75 Dollar Bill: Little Big Band

Monday, March 27, 2017. 8:00 pm

Rick Brown – Percussion, Homemade Horns
Che Chen – Guitars, Violin, Organ, Saxophone, etc.
Sue Garner – Electric Bass, Percussion
Cheryl Kingan – Baritone & Alto Saxophone
Andrew Lafkas – Contrabass, Bass Drum
Steve Maing – Guitars, Alto Saxophone
Jim Pugliese – Percussion
Karen Waltuch – Viola
Barry Weisblat – Field Drum, Electronics

Minimalist duo 75 Dollar Bill perform arrangements for large ensemble, recreating densely layered tracks of their records while also adapting duo materials for an expanded group. Drawing on the loose, improvisatory structure of the music, the performance will emphasize the individual contributions and personalities of the band members. Players will come and go throughout the evening, with the band taking on larger and smaller configurations depending on the material. The music is intended to be social, at times appropriate for dancing and at others for more contemplative listening.

75 Dollar Bill was formed in 2012 by percussionist Rick Brown and guitarist Che Chen. Brown’s earthy, elemental rhythms, played on a deeply resonant plywood crate, are both the foundation and foil for Chen’s searchingly abstract guitar playing. Often using a custom quarter tone guitar, Chen’s improvisations are forays into a modal, microtonal sound world. The duo’s electric, richly patterned music can shape shift from ecstatic dance tunes to slowly changing polyrhythmic trance minimalism, an uncategorizable hybrid which draws on early electric blues, the modal traditions of West Africa, India and the Middle East, Sun Ra’s space chords and the minimalist and No Wave histories of their home town. The band’s second album, Wood / Metal / Plastic / Pattern / Rhythm / Rock, was released in 2016 on Thin Wrist Recordings to wide critical acclaim. While Brown and Chen are always at the band’s core, the duo frequently expands into other configurations live, from trio with saxophone to 25-piece marching band.