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June 12, 2011, 6:00 PM

Stranger than Truth: The Art of the Trio

Music Performance & Discussion
Participants: Jane Ira Bloom, Mark Helias, Bobby Previte

Join the Philoctetes Center as we celebrate five and a half years of outstanding public programs with a farewell music performance and discussion featuring award-winning soprano saxophonist and longtime Philoctetes collaborator Jane Ira Bloom.

Improvising musicians have long talked about the special rapport that occurs in a trio setting. The roles of musicians in a triangle take on a more versatile and spontaneous character, especially in the absence of a harmonic instrument. The traditional roles of a jazz rhythm section are redefined when each instrument contributes equally to the architecture of the group’s sound. Musicians describe the imaginative expanse of trio improvisation as more exploratory than that of larger groups. Jane Ira Bloom joins bassist Mark Helias and drummer Bobby Previte to play and talk about what makes three such a special number when it comes to improvising.

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, 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 recorded and produced 14 albums of her music 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. Bloom is currently on the faculty of the New School for Jazz & Contemporary Music in NYC. Her latest release is the critically acclaimed CD, Wingwalker.

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.

Bobby Previte has played drums and collaborated with an unlikely array of artists, including John Adams, Terry Adams, Johnny Copeland, Lejaren Hiller, Charlie Hunter, Lenny Kaye, John Lurie, Sonny Sharrock, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Tom Waits, and Victoria Williams. He has toured with various bands and projects at festivals and clubs worldwide, and has recorded for Sony Records and Nonesuch, among others. He teaches master classes at the Eastman School of Music, the Walker Arts Center, Cornish University, and the New School. Previte also made a memorable appearance as "The Drummer" in Robert Altman's Short Cuts.

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, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York State's 62 counties.


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