December 2006

  »
Venue:
Rose Recital Hall (UPenn)34th and Walnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $12 General Admission / $10 Students
Sponsored by:
Friday, December 15, 2006 - 8:00pm

Skirl Records Party: The Clarinets

Chris Speed, clarinet
Oscar Noriega, bass clarinet + clarinet
Anthony Burr, bass clarinet

"The Brooklyn avant-garde jazz scene has a lot going for it: world-class players such as Chris Speed, Trevor Dunn and John Hollenbeck and sympathetic venues like Barbès, Zebulon and the Center for Improvisational Music. But until very recently, one thing was missing, namely a record label spotlighting local talent and not centered on a single artist. Skirl Records, a new imprint helmed by Speed, soundly redresses this lack.

The improvisations of the aptly named Clarinets (Speed on clarinet, Anthony Burr on bass clarinet and Oscar Noriega on both) meditate on the instrument's singular timbre. More lighthearted are the New Mellow Edwards, led by trombonist-composer Curtis Hasselbring, their rock and electronica flavored pieces may be playful, but they're also structurally exquisite. Dunn, the group's bassist and an ex-member of Mr. Bungle, will also play ominous, majestic duets with harpist Shelley Burgon." -TimeOut NY

Chris Speed is a composer, clarinetist and saxophonist living in Brooklyn, NY. His bands include Human Feel, yeah NO, Trio Iffy, Pachora and The Clarinets. He is a member of Jim Black's Alas No Axis and John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet. Speed was born in Seattle in 1967 and graduated from the New England Conservatory in 1990. In 1992 he moved to NYC where he joined Tim Berne's Bloodcount. Throughout the nineties Speed worked with many pioneering bands in the creative new music/downtown scene including the Dave Douglas Sextet, Myra Melford's Same River Twice, Erik Freidlander's Chimera, John Zorn's Bar Kokhba and Mark Dresser's trio with Anthony Coleman. During this time he also began pursuing his interest in East European folk music, forming Pachora in 1992, and traveling throughout Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Macedonia. Speed is considered one of the leading NYC musicians linking jazz and creative improvisation with Eastern European and Middle Eastern folk music. Currently, he works with Uri Caine's Bach, Mahler, and Mozart projects, as well as Ben Perowsky's quartet.

Anthony Burr has worked widely as a clarinetist, electronic musician, and composer, with groups and artists including Jim O'Rourke, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, John Zorn, Klangforum Wien, Chris Speed, Mark Dresser, Ensemble Sospeso and others. He performs and records in a duo with Icelandic bassist and composer Skuli Sverrisson and is a member of Australian contemporary music group Elision. With artist Steve Ausbury, he created Biospheria: An Environmental Opera, a site specific piece based on the story of Biosphere 2, presented in San Diego in 2001 and in archive form at cinematexas in 2003. Another large scale spectacle, The Mizler Society (co-created by John Rodgers), was presented by the Australian Art Orchestra at the Melbourne Museum in 2002 and will soon resurface in another form. Other current releases include a 2CD set of the music of Alvin Lucier with cellist Charles Curtis (Sigma/Antiopic), and a thousand incidents arise with Skuli Sverrisson (workers institute).

The New Mellow Edwards
Curtis Hasselbring, trombone
Chris Speed, clarinet
Trevor Dunn, bass
Mike Pride, drums

The Mellow Edwards has existed since 1988 when Curtis Hasselbring persuaded John Dirac and Jerome Dupree to play with him at the Middle East Cafe in Cambridge MA. The group's repertoire consisted of hardcore versions of Don Cherry and Henry Threadgill tunes as well as Dirac's non-autobiographical opus, "the Green Haircut." Fourteen years, over a dozen musicians and many pieces of music later, Curtis took a giant leap into the future and renamed the group The New Mellow Edwards. He composes the majority of the group's repertoire (with the exception of the occasional 1980s rock/1920s jazz cover) and plays the trombone and various odd noise-making devices. The other members of the group for the last three years have been Trevor Dunn, John Hollenbeck and Chris Speed, and although there has also been an illustrious cast of subs (a veritable who's who of people in Curtis's address book), the NMEs (as they are often called) have evolved into a top-notch performing unit who leave a trail of fried PA speakers, broken folding chairs and unused half-price drink tickets.

Trevor Dunn-Shelley Burgon
Shelley Burgon, harp
Trevor Dunn, bass

Trevor Dunn and Shelley Burgon are a unique Bass and Harp duo, making music that evokes the likes of John Cage or George Crumb, in which they explore the little-charted territory where chamber music converges with free jazz. The interplay of steel, string, and wood gives way to the creation of otherworldy sonic textures. Tim Duroche of Wilamette Week writes: "Wavering between patent meditation and maniacal catharsis... the duo has a haunting, cinematic quality that is both staggeringly complex and achingly beautiful."

Trevor Dunn is best known as a founding member and co-composer of the notorious Mr. Bungle (with vocalist Mike Patton), as well as for his work with Patton's experi-metal outfit Fantômas (along with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo and guitarist for The Melvins, Buzz Osbourne). Fans of these projects may not find much common ground with Dunn & Burgon's duo, but more open-minded listeners will realize that this is a testament to Dunn's prolific versatility on the bass (both electric and contrabass). Dunn's work can be heard on over fifty recordings to date, straddling such diverse genres as punk, death metal, contemporary classical, blues, and jazz. He also plays with various formations of the downtown jazz scene, including various Ben Goldberg groups, John Zorn's Electric Masada, David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness, Marc Ribot, Susie Ibarra, and Jenny Scheinman. Dunn also leads his own Trio-Convulsant, which spent Fall of 2004 touring with The Melvins.

Harpist Shelley Burgon is currently based in New York. In addition to her duo with bassist Trevor Dunn, Shelley plays in the band Stars Like Fleas and will be continuing her work with the chamber ensemble Ne(x)tworks in Fall 2006. As a soloist Shelley often ventures into the world of spatialized electro-acoustic music by processing her instrument and moving the sound through many channels. She has recently performed with and is inspired by a variety people such as Jennifer Choi, Fred Frith, Miho Hatori, Raz Mesinai, Butch Morris and others.