Ben Gerstein (trombone), Cory Smythe (piano), Christopher Tordini (bass), Tyshawn Sorey (trombone, percussion)
Wu-Wei is a commissioned concert-length program for Roulette and is written for various configurations among four players. Funding for “Wu-Wei” is supported through both the Jerome Foundation and the Van Lier Fellowship.
TYSHAWN SOREY (born 8 July 1980) is becoming one of New York City’s most vital voices in today’s jazz and creative music scene. Originally self-taught in composition, piano, trombone, and percussion, Tyshawn has worked with various chamber ensembles, Muhal Richard Abrams, Hamiett Bluiett, The High Mountain Symphony, John Zorn, The New Jersey New Music Ensemble, Don Braden, David Maxwell, The Gateways Orchestra at Eastman School of Music, Rufus Reid, Michele Rosewoman, Vijay Iyer, Armen Donelian, David Binney, Wadada Leo Smith, James Moody, Nat Janoff, Steve Lehman, Gene Ess, Anthony Braxton, Dave Douglas, Steve Coleman, Pete Robbins and Silent Z, Matana Roberts, Mike Moreno, Dean Shot, among many others. He is also co-leader and co-composer of the
collaborative trio Fieldwork (also featuring Steve Lehman and Vijay Iyer) whose album, Door, is scheduled for release in April 2008. Tyshawn is also the 2007 recipient of Roulette Intermedium’s Van Lier Fellowship, and is currently working on a commissioned project for his quartet to take place in Spring 2008. Tyshawn’s debut recording THAT/NOT (Firehouse 12 Records) has baffled many critics, becoming one of 2007’s most critially acclaimed recordings. Described by All About Jazz’s Nic Jones as a recording of “downright iconoclastic music,” THAT/NOT has been feted as the year’s top debut by the Village Voice jazz critic’s poll, and described by Steve Smith in Time Out New York
as “a vivid impression of Sorey’s range.” Tyshawn is a faculty member of the Brooklyn-based School of Improvisational Music, and a private instructor in the Jazz and Contemporary Music at New School University.
BEN GERSTEIN (born 7 November 1977) and raised in Santa Barbara, California, where he began playing the trombone professionally by the age of 12. He has lived in New York City for the sake of his music and artwork since 1995, having attended the Manhattan School of Music on full scholarship from 1995-99. Aside from regular appearances within others’ music and works (Tony Malaby, Mat Maneri, Tyshawn Sorey, Eivind Opsvik…) Gerstein leads and is committed to numerous rotating
groups, solo projects and long-standing or recent close collaborations which have evolved to focus exclusively on free-improvisation as the opportunity to realize unique, virtuosic events which differ and develop greatly with whoever and whatever’s involved. Gerstein has been the first to record music on the trombone not originally intended for the instrument by such composers as J.S. Bach, Frederic Chopin, Elliott Carter, Olivier Messiaen, Antonio Vivaldi and Igor Stravinsky. He also works part-time as a research assistant to the artistic director of The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music and teaches chess privately.
Bassist CHRISTOPHER TORDINI is rapidly becoming an in-demand bassist in New York’s creative music community. He graduated from the New School University in May 2006 and soon after was asked to join Andy Milne’s band (Dapp Theory) and play on the band’s upcoming CD. While attending school, Tordini performed professionally with a number of his teachers, including Rory Stuart, Ari Hoenig, George Garzone, and Andy Milne. He has also performed with some of today’s most compelling
musicians, including Jean-Michel Pilc, Greg Osby, Jeremy Pelt, and Michael Dessen. Tordini performs frequently with other talented, like-minded young musicians like Mike Pinto, Tommy Crane, Logan Richardson, Frank Locrasto, Greg Ruggiero, Collin Killalea, Tyshawn Sorey, and Becca Stevens, all of whom lead their own bands and are determined to make their mark.
Pianist CORY SMYTHE (born 1977) is a graduate of the music schools at Indiana University and the University of Southern California. As a member of the new music group International Contemporary Ensemble, he has contributed to many premieres, worked with composers Philippe Hurel and Magnus Lindberg among others, and performed in many venues across the U.S. and abroad. A frequent collaborator with other artists, Cory has appeared most recently in recitals with violinist Timothy Fain, flutist Dora Seres, and in chamber music at the Indiana University summer festival. This season he makes his Carnegie Weill Hall debut with violinist Sung-Ju Lee and will be the piano soloist in Messiaen’s Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine with the Milwaukee-based ensemble Present Music. As an improviser and jazz musician, Cory has performed with the Greg Osby Four, with trumpeter Peter Evans, and Tyshawn Sorey. Cory’s principal teachers have included Luba Edlina-Dubinsky, Stewart Gordon, and Jeremy Denk.