Experiencing a live jazz quartet in close quarters can be thrilling and mysterious. Jazz musicians have long known that music can take on deeper dimensions when performed by a band that has improvised together for a long time. Improvisers command and express fiercely individual vocabularies at the same time as they communicate with one another in a language based on shared personal and musical ideas. How do musicians shift from internal song to group synchrony when they are composing together in the moment? What can be communicated in a quartet setting that is different from larger or smaller ensembles? What musical ideas are "visible" to musicians' consciousness, and what are "invisible?" Saxophonist/composer Jane Ira Bloom and her long-time collaborators, pianist Dawn Clement, bassist Mark Helias, and drummer Matt Wilson, will perform and talk about their experiences in close-up music.
Jane Ira Bloom is a soprano saxophonist, composer, and a pioneer in the use of live electronics and movement in jazz. She is the winner of the 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship in music composition, the 2007 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award for lifetime service to jazz, the Jazz Journalists Association Award and the Downbeat International Critics Poll for soprano saxophone, and the Charlie Parker Fellowship for jazz innovation. Bloom was the first musician commissioned by the NASA Art Program and has an asteroid named in her honor by the International Astronomical Union. She has received numerous commissions and has composed for the American Composers Orchestra, the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, and the Pilobolus Dance Theater, integrating jazz performers in new settings. She has recorded and produced 13 albums of her music and holds degrees from Yale University and the Yale School of Music. Bloom is currently on the faculty of the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in NYC. Her latest release is the award-winning CD, Mental Weather.
Dawn Clement is a pianist and composer from Seattle, where she has served on the faculty at the Cornish College of the Arts since 2000. She is involved in several collaborations, including the Jane Ira Bloom Quartet, Priester's Cue (with the legendary Julian Priester), and the Seattle Pianist Collective, as well as her own trio. Dawn has performed with such notables as Nancy King, Ingrid Jensen, Hadley Caliman, John Clayton, Mercer Ellington, Mark Dresser, Jay Clayton and Pharaoh Sanders. She currently has three CDs out under her own name and is promoting her latest album entitled Break (Conduit Records).
Mark Helias performs solo bass concerts and can be heard in the innovative bass duo, The Marks Brothers, with fellow bassist Mark Dresser. After his studies with Homer Mensch at Rutgers University and the Yale School of Music, he embarked on an international performance career with the Anthony Braxton quartet in 1977. Since then he has enjoyed long musical associations with Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Dewey Redman, Marcel Khalife, Ray Anderson, Don Cherry and Gerry Hemingway. He has released eleven albums since 1984, most recently Strange Unison in 2008. A prolific composer, Helias has written music for two feature films, as well as chamber pieces and works for large ensemble and big band. He has produced recordings for other artists on the Gramavision, Enja, New World, Sound Aspects, and Avant/DIW labels. His trio, Open Loose, with Tony Malaby and Tom Rainey, has become an archetypal improvising ensemble on the New York scene. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, The New School and SIM (School for Improvised Music), and is committed to broadening the scope of musical education.
Matt Wilson is a drummer who has played and recorded with the Either/Orchestra, Charlie Kohlhase Quintet, Bevan Manson, John Medeski, Dominique Eade and others. The Matt Wilson Quartet features Andrew D'Angelo on alto saxophone and bass clarinet, Jeff Lederer on tenor and soprano saxophone and clarinet, and Chris Lightcap on acoustic and electric bass. The quartet has performed at Jazz festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, including the Monterey Jazz Festival, the JVC New York Jazz Festival, the Stockholm Jazz Festival, and the Melbourne Australia Jazz Festival.
This program is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.