Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Empirical's Pop-Up Jazz Lounge in Birmingham - April 25-29, 2017

*|MC:SUBJECT|*


Apr.
 25-29

Empirical's Pop-Up
Jazz Lounge is in Birmingham This Week!



Tuesday - Saturday

April 25-29, 2017




Award-winning UK jazz ensemble Empirical announce the return of their popular ‘Pop-up Jazz Lounge’ project.2017, which marks Empirical’s 10th anniversary, will see the band take up temporary residence at Pop-up Lounges in Birmingham, London and Liverpool.

In February 2016, the UK jazz super group took over a retail unit in the centre of Old Street London Underground station and transformed it into a relaxed and inviting jazz lounge. Over a whirlwind six days of playing 24 live sets for unsuspecting commuters, the band recorded over 2,800 visitors to their lounge, the majority of whom hadn't ever experienced live jazz before. Having road-tested this radical approach of taking their music directly to people during their daily routines, the musical risk-takers now hope to connect with new audiences across the UK. (To see a video from the 2016 London Pop-Up, scroll down!)

From 25th to 29th April 2017, Empirical will make Birmingham their temporary home. Taking over a retail unit in the Great Western Arcade, located at the heart of Birmingham’s Coleman Business district, the band hopes to attract workers, shoppers and commuters using nearby Snow Hill station.Birmingham residents and visitors will be invited to pop into the lounge for daily lunchtime and evening commuter sets, with evening performances scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Early birds will also be able to catch an 8am mid-week session. All gigs will be free of charge.

“It was great to see so many new people at our pop-up lounge at Old Street and to see them really engage with the music - it showed that there is an audience for jazz out there, and we can reach them!” comments Tom Farmer, Double Bass. "So we’re really excited to be able to take our pop-up lounge to Birmingham this April and hope that we’ll get the same enthusiastic reaction from people there.”

To give younger audiences a chance to experience live jazz, Empirical will visit Birmingham schools and host educational workshops demonstrating the principles of jazz improvisation to local youth music ensembles.The Pop-up Jazz Lounge project is made possible by funding support from Arts Council England, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the Worshipful Company of Musicians and is presented in partnership with Birmingham’s Town Hall Symphony Hall Jazzlines programme.

In June 2017, the Pop-up Lounge will return to Old Street Underground station in London, before appearing in Liverpool in September.

A video of the 2016 London Pop-up is below: 

In February 2016, Empirical created a week-long Pop-Up Jazz Lounge in the concourse of London Underground's Old Street Station. This ground breaking performance series was the first of its kind and connected both Empirical's music and jazz music in general with new audiences.


Great Western Arcade, Birmingham



For more information on Empirical:

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Empirical's 2016 Album, CONNECTION,
on Cuneiform Records


MOBO Award-Winning British Jazz Quartet – EMPIRICAL – Delivers a Potent Dispatch from the Post-Bop Frontier with CONNECTION, a Program of Smart and Searing Originals

While Empirical’s moniker implies cool detachment and disinterested observation, the quartet has become one of Europe’s top jazz ensembles by creating a bracing sound rife with roiling emotion. The band builds on the extroverted improvisational ethos of the 1960s New Thing, embracing oblique harmonies, translucent textures and jagged, quick shifting rhythms. Featuring Nathaniel Facey (alto saxophone), Shaney Forbes (drums), Lewis Wright (vibraphone) and Tom Farmer (bass), Connection is the fifth Empirical album. The band’s first release on the American label Cuneiform, it captures the ensemble at its most pure and potent.
“Each of our previous albums was an experiment, where we included various guests from a string quartet to a pianist to bass clarinet,” Farmer says. “This time we went into a great sounding studio with just the four of us. It’s an accurate representation of what we’re doing now, what our gigs sound like. This is our expression.”
Following the release of its eponymous debut album in 2007, which was produced by British saxophone star Courtney Pine and released on his Destin-E label, Empirical quickly established itself as a creatively-charged crew unafraid to explore jazz’s wild and wooly left field. They threw down the gauntlet with their acclaimed second album, 2009’s Out ‘n’ In (Naim). Produced by rising British saxophonist Jason Yarde, the project offers a highly personal salute to Eric Dolphy that won the band Best Jazz Act in the 2010 MOBO Awards (MOBO stands for Music Of Black Origin).
In many ways Connection is a similarly bold statement, a program of original music that unfolds with the kind of intuitive narrative momentum generated by a great set. Opening with Farmer’s concise stop-and-start “Initiate the Initiations,” the album kicks off like a carnival parade driven by Forbes’ deft trap work. Farmer contributes half of the album’s 10 tracks, and his pieces often key on particular emotional states. “Anxiety Society” pits Facey discursive alto against Wright’s calm and cool vibes. By the end of the piece, they are both caught in a labyrinth, searching for a way out. He explores a different kind of disorientation on “Maze,” a piece that sways too and fro in various directions before breaking apart at the end as the center cannot hold.
Facey offers several surprises on “Stay the Course,” the album’s longest track. With three distinct sections, it opens with a brooding theme, moves to an introverted swagger, and resolves with a long skittering vibes solo that’s unlike anything else on the album. Wright contributes some of the album’s most divergent tracks, from the seductive tranquility of “Lethe” to the angular “Mind Over Mayhem,” an abstract, intricately constructed sojourn tips the balance from order to disorder. In a fascinating pairing, Wright’s “It’s Out of Your Hands” follows, closing the album on a soft, insinuating ostinato. It’s another moment of probing contemplation on a musical journey marked by unanticipated swerves and cutting drama.
If Empirical sounds uncommonly grounded in jazz’s experimental tradition, it’s probably because the quartet came together in an environment that treats jazz as a search rather than a destination. The musicians came together while involved in the scene around the acclaimed program Tomorrow’s Warriors, which was founded by prolific Jamaican-born bassist and arranger Gary Crosby (the nephew of guitar legend Ernest Ranglin and a founding member of the hugely influential mid-80s band Jazz Warriors).
With its West African-tinged compositions and conventional hard-bop instrumentation of trumpet, sax, piano, bass and drums, Empirical’s 2007 debut album hinted at the band’s potential. But it wasn’t until the horn players and pianist dropped out, Farmer took over the bass chair, and vibraphonist Lewis Wright joined the following year that the quartet’s distinctive sound came sharply into focus. While developing arrangements for a tribute to Eric Dolphy, Empirical delved into his classic 1964 Blue Note album Out To Lunch! featuring vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson. The concert was a huge success, but more importantly, the musicians bonded with a sense of purpose driven by devotion to jazz’s defiant ethos.
“We were working really well, taking it really seriously,” Farmer says. “I’d never met guys who took it so seriously. The process of studying together is really what brought us together, and we just carried on doing it.”
The band’s interactive group approach in built on Farmer and Forbes highly kinetic rhythm section tandem, while Facey possesses an instantly recognizable alto tone. But in many ways Wright’s vibes define the group’s sound. From the moment he joined the band, he catalyzed a new way of writing and arranging material. “We all loved the transparency,” Farmer says. “You can hear exactly what everyone’s playing. Lewis is quite a unique player. He gets this warmth on an instrument that can sound quite harsh and metallic. I love having all this room on the bottom, without having to think about a pianist’s left hand.”
After the 2011 release of the band’s third album Elements of Truth (Naim), Empirical won the inaugural Golubovich Jazz Scholars fellowship at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. The residency at the prestigious conservatory led to the band’s collaboration with the all-women string ensemble Benyounes Quartet, who were featured on Empirical’s 2013 double album Tabula Rasa (Naim). The ambitious, often spiritually-tinged project featured some of the band’s most beautiful and complex writing.
Released by Cuneiform in February 2016, it’s no surprise that Connection finds the quartet getting back to basics. Recorded after a week-long run at Foyles Bookshop London, the album captures the raw energy, brash ideas, and volatile group sound that Empirical has built upon the vast territory opened by jazz’s mid-1960s explorers. “That particular period isn’t just a musical inspiration,” Farmer says. “That constant search for meaning in the early avant garde was really powerful. A lot of those ideas are relevant today and they’re essential to our band.” 

For more information on Cuneiform Records:





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Friday, April 14, 2017

Celebrate "Easter" this Weekend w/ David Borden's Mother Mallard, the MiniMoog, & Cuneiform Records


HAPPY EASTER!
HAPPY SPRING 2017!!


Cuneiform Records Invites You to Celebrate this Easter Weekend with a Free Stream of

"Easter"
Recorded by Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company - the World's First All-Synthesizer Ensemble - and Released by Cuneiform on the album:
1970-1973


Composed for Moog Synthesizer by
Composer/ Keyboardist/ Electronic Music Pioneer
David Borden,
"Easter"
Became the Centerpiece of the World's First Live Concerts Featuring Portable Synthesizers & MiniMoog

On Saturday, March 28th 1970 - the eve of Easter Sunday - David Borden composed "Easter," his first tonal pulse-piece composed for the Moog synthesizer. Working throughout the night at Bob Moog's Trumansburg studio during Easter weekend, he completed his multi-layered piece at 4am that Easter morning, March 29th.

Two weeks later, on April 10 and 11, 1970, Borden and fellow Mother Mallard member Steve Drews performed "Easter" at Cornell University, for a contemporary dance concert in the Straight Theater at Willard Straight Hall. Borden used a Minimoog A; this was the world's first performance using a Minimoog A in a live concert. Moreover, Mother Mallard's April 1970 concerts at Cornell marked the first-time that ANY portable synthesizer was ever used for a live concert.

That summer, on June 30, 1970, Mother Mallard again used Moog's prototype Minimoog A to perform "Easter" in New York City's Trinity Church. This June 1970 concert marked the debut of the MiniMoog in New York City. (Concert program below, courtesy of Tom Rhea, author of Minimoog Owner's Manual.) Mother Mallard would perform Easter again the following year, on Easter Sunday 1971, at Cornell University's Sage Chapel.



Capable of performed with a limited number of musicians on analog equipment, "Easter" proved to be an ideal piece for showcasing the Minimoog's capabilities in live performances. On Bob Moog's request, Borden wrote out his original instructions by hand so that Moog could play "Easter" live at a Planetarium concert. At a series of subsequent concerts at Strasenburgh Planetarium, Moog, Tom Lamb and Tom Rhea performed "Easter" along with some other works.

Rhea recalls that: "Bob and Tom and I played live for several performances over several nights, and the Planetarium staff concocted a "space travel" narration complete with the mighty Zeiss rising from the center of the room, and multiple slide projectors blazing away . . . we were behind the near-spherical "shell" that comprises the screen for the images, and occasionally they would turn lights on "backstage" so we could be seen playing (through the screen) . . . it was all live as I recall. I don't think we had any tape going . . As I recall, we got through every performance without any major hitch."

The photos below (Courtesy Tom Rhea) depict Moog and Rhea, and Moog, Lamb and Rhea, performing "Easter" at the Planetarium concerts.




"Easter", born in the Spring of 1970, heralds the Dawn of the Age of Electronic Music, both technically and symbolically. This David Borden work marks the debut of compositions created for, and works performed on the legendary MiniMoog.

Cuneiform is providing this stream of "Easter" to celebrate this Easter holiday. It is recorded by the world's first all-synthesizer ensemble: Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Co., founded by David Borden and Steve Drews. We encourage you to purchase this and other recordings by David Borden and Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company released on Cuneiform Records. They are available for sale in various formats via WaysideMusic.com, Bandcamp, at various online retailers, including Amazon.com.
- text by Joyce (Nalewajk) Feigenbaum

When Robert Moog, inventor of the voltage controlled electronic synthesizer, introduced David Borden to his newest creation, the groundbreaking experimentation and creative performances that followed would echo throughout music history for decades to come.

Formed in 1969 in Ithaca, Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. was one of the few to begin experimentation with such equipment, earning them a place in history within an exclusive group of pioneers such as Terry Riley, Philip Glass, and Tangerine Dream. Critically acclaimed as a group whose work was ahead of their time, the ensemble would set groundwork for the experimental classical minimalists and live synth-ensembles of the future. Over the years, the group expanded its instrumentation to include acoustic and other electric instrumentation alongside the Moogs. After Apple released its iconic personal desktop computers in the 1980s, Mother Mallard adopted that new digital technology as eagerly into its live performances as it had adopted analogue MiniMoogs. Today, Mother Mallard performs using Apple laptops to produce their distinct sound, but still pays tribute to their roots by featuring a Moog Voyager, Dr. Moog's last synthesizer design.



David Borden is one of the foremost exponents of live electronic and minimalist music. He has been active on the new music and contemporary classical scenes for two decades. He first came to attention as the driving force behind Mother Mallard, the world's first all synthesizer ensemble. He would later go on to write for multiple vocal ensembles as well as film scores for several movies. With degrees from both the Eastman School of Music and Harvard University, David Borden would combine his extensive music knowledge with the then cutting-edge technology of the MiniMoog synthesizer to create a new sound, and an unforgettable album.



1970-1973 collects the first album by Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. and previously unreleased recordings. MMPMC were also one of the very first [possibly the first] performing synthesizer ensembles, working closely with Robert Moog, whose first factory was nearby. This material pre-dates or is contemporary with the first contributions to the genre and had been forgotten until now.

-

DAVID BORDEN/MOTHER MALLARD
RECORDINGS ON CUNEIFORM


Cuneiform Records has released six albums by David Borden and Mother Mallard, including: two archival albums (1970-73, and Like a Duck to Water) that include the earliest recordings by Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company; three discs containing the complete Continuing Story of Counterpoint, Borden's masterwork of minimalism (which critics have praised as "the Goldberg Variations of minimalism"); and a volume of Borden's more atmospheric compositions, called Places, Times and People.

For more information on Borden's releases on Cuneiform, please see:
http://www.cuneiformrecords.com/bandshtml/borden.html


Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co.
Like A Duck To Water

AMAZON - ITUNES
BANDCAMP - WAYSIDE MUSIC


Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co.
1970-1973

AMAZON - ITUNES
BANDCAMP - WAYSIDE MUSIC


David Borden
Places, Times & People
AMAZON - ITUNES
BANDCAMP


David Borden
The Continuing Story Of Counterpoint
Parts 1-4 + 8 (Complete)
AMAZON - ITUNES
BANDCAMP


David Borden
The Continuing Story Of Counterpoint
Parts 5-8
AMAZON - ITUNES
BANDCAMP


David Borden
The Continuing Story Of Counterpoint
Parts 9-12
AMAZON - ITUNES
BANDCAMP - WAYSIDE