2 of the Bay Area’s most daring “percussion plus” duos team up for an evening of rhythmic space exploration among pitch and timbre nebulae shining in audible colors far beyond the visible spectrum:
Set 1 – duo B. Jason Levis: percussion & Lisa Mezzacappa: bass
duo B. is an ensemble of acoustic bass + percussion that plays ethereal chamber music wrapped in dense improvised soundscapes. Jason Levis uses gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, bowed cymbals, marimba and drumset to create lush, delicate textures and abstract noise grooves.
Lisa Mezzacappa draws on a palette of sinister drones, punchy vamps and acoustic bass manipulations to weave storylines through gnarly rhythms, pointillistic shapes and ecstatic melodies.
“…mysterious, complexly textured improvisations that sometimes take shape as the aural equivalent of abstract expressionist paintings, whether the ethereal, mystical canvasses of Mark Rothko or the jittery, splatter techniques of Jackson Pollock.” — Derk Richardson, KPFA radio host and music critic
The music of composer, drummer, and percussionist Jason Levis lives in the rich spaces where styles intersect and musical languages merge. Active in jazz, contemporary improvisation, and modern classical composition, his wide-ranging creative efforts are skillfully bound by his innate sense of timbre, sonic space, rhythmic force, and his insatiable interest in discovery. Over the years his passion and curiosity have led him to search out the intersections of musical paths less traveled (spectralist jazz, anyone?), and the resulting unique perspective is reflected in his music. Jason holds a Ph.D. in composition from UC Berkeley and currently teaches at the California Jazz Conservatory.
Lisa Mezzacappa is a bassist, bandleader, composer, curator and producer. She leads her own groups Bait & Switch, Nightshade, Eartheaters & the Lisa Mezzacappa Trio, and co-leads the ensembles BODABODA, duo B., Cylinder, the Mezzacappa-Phillips Duo, and the Caribbean folk band Les Gwan Jupons. Lisa also performs as a sideperson in original jazz, improv and chamber ensembles led by estemmed bandleaders and West Coast musical visionaries, like Phillip Greenlief, Aaron Novik, Beth Custer, Randy McKean, Marco Eneidi, Vijay Anderson, Aaron Bennett, Myles Boisen, Steve Adams, Graham Connah, Jon Raskin, Cory Wright and Ross Hammond, and as well collaborates frequently with Vinny Golia, Katy Stephan, Aram Shelton, Kjell Nordeson, Murray Campbell, Dina Maccabee, Noah Phillips, Rob Ewing, Kasey Knudsen, Sam Ospovat, John Hanes, and many many others.
Set 2 – Donald Robinson: percussion & Joe Lasqo: laptop | piano | objects
Described by Coda as a “percussive dervish”, Don Robinson is a technical master of the drums & a stalwart of the of San Francisco Bay Area avant-garde jazz scene, playing and recording with saxophonists John Tchicai, Marco Eneidi and Larry Ochs, koto player Miya Masaoka (正岡みや), pianists Matthew Goodheart and Joe Lasqo, and with prominent visitors like Cecil Taylor, Wadada Leo Smith, George Lewis, trumpeter Raphé Malik and Canadian pianist Paul Plimley. Much of this work has featured the combination of Don and bassist Lisle Ellis as rhythm section: ‘the best bass-drums tag team on the scene’ (Jazz Times).
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Don first studied classical percussion at the New England Conservatory. During the early 1970′s he served his musical apprenticeship in the jazz world of Paris, studying with Kenny Clarke and playing with Alan Silva, Anthony Braxton, Oliver Lake and Bobby Few among many others. He first played with Glenn Spearmann as a duet partner during this period in Paris, an association which continued through various configurations and many recordings until the saxophonist’s death in 1998.
Pianist / laptopist Joe Lasqo studied classical music in India; computer/electronic music at MIT, Columbia, Berkeley/CNMAT; has been a long-time performing modern & avant jazz musician; & has lived, played and listened in several Asian and European countries (now in San Francisco). He’s keen on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to improvisation and the meeting of traditional Asian musics with the 21st century.
Joe had a weekly residency for 3½ years+ in the afternoon piano series at Viracocha, and has appeared recently with Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams of ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra, Phillip Greenlief’s Orchesperry, synthesist Thomas Dimuzio, clarinetist/vocalist Beth Custer, pianist Thollem McDonas, percussionist Suki O’Kane, sound artists Joe Snape (UK) & Lucie Vítková (Czech Rep.), technodivas / electronic musicians Pamela Z & Viv Corringham (NYC/London) as well as his own Renga-kai (連歌会), Mukaiji-kai (霧海箎会), & Fushigi Kenkyūkai (不思議研究会) ensembles.
AU QUOTIDIEN, a new album with German-Swedish saxist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe, Donald Robinson, Joe Lasqo, and Teddy Rankin-Parker is in production for release later in 2015.