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Sun Mar 10, 2013 2 PM

William Parker and Lisa Mezzacappa’s Bait & Switch

Sliding Scale: $15-25 General, $10-$20 Members
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Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

Bass innovator, peerless improviser, prolific bandleader/composer and pillar of New York’s creative jazz community for decades, William Parker is an artistic force of nature and an inspiration to generations of musicians. A generous improviser with a warm tone and an artistic view that encompasses groove, sound, texture and song, Parker makes a rare West Coast performance in an intimate solo set of improvisations. Sharing the bill is Bay Area bassist Lisa Mezzacappa’s acclaimed quartet Bait & Switch, featuring her original compositions influenced by garage rock, free jazz, contemporary chamber music and Caribbean folk music. The concert is a special meeting of two improvising bassists, of different generations and working on opposite coasts, who are original voices and deeply rooted in their respective musical communities.

“[William Parker is] the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time." – The Village Voice

"Bassist-composer Lisa Mezzacappa is one of the most imaginative figures on the Bay Area creative jazz scene.” – San Jose Mercury News

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Fri May 17, 2013 8 PM

Mike Reed’s People Places and Things & Darren Johnston Ensemble

$15 General, $10 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
A night of innovative original jazz from Chicago and the Bay Area

This concert brings together two leading voices in creative jazz: Bay Area trumpeter Darren Johnston and Chicago drummer Mike Reed, for a concert of original music and inventive arrangements by some of the most exciting players on the scene today. Reed and Johnston are at the forefront of a new generation of jazz composer/bandleaders who embrace groove and lyricism along with texture and collective group interplay. Both artists have earned national recognition (in Downbeat and elsewhere) for their original voices and superb musicianship, but the two are also strongly rooted in the regional music scenes where they have been leading their own groups and performing as first-call sidemen for more than fifteen years. The result is thrilling band chemistry and music that has been incubated slow and steady, to showcase the stellar improvising and distinctive musical personalities of their bandmembers.

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Sat Jul 6, 2013 7:30 PM

Josh Berman & Friends: Jazz and Improvised Music from Chicago and the Bay Area

$12 General, $8 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
Josh Berman visits San Francisco! Continuing their decade-long musical association, Chicago-based cornetist Josh Berman and Bay Area saxophonist Aram Shelton jointly lead a quintet featuring local heroes Mark Clifford (vibes), Lisa Mezzacappa (bass), and Sam Ospovat (drums); plus a duo set from Josh and Ben Goldberg (clarinet). More Info
Fri Aug 2, 2013 7:30 PM

Best Coast Jazz Composer Series #1: Jordan Glenn

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

Drummer/percussionist/composer Jordan Glenn presents works for his ensemble Mindless Thing, a unique chamber configuration that combines strings and percussion with the surreal, haunting spoken poetry and flute improvisations of fellow Oakland improviser Jim Ryan. Glenn’s music, for his stellar groups Wiener Kids, Mama Long Legs, Host Family, and most recently, the gloriously sprawling Wiener Kids Family Band, is some of the most fun (funny, even) and imaginative music anyone is writing for improvisers. It floats and grooves, explodes in frenetic rhythmic cartoon tirades, melts into chord progressions that glow with an innocent pop sweetness, and delivers an intangible feeling of nostalgia in its clarity and directness. It is that rare music that somehow manages to be truly entertaining while also conceptually compelling, quirky and substantial in just the right balance. The first set features Mindless Thing with spoken poetry; the second set is instrumental, with guest instrumentalists augmenting the group.

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Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:30 PM

Chamber Jazz Double Bill: Erik Jekabson String-tet + Matt Renzi Cello Quartet

$10 General, $8 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

Bay Area trumpet player Erik Jekabson and Rome-based reed player Matt Renzi present an evening of artful jazz composition featuring a cast of stellar local string players and one of the most creative, hard swinging rhythm sections around. Both bandleaders combine composition rooted in jazz and chamber music with collective improvisation, lyrical melodies and virtuosic soloing, exploiting the diverse palette of sounds available in a unique instrumentation that combines reeds with strings and rhythm section.

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Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:00 PM

cords/strings/wires: Josephson-Victor-Mezzacappa-Walton-Perkis-Looney

$10 General, $8 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

Aurora Josephson, voice
Fay Victor (Bklyn), voice
Scott Walton, acoustic bass
Lisa Mezzacappa, acoustic bass
Tim Perkis, electronics
Scott Looney, piano

The same, but different: a mix and match evening of improvised music featuring similar instruments and diverse musical personalities. The performance includes two sets of music that feature the full sextet, as well as smaller configurations of duos, trios and quartets that take advantage of this ensemble's unusual instrumentation.

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Fri Sep 6, 2013 7:30 PM

Best Coast Jazz Composers Series #2: PHILLIP GREENLIEF

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
Fresh from a three-month residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts, saxophonist and composer Phillip Greenlief presents a concert of new music for improvising winds, featuring a series of solo and ensemble works performed by NORA STANLEY, STEVE ADAMS, JON RASKIN, KYLE BRUCKMANN, CORY WRIGHT, ELLEN BURR, and Greenlief himself, as well as movement by dancer LEYYA MONA TAWIL, and poetry by CLAUDIA LA ROCCO.

Greenlief, a lynchpin of the Bay Area’s creative improvised community for several decades, has an international reputation for his wide-ranging musicianship, generous collaborative spirit, and deep sense of artistic inquiry in his music making. He leads a staggeringly diverse array of ensembles, exploring pop music and jazz standards (the Lost Trio), abstract electro-acoustic soundscapes (shudder), noise-rock (PG13), psychedelic funk (Dirtier!), live film scores (Citta di Vitti), and gnarly structured improvisations (FPR Trio). His Best Coast concert reflects some of the diverse media that influence his music, from the writings of Thomas Pynchon, to contemporary poetry, visual art and dance.


*This is the second performance in the Best Coast Jazz Composers Series, a new monthly concert series showcasing the extraordinary and singular talents of some of the Bay Area’s most creative and prolific jazz artists. The series features local composers in evening-length profile concerts that explore several aspects of their diverse musical personalities, and celebrates the emergence of an eclectic, innovative and wildly creative New West Coast Sound in jazz. Curated by Lisa Mezzacappa.

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Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:30 PM

Double Bill: Fei-Perkis Duo + Looney-Robinson-Mezzacappa Trio

$10 General, $8 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
An evening of improvised music featuring a new duo that pairs the rapid-fire live electronics of Tim Perkis with the diverse sonic palette of wind player James Fei; followed by the free jazz piano trio of Scott Looney (piano), Lisa Mezzacappa, (acoustic bass) and Donald Robinson (drums). Expect a wide range of exploration on sound, from idiosyncratic textures to abstracted grooves and spontaneous composition.

"Fei, a brilliant and demanding technician, is never going to be confused with anyone but himself... (in his) work straddling jazz-based improvisation and new classical music. The instrumentalism is expansive and virtuosic... ” —Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD

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Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:30 PM

Best Coast Jazz Composers Series #3: ARAM SHELTON

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
Composer, bandleader and reed player Aram Shelton presents a concert of new music inspired by the canyonlands of southeastern Utah, for a quartet of accomplished Bay Area and Chicago-based improvisers.

Aram Shelton, reeds
James Fei, reeds
Mark Clifford, vibraphone
Anton Hatwich, acoustic bass

With more than a dozen recordings to his credit, saxophonist and composer Aram Shelton is emerging as one of the shining lights of his generation, an energetic organizer and bandleader, prolific composer and compelling instrumentalist with close ties to both the Bay Area and Chicago creative jazz scenes. Shelton’s music draws inspiration from the rich history and language of free jazz and the African American avant-garde, and he brings a fresh, lean, focused compositional aesthetic to his many projects, including the quartet Marches, the Aram Shelton Group, These Are Our Hours, Stratic and Ton Trio II.

"[Shelton] brings to mind a young Anthony Braxton, with an acerbic asceticism, obliquely rooted in jazz, at work." - All About Jazz

*This is the third performance in the Best Coast Jazz Composers Series, a new monthly concert series showcasing the extraordinary and singular talents of some of the Bay Area’s most creative and prolific jazz artists. The series feature local composers in evening-length profile concerts that explore several aspects of their diverse musical personalities, and celebrates the emergence of an eclectic, innovative and wildly creative New West Coast Sound in jazz. Curated by Lisa Mezzacappa.
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Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:30 PM

DUO: Peter Broetzmann, reeds + Paal Nilssen-Love, drums

$25 General, $18 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
Peter Broetzmann, reeds
Paal Nilssen-Love, drums

Two titans of European improvised music meet in an electrifying duo: the singular and hugely influential German reed player Peter Broetzmann; and the incredibly eclectic Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, known for his work with Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson.

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Fri Dec 6, 2013 7 PM

FESTIVUS 2013 — The Festival-of-Us: Night One

$10 General, $8 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
FESTIVUS returns for its second year, offering eight Bay Area creative jazz bands covering the music of other Bay Area creative jazz bands. This year's two-day event will also have a cookie potluck, a bar at the Center for New Music for merriment, and an awesome merch table with great deals and free gift wrapping of your favorite Bay Area CDs.

Night One of FESTIVUS features Rent Romus's Life Blood, Adam Shulman and Katy Stephan, The Klaxon Mutant Allstars, and Patrick Cress's Telepathy.

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Sat Dec 7, 2013 7 PM

FESTIVUS 2013 — The Festival-of-Us: Night Two

$10 General, $8 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
FESTIVUS returns for its second year, offering eight Bay Area creative jazz bands covering the music of other Bay Area creative jazz bands. This year's two-day event will also have a cookie potluck, a bar at the Center for New Music for merriment, and an awesome merch table with great deals and free gift wrapping of your favorite Bay Area CDs.

Night Two of FESTIVUS features John Shiurba's 5x5, Lisa Mezzacappa's Bait & Switch, Noah Phillips, and Michael Coleman's Enjoyer.

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Sat Jan 4, 2014 7:30 PM

duo B: Music for Films, Humans

$10 General, $8 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
duo B., the improvising and composing ensemble of Berlin-based percussionist Jason Levis and Bay Area bassist Lisa Mezzacappa, celebrates its 10-year anniversary in a special concert of mixed ensembles at the Center for New Music. The evening includes duos, trios and quintet chamber works by Mezzacappa and Levis, with superlative Bay Area instrumentalists Cory Wright (clarinets), Rob Ewing (trombone) and John Finkbeiner (guitar).

Levis and Mezzacappa are also joined by guitarist Noah Phillips for two live film scores, San Francisco filmmaker Mark Wilson's Postmark Tokyo, and Berlin filmmaker Sylvia Schedelbauer's Sounding Silence.

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Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:30 PM

Best Coast Jazz Composers Series #4: Ben Goldberg

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
“ … an artist who now seems to find beautiful melodies at the end of every path.”
— NPR’s The California Report

One of the Bay Area’s most respected and singular musical voices, clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg presents a concert of music by his Bay Area ensemble Ben Goldberg School, including selections from “Come Back Elliott Smith,” a collection of original compositions named for, inspired by and based upon Goldberg’s study of the songs of indie songwriter Elliott Smith (1969 - 2003).

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Mon Mar 3, 2014 7:30 PM

Triple Bill! mchtnchts (Bruckmann/Grabmiller) + John Shiurba’s 3-3 + Crystal Moon Cone

$10 General, $8 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
Triple Bill!
mchtnchts (Bruckmann/Grabmiller) + John Shiurba's 3-3 + Crystal Moon Cone

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Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:30 PM

Best Coast Jazz Composers Series #5: Karl Evangelista

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
"One of the most original instrumentalists and composers of his generation."
— Signal to Noise

Versatile guitarist and composer Karl Evangelista presents an evening of mixed ensembles showcasing his wide-ranging compositional voice and eclectic musical inclinations, influenced by the jazz avant-garde as well as experimental rock, alt-blues and contemporary chamber music. The concert includes a brief solo guitar set, a chamber set by his avant-jazz-rock band Grex, and a newly re-formed version of the two-guitar group Host Family, all featuring some of the Bay Area’s finest young improvisers and instrumentalists.

Evangelista, originally from Southern California, has studied and performed with many of the Bay Area’s heroes of improvised music, at Mills College (Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Frith), UC Berkeley (Myra Melford) and on the bandstand (Francis Wong, Phillip Greenlief).

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Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:30 PM

Best Coast Jazz Composers Series #6: Dan Plonsey

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
New Hells: Which is the Right Choice for you and your Family?
Compositions from Winter 2013-14, bolstered by improvisations

Composer and reed player Dan Plonsey is one of the most unique and unconventional voices in the Bay Area creative music community, high school math teacher by day, and a wizard of a bandleader by night. His music is nerdy and goofy, intellectually fascinating and outlandishly juvenile at once, and celebrates a special kind of musical vulnerability and ensemble collectivity.

Here, a string trio and reeds duo, with special guests, perform recent works.

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Sat May 24, 2014 7:30 PM

Best Coast Jazz Composers Series #7: Jacob Zimmerman

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
Seattle-based alto saxophonist and composer Jacob Zimmerman returns to the Bay Area for a concert of duos with a cast of compelling Bay Area musical characters. In an homage to the “Improvised Duos” series area keyboardist Michael Coleman has organized for several years, Zimmerman premieres eight new duo compositions, and performs them with local instrumentalists of diverse backgrounds and musical proclivities.

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Wed May 28, 2014 7:30 PM

shudder + Mimmo/Blunt Duo

$12 General, $10 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa
An evening of acoustic and electro-acoustic improvised music from the Bay Area, Italy and the UK More Info
Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:30 PM

Best Coast Composers Series #7: Nathan Clevenger

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

East Bay guitarist, composer and bandleader Nathan Clevenger creates smart, dreamily layered and extremely ambitious music that grooves and floats, expands and contracts to accommodate the stellar musical personalities in his ensembles. For this performance, Clevenger presents a wide range of new and recent works, including a series of pieces for solo wind instruments, performed by Cory Wright; an extended work for a new quartet, Book of Exits; and new music for his signature ensemble, the Nathan Clevenger Group.

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Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:30 PM

Best Coast Composers Series #8: Aaron Novik

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

Aaron Novik is among the most prolific and startlingly original voices to emerge from the Bay Area's independent/underground music scene in the past decade. With influences ranging from klezmer and Balkan music to chamber minimalism to heavy metal, Tropicalia and indie rock, Novik has developed a cohesive, expansive and extremely personal body of work for a variety of ensembles, working with avant-music heroes like Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi, Fred Frith, William Winant, Cornelius Boots, Ches Smith and many others.

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Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:30 PM

Best Coast Jazz Composers Series #9: Sam Boshnack (Seattle) and Darren Johnston—Two ensembles led by next-generation West Coast trumpeters

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

The Darren Johnston Trio includes violin virtuoso Matt Szemela (Quartet San Francisco), bass powerhouse Doug Stuart (Bell's Atlas) and Darren Johnston on trumpet. As part of an ongoing residency with the Oakland Freedom Jazz Society, the trio has presented many concerts featuring guest improvisers in the "plus one" format, including William Winant, Steven Lugener, and Jordan Glenn. For this evening's concert, the trio reunites with one of their favorite guests, pianist and koto player Kanoko Nishi. The music can move from sparse and textural to dense and driving, from intricate melodies to static sonic clouds.

Seattle trumpeter and bandleader Samantha Boshnack synthesizes a dazzling array of musical influences in her sophisticated yet fun, highly original compositions – from intricate chamber writing to lush jazz panoramas and funky brass band-inspired grooves. Her quintet features some of Seattle’s most accomplished improvisers, and makes its Bay Area debut hot on the heels of an acclaimed new CD.

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Sat Aug 16, 2014 7:30 PM

Best Coast Jazz Composers Series #10: Cory Wright Outfit

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

The music of Oakland-based reed player and composer Cory Wright encompasses an astonishingly broad range of sounds anyone would call jazz - fiery swing, beautifully intricate horn writing, and a sensitivity to both fun and brainy ways of driving the music foreword with collective improvisation, asymmetric grooves and dazzlingly virtuosic soloing. At times playfully irreverent and at others lovingly sympathetic to jazz traditions past and present, Wright’s music also embraces texture and abstraction and formal experimentation, and he is truly an innovator in creating novel ways for improvising musicians to interact in the moment. Among the Bay Area’s first-call musicians on saxophones and clarinets, here Wright is joined by his stellar ensemble, performing selections from his latest release “Apples and Oranges” and new compositions for duo, trio and quintet configurations.

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Fri Sep 19, 2014 8 PM

Taylor Ho Bynum’s Acoustic Bicycle Tour: Duos with Myra Melford

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

As part of his ambitious and expansive Acoustic Bicycle Tour, Connecticut-based composer and cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum passes through the Bay Area (on wheels) for a concert of duets with acclaimed pianist Myra Melford. Bynum is one of the most energetic, prolific and community-minded artists of his generation, working closely as both an instrumentalist and arts organizer with veterans like Anthony Braxton and the late Bill Dixon, and touring the world with his ensembles featuring stellar improvising contemporaries such as Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara, and John Hebert. In this first-time duo meeting, Bynum and Melford will perform a mix of improvisations and compositions.

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Wed Sep 24, 2014 7:30 PM

Chamber Jazz Double Bill: Hear in Now + Bristle

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

Hear in Now, the international improvising trio of Chicago cellist Tomeka Reid, New York violinist Mazz Swift and Italian bassist Sylvia Bolognesi, makes its Bay Area debut in a shared bill with Grass Valley reeds player Randy McKean’s inventive chamber jazz ensemble Bristle.

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Sat Oct 4, 2014 7:30 PM

Brandon Seabrook (NYC) SOLO + Jason Hoopes Ensemble

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

Shredding NYC improvising guitarist and banjo player Brandon Seabrook visits the Bay Area for a special solo concert bridging the sonic realms of extreme rock, improvised music and the classical avant-garde. Recognized by the New York Times as "a man apparently hellbent on earning the title of World's Least Rustic Banjo Player," Seabrook aggressively appropriates the four-stringed banjo with blistering punk attitude balanced with art music dexterity and precision. Bay Area bassist and composer Jason Hoopes assembles the first meeting of an electro-acoustic improvising ensemble that will navigate a series of his original "song-scores."

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Wed Nov 5, 2014 7:30 PM

Oklnd-Bklyn Dble Bill: Battle Trance Sax Quartet (NYC) + Mark Clifford’s Dirty Snacks Ensemble

$15 General, $12 Members
Curator: Lisa Mezzacappa

Extreme New York tenor saxophone quartet Battle Trance, led by virtuoso sax experimentalist Travis LaPlante and including longtime Bay Area resident Matt Nelson, makes its Bay Area debut with a complete performance of its acclaimed new recording, Palace of Wind, out on New Amsterdam Records. Battle Trance explores densely layered sound worlds with extended techniques and circular breathing, creating “a floating tapestry of fascinating textures made up of tiny musical motifs, and a music that throbs with tension between stillness and agitation, density and light” (The New York Times). The Dirty Snacks Ensemble, led by Oakland composer and vibraphonist Mark Clifford, opens the evening, with lush pop-inflected chamber music that combines thoughtfully-constructed long form compositions with far-ranging improvisational possibility, informed by influences ranging from Kool Keith to Bela Bartok.

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