September 28, 2008, 2:30 PM
Living in the Musical Moment: Percussion Madness
Music Performance & Discussion
Participants: David King & Lewis Porter
Jazz is not the only art form to contain improvisation—far from it. The principles of free association can be found across the arts, as well as in athletics and, significantly, the psychoanalytic process. But in jazz the discipline of improvisation is developed to a very high level. Far from a casual, occasional exercise, improvisation in jazz is something that beginning players struggle to master, and that professionals spend their lives honing, refining, and changing. To this day, musicians study the recorded improvisations of such masters as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Herbie Hancock in order to gain insights and inspiration. The Philoctetes jazz series continues as Dr. Lewis Porter welcomes David King, drummer in The Bad Plus, which is probably the best-known piano trio in jazz today. Porter and King will perform short improvised pieces, followed by discussion. For each piece, the performers will explain the basis of the improvisation and take questions from the audience.
David King is a drummer and composer who is considered a major catalyst in the Minneapolis/St. Paul music scene. He is a founding member of the acclaimed trio The Bad Plus. He also performs with the trio Happy Apple and pursues projects in electronic music and rock. Some of the other groups he performs with include The Electric Bill, Love-cars, Halloween, Alaska, and Siamese Fighting Fish. In January, 2003 he recorded and performed in France with guitarist Jeff Beck. As a percussionist, King employs the entire kit—rims, shells, and stands—as a sound sculpture, augmented by a grab bag of children's toys, walkie-talkies and assorted found objects. Along with his many performing activities, he gives private instruction to a handful of drumming students.
Dr. Lewis Porter is a jazz pianist and Professor of Music at Rutgers University in Newark, where he directs the Master's program in jazz history. He is known worldwide for his teaching and for his many books and articles, especially John Coltrane: His Life and Music. He has written numerous articles and liner notes, and edits a book series and a scholarly journal. He has performed recently with such artists as Wycliffe Gordon, Ravi Coltrane, and Jane Ira Bloom. He performed in Europe in 2007 with Dave Liebman and others, and he is a member of the group Dharma Jazz, with Badal Roy and Vic Juris. His latest CD, recorded live at Siena Jazz, is Italian Encounter. Jazz Times recently described Porter as "a helluva pianist."
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