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Venue:
Philadelphia Art Alliance251 S. 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $12 General Admission
Saturday, January 12, 2008 - 8:00pm

Steve Lehman Quintet

Steve Lehman , alto saxophone
Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet
Chris Dingman, vibraphone
Matt Brewer, bass
Tyshawn Sorey, drums

Ars Nova Workshop is pleased to announce the CD release celebration of On Meaning (Pi Recordings), the highly anticipated new recording from Steve Lehman's critically acclaimed quintet. Widely regarded as one of today's bracingly original young composers, Lehman combines groove-oriented musical content with highly contrapuntal, asymmetrical, and non-repetitive structural devices. Imagining his music in this way, Lehman creates elaborate formal works that remain rooted in the physicality of live performance and the visceral nature of urban rhythm.

Each of On Meaning's eight compositions addresses the challenge of creating fresh environments for modern improvisers and advances a unique and meticulously crafted vision of compositional form, harmony, rhythm, and orchestration. Analog Moment and Curse Fraction focus on the nature of background/foreground binaries, while On Meaning and Haiku d'Etat Transcription use changing speeds and metric modulations (both temporary and permanent) to challenge the members of Lehman's quintet to draw from their individual resources in new ways. Other compositions, such as Great Plains of Algiers, draws from Lehman's study of spectral harmony under Tristan Murail at Columbia University, while Open Music layers irrational rhythms and microtonal backgrounds in creating a richly imagined setting for Tyshawn Sorey's featured drum solo.                                  

Throughout On Meaning, Lehman's cutting-edge compositional voice is brought to life by his remarkable quintet, featuring performer/improvisers that represent the absolute state-of-the-art on their respective instruments: Drew Gress on bass, Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Tyshawn Sorey on drums, and Chris Dingman on vibraphone. Lehman's own performance, on alto saxophone, bristles with the unique combination of explosiveness and precision that has been his trademark since he exploded onto New York's creative music scene in 2004. Much like the abstract and darkly compelling compositions of On Meaning, Lehman's work as a saxophonist - combining a highly advanced harmonic language, microtonal playing, extended techniques, and a deeply rooted rhythmic sense - positions him, at 28, as one of the most significant voices to emerge in creative music in recent memory.                          

Named a Rising Star on the alto saxophone in 2006 and 2007 by the Downbeat Magazine International Critics Poll, Steve Lehman is a saxophonist and composer whose work resides on the cutting-edge of contemporary music. He has been recognized as a truly original creative voice by The Wire, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Downbeat Magazine, as well as by National Public Radio. A former student of both Jackie McLean and Anthony Braxton, he has performed and recorded throughout the United States and Europe with his own ensembles, and with those led by Anthony Braxton, Dave Burrell, Mark Dresser, Vijay Iyer, Oliver Lake, and Meshell Ndegeocello.

An award-winning composer, Lehman's pieces for large orchestra and chamber ensembles have been performed by the Janacek Philharmonic, members of Ensemble 21 and Ensemble Sospeso, and by the pianist Marilyn Nonken. His music has received performances at the MusikTriennale Festival in Koln, the Ostrava New Music Days, The Kaleidophon Festival in Ulrichsberg, the Festival International de Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville, Dance Theater Workshop and the Interpretations Series at Merkin Hall, both in New York City. Lehman's most recent recordings as a leader include On Meaning (Pi 2007) with his critically acclaimed quintet, Demian as Posthuman (Pi 2005), featuring Tyshawn Sorey and 9-time Grammy nominee Meshell Ndegeocello, Simulated Progress (Pi 2005) with the collective trio Fieldwork, Interface (Clean Feed 2004), featuring Mark Dresser and Pheeroan akLaff, and Artificial Light (Fresh Sound 2004).