July 2007

The 2007 Edgetone New Music Summit, July 22-28

This year, I am once again honored to be a part of the Edgetone New Music Summit, a fantastic series of concerts featuring some of the Bay Area's best and brightest sound artists, electronic and experimental musicians. Last year's festival ran the gamut: from the eclectic visual sound artist Pamela Z and the afro-jazz of Positive Knowledge; to the other-worldy tinkerings of Bob Marsh and master sound scuptors like Steven Baker and Tom Nunn. There were 16 piece Kelp orchestras and 6 piece Crank ensembles; the "field-scapes" of percussionist Marcos Fernandes, and the wonderfully cacaphonous music of "saxophonists who play other things." This one-of-a-kind festival truly lives up to it's name, "the inner groove on the edge of tone."

Outsound Presents, the leading emerging artist collective and non-profit organization for new and experimental music and sound, returns for their 6th festival, beginning July 22nd and running through July 28th. The festival will feature artists such as Liz Allbee, Tatsuya Nakatani, Marielle Jakobsons, Tom Nunn, Matt Davignon, Bob Marsh/David Michalak, Rent Romus, Thollem Mcdonas, Jon Brumit, Jim Ryan, Wynn Yamami, Lx Rudis, Wobbly, Lance Grabmiller, Robert Anbian and the UFQ, Eddie the Rat, Jesse Quattro, Bruce Anderson, and Gowns.

Every year the Edgetone New Music Summit showcases some of the most innovative and pioneering new music that is happening in California and beyond. The Festivals’ expanded performance schedule includes music and sound from raging free improvisation, electronic manipulation, to harsh noise reflecting an incredible range of genre busting exploration and sonic creativity. In addition, the festival seeks to promote intermedia arts, fostering cross-pollination between music/sound art and experimental flim/ visual arts.

The festival also pays homage to local as well as California’s central role in the development of invention and cutting edge concepts. Historically dating back to the inception of the Barbary Coast of San Francisco in the early 20th century, the San Francisco Bay Area has been and still is the location where many of the founders of new ideas in sound live and have lived including Ives, Pauline Oliveros, Glenn Spearman, Lisle Ellis, and Terry Riley to name a few. Today, the SF Bay Area, in the heart of California, is home to one of the most bustling and expanding new music scenes fostering the next generation.

This year's Summit is sponsored in part by KFJC 89.7 FM, SF Bay Guardian, Elastic Creative, Bayimproviser.com, Harshnoise.com, KUSF 90.3 FM, Studio 401, and the Luggage Store Gallery. A Special Thank You to our individual donors: Roderick Repke, John Lee, Scott Biggs, Linda and David Repke, Suki O’Kane, Matt Davignon, Mark Miller, Philip Everett, Ray Schaeffer, Peter Martin, John Vaughn, & Bill Noertker.


A complete detailed list of the 6th Annual Edgetone New Music Summit events can also be found at www.edgetonemusicsummit.org.


Pre-Concert Composer Q&A
Interactive discussions of techniques and influences with composers, who will share context and insight into the performance work.

Wednesday July 25 at 7:30 pm Community Music Center, San Francisco Speaker: Marielle Jakobson
Thursday July 26 at 7:30 pm Community Music Center, San Francisco Speakers: Wynn Yamami, Jim Ryan and Tatsuya Nakatani
Friday July 27 at 8:30 pm 21 Grand, Oakland Speaker: Bevin Kelley

Panel Discussions
Drawn from Sources:
Inquiries into the sources, intent and challenges inherent in experimental music, and its place in our creative and social fabric.

Sunday, July 22nd 7pm in association with SIMM Series
Ethnic Tradition and Experimental Music
Musicians Union Hall 116 9th St. San Francisco
Moderated by Greg Beuthin (Balé Techlorico)
Artists speak out about how they balance their work to preserve and extend traditions in ethnic music.

Saturday, July 28th 3pm location TBA
This Music Defies Categorization
21 Grand Gallery 416 25th St. @ Broadway Oakland
Moderated TBA
with Peter Martin (Eddie the Rat), Jake Rodriguez (The Bran… POS) and artists TBA
Artists reflect on individual strategies, and the challenges, for creating work from multiple traditions of music, theater and movement.


Wednesday, July 25th Pre-Concert Composer Q&A 7:30pm, Performance Starts 8pm
Community Music Center
”Time in Transmission, a night of electro-acoustic performance”
544 Capp St. @ 20th St., San Francisco
Darwinsbitch, Tom Nunn/Matt Davignon, Nihil Communication & butoh danceer Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic,
Bob Marsh/David Michalak: Doctor Bob
General $10, Seniors/Students $5

Thursday, July 26th Pre-Concert Composer Q&A 7:30pm, Performance Starts 8pm
Community Music Center
”Fields of Flowers , a night of spontaneous composition”
544 Capp St. @ 20th St., San Francisco 8pm
Rent Romus, Steven Baker, Thollem Mcdonas, Jon Brumit: BLOOM with guests
Liz Allbee & Tatsuya Nakatani (PA), Wynn Yamami, Christopher Ariza, Ali Sakkal: KIOKU (NY),
Jim Ryan's Forward Energy Trio featuring Robert Jones(OR) & Andrew Wilshusen(OR)
General $10, Seniors/Students $5

Friday, July 27th Pre-Concert Composer Q&A 8:30pm, Performance Starts 9pm
21 Grand Gallery
”Beat & Beyond, a night extending rhythm and sound”
416 25th St. @ Broadway Oakland
Lx Rudis, Wobbly, Lance Grabmiller, Robert Anbian & the Unidentified Flying Quartet with
E. Doctor Smith & Charles Unger
General $12, Seniors/Students/Artists $8

Saturday, July 28th doors 8pm show starts 9pm
21 Grand Gallery
”Critical Mass, Sounds on the gritty side of the fence...”
416 25th St. @ Broadway Oakland
Jon Brumit & Wayne Grim: Van Boven, Eddie the Rat, Jesse Quattro,
Bruce Anderson Bill Raymond & John Moreman: High Vulture, the Gowns
General $12, Seniors/Students/Artists $8

OUTSOUND, in addition to being one of the largest new music presenters on the West Coast, is also presents
the OutSpoken Education Series consisting of pre-concert Q&A, master classes and artist panel discussions during the Summit event. This year’s presentation is dubbed Drawn from Sources: Inquiries into the sources, intent and challenges inherent in experimental music, and its place in our creative and social fabric.

Tickets are currently on sale to the public. Schedule and artists are subject to change.
There are two ways to purchase tickets:
• Visit www.edgetonemusicsummit.org
• Purchase tickets at the door on the night of the performance

The 2007 Bath International Music Festival

Today, I'll be attending the 2007 edition of England's famed Bath International Music Festival. In addition to being one of England's most beautiful and architectural cities, Bath attracts some of the greatest musicians from around the globe; Mavis Staples & Jazz Jamaica, the electronica of Arthurs & Bown, and People Like Us; the folk stylings of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill; and the genre crossing Iain Ballamy & Stian Carstensen.

My personal favorites however, will be the jazz duo of drummer Bill Bruford and pianist Michiel Borstlap. After a high profile and illustrious career as the rock drummer of his generation (with Yes, Genesis and King Crimson), Bruford carved out an equally successful name as a jazz drummer through his jazz-rock ensemble Earthworks. Borstlap is a brilliant pianist, capable of creating solos of dazzling complexity, but also able to employ space and subtlety. Together they adopt a witty, conversational style: the table talk may turn as much to Liszt Scherzos as to jazz standards and free spirited improvisation.

I saw Bruford's first duo with the Swiss keyboardist Patrick Moraz in 1982, at New York City's now defunct Bottom Line, and later in 1983, at D.C.'s now defunct Bayou. Bruford and Moraz had released two albums, the acoustic "Music for Piano and Drums", and the electronic "Flags". Consequently, these recordings and others have been reissued on Bruford's new record labels: Summerfold and Winterfold. Now, on a beautifully played CD, "Every Step A Dance, Every Word A Song", and a DVD titled "In Concert In Holland", Bruford teamed up with Dutch keyboard master Michiel Borstlap, in duets culled from their 2003-2004 European tour. Although the duo's efforts are rooted in jazz, there are hints of the progressive-rock/New Age flavor of "Flags", where Borstlap employs synthesizer for choruses and textures, and Bruford's well known polyrhythmic beats and syncopations that propel this beautiful musical journey.

The "Left of the Dial" reviewer Glenn Astarita, notes that "Borstlap primarily uses a grand piano as his instrument of choice via a potpourri of swing vamps, and sublime moments, while Bruford's shading exercises, add color and additional warmth. Highlights include segments where the duo expands themes and unexpectedly switch gears as they often instill a polytonal outlook during jazz standards such as Monk's "Bemsha Swing," for example.

The piece titled "Swansong," is a compelling opus that defines the artists' overriding sense of musical intimacy coupled with power and tenacity. Here, Borstlap executes slashing crescendos amid Art Tatum-like chord voicings, as the unit melds quaint balladry with bluesy passages. The fun factor continues with Bruford's drumming onslaught, which serves as a prelude of sorts, to Borstlap's shrewd use of a synth chorale voicing to finalize the piece. Simply stated, it's about synergy and singular techniques rooted with elements of joy and precision.

Bruford met Dutch pianist Michiel Borstlap in 2002, and they began playing duo shows that were less about the confines of structure and more about what Bruford terms "performance-based" music, music of the moment where spontaneity and interaction were the predominant factors.

Canadian Music reviewer John Kelman wrote that "while Bruford and Borstlap are still more concerned with form than, say, Italian pianist Enrico Pieranunzi-whose recent album with Paul Motian, Doorways , is another beast entirely-the reciprocation between the two jumps out from the first notes of the more structured "The 16 Kingdoms of the 5 Barbarians." Bruford's liner notes allude to the fact that the performance space impacts the nature of the musical dialogue-smaller rooms having "the intimacy of a dinner table conversation between old friends," while larger venues "naturally become a bit more muscular and assertive."

Still, on more introspective pieces including the title track, the anthem-like "Inhaling Shade," and an abstract, yet faithful reading of Monk's "Round Midnight," Bruford may gently assert the forward motion, but he's also become a masterful colourist. And while Borstlap's supplementing of his piano with electronic keyboards sometimes gives the duo a broader complexion, the subtleties of their exchange are never overshadowed by sheer demonstrativeness.

Every Step a Dance, Every Word a Song may not be as great a step forward for Borstlap, already a well-established European jazz figure, but it represents one more advance in the pursuit of a more instinctive and natural approach for Bruford, an artist who has, for all intents and purposes, left his rock roots completely behind him.

Next week I'll be in Paris, reporting on the French Open, and Roger Federer's quest for the only Grand Slam tennis title that has eluded him. Standing in his way will be the current champion and arch rival, Rafael Nadal...