Wednesday, March 8th, 8 p.m.| Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka
"Endangered Blood plays fast, looping, dynamically even and entwining lines, laying bebop over clanky grooves."
—Ben Ratliff, New York Times
Endangered Blood cuts a wide swath through a diverse field of modern creative music. Their Tiny Desk Concert on NPR, for instance, was billed as a showcase for compositions that combine “post-bop, 20th-century chromaticism, traditional New Orleans funeral marches, avant-garde jazz and post-punk to create a sort of mad-scientist concoction.” New York Times critic Ben Ratliff sees EB as an evolved, “refined” version of 90s New York “downtown” jazz: “less jagged and self-consciously transgressive, more studied and self-possessed.” Their tunes can be twisty and involuted in an early Ornette Coleman sort of way: “cerebral” and “gritty” (NPR again) but also warm, dreamy, and melodious. “You were wondering where a rock aesthetic has improved jazz rather than compromising it?” Ratliff asks. “Here.”
The members of this piano-less quartet aren’t exactly household names, but among their peers they’re known as giants of their generation and improvisers of the first rank. Jim Black, widely admired for his wide-open ears and his “controlled-detonation” drumming (Seattle Weekly), leads his own trio as well as the post-rock/jazz band AlasNoAxis. A veteran of such influential ensembles as Human Feel (with Speed, Andrew D’Angelo, and Kurt Rosenwinkel), Tim Berne’s Bloodcount, and Dave Douglas’s Tiny Bell Trio, he has also played behind Nels Cline, Tomasz Stanko, and Laurie Anderson, among others. Eureka native Trevor Dunn, a bass wizard forever associated with the groundbreaking Mr. Bungle, has toured the world with various Mike Patton and John Zorn projects as well as entering the Guinness Book of World Records by playing fifty gigs in fifty states in fifty days as a member of the Melvins Lite. He’s also a regular with cellist Erik Friedlander and the Nels Cline Singers. Multi-instrumentalist-composer-bandleader Oscar Noriega is a core member of Tim Berne’s acclaimed Snakeoil quartet and co-leader (with trombonist Jacob Garchik) of the Mexico-inspired Banda de los Muertos. Chris Speed divides his time between several bands of his own and sideman gigs with Craig Taborn, Dave King, Uri Caine, Mary Halvorson, and John Hollenbeck’s long-running Claudia Quintet. The nineties and aughts found him in pioneering groups led by the likes of Tim Berne, Myra Melford, Dave Douglas, and John Zorn. Like Black, he’s known for introducing the odd time signatures and intricate melodies of Balkan music into the jazz world, and he spent almost a decade in the “BalkanSoul/GypsyFunk” ensemble Slavic Soul Party.
These days, all four band members hail from the same Brooklyn ‘hood: “We’re a neighborhood band,” says Speed; “and [we] have a great time making fun of each other.” But Speed and Black have been making fun together since their high school days in Seattle, where they came up with saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo (Matt Wilson Quartet) and trumpeter Cuong Vu (Myra Melford’s Be Bread). For decades now, first in Boston, then New York, they’ve made the rounds separately and together, and in 2008 they formed a one-off quartet to play a benefit concert for D’Angelo, who was dangerously ill. (It wasn’t a blood disease.) He recovered, but the band kept performing and recording and dazzling critics and fans with what All About Jazz calls their seamless mix of “bebop, Mariachi, free jazz and post-bop.”
Endangered Blood is the sound of four long-time colleagues and friends, composers and improvisers all in their prime, uniting seemingly disparate streams of music into a powerful new aesthetic. Daring but not disorderly (well, not quite), they make you expect to join an evening parade of dancers, strollers, bicyclists, and musicians through the streets of a very old town, maybe a Fellini-esque town, maybe even Eureka. It could happen. Come on along.
(Adapted from ChrisSpeed.com)
Tickets ($15 General Admission, $10 Students & Seniors) are available here at our website and (soon!) at People's Records, Wildwood Music, Wildberries, and The Works.
Endangered Blood will also present an open public workshop at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 9th in HSU's Studio Theater (Theatre Arts Building, Room 115--to the left of the Van Duzer lobby entrance and down the hall). People of all levels of experience are welcome to attend, and admission is FREE.
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