Bassist and composer Brandon Lopez gives the first performance of his year-long Roulette residency with new works for his trio and quartet. Known for the intense physicality of his performance and avant-garde playing, Lopez’s concerts at Roulette center on interrogating and often unraveling the structures of composition and performance. For this concert, Lopez is joined by a stellar group of rising avant-garde luminaries: Gerald Cleaver (drums), Cecilia Lopez (electronics), and Steve Baczkowski (saxophone).
Brandon Lopez’s work as been praised as “brutal” (chicago reader) and “relentless” (New York Times) He’s worked beside many of experimental music’s player; Jooklo Trio, Nate Wooley, Sun Ra Arkestra, Ashley Fure, Okkyung Lee, Gerald Cleaver, Ingrid Laubrock, Tony Malaby, Tyshawn Sorey, Bill Nace, Tom Rainey, Steve Baczkwoski, Chris Corsano, and many others. He was the 2018 Artist in Residence at Issue Project Room and a Van Lier Fellow at Roulette Intermedium. In September 2018 he was featured soloist with the New York Philharmonic.
Steve Baczkowski is a saxophonist and multi-wind instrumentalist based in Buffalo, NY. Baczkowski began playing alto saxophone at age eight and switched to baritone by the time he was twelve. He studied music in high school at Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts and went on to studies in music, saxophone performance, literature and ethnomusicology at the State University of New York at Buffalo 1994–1999. In 1999, Baczkowski became the Music Director of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, N.Y. (a 44-year old, multi-disciplinary, non-profit, artist-run cultural organization – www.hallwalls.org) where he has since produced and presented hundreds of concerts of contemporary music as well as numerous community-based artist residencies. In addition to organizing multiple ensembles, such as The Buffalo Improvisers Orchestra, and the Buffalo Suicide Prevention Unit, Baczkowski also performs solo, in duo/trio with percussionist Ravi Padmanabha & bassist Juini Booth, in duo/trio with guitarist Bill Nace and drummer Chris Corsano, and in several other groups. He has collaborated with William Parker, Tony Conrad, Douglas Ewart, Jin Hi Kim, Roscoe Mitchell, Thurston Moore, Odean Pope & many other musicians from around the world and has appeared at festivals in the US, Canada, Mexico & the UK.
Cecilia Lopez is a composer, musician, and installation artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her work explores the boundaries between composition and improvisation, as well as the resonance properties of diverse materials through the creation of non-conventional sound devices and systems. She holds and M.F.A from Bard College and an M.A. in composition from Wesleyan University. Her work has been performed at Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, Festival Internacional Tsonami de Buenos Aires, Floating Points Festival at Issue Project Room (New York), Ostrava Days Festival (Czech Republic), MATA Festival (New York), Experimental Intermedia (New York) Kunsternes Hus (Oslo) and Contemporary Art Center (Vilnius). She was a Civitella Ranieri fellow in 2015. Collaborations include projects with Carmen Baliero, Carrie Schneider and others.
Born May 4, 1963 and raised in Detroit, Gerald Cleaver is a product of the city’s rich music tradition. Inspired by his father, drummer John Cleaver, he began playing the drums at an early age. He also played violin in elementary school, and trumpet in junior high school and high school. As a teenager he gained invaluable experience playing with Detroit jazz masters Ali Muhammad Jackson, Lamont Hamilton, Earl Van Riper, and Pancho Hagood. While attending the University of Michigan as a music education major, he was awarded a Jazz Study Grant, from the National Endowment for the Arts, to study with drummer Victor Lewis. He graduated in 1992 and began teaching in Detroit where he worked with Rodney Whitaker, A. Spencer Barefield, Marcus Belgrave, Donald Walden, Wendell Harrison, and with visiting musicians Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Barry Harris, Kenny Burrell, Frank Foster, Cecil Bridgewater, Ray Bryant, Eddie Harris, Dennis Rowland, Howard Johnson, Diana Krall and Don Byron. In 1995 he accepted an appointment as assistant professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Michigan, and in 1998 also joined the jazz faculty at Michigan State University. He moved to New York in 2002. He has performed or recorded with Franck Amsallem, Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, Lotte Anker, Reggie Workman, Marilyn Crispell, Matt Shipp, William Parker, Craig Taborn, Kevin Mahogany, Charles Gayle, Mario Pavone, Ralph Alessi, Jacky Terrasson, Jimmy Scott, Muhal Richard Abrams, Dave Douglas, Tim Berne, Jeremy Pelt, Ellery Eskelin, David Torn and Miroslav Vitous, among others. Cleaver has released two recordings as a leader. His 2001 recording Adjust (Fresh Sound New Talent) was nominated in the Best Debut Recording category by the Jazz Journalists Association. His latest release, Gerald Cleaver’s Detroit (FSNT), is an homage to his hometown and to the late, great Detroit drummers Roy Brooks, Lawrence Williams, George Goldsmith and Richard “Pistol” Allen. Cleaver leads the bands Violet Hour, NiMbNl and Uncle June.
Brandon Lopez: sun burns out your eyes is made possible, in part, by the Jerome Foundation.
The Jerome Foundation, a long-time supporter of young composers, was a mainstay in Roulette’s early development and continues to help us fulfill our mission by presenting ambitious work by promising artists. Each year, the Jerome Foundation supports five artist residencies and four commissions at Roulette.