Category: Blogcast

Sally Silvers In Conversation with Yvonne Rainer

Roulette has always maintained a relationship with dance artists, and I pride myself with being part of the adventure since the early 1980s. Jim Staley was the first to ever ask me to improvise live in concert (in 1982) and there has been no looking back—on stage or in my studio.

Beyond the world of improvisation, I also trace my choreographic roots to Yvonne Rainer and the 1960s Judson Dance Theater of which she was a founding member. When she asked me to be part of her newly formed dance group in 2005, I had been choreographing for over two decades. Although I had never wanted to be a dancer in anyone’s company before, you do not say no to your dance hero—and it was an unforgettable experience from 2005 to 2011.

Before, during, and after, Roulette has been a cherished source of support for me and so many others in the performing arts community and is still introducing me to a wild range of incredible artistry. My admiration for the legacies of experimental dance and movement, music and sound arts, and everything in between overflows in celebration of Roulette’s 40th!

—Sally Silvers

On November 29th through December 1st, artistic director and choreographer Sally Silvers presents the three-night run premiere of her dance piece ALONG at Roulette. A low-tech, science fiction based “girl power” adventure, ALONG imagines a place where different worlds and body languages confuse, collide, and waveringly communicate. The piece is intended to be a stark meeting of “super-heroes” stranded on a desert isle. Since there is no shared language, it starts from scratch to build a communality of difference. The cast includes dancers Brandon Collwes, Dylan Crossman, Megan Curet, Lindsey Jones, Cori Kresge, Benedict Nguyen, Veraalba Santa, Melissa Toogood, and Joshua Tucson and features three Gotham Girls Roller Derby Skater All-Stars: Lauren Corry (aka Caf Fiend), S.C. Lucier (Fast and Luce), and Katherine Rugg (Space Invader).

ALONG features live sound design and electronics by Bruce Andrews and Michael Schumacher, video by Ursula Scherrer, lighting design by Joe Levasseur, costumes by Elizabeth Hope Clancy, and drones by Charles Dennis.

For Roulette’s 7th issue, here she is in conversation with friend and collaborator, Yvonne Rainer.


Yvonne Rainer: How do you begin to make a dance; what are the very first “moves”—physically and cognitively?

Sally Silvers:  I usually start a new piece cognitively with literature (in the past: Jean Genet, Gertrude Stein, James Ellroy), or movies (eg. Hitchcock, Godard), or music/opera (Berg’s Lulu, Hindemith’s The Four Temperaments, Luigi Nono’s opera on revolutions), or a famous figure or concept (Tina Modotti, Sor Juana, cyborgs, women scientists, girl/group/power) and do a lot of watching, reading, listening for months—or mostly at the beach—trying to get a feeling, an instinct, and a grasp. I’ll start saving pictures, writing down movement ideas, daydreaming—in the past I would find some music that seemed relative and record myself improvising to it for movement ideas. To be honest, these days at my age, I have such a backlog of improvisations, I’m often reaching out to my younger pre-recorded self for current ideas.

I’m not sure why I chose science fiction this time. With few exceptions, I have been a true reality-based choreographer who wants to problematize the relationship to the body and others as a practice of social/political commentary hard-wired into the composition. I think it’s the current political state we are in now that maybe brought me to sci-fi to escape with utopias or with dystopias. I’ve narrowed myself to sci-fi written by women and that addresses my theme of communication (such as Memoirs of a Spacewoman by Naomi Mitchison), which hopefully takes up some of the problems we’re having now, however obliquely. I think of myself as a social modernist somewhat—I know that’s contradictory.  I might be an abstractionist at heart.

YR: To what extent do you want your sources to be recognizable in the finished product? I think I’m more of a literalist in that I want my literary affects to run parallel with movement in the form of readings, but if my memories of your work are accurate, you seem to let your literary influences lie kind of subliminally in relation to the “choreography.”

SS: My experience of your work is you want parallel tracks but often they don’t seem related. They seem like you want associations that don’t connect; that are related only by time.  I think I’m going for a connection, but a mystery as to why.

YR: It’s true, I deliberately go for the obvious “radical juxtapositions”—connection between word and image comes and goes, maybe usually “goes,” but the “mystery,” and perhaps the power, of your dances is not the why but how it works. Do you consider what you do more narrative than abstract?

SS:  I think “mystery” might have been a cop-out word.  Maybe I meant I was going for a connection that is a by-product of a constellation of all that is going on in the moment—things that link but can also contradict, therefore creating a challenge or dialogue. I really fight against the word “narrative.” Even if there is a story, as in [the Hitchcock-inspired dance pieces]: Actual Size (2014) and Tenderizer (2017)—which both premiered at Roulette—or when I did a version of Berg’s Lulu (1996), I make the “story” into situations or references, or abstractions (like making a space pattern that occurs at three different times out of the design of the opening credits of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest). The dancers can play any and all of the characters at any time or do many things that don’t seem to refer to an identifiable character at all. (Is a sequence of moves without characters really a narrative?)  Although I’ve noticed I don’t do much gender-crossing. Maybe that’s next. ALONG is going to be very influenced by Ursula K. Le Guin’s sci-fi novel The Left Hand of Darkness about a genderless society—anyone can give birth—on a planet with entire vocabularies for ice. I see the derby skaters as a kind of “set design” of the constancy of “ice” while still operating as superheroes, for instance.

YR: I’m intrigued by your “…making a space pattern out of the design of the opening credits of North by Northwest”—do you mean all those diagonals followed by the milling crowds? (I looked up the credits on the internet). Ha! I thought my huge collection of newspaper photos and sports videos was an inexhaustible resource, but I never would have dreamed of going to movie credits—which suggests a modus operandi that might be described as “eclectic incongruity” in addition to your “social [post]modernism.” The world-is-your-oyster kind of thing—but I’m still curious about how much of these resources are buried or recognizable in the final product, and I can’t remember if you credit them in your program notes or if that’s even an issue for you.

SS: I like that—“eclectic incongruity”—because there is a layering beyond just using the credits as a potential space pattern. For instance, the “diagonals followed by the milling crowds” led me to my movement instruction library where I found my book on billiards and chose a pattern illustrating how to get a particular ball in the pocket, so I layered that on top of the idea that came from the diagonals in the film. And the milling crowds, from an overhead film shot became a small triangle of people in the downstage left corner of the space who moved using vocabulary I learned from my book on beginning Labanotation. How recognizable these resources are in the final product is not very important to me. You would be surprised how many people have not seen North by Northwest or any other film of Hitchcock’s for that matter.  Although I’ve chosen a particular book, or artist, or film, because I am interested in it or it brings up issues that I am exploring, I think of the resources more as treasure chests of potential ideas to make a dance out of—blueprints or roadmaps to lend structure or ideas to start with in rehearsal: a way to both enhance and limit my imagination. Not chance procedures at all, but still a way to get outside of what’s typical or habitual in my own decision-making—I would probably never have chosen to pack six people in a small space downstage left on my own—I will identify the overall resource in the program i.e. “channeling Marnie, Psycho, and The Birds but nothing internal.  I think the piece has to stand for itself, and I don’t like being too literal. Here comes that abstractionist again. Or that impressionist.

YR:  Yeah, dance is such a drag in that way: unless you’re doing pantomime it is inevitably abstract and ambiguous with regard to MEANING despite the materiality of the actual bodies; so it remains always self-referential or tied to our familiarities with particular dance histories or training and so susceptible to interpretation. We give names to our configurations: clump, milling, collision, et al, which brings me to what you describe as “the current political state we are now in” and how to unpack that via “dance” in these perilous times. This may be my dilemma right now, more than yours in that I’m currently more interested in writing than in choreography.

SS: It’s true in dance–meaning is mostly in the eye of the beholder. That’s either delightful or frustrating, but it goes with the territory. The less literary an art form, the more ambiguous—though my literary tastes and collaborations tilt pretty severely toward ambiguity. But isn’t that part of the attraction too? And even when the movement goes against the grain of anything literal or character/narrative based, I still think it can have some leverage. When I’m choosing material that is socially-charged and make it collide in drastic or weird juxtapositions, it seems capable of making sparks for or marks on the viewer.

YR: How do you deal with your aging body as both performer and maker? Will you be one of the sci-fi “girls?” (One of my most brilliant choreographic decisions was to have you imitate right on the spot in performance the bravura male solo in Agon as it played out on a DVD with the player facing upstage, for your eyes only). Does the geriatric belong somewhere in what seems like your infinite collections of subject matter? Will you be performing in the new work? Knowing you, I see you reluctant to give that up. As I am. (Let’s go walking and running and gesturing into that good night!)

SS:  Right now (as of August 13th, 2018), I don’t plan to be in the current piece. That will be a first for me in presenting one of my larger dance evenings. I know I’m not giving up performing as you haven’t (your many geriatric versions of Trio A and your “interventions” in your own recent work when a dancer is sick, injured, or otherwise unavailable are priceless and thrilling), but for sure I am cutting back. There are all the societal pressures of being an older woman, much less an older dancing woman. Coming to terms with decreasing physical prowess is an ongoing conversation with myself in relation to the times and the patriarchy in which I live.

YR:  All the more reason to challenge those norms. A fantasy just entered my brain: you and I make a talking/dancing geriatric duet. But we should wait until you’re as old as I am!

SS:  Well, Yvonne, you would be 102 when I get to be your age. Fantasy remains fantasy—which is a category of sci-fi—but I love the idea.


CONTRIBUTOR: Yvonne Rainer

Yvonne Rainer is a dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker who has been recognized as one of the leading conceptual artists of the past fifty years. She emerged in the 1960s as a pioneer of the Judson Dance Theater movement, an avant-garde performance style that blended elements of dance and visual art, and later turned to experimental film. Rainer is the recipient of numerous awards, including two Guggenheim Fellowships, three Rockefeller Fellowships, a MacArthur Fellowship, a Wexner Prize, and in 2015, the Merce Cunningham Award. She currently lives and works in New York.

Resonant Bodies Festival 2018: Q&A with Lucy Dhegrae

by Kurt Gottschalk

Lucy addressing the audience at Resonant Bodies Festival 2017 at Roulette. Photo by Gretchen Robinette.

On September 11, 12, and 13, Roulette will host the sixth Resonant Bodies Festival. The festival gives outstanding and inventive vocalists, regardless of genre, 45 minutes of stage time to fill however they want. We asked founder and curator Lucy Dhegrae to talk about the performers on this year’s program and how she goes about filling the bill.


Kurt Gottschalk: Composer and singer Paul Pinto’s operas owe a stylistic debt to Robert Ashley but with a near-future, dystopian vision that reminds me of Margaret Atwood’s fiction. His productions can be really funny. They can also be really foreboding. Do you think he’s a cynical humorist or a humorous cynic?

Lucy Dhegrae: I would say…cynical humorist! Paul is an extremely lovely and hilarious person, so I would say he is a humorist first, cynic second. Paul has virtuosic stage charisma. His energy is infectious. I think the work he is bringing for ResBods is more on the serious side, though I am sure Paul will defy expectations—which is part of why I love his work.

KG: Helga Davis sang in the 25th anniversary staging of Philip Glass’s seminal Einstein on the Beach and has worked with director Peter Greenaway and composers Missy Mazzoli and Paola Prestini, to name a few. She’s also been likened to the great jazz singer Jeanne Lee and regularly collaborates with Davóne Tines, whose set of gospel songs at last year’s Resonant Bodies was as staggering as it was unexpected. What appeals to you about Davis’s work and how do you see Resonant Bodies crossing between, on the one hand, art song and contemporary composition and, on the other, jazz and gospel?

LD: Helga is first and foremost a powerful voice and stage presence. I would be excited to see her do pretty much anything on stage, and that is the foremost quality I look for in any artist for the festival—an amazing performer. Her work defies genre and classification, and that too makes her perfectly at home in ResBods.

What I would like us all to focus on, for this festival and all Resonant Bodies festivals, is not genre or even aesthetics: it’s the person. I want us to get to know the person not only based on the sound of their voice or the mode in which they present, but in how they present their work, whom they collaborate with, and what makes them light up on stage. Every performer on the festival has a magic, but no two performers possess the same magic. There is no universal experience of the voice, no one right way to do it. What is such a delight for me as an audience member is to see someone who wants to be there, sharing something with us that is important to them, something they love. When you ask talented performers to do this, to me—it doesn’t get any better than that.

KG: Jen Shyu is truly a multi-talent, a composer and a dancer who sings in multiple languages. On top of that, she plays violin, piano, and several East Asian string instruments—all instruments that themselves have resonant bodies, as it happens. How do you weigh all the different job titles (composer, instrumentalist) that the singers you present possess?

LD: The voice is so fascinating to me because of how it manifests itself through the individual: through their physical body, but also through each person’s history and experiences. In addition to Jen’s training in a variety of instruments, she has also trained in vocal styles that accompany the instruments. You can hear the multifaceted stylistic approach in her voice: virtuosic timbre! She is one of the rare performers who embodies a variety of approaches to the voice from dozens of influences. So thrilled she can be a part of this year’s festival.

KG: Nathalie Joachim has worked in classical, hip hop, jazz, indie-rock, and electronic music. She’s also a member of the Grammy-winning chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird and has performed at the Bang on a Can Marathon with her duo Flutronix. I understand that you don’t put any restrictions on the performers, but do you think the festival has a particular aesthetic?

LD: Our motto is “curated unpredictability”—I myself am very much an aesthetic omnivore, and I like that our artists (like Nathalie) are too. We’re a home for artists who don’t belong to any one genre. The music world is a geography: artists are metropoles. Genre and aesthetic interests travel through and around the artists like roadways, but they are not the destination. I know that’s a giant metaphor, but this idea of Resonant Bodies illuminating the “map” of the adventurous vocal world is part of the function that we serve in the community. We can’t possibly show the whole map, or even conceive of its entirety, but we can begin to know it by presenting individuals who have their own unique domain. I think also by covering a greater literal geography with the festival, year by year we can bring together some of the various parts. Spoken word, beatboxing, rap—I’m interested in and open to presenting these in the future.

KG: Caroline Shaw is getting to be a well-known name. She’s the youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music and she’s built quite a following over the last few years and I’m sure will be one of the more anticipated sets on the program. But I’m sure it’s more than a prestige booking. What made you want to include her on the program?

LD: I think most people know Caroline as a composer, violinist, and/or ensemble singer, but probably many of them don’t know her as much as a solo vocalist. She is hugely talented, and I wanted to see what she would do with the prompt of “here’s 45 minutes: approach this space as a solo vocalist.” As one of her fans, I’m really looking forward to hearing her on the festival! I know she has been developing this material for a while, and I am so grateful to her for cooking up something special just for ResBods.

KG: The German soprano Sarah Maria Sun put out a truly remarkable record on Mode Records, performing challenging works by Heinz Holliger, Salvatore Sciarrino, György Kurtág and others. At Roulette, she’ll be presenting a very different program, with works by Georges Aperghis and Rebecca Saunders, among others. I wonder if you could say something about what virtuosity means to a singer and what it means to you as a curator.

LD: Vocal virtuosity was probably my starting place as a curator. And there are many kinds of virtuosos in singing: virtuosic range, dynamic control, language, character, timbre, stylistic flexibility, emotional communication, audience interaction and so on. Sarah is not only a virtuoso in many of these aspects, but she has the added bonus of being completely compelling and vulnerable on stage. Virtuosity is totally worthless if one doesn’t have that, and Sarah has it in spades. I’ve been a huge fan of hers for almost a decade so I am over the moon that she is able to join us on this year’s fest.

KG: Pamela Z is an artist well known to Roulette audiences; she’s appeared on Roulette’s stages a number of times over the years and is a forerunner in working with voice and electronics. Do you think electronics is still a novelty in new music? Is it a crutch? Or is it just a more versatile piano that’s easier to move around?

LD: I think electronics (in all its different forms) is an instrument, and Pamela Z is a modern master of that instrument. She is a great example of someone actually performing with electronics. She’s not staring dull-eyed at a laptop; she is a wizard casting a spell. Is the piano a crutch for Elton John? Is the guitar a crutch for Jimi Hendrix? In an interview I did with Jennifer Walshe for the 2017 Festival, I asked her about the line in her New Discipline (non)manifesto that mentions “maintain[ing] sexualised eye contact with audience members whilst manipulating electronics”—while this is kind of a joke, it’s also serious. Jen recognizes how difficult it is to manipulate electronics on stage in a way that keeps the audience engaged with the performance. Pamela Z has mastered this. I bow down to her artistry!

KG: Gelsey Bell is another name familiar in these circles.  She was an artist-in-residence at Roulette in 2015 and has been commissioned by Roulette with the Jerome Foundation. She’s also recorded works by Robert Ashley and John Cage and last year released an album with violist and composer John King. To say she’s a name to watch out for would be to put it mildly. No doubt she deserves the attention she’s received, but what do you think accounts for her star power?

LD: There are some people who, when they walk out on stage, without singing a note or saying anything, I just instantly fall in love with them. Gelsey is one of these performers. When she’s on stage, you feel her excitement to be there, and you feel her genuine curiosity and commitment to what she’s performing. This seems so simple, but it’s one of the most important tools of a good performer: the ability to reach down within yourself and connect to your love of the thing. It’s almost child-like. And it’s completely disarming for me as an audience member. The performer proceeds with (seemingly) zero self-consciousness, and so do we. Gelsey’s work pioneers new sounds from a place of love and joy, and it’s just a pleasure to take in.

KG: Last but certainly not least, we get to one Lucy Dhegrae. As a curator and producer, how do you decide when to include yourself on a bill and what can we expect from your appearance on the festival’s opening night?

LD: The first year we did Resonant Bodies, I performed as well as produced/curated, and while it was thrilling, it was also physically exhausting and not sustainable year after year. I swore I wouldn’t perform on the festival again until I had lots of staff support and I felt like I had something really special to share. I feel ready for this year’s festival because both of those criteria are met.

Resonant Bodies is by no means my vanity project; it is very much built by and for a community of curious vocalists. It is a lot to get up on that stage and share your heart and soul—a precious gift that an artist shares with the Festival and the audience. I can only be a proper steward of that gift if I myself go through it. I will be making music with friends new and old on stage, presenting new works as well as ones I am familiar with. Looking back at 2013, I feel I have changed and grown so much as an artist since then, and I am excited to invite the audience into my musical microcosm for 45 minutes.


CONTRIBUTOR: Kurt Gottschalk

Kurt Gottschalk writes about contemporary composition and improvisation for DownBeat, The New York City Jazz Record, The Wire, Time Out New York, and other publications and has produced and hosted the Miniature Minotaurs radio program on WFMU for the last ten years.

Spotlight on Kelly Moran

by s. karabush

 

On Friday, September 7th, Kelly Moran premieres a selection of electro-acoustic keyboard works for her first Van Lier Fellowship concert at Roulette.


Tell me a little bit about your upcoming album.

On November 2nd, my album Ultraviolet will be coming out on Warp Records. I’m really excited because I’ve been a huge fan of Warp since I was a teenager. Many of the artists on Warp are why I got into making electronic music in the first place—Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Boards of Canada, etc. These musicians have been hugely influential to me in so many ways. To be part of that legacy is really affirming to me as an artist, especially since I’ve faced so much rejection for not fitting within an easily categorizable musical genre. It felt so amazing to be accepted by a label *because* I’m such a weirdo! This record feels like a culmination of what I’ve been working towards for the past few years; it’s all prepared piano, but I designed a lot of detailed sound-worlds around the piano using different synths and electronic textures, so it sounds very lush and dreamy. It’s also more improvisatory than my past records—all of the pieces began as improvisations that I recorded and later refined, so I sound really untethered and free on the album. Writing and working on the piano parts for this album really changed the way I play, and I feel like I’ve discovered a new way of playing my instrument that is idiosyncratic to my personal musical tendencies.

You were the sole engineer and producer of your last five solo albums. Why do it yourself?

I’m a control freak! Haha. But really, I studied recording engineering and production in college because I really wanted to be able to make music without relying on other people to record or produce it for me. I was naturally interested in it to begin with, and I always felt that working alone forced me to come up with creative solutions to any roadblocks I’d encounter. And of course, another reason is the fact that I’ve always been hyper-aware of the fact that the production world is very male-dominated, and I feared that letting someone else produce my music meant that they would end up getting all the credit for it. I wanted to show that I was capable of doing it without anyone’s help to make sure people knew I was the mastermind behind all the intricacies in my music. Now that I’m a bit older and have established myself by making a few records all on my own, I feel more relaxed about working with other people. Ultraviolet is the first record I let someone else produce with me, and it was really thrilling to get a different perspective on my music for the first time.

How has your creative voice developed since BLOODROOT, and through your work with Oneotrix Point Never?

My entire creative process has changed since Bloodroot, and it made me really excited that I was able to shift gears so radically for Ultraviolet and create a sound that was completely new for me. Bloodroot sounds just a little bit stiff and academic to me to me at times; while writing it, I was sitting at the piano with staff paper tediously writing these awkward, little melodies with weird, angular harmonies that were sort of uncomfortable—physically—for my hands. Most of the songs on that record were so short simply because the music was challenging for me to write, and I’d get exhausted and want to move on to something new! It’s not the most enjoyable music for me to play either because of some of the positions and patterns. But Ultraviolet is rooted in improvisation to a greater degree, and I really just let myself go wild without overthinking chord changes or harmonic structures. I stopped intellectualizing things so much and forgot about theory. So much of it was about the physical response I would have to the piano while improvising patterns and playing around with stretching and compressing rhythmic phrasing in new ways.

Working with Dan (Oneohtrix Point Never) has also opened my eyes to new creative possibilities. I am really grateful to be part of his MYRIAD performances because he has such an incredible vision that is executed beautifully on every level: from the lights, to the video work, to the stage design, to the giant trash bag inflatables that slowly and menacingly inflate during the performance beside us. He really thought about how to create a multi-sensory experience for the audience on every level, and that’s definitely something I see myself striving for in the future. I don’t want to just play a concert; I want to give the audience an experience that delivers both sonically and visually, so it’s fully immersive. I want people to feel like they’ve slipped into another dimension for an hour.  

Tell me about the dialogue between musical traditions (New Music, Metal, Minimalism) that we hear in your music. What’s in there that’s hidden? That we might not catch at first listen?

There are a lot more similarities between these genres than meets the eye, I think. When I started getting into black metal, my first thought was that it reminded me exactly of minimalism: both genres rely heavily on repeated notes/tremolos, a steady pulse, and a commitment to tonality. I’ve transcribed black metal songs on piano, and they legit sound like they could be Philip Glass piano etudes. A lot of black metal is actually pretty compositional if you ignore the terrifying banshee vocals—especially 2nd wave black metal, which to me is very catchy and melodic. Someday, I’d love to transcribe a metal piece for a chamber ensemble just to prove how similar it can be to contemporary New Music since they have really similar foundations.

Tell me about the role experimentation plays in your work.

There was a point in high school when I was in a practice room playing piano, and I heard someone down the hall playing the same exact piece, only way better. It was sort of a eureka moment for me because I realized I was striving to do something that a lot of other people could do way better than me, and it suddenly didn’t feel exciting to me anymore. I obviously love playing piano and learning music, but I personally don’t find satisfaction from playing pieces that every pianist has played. I wanted to seek out the weird, unexplored repertoire that was shunned by academia and discover new ways of playing piano. The piano department at my college didn’t want to give me academic credit for learning how to play prepared piano or contemporary music, which only made me want to do it more. For me, it’s not just about being different for the sake of being unique, but I genuinely love discovering new timbral combinations that feel wholly unique to my creative voice. When I made Bloodroot, I wanted to make a record that was comprised entirely of piano timbres, and I experimented with generating sounds from the piano in so many different ways. It challenged me and really opened me up to new sonic combinations I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. I am always going to be pushing myself to find uniquely different techniques of playing piano and new ways of combining it with other timbres to make it sound fresh and new.

What are the hardest material restraints you’ve faced as an artist?

That’s easy: not having the money or resources to make the music I want to make. Since I was never able to afford studio time, there are bird chirps and weird environmental artifacts on all of my records because I was always recording on my piano at my parent’s house. It’s been a huge blessing to receive the Van Lier Fellowship from Roulette in that it’s opened up so many possibilities I’ve never had before. When I first moved to NYC, I was freelancing as an accompanist, and I didn’t have a lot of extra funds to spend on things that weren’t food, rent, or a metrocard. Now I’m able to buy equipment and gear that I’ve wanted for a long time. The Van Lier Fellowship has also allowed me to work with other artists on my projects and actually pay them for their work when I wasn’t able to do that before. I’ve wanted to collaborate with video artists for so, so long, and I’ve been using part of my fellowship to work with with a designer to make projections for my upcoming performances. I’ve been dabbling in video art myself for a few years, but I’m by no means an expert and have really limited production capabilities in that realm. I’m really thrilled that now I am able to work with someone who can elevate the visual aspect of my performances to a higher level.

One last question… I was checking out your Twitter account and there’s a lot of figure skating. Are you really into figure skating? Has anyone ever skated to your music? What’s up with figure skating?

Yes, I am really, really into figure skating, both as a spectator and participant. I just love that it’s such a beautiful, expressive sport that’s also dangerous as hell. It looks so easy, but it’s SO hard. And it’s inextricably tied to musical expression! You won’t be considered a great skater if you don’t have a strong grasp of conveying the emotions behind the music you’re skating to. A lot of skaters I’ve met are also musicians, actually. I’m also really into the idea of a sport being so extreme that you willingly hurl yourself into the air at high speeds and land on ice with hundreds of pounds per square inch of force. That is absolutely wild to me. I love it. And it’s been great having a hobby that challenges me in similar ways music does – like music, skating requires a ton of discipline and practice. So much of skating is repeating the same movements over and over again, and I get a really big thrill from mastering the smallest maneuvers. As of now, no one has ever skated to my music but I would absolutely die of happiness if someone did, especially if they were Russian and prodigious. (No country is dominating figure skating like Russia is right now.)


CONTRIBUTOR: s. karabush

susan/snooze karabush is a musician who writes and dances. He has worked at Roulette since 2013, currently as Director of Operations.

Brandon Lopez + Steve Baczkowski

Brandon Lopez + Steve Baczkowski
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Performance 8pm / Doors 7pm

What: Bassist, improviser and composer Brandon Lopez continues his 2018 Van Lier Fellowship at Roulette with a duet with saxophonist Steve Baczkowski that tests the limits of the musicians’ endurance and instruments.
When: Thursday, July 12, 2018
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost:  $20 Door, $15 Presale
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: http://bit.ly/SU180712

Brooklyn, NY – In the second performance of his year-long Van Lier Fellowship, bassist Brandon Lopez is joined by saxophonist Steve Baczkowski in a duet that tests the limits of the musicians’ endurance and their instruments. Known for the intense physicality of their performances, Lopez and Baczkowski transition between brutality and tenderness in a single show.

Brandon A. Lopez, deemed the “Ubiquitous Free Improv Bass Ace” by the Village Voice and said to play with a “bruising physicality” by the Chicago Reader, was born and raised in northwestern New Jersey. It was there that he cultivated a taste for left-of-center music and he has since had the pleasure of working with many of the world’s luminary left-of-center musicians, including Weasel Walter, Mette Rasmussen, Gerald Cleaver, Peter Evans, Ingrid Laubrock, and Dave Rempis. Lopez leads a piano trio “Mess” with Sam Yulsman and Chris Corsano. He frequently plays solo. He is the 2018 Artist-in-Residence at Issue Project Room and was awarded a Van Lier Fellowship by Roulette in the same year. He attended New England Conservatory.

Steve Baczkowski is a Buffalo-based saxophonist. He has worked with Chris Corsano, Bill Nace, Roscoe Mitchell, William Parker, and many others. His debut trio album will be released on Relative Pitch Records in the next year. Brandon Lopez and Steve Baczkowski met at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts, the center for improvised and strange music in Buffalo, New York. Quick friends, they decided to test the musical waters of the Brooklyn underground. A year later, they gave a brutal performance at the Exposure Festival in Chicago, wowing listeners and critics.

Spotlight on G. Lucas Crane

[RESIDENCY] G Lucas Crane: Time Boiler
Tuesday, June 19, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

Tell us about yourself and what you do.

I’m a sound artist, musician, and performer, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I collage together sound steeped in magnetic tape aesthetics, and I use sounds on the common cassette tape as my instrument. I’m a tape DJ. An ancient and future sounds DJ.

I say “sound artist” here because through my sound practice, the process that I use to compose sound artwork is a spiritual, conceptual exploration of where I stand on the contemporary cyborg continuum,  and I’m exploring those concepts in sound. As we externalize our nervous systems into increasingly sophisticated devices, synthesizers, samplers, sequencers; what is making the music at any given time? Making artwork today that uses recorded media as its source material, I feel like the contemporary information warfare zeitgeist we live in makes it important to be constantly critical about where your media is coming from and how much  “integrity” it has as it relates to the self. I’m not a luddite or an analogue / digital purist by any means, I just want to know what’s going on, you know? Viscerally, physically, in the making of artwork. There’s something comforting about my media mostly coming from piles at my feet. I’m trying to remake recorded material from my life, and contemporary sensory life is replete with slick attention hijacking almost at every moment. So my work is kind of like performing anti-brainwashing rituals for myself. I have to admit I fail most of the time. Still, I can have the freedom to consider, in the time-bound folds of a tape loop, that time and life is not just for endlessly rushing forward consuming till death, I can create a space for revisiting the past, the ever cut-up present, and help divine the future through these musical processes. So that’s what sound art means to me, currently. Using attention to the sonic environment to fight the brainwashing.

I put “musician” here because regardless as to why I do anything with sound, I try to humbly situate myself amongst the world-spanning musical tradition, in that music as a craft is a pillar of human expression and the output of the daily plying of this trade has a relatable impact on all humans. So seeing oneself as a musician is in some way to try to recognize sonic impact over sonic intent and realize that “music” as a sound practice is located in the web of interconnected social fabric that exists between people making and listening to sounds as music. It’s really about something you do that someone else hears and the recognition of sound as a nonverbal communication medium, as well as an extremely intimate form of communication between practitioners. I really enjoy and get a lot out of this tradition of world walking bards, heads, jammers, tapers, nerds, weirdos, and citizen-musicologists, and I’m trying to ultimately make something that people listen to and get something out of (as opposed to, say, the conceptual motivations).

Lastly, I put “performer” here because the different mindsets that come with studio composition and live performance is important to my work, and I try to do a percentage of sonic decision making in a ‘live’ context. Non-live composition, especially for collage based media work I’m making, then becomes developing systems of sound relationships that have different probabilities of success or failure, and have these systems and decisions play out in a live setting. Performance is important to me as both a composition tool and social ritual. It’s a really potent human tradition.

Describe the project you are developing for Roulette.

I’m working on bringing something new for Roulette. New for me anyway. It’s called Time Boiler. Where I boil down some time. It’s an expansion of writing and music I’ve been making on the subject of time travel and ethics. Treating time travel and the mindset it requires as real and then working backwards from there to come up with how I remain an ethical human in all of that. How I remain myself. And how the time traveling mindset can reference and illuminate today’s society and the tyrannical control we are asserting over our reality and the reality of others. I think the practice and craft of music keeps one moral and honest, but that’s just me. For the past year I’ve been trying to expand my mind on the subject of time itself, which is sort of an outgrowth of my music practice in general. My music is made up of bits of sound from other times, and when I put them all together in real time, in a particular now, I feel the intense compression of time going into that moment, since my samples are frequently years old, mixed with things I just recorded. Music, as a medium ripped free of its mode as purely “personal expression,” is ultimately a “time binding” art form, where we fuse intent with what I consider a probing, a testing of reality via the body. Even when I don’t know who made a piece of music, I can hear it’s time-specific qualities, it’s made with machines and at a fidelity and style that correspond with a particular moment in time. Music is so hyper technological these days, that you can hear the time something is from via the the aesthetic qualities of the tech they are using. Even a recording of, say, a solo violin piece feels futuristic to me when recorded and reproduced in intense modern hi fidelity. if you reverse that consideration, it’s “a way to tell time” or to explore time. especially, I believe, right now! The act of making music is so time expansive, that during the act itself time does really weird stuff, shrinks down to where I’m exploring fractions of a second at the same time as focusing on an hour. This is almost a horrible insult to music in a way, as I’ve been speaking about music as collections of time and not how it sounds, but this is the most basic way I can try to understand what’s going on, since the sounds themselves are the things that conscripts my soul and makes for a compelling thing to listen to for others. There’s what you mix and then a how you mix it, and in my process the what, the actual sounds, grips me in the moment, leaving the how to be a more conceptual exploration of time, through how I make, organize, and relate to the tapes that I mix. I’ve just, lately, been thinking about what sound does to me and that leads to considering when it comes from, what it is, where every piece of the sound has an origin in thought or in time. I’ve been making sound work about this experience, which I feel like leads nicely to the recursive nature of my work in general; time chunked up and remixed, about time, in a time. So this new piece Time Boiler is my attempt at synthesizing these concepts into a performance.

And speaking about the performance, it’s important for me to use this opportunity at Roulette to attempt something that could only happen here, this being about time there has to be a trail aspect to the performance, so I’m setting up a few precarious musical feats I have to pull off and there’s no guarantee I’ll succeed. I mean I can practice, but there has to be this aspect of “even a failure will be specific to this time here.” I’m “racing against the clock” like we all are if we let ourselves. And the good thing is that any failure will just be another piece of music to the listener. No ones dying on a table if I can’t pull this piece off.

Another idea I’m exploring in Time Boiler is that of the rarified time object. Since I work with cassette tapes to hold my samples, there’s this solid touchstone aspect to sound that over the years of playing various samples I start to get really attached to specific tapes. Like I fetishize them to an unhealthy degree. So for this piece, I’m exploring making the tapes super crazy to the point where they could be treated like holy objects. There are only one of these tapes, and that weird sacred quality will then extend to the sounds that I put on these tapes, and these qualities will extend into affecting how I situate these samples into the overall composition and performance. I like relating to each sample as a physical object. I find it to be a mentally healthy consideration to have with sound. I get really angry sometimes at all the samples I have on my computer, like “what are you even doing in there in that dumb place.” Just numbered files sitting in a list in a simulacra of a folder in a box. Putting them on tapes frees me to really play with them, juggle them, get a physical grip on them. And making them increasingly crazy looking then effects how I come to feel about them and subsequently how I play the sounds contained therein in a piece of music. I’m trying to unite all the different factors of what truly goes into my musical performance moment to moment.

What is it like living and working in New York City?

Well I’m from here, from right here on 3rd Avenue! So it’s like home to me always, and I have to constantly remind myself to not feel too at home too much of the time because the reality of New York City as a place people move to to work on their lives is starkly different. I want to be able to put myself in people’s shoes. That’s the advantage of living in this city — people and their lives are all around you and you have a better opportunity to learn about people and experiences that are different from yours. The sheer scale of this quality is mind-boggling and unlike anywhere else. New York City, it’s got SHEER SCALE, with everything, the bad and the good. I’m pretty into people and what they do, I’m anti-misanthropic, and so this city is great and curious to me. You also have the opportunity to experience first hand how shitty a city can be to its people and how shitty people can be to each other, and that’s a different learning experience. This scale of human potential and depravity is deeply spiritually educational, and it’s a stark experience. When I go other places these realities are muted and more hidden in their locally specific ways, and I get pissed off and bored. I’m sort of a city rat, a creature of New York. In that way I’m kind of naïve and spoiled. I find any other place than New York City to be deeply exotic. “Oh so your clean trains turn off at night? Huh, wow. Crazy.”

What are you really excited about right now?

My dreams are crazy right now. Like full on sci-fi wonderland dreams with sequels and reboots. It’s making me question my memory and my waking life. My memory of these dreams is so intense, but it always comes with the feeling that these memories can only ever be half the story, or a third of the story. Are my dreams lies? Mis-remembered? Are they nonsense? Are they deeper truth? How could a labyrinth made of creosote logs that is also a submarine lit with jars filled with fireflies have some deeper truth? Or are the stories that affect me like what happens in my waking life? I’m psyched about this — its going to take me the rest of my life to figure out. I suppose it’s something we all have to reckon with, but I’m excited about it. I’m probably going to make some sort of…card game?…out of my dreams. Not sure. It’s going to sound funny but I’m really excited about how the human mindset is reacting to contemporary technology and how its going to require this intense criticality about what kind of information we take in to even survive with a sense of self, it’s already happening and these last few years has really shown that the casual violence of human communication can be harnessed into a psychic environment that conscripts us all. So that usual background notion of achieving or living in some type of “freedom” is going to be harder and harder to find without a new generation of intense criticality about what we take in and how. I have hope it’s going to lead to actual resources for leading a healthy life, because we all know how good the internet is for getting the same old poison into our psychic systems. So I would like to focus on and promote the good tools, not the bad. And I’m excited that it will be harder and harder to ignore the bad parts of human society. It’s all coming out now. The masks are slipping.

What’s your absolute favorite place in the city to be and why?

Wandering, just wandering around everywhere. The places I really like are the connective tissue of the city. I just like sitting on a random bench somewhere. I like going into a places I’ve never been. Rejecting what the phone tells me.

How did your interest in your work begin?

For me, there is a strong mental relationship between sound and narrative. Successions of sounds are sentences; a song is a paragraph. Sound as text. I started off when I was younger in love with words and what they do, their limits and advantages. Every sound I work with evokes some sort of story to me, but this is distinctly related without using words. It’s incredible that smashing sounds together can do this through the medium of the human brain, and my work is an attempt to plumb the depths of this relationship. Articulation can achieve clarity but kill innovation; saying something well trumps saying something of substance, etc. sound is a medium of different possible meanings existing in the same moment in time. Articulation with words fixes its nature, collapsing meaning back into an either/or realm that we are trained for. Even recording sound onto media fixes its nature and allows it to be remixed, further collapsing its potential meaning. I’m interested in sound recordings as texts of my memory and fragments of my own story, but I’m trying to discover associations that will lead me into my own future by cutting up and collaging my past. I’m extremely interested in forging a path through sonic art despite my training being firmly outside musical tradition and training. I think there’s a way to approach sound art as story making, and even if I sound like an idiot along the way, I’m interested in the outcomes of working deeply with these tools and concepts.

What is influencing your work right now?

Time travel and the chasing down of what it means to be an at a particular moment in time, and how we go about relating to our past and future selves, who we can only experience in the present. Trying to expand my consciousness through complex performance rituals and the time-specific concepts of hope vs. truth in time and as it relates to how we live half on and half off the Internet now, where time is compressed. To do something even if you can see into the future, is to have hope, to have an audacity, a type of insanity. The truth of things might be hopelessly cynical and rational and risk-averse, being right on the Internet now stands in for action or community, but hope for a better world and the values that hope requires still are important, even if you have a time machine and have tried and failed a hundred times to change the past, or see the future that might be inevitable. You still have to try, un-cynically. I might never make the nicest, most palatable music manhandling my sound memories on tape, but I can exemplify the seeking values of wonder by experimenting.

Spotlight On: Anna Wray

Anna Wray

Resist x Improvise: An Evening for Roscoe Mitchell
Tuesday, June 5, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

Tell us about yourself and what you do.

I am a percussionist living in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I perform avant-garde jazz and new classical music and am starting to learn more about Brazilian and Cuban rhythms. Some of my favorite artists in New York right now are So Percussion, Roomful of Teeth, and Zeena Parkins. I currently study with Josh Quillen.

I was born in 1991 in Park Slope and went to the children’s YWCA program next door to Roulette. When I was five, my family, who had lived in a huge Fort Greene brownstone for nearly twenty years, moved to an old house in Sleepy Hollow, NY. I began studying music when I was six, first piano and then percussion, in private studios. The public schools also had great music programs with jazz ensembles, orchestras and musicals. I remain close to the directors at Sleepy Hollow’s Junior and High schools, offering workshops and participating in the music honor society.

After high school, I spent a number of years on the West Coast, first in Oakland, CA to attend Mills College where I pursued percussion performance, studying with percussionist William Winant and improvisation with Roscoe Mitchell. I continued my musical studies at CalArts in Los Angeles, receiving an MFA in percussion performance, studying Brazilian, Indonesian, Electronics, African, and North Indian music with percussionists, Randy Gloss, Amy Knoles, and David Johnson. After my masters, I taught full time as a general music teacher at an elementary school in Compton, Los Angeles. It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. I’m still in touch with my students. I returned to New York in 2017 to live closer to my family. I missed seeing my niece and nephew grow up and I really missed the New York Yankees. Also, New York City is the city where many artistic collaborations are happening.

Describe the project you are developing for Roulette.

I wrote Roscoe Mitchell in 2016, asking if he would consider writing a new work for vibraphone. He agreed, as I saved up money at my cafe job for his commission. A few months rolled by and I wanted to make more music with my good friends, Marilu Donovan and Christopher Foss, so I asked Roscoe if he could create a new work for vibraphone, harp and bassoon. In response, he told me that he had a baritone piece he wrote for Thomas Buckner and piano, that might work well with this new orchestration. We contacted my colleague, and Roscoe’s former student, Daniel Steffey to orchestra the virtuosic piano part for vibraphone, harp and bassoon. I then asked my dear friend Michael Lofton to join us as our baritone voice for the quartet. I’ve wanted to work with Michael my whole life, so I’m excited for our first performance together. One of my first memories of seing Michael perform was in the NYC Opera production of Carmen. (Unfortunately, I was crying as the curtain went up, rather than when Carmen dies, because my mother made me kill my pet Tamagotchi when she discovered it in my pocket. I hadn’t considered the noise it could make during the performance. You couldn’t turn off a Tamagotchi, without killing it. But it had become a level 4 frog from a tadpole! I must have fed the Tamagotchi in the middle of the night for weeks. However, seeing Michael in a blonde wig made everything okay.)

As the program develops, I have invited more of my colleagues to join the program, such as Brian Adler’s Human Time Machine. Through discussions with Brian Adler and Michael Lofton, we decide to focus this evening’s performance on African American social justice and equality.

What is your favorite place to eat or drink near Roulette?

Bedouin Tent, which is around the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Bond Street (Cash only!)

What is your favorite record?
The Harder They Come soundtrack (Jimmy Cliff! Toots!), Live at Roseland, NYC by Portishead, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, and Metamorphosis by Philip Glass. Some of these albums I grew up with, while others were introduced to me at significant times in my life. I constantly return to them, listening to the album in entirety. Each time, I find new musical elements and textures, as well as new meanings from the lyrics.

What is influencing your work right now?
Brian Adler’s Human Time Machine. Brian has taken the time to meet with me and explore more ways to approach rhythm. Such as, focusing on syncopation as a downbeat, seamlessly switching from a triplet feel to a sixteenth note feel, and developing patterns in 5. Performing in the Human Time Machine is helping me develop my voice as an improviser.

What artists are you interested in right now?
I’m interested in The Knife and MIA. Their ability to create dance songs that include a powerful political message blows me away. I love that these two artists have a sound that is so distinct, and clearly their own. I find that empowering and I hope to one day find my own.

Describe Roulette in three words.
Safe, encouraging, loving

[COMMISSION] Jonathan Finlayson

What: Rising jazz trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson performs music based on select poems by Sterling Brown.
When: Sunday, June 24, 2018
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $20 Door, $15 Online
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: http://bit.ly/SP180624

Brooklyn, NY – Recognized by the New York Times as “…an incisive and often surprising trumpeter,” who is “…fascinated with composition,” Jonathan Finlayson makes his Roulette debut with a set of music based on select poems by renowned Harlem Renaissance poet Sterling Brown.

Born in 1982 in Berkeley, CA, Finlayson began playing the trumpet at the age of ten in the Oakland public school system. He came under the tutelage of Bay Area legend Robert Porter, a veteran trumpeter from the bebop era who took Finlayson under his wing; he was often seen accompanying Porter on his gigs about town and sitting in on the popular Sunday nights jam session at the Bird Cage. He subsequently attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music where he studied with Eddie Henderson, Jimmy Owens, and Cecil Bridgewater. Finlayson is a disciple of the saxophonist/composer/conceptualist Steve Coleman, having joined his band Five Elements in 2000 at the age of 18. He is widely admired for his ability to tackle cutting-edge musical concepts with aplomb. Finlayson has performed and recorded in groups led by Steve Lehman, Mary Halvorson, Craig Taborn, Henry Threadgill and played alongside notables such as Von Freeman, Jason Moran, Dafnis Prieto and Vijay Iyer.

Lineup:
Andre Solomon Glover – Baritone
Jonathan Finlayson – Trumpet
David Bryant – Piano
Chris Tordini – Acoustic Bass
Craig Weinrib – Drums and Percussion

[VAN LIER FELLOW] Brandon Lopez: The Lamentations + Bennett/Foster/Wooley/Lopez

What: Bassist, improviser and composer Brandon Lopez plays The Lamentations, followed by a newly-formed quartet.
When: Thursday, June 21, 2018
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25 Door, $20 Presale
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: http://bit.ly/SP180621

Brooklyn, NY – Brandon Lopez plays The Laminations with frequent collaborator Sam Yulsman. Composed specifically for improvising musicians, the piece—although named after The Book of Lamentations—is secular and ripe for interpretation. Lopez will then be joined by Nate Wooley, Michael Foster, Ben Bennett to perform as a quartet.

Brandon A. Lopez, deemed the “Ubiquitous Free Improv Bass Ace” by the Village Voice and said to play with a “bruising physicality” by the Chicago Reader, was born and raised in northwestern New Jersey. It was there that he cultivated a taste for the left of center musics and has since had the pleasures of working with many of the world’s luminary left of center musicians such as Weasel Walter, Mette Rasmussen, Gerald Cleaver, Peter Evans, Ingrid Laubrock, Dave Rempis, and has toured and played prestigious halls, DIY basements, festivals across North America and Europe. Lopez currently leads a piano trio dubbed “Mess” with Sam Yulsman and Chris Corsano. He frequently plays solo. He is the 2018 Artist-in-Residence at Issue Project Room and was awarded a Van Lier Fellowship by Roulette in the same year. He attended New England Conservatory.

The Lamentations
Brandon Lopez – Bass
Sam Yulsman – Piano

Bennett/Foster/Wooley/Lopez
Nate Wooley – Trumpet
Michael Foster – Saxophone
Ben Bennett – Percussion
Brandon Lopez – Bass

[RESIDENCY] G. Lucas Crane: Time Boiler

What: G. Lucas Crane presents his latest investigation into time, memory, and loss through a series of live tape-based compositions.
When: June 19, 2018
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $20 Door, $15 Presale
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: http://bit.ly/SP180619

Brooklyn, NY – Performer and sound artist G. Lucas Crane continues his investigation into information anxiety, memory, media confusion, and new performance techniques for obsolete technology in his latest work Time Boiler. A tale of time-travel memory loss explored through tape-collage music, as well as a series of attempts at time compression through musical trials on the performing body, Time Boiler illustrates the psychological consequences of time-travel on the human mind through a series of live compositions using Crane’s extensive cassette tape archive.

G. Lucas Crane is a musician whose work focuses on information anxiety, media confusion, sonic mind control, and time skullduggery. His cassette tape-based sound practice explores the liminal space of hybrid analogue aesthetics and new performance techniques for forgotten technology. In New York City, he has performed at The Stone, Museum of Art and Design, Pioneer Works, Roulette, Issue Project Room, and the Brooklyn Museum. He was a 2011 LMCC Swing Space Resident Artist and received the NYSCA Individual Artist Commission for sound design of the theater piece This Was The End, for which he also received a Henry Hewes Award and a Bessie nomination. Crane received a Jerome Foundation Commission from Roulette in 2014. He is a co-founder of the Silent Barn, an experimental art and performance space in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Samuel Blaser Trio: Taktlos

What: Sam Blaser Trio make a rare New York appearance on the occasion of a new album released by legendary Swiss label HatArt.
When: Monday, June 18, 2018
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25 Door, $20 Presale
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: http://bit.ly/SP180618

Brooklyn, NY – Samuel Blaser, with Marc Ducret and Peter Bruun will give a rare New York performance at Roulette. Known for “a precise, expressive style on trombone” (New York Times), Blaser utilizes his foundation in jazz and classical music to produce tunes that develop seamlessly through interactions between the players. The international trio released a new album on legendary Swiss label HatArt to coincide with the performance at Roulette.

The Samuel Blaser Trio was founded after a poolside dialogue between Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser and French guitarist Marc Ducret (known for his work with Tim Berne) in Cabo Frio, Brazil. Danish drummer Peter Bruun (a member of Django Bates’ Belovèd trio) seemed like a felicitous fit for the group, and beginning with an inaugural gig in May of 2013 at the Jazzdor Festival in Berlin, the three players began touring extensively through Europe, Asia and South America.

Line-up:
Samuel Blaser – Trombone
Marc Ducret – Guitar
Peter Bruun – Drums