Improvisations Now – March 6 at Real Art Ways

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Improvisations Now - March 6

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Joe McPhee, born November 3,1939 in Miami, Florida, USA, is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, improviser, conceptualist and theoretician. He began playing the trumpet at age eight, taught by his father, himself a trumpet player. He continued on that instrument through his formative school years and later in a U.S. Army band stationed in Germany, at which time he was introduced to performing traditional jazz. Clifford Thornton’s Freedom and Unity, released in 1969 on the Third World label, is the first recording on which he appears as a side man. In 1968, inspired by the music of Albert Ayler, he took up the saxophone and began an active involvement in both acoustic and electronic music. His first recordings as leader appeared on the CJ Records label, founded in 1969 by painter Craig Johnson. These include Underground Railroad by the Joe McPhee Quartet (1969), Nation Time (1970), Trinity (1971) and Pieces of Light (1974). In 1975, Swiss entrepreneur Werner X. Uehlinger release Black Magic Man by McPhee, on what was to become Hat Hut Records. In 1981, he met composer, accordionist, performer, and educator Pauline Oliveros, whose theories of “deep listening” strengthened his interests in extended instrumental and electronic techniques. he also discovered Edward de Bono’s book Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity, which presents concepts for solving problems by “disrupting an apparent sequence and arriving at the solution from another angle.” de Bono’s theories inspired McPhee to apply this “sideways thinking” to his own work in creative improvisation, resulting in the concept of “Po Music.” McPhee describes “Po Music” as a “process of provocation” (Po is a language indicator to show that provocation is being used) to “move from one fixed set of ideas in an attempt to discover new ones.” He concludes, “It is a Positive, Possible, Poetic Hypothesis.” The results of this application of Po principles to creative improvisation can be heard on several Hat Art recordings, including Topology, Linear B, and Oleo & a Future Retrospective. In 1997, McPhee discovered two like-minded improvisers in bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen. The trio premiered at the Vision Jazz Festival in 1998 but the concert went unnoticed by the press. McPhee, Duval, and Rosen therefore decided that an apt title for the group would be Trio X. In 2004 he created Survival Unit III with Fred Lonberg-Holm and Michael Zerang to expand his musical horizons and with a career spanning nearly 50 years and over 100 recordings, he continues to tour internationally, forge new connections while reaching for music’s outer limits.

Jamie Saft is a virtuoso pianist, keyboardist, producer, and composer from New York. His stylistic versatility, multi-instrumentalist capabilities, and production skills have been featured with Beastie Boys, Bad Brains, HR, The B-52’s, John Zorn, John Adams, Laurie Anderson, Donovan, Antony and the Johnsons, and Iggy Pop. Saft leads the New Zion Trio, Jamie Saft Trio, and Jamie Saft Quartet. Saft has collaborated with legends of music including Wadada Leo Smith, Roswell Rudd, Marshall Allen, Danny Ray Thompson, Dave Liebman, Joe Morris, Hamid Drake, Bobby Previte, Steve Swallow, Darryl Jenifer, and Cyro Baptista. Saft has composed a number of original film scores including the Oscar nominated “Murderball” and Sundance winner “God Grew Tired Of Us.” Saft has also scored extensively for Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, Vice TV, NFL Football, CBS, and A&E. Saft currently runs the independent record label Veal Records as well as Potterville International Sound, both based out of Kingston, NY.

James Brandon Lewis (b.1983) is a critically- acclaimed composer, saxophonist, and writer. He has received accolades from NPR, ASCAP Foundation, The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. He has been described as “ a saxophonist who embodies and transcends tradition” by The New York Times. and a promising young talent having listened to the elders by Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins. The saxophonist has balanced a deep, gospel -informed spirituality with Free-Jazz- abandon and hard-hitting funk-meets-hip-hop underpinning – Rolling Stone Magazine. Lewis created Molecular Systematic Music in 2011 under a different moniker, it describes a twofold approach to music, braiding together the fundamentals of music theory with the ideas of molecular biology in the context of DNA. While not a molecular biologist, the ideas he expresses deploy the vocabulary of molecular biology as useful metaphors, while exploring new possibilities and relationships across disciplines. He has released several critically-acclaimed albums most recently highly touted Jesup Wagon and tours internationally leading several ensembles, and is a member and co-founder of American Book award winning Ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders. James was recently voted Rising Star Tenor Saxophonist by Downbeat magazines 2020s International Critics poll. He attended Howard University and received his M.F.A from California Institute of the Arts.

Jerome Deupree Drummer in Either/Orchestra, Humans, Beat Circus and Morphine.