Medeski Martin & Wood's drummer celebrates his 50th birthday with guests John Medeski, Anthony Coleman, Marc Ribot, Shelley Hirsch & more
Billy Martin of Medeski Martin & Wood invites friends to celebrate his 50th birthday: Stridulations, music for strings, brass and percussion and more surprises. Best known for his 20+ years of service in MM&W as the propulsive anchor of the celebrated well-traveled avant jazz-funk trio, Martin is equally an experimental intermedia artist of the highest calbre: visual artist, filmmaker, and sound artist. For this special birthday celebration concert, a variety of guests – beloved cohorts and luminaries of the downtown New York scene – will join Martin to perform, collaborate, and improvise with and without some of Martin’s experimental films.
Special guest collaborators
My name is Billy Martin (aka illy B). I am an experimental artist. Most people know me as a drummer (Medeski Martin & Wood), teacher and composer. I am also a visual artist and filmmaker. billymartin.net
Guzheng experimentalist/vocalist Wu Fei has worked with the likes of John Zorn, Fred Frith, Erik Friedlander, Elliott Sharp, and Cecil Taylor. A native Beijinger now based in Brooklyn, the artist-composer will unfurl acoustic vignettes for guzheng (ancient Chinese zither) and voice, including music from her latest album of chamber works entitled “Yuan”. Billy Martin, who joins Fei this evening, has firmly established himself as a tasteful dispenser of soulful, groove music as well as a highly innovative sound artist and adventurous solo performer. Always a marvelous collaboration, the journey undertaken by these two is one of allure and revelation.
Born and raised in Beijing, Wu Fei is a virtuoso composer and performer who began learning gu zheng and piano at the age of 6, started giving solo concerts at age 9, and at age 15 entered the China Conservatory of Music to study composition. After coming to the US in 2000, Wu Fei went on to receive her M.A. in Composition from Mills College and a grant from “Meet the Composer”. She began to diversify her sound and experiment widely, working with musicians as dynamic as John Zorn, Fred Frith, Elliott Sharp, Pauline Oliveros, Carla Kihlstedt, Cecil Taylor, Japanese koto master Kazue Sawai and also as a commissioned composer for Percussions Claviers de Lyon (piece premiered at the Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing). Wu Fei’s compositions for choir, string quartet, chamber ensemble, Balinese gamelan, orchestra, film, and modern dance exhibit her remarkable skill and profound musical understanding. Wu Fei has performed in cities around the world, including New York, Milano, Beijing, Berlin, Dublin, Venice, Rome, and San Francisco and released her debut album in 2007, entitled “A Distant Youth” (Forrest Hill, Italy) and featuring Frith, Kihlstedt and Helge A. Norbakken. Fall 2008 saw Wu Fei collaborating with such New York City luminaries as cellist Erik Friedlander, percussionist Billy Martin, and bassist Trevor Dunn and also serving as curator for the month of October at The Stone. November 2008 brought the release of her second album “Yuan” (Tzadik), a collection of chamber works and a new piece for solo piano performed by Stephen Drury. February 2009 will bring a music DVD entitled “Shan Qi” (Ozella Music, Germany), filmed in the Italian Alps and featuring the young artist and several outstanding European musicians. In 2009, Wu Fei will return to Europe and China for further concerts, collaborations, and recording projects . www.wufeimusic.com