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October 15, 2007

1st Annual Festival of Improvised Music in Calgary

Written by
cindy mcleod

jazz concerts, Canada

One is the Water (Not the Fish) – Festival of Improvised Music

The first annual Festival of Improvised Music, One is the Water (Not the Fish), will take place at BeatNiq Jazz Club in Calgary October 17-20. The festival features touring artists dedicated to new and improvised music forms who perform collectively inspired music. The three days of music will culminate in an open afternoon jam to be held on Saturday, Oct. 20th at Broken City.

Wednesday, October 17 – 9pm
Modo Trio – Craig Brenan, Jeff Johnson, Bill George, Jamie Saft
Opening: Aaron Young (Solo Guitar)

Modo Trio
Inspired by the aural landscapes of rave culture, but grounded in the traditions of jazz and creative improvisation, Modo Trio builds an inclusive electro-acoustic sound through the collective efforts of Craig Brenan (trombone augmented by a five-voice harmonizer and looping device), Jeff Johnson (acoustic and electric basses) and Bill George (drums). The group’s third CD, The Uninvited, was produced by New York multi-instrumentalist Jamie Saft (piano, Rhodes, mini Moog and guitar), who joins the group on all ten tracks and adds an exciting new dimension to their sound.

Thursday, October 18 – 9pm
Jesse Zubot, Gordon Grdina
Opening: Cinis Trio – John May, Steven Fletcher, Jeff Drummond

A free improv evening with Gordon Grdina (guitar, Oud), and Jesse Zubot (violins, electronics). This will be a venturesome evening of free improv, with two of Western Canada’s most exciting improvisers.

Jesse Zubot
Vancouver’s Jesse Zubot is a founding member of the Juno Award-winning acoustic-roots ensemble ‘Zubot & Dawson’, as well as a member of the Great Uncles of the Revolution with Toronto bassist Andrew Downing. Jesse has become an integral force in the new music, improvisation scene in Canada, and the U.S. He has performed and recorded with the likes of Francois Houle, Evan Parker, Dave Douglas, Matthew Bourne, Orkestra Rova, Fred Frith, Nels Cline, David Tronzo, Gerry Hemingway, among others. Jesse has also worked with contemporary artists such as Kelly Joe Phelps, Hawksley Workman, Veda Hille. Jesse’s projects, LaConnor and Zubotta have ended up on many year end best-of lists including Exclaim! Magazine’s Top Ten Experimental/Avant-Garde. Jesse’s recent solo album, Dementia (2006), has been hailed by the Vancouver Sun as “…an extraordinary multi-instrumental abstraction” and nominated for a 2007
Western Canadian Music award for ‘Instrumental Album of the Year’.

Gordon Grdina
Gordon Grdina is a Vancouver based Oud/Guitarist whose sound is a combination of his interests in mainstream jazz, free-form improvisation and Arabic classical music. Think Like the Waves (2006) is the culmination of Gordon’s artistic endeavors featuring Gary Peacock (bass), Paul Motian (drums). Grdina’s other projects include Box Cutter (featuring
Francois Houle), East Van Strings (guitar/oud, violin, viola and cello quartet inspired by Bartok, Berg and Arabic Taqasim), Sangha (Arabic/Persian/Indian ensemble), and Maqam an oud (Iraqi Folk music explored through improvisation). As a freelance musician Gordon has performed and/or recorded with Eyvind Kang, Paul Motian, Gary Peacock, John Stowell, Francois Houle, Gerry Hemingway, Mark Helias, Reza Honari, Amir Haghighi, Andy Milne, Mariam Matossian, and Quinsin

Friday, Oct. 19th – 9:00pm
Jesse Zubot, Simon Fisk, Gordon Grdina, Eric Hamelin
Opening: Black Mold – Chad Van Galen

This group features some of the most creative forces in the contemporary, new music scenes. Fisk and Grdina, who are proteges of Gary Peacock, have worked together in various settings for nearly ten years. Zubot, Hamelin, Fisk and Grdina have all worked with one another in various situations and this festival brings them together for the first time, exploring music from Fisk, Grdina, and Zubot, along with varying amounts of free improvisation as a quartet. A free improvising Violin, Guitar, Double Bass, Oud, drums, percussion and electronics quartet.

Simon Fisk
Well known for his piano trio recordings, and more recently his WCMA nominated quartet release You and Yours, bassist Simon Fisk has explored a lot of genres of improvisation, seamlessly blending electronics, noise, and free improv with finely crafted songwriting.

Black Mold
While known for his singing/songwriting pop/rock career, Chad VanGaalen joins the festival with his side project, Black Mold. Using handmade instruments, circuit bent toys, alongside those available to mere mortals, Van Galen creates a diverse assemblage of music. He’s an amazingly talented illustrator and animator. He’s played with Built to Spill, Wolf Parade, The Pixies, and Stars, to name a few. Black Mold resides somewhere a little difficult to pin down, it’s a restless,
living thing, roaming between simple yet beautiful ballads, aggressively dissonant post-punk, and jazz-inflected explorations, at times whimsical, and at others heartrending.

Saturday, Oct.20
* at Broken City

Open jazz jam 3-6 pm

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