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September 2011

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Venue:
Philadelphia Art Alliance251 S. 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $10 General Admission
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - 8:00pm

Jen Shyu + Mark Dresser

Record Release Celebration

Jen Shyu, voice + erhu + Taiwanese moon lute
Mark Dresser, bass

Join Ars Nova Workshop for the first event in our 12th season with a duo performance by vocalist Jen Shyu and bassist Mark Dresser.

“Calling contrabassist Mark Dresser a virtuoso is like saying Albert Einstein was good at math,” wrote Robert Bush for The San Diego City Times. He was spot on.

Whether working in ensembles led by Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Tim Berne, and John Zorn, leading groups for recordings on Tzadik and Clean Feed, or improvising alone as he did on the fantastic Guts: Bass Explorations, Investigations, and Explorations (Kadima Collective; 2010), Dresser has been relentlessly articulating an incomparable musical language for nearly 40 years. For the Downtown bassist's latest project, Synastry (Pi Recordings, 2011), Dresser joins forces with multi-instrumentalist, dancer, and vocalist Jen Shyu to investigate new improvisatory zones for voice and bass.

Shyu's been studying and performing music since her pre-teens—she came in sixth place at the Stravinsky International Piano Competition at 11-years-old—and cut her teeth on the jazz scene working in Steve Coleman's Five Elements. Shyu's polylingual vocal style—she sings in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Tetum, and Pinuyumayan—adds a robust cosmopolitan spirit to her improvising: she's truly a vocalist for a hyper-connected, multi-cultural age. Tonight, she also plays erhu (a Chinese spike fiddle) and Taiwanese moon lute.

“Together,” Shyu says of her work with Dresser, “we really push the possibilities of each of our instruments, exposing their full range in texture and musical function in a way that we feel is unique in the lineage of voice and bass duos.”