“Bynum improvises with sound and silence in the manner of Wadada Leo Smith, Bill Dixon and Lester Bowie. He maintains a tangible narrative arc and pulse within his solos, weaving a cohesive sonic fabric from precisely executed screams, squawks, blurts, burbles, whispers and more conventionally rendered notes and tones.”
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.
Beginning on August 28 in Vancouver, Canada and continuing through the first day of October on the Mexican border, Bynum presents his Acoustic Bicycle Tour – a five week, 1800-mile performance journey where he travels solely by bicycle, presenting solo concerts and playing with ensembles of area musicians. Bynum will be presenting his music in a variety of contexts, from solo to big band, in venues ranging from state parks to art galleries to concert halls. This Center for New Music concert is his only San Francisco appearance.
Acoustic Bicycle Tour is a project of Creative Capital, with additional support from New Music USA, The Devil’s Gear Bike Shop (New Haven), and Firehouse 12.
Taylor Ho Bynum is a composer, cornet player, bandleader and interdisciplinary collaborator, in addition to being an arts activist and organizer. Critics have called him “a singular and thrilling artist” (All About Jazz), “a major force on the outward-bound side of the jazz continuum” (The Boston Globe) and “a provocateur in the guise of a consensus builder” (The New York Times). Bynum currently leads his Sextet and 7-tette, and works with many collective ensembles including a duo with drummer Tomas Fujiwara, the improv trio Book of Three, the UK/US collaborative Convergence Quartet, the dance/music interdisciplinary ensemble Quartet Collective, and the trans-idiomatic little big band Positive Catastrophe. His endeavors include his Acoustic Bicycle Tours and his stewardship of artist-driven non-profit organizations like Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation. He has collaborated with legendary figures including Anthony Braxton, Bill Dixon, Cecil Taylor and Wadada Leo Smith and performs with many forward-thinking peers, and has toured throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Recent awards include a 2013 Performing Arts Grant from Creative Capital and a 2013 Artist Fellowship in Music Composition from the Connecticut Office of the Arts.
Pianist and composer Myra Melford, a Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Performing Artist Award and the Alpert Award in the Arts for Music, is an internationally celebrated instrumentalist and bandleader. Her current groups include Trio M, Snowy Egret, and Dialogue with Ben Goldberg, and she recently premiered an ambitious multidisciplinary work, Language of Dreams, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where she is artist-in-residence. Her work is both grounded in the blues and free jazz of her Chicago birthplace and in her lifelong interest in spiritual pursuits, a personal journey that has led her to Aikido, Siddha Yoga, and the wisdom traditions of the Huichol people of Mexico’s central highlands. She is associate professor of music at UC Berkeley.