Performance Spaces

Yesterday I wrote about Pi Recordings and the importance of their role with avant-garde jazz music. (see Related articles link) Time did not let me write more in-depth about the focused two-week event that Seth Rosner and Yulun Wang are curating at The Stone. The Stone is a non-profit performance space in New York City, dedicated to experimental and avant-garde, in the East Village.

The events planned  by Seth, Yulun and Pi Recordings at The Stone show a cornucopia of avant-garde talent. If we can get it together we want to attend one of the events 8/29-8/31…

Performance Space Events in 2011

Five of the 23 music experiences we attended in 2011 have taken place in performance space settings. Our association with intimate, well designed acoustic spaces commenced in January. My wife and I attended a winter concert at Wesleyan University by The Charles Lloyd Quartet.

We followed that event with the first of two performance space concerts at Stage One Theatre in Fairfield, Ct with Joe Sample on piano in April (we just saw Jimmy Webb in late July at this space).

The next avant-garde performance space event featured the Anthony Braxton Septet at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, CT in May.

Then just last week we enjoyed the swampadellic music of 7 Walkers at the Nancy Marine Studio in Torrington.

Fingers crossed we can add to the repertoire of performance space and avant-garde jazz  events we saw with what Pi Recordings is curating at The Stone!

Pi Recordings

I gravitate towards recording labels that increase my musical awareness. I enjoy having my musical consciousness raised. A record label I continually draw innovative knowledge from is Pi Recordings.  Nate Chinen, jazz music journalist for the New York Times, wrote an authoritative column yesterday about Pi Recordings. (see link below) Their record label is furthering and shaping avant-garde jazz with the talent they are molding through collaborative support. This year marks Pi Recordings 10th anniversary.

Pi has forged a symbiotic relationship with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Together they are forming key foundation building blocks that increase avant-garde jazz’s reach to new, accepting audiences.

The mission statement for Pi Recordings, crafted by visionary founders Seth Rosner and Yulun Wang states prophetically:

Pi Recordings is a New York-based record label dedicated to releasing innovative music by artists with unique and defining voices. Founded in 2001 with the release of two recordings of new music by Henry Threadgill, we have since been fortunate to work with some of the most influential composers and musicians in American music such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, James Blood Ulmer and Marc Ribot. At the same time, we are helping to nurture the voice of the best of this century’s young musicians. Artists like Vijay Iyer, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Liberty Ellman, Steve Lehman, Amir ElSaffar, and Corey Wilkes have all released CDs on Pi Recordings that document their growth as composers, improvisers and bandleaders.

We spotlight composers, improvisers and bandleaders who are pushing music in new, groundbreaking ways. Jazz artists have never had a wider musical palette at their disposal than now, and they are using it to create music that is more varied, profound and vibrant than ever before. Pi Recordings is here to capture what we recognize as the high points of these developments. The best of the best.


Henry Threadgill

My musical interests are guiding me deeper in the discovery visualizations of avant-garde jazz composition and expression. The three avant-garde jazz composers who are captivating my attention are Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams and Henry Threadgill.

I believe Anthony Braxton is poised for a major renaissance and I will be writing more about his resurgence on this blog going forward.

Today’s daily blog post focuses on Henry Threadgill. Henry is a founding member of AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians).

I have several music reference books I keep close at hand for further study. One title I refer to often is A Power Stronger Than Itself, The AACM and American Experimental Music by George E. Lewis. It’s a fantastic book that is laden with knowledge of AACM Chicago and New York musicians who have been true to the pursuit and accomplishments of experimental music. Henry Threadgill is extensively mentioned in this title, which helps me to fathom what he has given us through his creative muse.

JazzTimes March 2011 cover

The latest Jazz Times issue has a cover story about the enigmatic Henry Threadgill, “Be Ever Out” by David R. Adler a jazz writer I respect greatly. I am savoring David’s article now as  I sip my morning coffee and get ready for my day.

Henry Threadill is a roster artist on the Pi Recordings label. I love the leadership role Pi Recordings is achieving for music that shouts to be heard. They have several artists at the label I have grown to appreciate such as  Marc Ribot,  Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steve Lehman, along with Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams 😉

So join me on my journey through avant-garde jazz and let’s get educated together in this richly rewarding American experimental experience.