Trio/Duo/Sextet = The trio of Larry Ochs , Darren Johnston + Gino Robair open. The duo Inner Movements – Mark Clifford (vibraphone) and Crystal Pascucci (cello) – play next. Finally a SEXTET including all 5 of these players plus SPECIAL GUEST AURORA JOSEPHSON, adding her mighty vocal improvisations to an extended structured-improvisation, created by Larry Ochs for this special sextet.
“Play that Thing or Throw It Away”
Three long-time Bay Area musicians — Larry Ochs on saxophone, Darren Johnston, trumpet, and Gino Robair, percussion — make magic happen in this newly formed trio. An intersection of their creative collaborations, it started in January when Ochs and Robair made some really cool musical connections with Thollem MacDonas, and expanded as Ochs and Johnston toured as Spectral with Chicago altoist Dave Rempis in May.
Merging collectively under the alternate sobriquet “Play That Thing or Throw It Away,” Trio Ochs-Johnston-Robair gave their first concert on June 19 at the Center for New Music. It was a great concert, to be followed by more Bay Area performances, including a date at Jazz in the Neighborhood’s Berkeley venue, and culminating with a recording session in 2016.
Inner Movements: Based in Oakland, Inner Movements is a collective of musicians who’s focus is on the performance of free improvisation, open instrumentation compositions from the 20th and 21st century, experimental contemporary compositions and pieces composed by it’s members. Established in 2016, the group has many rotating members, including two core members, Mark Clifford (vibraphone) and Crystal Pascucci (cello).
Aurora Josephson is an accomplished musician and visual artist residing in San Francisco, California. Building on a foundation of operatic training and a BA in Music Performance from Mills College, she has forged a bold vocal style that is uniquely her own. To unleash the limitless range of sonic possibilities in the voice, Josephson employs a variety of extended and unconventional techniques drawn from the worlds of contemporary composition, improvisation, and rock. She has performed and recorded with international talents like improvising musicians Martin Blume, Alvin Curran, Gianni Gebbia, Henry Kaiser, Joelle Leandre, Phillip Wachsmann and William Winant, musical groups like Big City Orchestra, The Molecules, the Flying Luttenbachers T.D. Skatchit & Company, and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Gino Robair is one of the “25 innovative percussionists” included in the book Percussion Profiles (SoundWorld) and has recorded with Tom Waits, Anthony Braxton,
Terry Riley, Lou Harrison, John Butcher, Derek Bailey, Peter Kowald, Otomo Yoshihide, and Eugene Chadbourne, among many others. Robair is a founding member of the Splatter Trio and the prog-rock group,
Pink Mountain. In addition, he runs Rastascan Records, a label devoted to creative music.
Since settling in San Francisco in 1997, Canada-born trumpeter/composer/songwriter Darren Johnston has collaborated and recorded with an extremely diverse cross-section of artists, yet always finds ways to be true to his own unique voice in each context. From straight-ahead jazz luminaries such as bassist/composer Marcus Shelby, to experimental icons like ROVA, Fred Frith and Myra Melford, rising star in the singer/songwriter world like Meklit Hadero, or traditional Balkan brass band giants Brass Menazeri. As a bandleader he has made his mark with the award winning The Nice Guy Trio, The Darren Johnston Quintet, the category defying Broken Shadows, and more. Johnston was featured as one of Downbeat Magazine’s “25 Trumpeters for the Future,” and has been listed multiple times in the critic’s polls. His debut quintet recording, “The Edge of the Forest” received four stars by four very different critics in the Downbeat “Critics Polls,” and was given an honorable mention by the Village Voice for the top 10 CDs of the year. Johnston has a BA from the Cincinnati Conservatory of music, and an MFA in composition from Mills College. www.DarrenJohnstonMusic.com
In his thirty-plus years in Rova Sax Quartet, Larry Ochs has created roughly two dozen compositions for saxophone quartet as well as other pieces for Rova in extended ensembles, many of which are recorded, and some of which were commissioned by Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation and Meet the Composer. He has been acting executive director of Rova:Arts since 1987. In addition Ochs currently composes for and leads Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core (with Scott Amendola, Don Robinson, Satoko Fujii, and Natsuki Tamura [Stone Shift, CD]), The Fictive Five, with New York based musicians Nate Wooley, Ken Filiano, Pascal Niggenkemper and Harris Eisenstadt; and Kihnoua with performance artist and vocalist Dohee Lee, Scott Amendola and special guests [the Sybil’s Whisper, 2012 CD). He is performing in collective bands: aOchs-Robinson Duo (with drummer Don Robinson), East-West Ensemble (with Didier Petit, Sylvain Kassap, Miya Masaoka, Xu Fengxia), Jones Jones (with Mark Dresser and Vladimir Tarasov), Maybe Monday (with Masaoka and Fred Frith), Shelton-Ochs Quartet (with Aram Shelton, Kjell Nordeson and Scott Walton). Details on tours and recordings, and several interviews at www.ochs.cc.
Crystal Pascucci is a cellist, composer and improviser. She began playing her instrument at age nine and has always had a strong connection to music. While studying chamber music, she was assigned to play, “December 1952” by Earle Brown. This was an introduction to graphic notation and the start of an intense interest in the relationship of notation and improvisation.
An active performer in the Bay Area, she has recently performed the work of Roscoe Mitchell at Yoshi’s Jazz Club in Oakland, as a featured solo performer at both the NextNow Music Series and the Light A Fire Music Series, at the SIMM Series (duo with Eric Glick Rieman), the graphic-score work of Christina Stanley at the 11th Annual Outsound Summit New Music Festival, and at the 11th Annual Transbay Skronathon with Matt Davignon — performances with Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, Oakland Active Orchestra, the work of Polly Moller at the Soundwave Festival, with Opera Wolf as guest artists for the New Music Works: CAGE 950, John Cage 100th Birthday Celebration and more. Crystal is a Co-founding member of the Oakland Composer’s Union and performing with renowned clarinetist, Rachel Condry, in the improv duo, Chocolate for Breakfast. Crystal holds a Bachelor’s of Music Performance from SUNY Fredonia, a graduate professional degree from The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford and has attended Mills Colleg
Mark Clifford is a vibraphonist, composer, and percussionist living in Oakland, CA.
A much sought after performer and improviser, Clifford is equally involved in free improvisation, new music, jazz, and rock; he is involved in multiple projects in the Bay Area and around the Country. His performance experience spans worldwide; he has had the honor of playing alongside an array of esteemed contemporaries, including: Jeff Parker, Kjell Nordeson, Ches Smith, Joan La Barbara, Aram Shelton, Colin Stranahan, Ron Miles, Scott Amendola, Tatsuya Nakatani, Danny Meyer, Lisa Mezzacappa, So Percussion, Oakland Active Orchestra, and has served as a percussionist with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
As a composer, Clifford keeps busy writing music for a wide range of projects, ensembles, and commissions. He is the leader of The Dirty Snacks Ensemble, an eclectic post jazz ensemble in which he serves as the composer, vibraphonist and vocalist.
Clifford’s recent writing employs strong conceptual parameters for long form works, such as basing compositional interval structures on the ratio of vertebrae in human spines in Fair Slope (2014). After improvising with his established parameters, he transcribes and orchestrates the results for the working ensemble. Throughout the composition process, Clifford works closely with the performers to emphasize each individual player’s strengths and interests.