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January 2016

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Venue:
Philadelphia Museum of Art2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: Free After Museum Admission
Friday, February 26, 2016 - 5:00pm

Ches Smith Trio

Art After 5 / Philadelphia Museum of Art

Ches Smith, drums
Craig Taborn, piano
Mat Maneri, viola

Ars Nova Workshop is pleased to present the Ches Smith Trio, on tour throughout the U.S. in support of its ECM debut, The Bell, due January 2016.

 

Best known for his work with Tim Berne and Marc Ribot, drummer Ches Smith “tows the lines between planned and chaotic, tension and looseness, harmony and discord, soul and blues.” (Downbeat). Smith, like many musicians of his generation, entered improvised music through punk and metal. After studying composition with Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran, Fred Frith and William Winant (who subbed out Smith for a Mr. Bungle tour) at Mills, Smith became a pervasive figure in compositionally minded rock (Xiu Xiu, Secret Chiefs 3), thorny modern jazz settings (Mary Halvorson, Ben Goldberg), and the spaces between (Trevor Dunn’s Trio Convulsant).

 

However, the reductive “jazz/rock hybrid” narrative belies a conceptual clarity that runs throughout all of Smith’s projects: the knotty etudes of his solo Congs for Brums project, the Mingus-meets-Minor Threat proposition of Good For Cows (with bassist Devin Hoff), the collective improvisations of These Arches (with Tim Berne, Tony Malaby, Mary Halvorson, and Andrea Parkins), and now his trio with pianist Craig Taborn and violist Mat Maneri, designed to showcase what Smith describes as  “chamber music for improvisers.”

 

Like Tim Berne, Smith often works with "macro" compositional structures in which atomic-level improvisational investigations can take place. Taborn and Maneri take Smith's compositions to task, employing a unique shared trio language that pokes, prods, and ultimately expands the music's structural parameters. At a recent Chicago performance, Peter Margasak extoled Smith’s “expertly infused seductively narcotic writing with a mixture of brooding melody and rich texture.” The resulting sounds on The Bell ring intuition from calculation; raw power from process.