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Cannonball Adderley, and Paul Simon.

Hamiet Bluiett is an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer. His primary instrument is the baritone saxophone, and he is considered one of the finest living players of this instrument. In the late 1960s, Bluiett co-founded the Black Artists’ Group (BAG) of St. Louis, Missouri, a collective dedicated to fostering creative work in theater, visual arts, dance, poetry, film, and music. Bluiett joined the Charles Mingus Quintet and the Sam Rivers large ensemble. In 1976, he co-founded the World Saxophone Quartet (along with two other Black Artists’ Group members, Julius Hemphill and Oliver Lake), which soon became jazz music’s most renowned saxophone quartet. Since the 1990s, he has led a virtuosic quartet, the Bluiett Baritone Nation, made up entirely of baritone saxophones, with drum set accompaniment. In the 1980s, he also founded The Clarinet Family, a group of eight clarinetists playing clarinets of various sizes ranging from E-flat soprano to contrabass. Bluiett has also worked with Babatunde Olatunji, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye. He has recorded for numerous labels including India Navigation, Black Saint, Justin Time, Soul Note, and Knitting Factory.

Mon July 12
William Hooker (from NYC)
with Matta Gawa (from Washington, D.C.)
8 pm $10/$12

Hooker is an acclaimed percussionist since the mid-’70s, releasing over 20 CDs on labels such as Knitting Factory,
Ecstatic Peace and Silkheart. As a composer, he has received commissions from Meet the Composer, the NY State Council on the Arts, and Real Art Ways, and led many creative ensembles with musicians from diverse backgrounds, including Lee Ranaldo, David Murray, David S. Ware, William Parker, DJ Spooky and Thurston Moore. Hooker often reads his poetry during performances as part of the musical compositions.

Matta Gawa’s debut album ‘BA’ is distributed through ESP-Disk. Drummer Sam Lohman worked with Steve Mackay of the Stooges and Acid Mothers Temple. Guitarist Ed Ricart works with Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra, Peter Brotzmann, Herb Robertson, Jason Ajemian, and members of Fugazi, Bardo Pond, Pinback, Stinking Lizaveta, and the Swirlies.

Mon July 26
Aram Shelton Quartet (from Chicago)
with Dave Bernabo & Darryl Fleming
8 pm $8/$10

A multi-instrumentalist on saxophones & clarinets, composer and improviser, Aram Shelton was recently featured in Downbeat, and compared in the press to a young Roscoe Mitchell or Anthony Braxton. His groups in Chicago include the Fast Citizens (Delmark Records), Rolldown (Cuneiform), and his own Arrive. While studying at Mills, Shelton developed compositions wherein written phrases played by orchestral instruments are rearranged via custom built patches in MAX/MSP. He continues to improvise and compose electroacoustic music focused on these concepts. Meanwhile, he’s been fortunate to perform with a wide variety of talented musicians including Ken Vandermark, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Weasel Walter, Rob Mazurek, Jessica Pavone, Kevin Drumm, and Chris Brown. He has performed in Europe, Canada and the United States including appearances at Chicago Jazz Fest, Suoni per il Popolo in Montreal, and Krakow Autumn Jazz Fest. Other recordings of his are on 482 Music, Locust Music, and his own Singlespeed Music.

Mon Aug 2
Ernest Dawkins New Horizons Trio (from Chicago)
with Mike Klobuchar & Ed Tarzia
8 pm $15/$20

Ernest “Khabeer” Dawkins is an American jazz saxophonist, principally active in free jazz and post-bop. He was a neighbor of Anthony Braxton as a child. During the ’70s, he began studying with members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), such as Joseph Jarman and Chico Freeman. He worked with Ed Wilkerson, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble and Douglas Ewart before founding his own New Horizons Ensemble, which plays regularly in Chicago as well as at jazz festivals and on tour in Europe. He has several releases out on
the Delmark and Silkheart labels.

June 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm Comments (3)

Trib Reviews Ravish Momin and Trio Tarana

Check it out here.

June 29, 2010 at 3:35 pm Comments (0)

Ravish Momin’s Infinite Groove

L-R: Skye Steele (Violin); Greg Heffernan (cello); Ravish Momin (percussion, voice, composition)

Drummer/composer Ravish Momin and Trio Tarana will be playing on the Warhol’s Sound Series on Friday, June 25 in a show that will also feature local artist DJ J. Malls. I got a chance to Skype with Ravish a few days ago and we had a free-wheeling discussion about his musical vision, the positive influence or Pittsburgh and the Warhol, and the challenges of creating innovative music in an ever more conservative industry. As always, I include the full audio below and recommend that, but here are some highlights to pique your curiosity.

Probably the biggest understatement one could make about the sound of Trio Tarana is that it reflects diverse influences. There is clearly strong influence of Indian classical music, of jazz, electronic elements, and rock. And, partly because of the instrumentation (drums, violin and cello), Trio Tarana sounds as much like a chamber music ensemble as a jazz combo. Yet, for all that diversity of influences, the music forms a seamless whole. To Ravish Momin, this develops as an organic and intuitive process which he describes as, “Taking all these influences that were latent inside me and having them come out.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ravish’s official bio starts with his love for poetry, then how he completed a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at CMU, and finally about studying classical Indian percussion. He speaks fondly of Pittsburgh and his time at CMU as the place where his passion for music was nurtured.

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Talking about the current configuration of Trio Tarana, Ravish get’s very excited about the band’s integration of technology and why it makes sense to him.

“We’re living in this electronic age, we’re talking on Skype, we have our iPhones, we’re texting—we’re doing all of this electronic stuff, but somehow when we go to music all of a sudden it has be three guys with acoustic instruments, and we leave everything behind, all of this technology, and for me it was like, ‘Wow, why can’t I find a way to bring in all this technology in and organic way that’s not being done?’”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

One of the most compelling aspects of Trio Tarana is that no matter how far afield the players move from each other, one can always sense how it all fits into a groove, even when that groove is based on a complex, asymmetrical time signature. The idea of groove-driven jazz is very significant to Ravish, and he speaks with a lot of energy about its importance to his music.

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One of the biggest problems facing truly innovative musicians is that music industry is wary of anything that cannot be categorized and packaged simply. While this is a source of frustration for Ravish, he had positive things to say about the role the Warhol and Pittsburgh play in helping develop and audience for cutting-edge music.

“Places like the Warhol Museum are very few and far between in the United States.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ravish Momin and Trio Tarana play at the Warhol at 8; doors are at 7:30. Check out the Warhol Web site for more information about the show and about tickets.

Listen to the full interview.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

UPDATE: There’s lot’s of good audio and video on on Ravish Momin’s Web site, but I thought this clip summed up nicely a lot of the things we were talking about in the interview.

June 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm Comments (0)

Summer 2010 Events

The Events Calendar is feeling refreshed. Check it out.

June 14, 2010 at 1:27 pm Comments (0)

Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble Concert 4

July 30, 2010
8:00 pm
July 31, 2010
8:00 pm

City Theatre
Tickets: 412-431-CITY (City Theatre Box Office)






Don’t miss the final concert of PNME’s 2010 season!

Sweet Air, 
David Lang

Like Spinning Plates, 
Radiohead

Requiem (for solo percussionist), David Skidmore

Lost and Found, 
Frederic Rzewski

Radiance, 
Ned McGowan (PNME World Premiere Commission)

June 14, 2010 at 1:24 pm Comments (0)

Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble Concert 3

July 23, 2010
8:00 pm
July 24, 2010
8:00 pm

City Theatre
Tickets: 412-431-CITY (City Theatre Box Office)






PNME’s third week of the 2010 season features a program of premieres, including

Musica Ricercata, György Ligeti

Musique de Tables, 
Thierry de Mey

Vous avez de Feu?, 
Emmanuelle Sejourne

Wisp, 
David Stock,
(PNME World Premiere Commission)

Last Minuteure 1, 
David Skidmore
(PNME World Premiere Commission)

Last Minuteure 2, 
Jeff Nytch
(PNME World Premiere Commission)

Noed to Ligeti (with optional axe), 
Kevin Noe & David Skidmore
(PNME World Premiere Commission)

Études Tanguistiques,
 Astor Piazzolla

June 14, 2010 at 1:10 pm Comments (0)

Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble Concert 2

July 16, 2010
8:00 pm
July 17, 2010
8:00 pm

City Theatre
Tickets: 412-431-CITY (City Theatre Box Office)






Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble continues its 2010 season with

L’Oeil Écoute,
 Pierre Jalbert 
PNME Commission

Fragment,
 John Psathas

Qi,
 Chen Yi

Beyond the Zero, 
Steve Ricks

Clarinet Quartet,
 Mathew Fuerst

RE: Porter, 
Aaron Grad

June 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm Comments (0)

Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble Concert 1

July 9, 2010
8:00 pm
July 10, 2010
8:00 pm

City Theatre
Tickets: 412-431-CITY (City Theatre Box Office)






Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble launches its 2010 season with

Petroushkates, 
Joan Tower

1 of Us, 1 of Them, Ted Hearne

Delicate Songs,
 Aaron Kernis

Little Eye, David Lang

Night Music,
 Thomas Albert (PNME Commission)

June 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm Comments (0)

Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana at the Warhol, with DJ J. Malls

June 25, 2010
8:00 pm

The Andy Warhol Museum
(Doors at 7:30)
Tickets $12 – call 412-237-8300 or visit www.ticketweb.com

The Warhol welcomes percussionist and composer Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana, including Skye Steele (violin) and Greg Heffernan (cello and electronics). The trio’s latest release on Clean Fed Records, features a unique, genre-blending mix of live electronics, jazz and classical music (including Indian and Middle-eastern scales) with inspirations ranging from Flying Lotus to Penderecki to Sun Ra. Momin began his career performing with progressive jazz musicians from the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), whose initial membership included the likes of Anthony Braxton and Lester Bowie. More recently his trio has been sharing festival stages with likes of Akron/Family, Xiu Xiu and Sufjan Stevens. Pittsburgh-based jazz aficionado DJ J. Malls opens the show.

June 14, 2010 at 12:09 pm Comments (0)