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January 2008

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Venue:
The Rotunda4014 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: Free Admission
Thursday, January 17, 2008 - 8:00pm

Little Women

Ben Greenberg, el. guitar
Darius Jones, alto saxophone
Travis Laplante, tenor saxophone
Jason Nazary, drums

Little Women has a very genuine raucousness, though there's a gorgeous sense of structure. The band - two saxophones, guitar and drums - works a lot with these sorts of fanfare type themes, often with jagged, proggy rhythms. For the improvisations, the band atomizes, constantly splitting up into different mini groups. The guitarist Ben Greenberg plays with a crazy snarling tone and extreme volume, giving the music a real attack feel, and the saxophonists just completely go for it as well. Tenor player Travis Laplante has an absolutely huge sound, with an apocalyptic-free-jazz meets R&B kind of vibe. The set ended with this amazing coda: the two saxophonists - the other being the excellent Darius Jones - took off their mouthpieces and just started basically ranting/moaning/emoting into their horns, using the keys to fuck with the sound. It was unsettling and beautiful. (Time Out NY)

Members of Little Women have recorded and/or performed with Mark Dresser, Cooper-Moore, Mat Maneri, Joe Morris, Dave Liebman, Anthony Braxton, Trevor Dunn, Gerry Hemingway, Zs, Jim Black, George Garzone, Matt Wilson, and Michael Formanek among many others. 

Where From Here
Aaron Siegel, composition + drums
Erik Deutsch, el. piano
Matt Bauder, tenor saxophone
Jonathan Goldberger, guitar
Carl Testa, bass
Harris Eisenstadt, drums

Composer and Percussionist Aaron Siegel writes for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, experimental theater and improvising ensembles. He leads the Aaron Siegel Ensemble that plays his chamber compositions, is a member of the improvisational trio. Memorize the Sky, and is a member of the Anthony Braxton Sextet and 12(+1)tet. He has recordings out on 482 Music, Longbox Recordings, Peacock Recordings and his music has been supported by numerous granting organizations among them Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer and the Aaron Copland Fund.

Where From Here? is the most recent incarnation of his music for a sextet of improvising musicians. The group is built around a structure of doubles: Two chordal instruments and two percussionists. This multiplicity provides a depth of possibilities both harmonically and texturally. As is the case with most of Siegel's music, the compositions for Where From Here? take a glancing look at time, melody and harmony in an uneven state. Even when unison emerges from within the surface of a dense texture, the overarching strategy of polyphony never recedes totally.

The musicians in Where from Here? are almost always playing all the time. This compositional instruction takes away from the performers a certain degree of decision-making. Instead of the individual's questions of when to play, the resulting question is how to play. This demands unusual amounts of sensitivity and discretion from the involved musicians. In every case, this group of musicians is up to the task. Tenor Saxophonist, Matt Bauder, is a formidable composer in his own right. Whether softly leading his quartet Paper Gardens or fronting his oldies band White, Blue, Yellow and Clouds, Bauder hones in on the phraseology of Siegel's music leading the interpretations of the composers' material. Pianist Erik Deutsch has toured with numerous ensembles including his own Fingerprints and the Charlie Hunter Quartet. Erik's playful improvisational character and his harmonic language lend a depth of personality to the busy-sounding exterior. Guitarist Jonathan Goldberger holds down the rhythm section in Monica Heideman's ensemble and also plays a central improvisational foil in Andrew D'Angelo's large ensemble. His improvisational approach focuses on tonal shifts and sharp reorganizations of material. Bassist Carl Testa, resides in New Haven, CT where he runs the Uncertainty Music Series. Having also performed frequently with Anthony Braxton, Testa shares with Siegel an enthusiasm for formalism and a capacity for deep expression. Percussionist Harris Eisenstadt is an important composer and bandleader, having performed around the world and on numerous recordings of his ensembles, including the Canada Day Quintet, and a veritable who's who of contemporary jazz. His sensitive feel and dynamic range match perfectly with the ensembles' transparent sound.