Category: Press Releases

Richard Sussman Evolution Ensemble: The Evolution Suite

What: Richard Sussman’s Evolution Ensemble presents The Evolution Suite for jazz quintet, string quartet, and electronics.
When: Tuesday, February 28, 2016, 8pm
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25/20 Online $20/15 Doors
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: General Admission $20, Members/Students/Seniors $15, $25/20 Tickets at the door

Brooklyn, NY – Richard Sussman’s Evolution Ensemble presents their ground-breaking Evolution Suite for jazz quintet, string quartet, and electronics. The five-movement, hour-long composition was premiered and recorded on December 20, 2015, at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space in New York City. The evening’s performance will function as an album release concert for the recording, currently available on Zoho Records.

Richard Sussman is a jazz pianist, composer, music technologist, educator, and author. Sussman has performed with many jazz greats including Lionel Hampton, Lee Konitz, Houston Person, Randy Brecker, Donna Summer, Blood Sweat & Tears, among others. Known for his large ensemble arrangements and compositions, his music has been performed by the Village Vanguard Orchestra, Westchester Jazz Orchestra, Metropole Orchestra of Holland, and the American Composers Orchestra in New York. A member of the jazz faculty at the Manhattan School of Music since 1986, Sussman is the author of Jazz Composition and Arranging in the Digital Age, published by Oxford University Press. Sussman is the recipient of numerous awards, including two NEA grants in Jazz Composition, an ASCAP Jazz Composition Award in 2008, and a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant in December 2015. His extensive work in the field of film and TV has included projects for ABC, NBC, CBS, Disney, and Nickelodeon.

Invisible Anatomy: Transfigure

What: Brendon Randall-MyersInvisible Anatomy ensemble presents Transfigure, the third and final creation in a triptych of collaboratively written, evening-length musical compositions integrating lighting, video, and choreography.
When: Thursday, February 2, 2016, 8pm
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25/20 Online $20/15 Doors
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: General Admission $20, Members/Students/Seniors $15, $25/20 Tickets at the door

Brooklyn, NY – Roulette welcomes back rising young composer Brendon Randall-Myers as an artist-in-residence for the Winter + Spring 2017 season. For this performance, Randall-Myers presents Transfigure, the third and final creation in a triptych of collaboratively written, evening-length musical compositions that integrate lighting, video, and choreography. Co-composed by all six members of the group Invisible Anatomy, the piece unpacks notions of change through a mix of improvisations, arguments, and screaming into a snare drum.

Invisible Anatomy (IA) is a composer-performer ensemble that explores the human body as the most fundamental aspect of music creation and performance. Formed in 2014 by six graduates of the Yale School of Music, IA creates and develops shows from the ground up by writing and performing all new compositions. The group harnesses elements from classical, jazz, experimental rock, performance art and theater, combining an omnivorous stylistic palette, virtuosic physicality, and dramatic visual presentation. IA’s inaugural show BODY PARTS dismembers, manipulates, and reanimates bodies in performance – creating a chattering chorus of woodblock teeth, wearing pop songs as a mask, and floating screaming eyes on TV screens. Their second show, DISSECTIONS, features six interconnected pieces that probe the destruction, transformation, and intimacy inherent in peeling away our surfaces. Derived from a collaboratively generated text over numerous workshops, these works trace a line from ornate to bare, taking the scalpel to instruments, gestures, and language. After the group’s 2015 debut concerts in New York City, IA was invited to China for three shows, including a featured solo concert at the Beijing Modern Music Festival. IA’s second season opened with an intimate house concert of BODY PARTS hosted by David Lang, followed by the world premiere of DISSECTIONS at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust. The group performed DISSECTIONS at Pomona College and The Blue Whale in Los Angeles in February 2016, followed by appearances with Heartbeat Opera and at Roulette in New York City, and at the Yale School of Music in New Haven, CT. The group was the first runner-up in the 2016 SAVVY Chamber Competition, and recorded their debut studio album in June 2016.

[RESIDENCY] James Brandon Lewis Trio: No Filter Feat. Guitarist Anthony Pirog

What: The first performance in Roulette’s annual residency program features the James Brandon Lewis Trio performing works from their new album, No Filter.
When: Wednesday, February 1, 2016, 8pm
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25/20 Online $20/15 Doors
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: General Admission $20, Members/Students/Seniors $15, $25/20 Tickets at the door

Brooklyn, NY – Roulette is pleased to present the first performance of our annual residency program. The James Brandon Lewis Trio, with the addition of guitarist Anthony Pirog, will perform songs from No Filter, the follow up to Lewis’ 2015 album, Days of FreeMan. Combining elements of R&B, 90s hip hop, and experimental jazz, No Filter is a raw, gritty, mind-bending journey of soulful jazz funk.

Saxophonist and composer James Brandon Lewis has received accolades from cultural tastemakers such as Ebony Magazine, who hailed him as one of the “7 Young Players to Watch” in 2013. Lewis has shared stages with icons such as Benny Golson, Geri Allen, and Dorinda Clark Cole, as well as Roulette artists Ken Filiano, Darius Jones, and Jason Hwang. Lewis attended Howard University and holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.

Bassist Luke Stewart is a seminal figure in Washington, DC’s music community. Regular ensembles include Trio OOO with drummer Sam Lohman as well as legendary free jazz saxophonist Aaron Martin. Stewart is also a member of experimental electronic group MOM^2 (Mind Over Matter, Music Over Mind), with whom he was invited to perform and lecture at the University of South Carolina.

Warren G. Crudup III has always had a passion for the drums. Born in Alabama and raised in Maryland, Crudup developed musically in church and is well-versed in diverse styles of music including jazz, gospel, funk, and reggae. A member of the University of the District of Columbia’s prestigious Big Band, he has recorded and performed with artists such as Edward “Butch” Warren, Cheick Hamala Diabate, Tarus Mateen, and David Ornette Cherry, among others.

Anthony Pirog has made his mark on the guitar-playing universe one sonically enthralling project at a time. From his work on Janel and Anthony’s Where is Home, described in Guitar Player Magazine as “approachable experimentalism,” to to what AllMusic described as “pristinely executed rock guitar solos” with Skysaw, Pirog displays a “crystalline tone  immediately recognizable as his own” in his evolving conception of how a guitar can sound.

Gary Lucas: Too Much Johnson

What: Gary Lucas presents a solo guitar score accompanying Orson Welles‘ 1938 surreal silent comedy “Too Much Johnson.”
When: Friday, January 27, 2016, 8pm
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25/20 Online $20/15 Doors
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: General Admission $20, Members/Students/Seniors $15, $25/20 Tickets at the door

Brooklyn, NY – Roulette is pleased to present the world premiere of Gary Lucas’ solo guitar score accompanying Orson Welles‘ rediscovered 1938 surreal silent comedy “Too Much Johnson.” Long thought to be lost, the silent slapstick film was produced and directed by Orson Welles to be integrated into Welles’s Mercury Theatre production of the 19th century farce “Too Much Johnson” by William Gillette. However, due to the absence of projection facilities at the venue, the motion picture sequences could not be shown. The 66-minute print went unseen publicly until its rediscovery in a warehouse in Pordenone, Italy in 2008. For this performance, Lucas will present a score comprised of both composed and improvised elements.

Hailed as “one of the best and most original guitarists in America” by Rolling Stone, Gary Lucas has released over 30 acclaimed albums in a variety of genres. Lucas is a pioneer of  live film scoring, beginning with his 1989 score for the German Expressionist film “The Golem” (1920). He has composed ten live soundtracks to date for both silent and sound films, including the Spanish “Dracula” (1931), Luis Bunuel’s “El Angel Exterminador” (1964), and Carl Dreyer’s “Vampyr.”  A Grammy-nominated songwriter and composer, Lucas has performed in over 40 countries and at international festivals and venues including the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center, the Jerusalem Film Festival, the American Film Institute in Maryland, the Havana Film Festival, and more.

Club d’Elf Album Release Party ft. Hassan Hakmoun & Mat Maneri

What: Boston-based, Moroccan-influenced dub-jazz collective Club d’Elf celebrates the release of Live At Club Helsinki.
When: Friday, January 20, 2016, 8pm
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25/20 Online $20/15 Doors
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: General Admission $20, Members/Students/Seniors $15, $25/20 Tickets at the door

Brooklyn, NY – Boston-based, Moroccan-dosed dub-jazz collective Club d’Elf celebrates the release of Live At Club Helsinki, an epic double album that expands the band’s mix of avant jazz, electronica, hip hop, psychedelia, dub and Moroccan trance. Featuring John Medeski, the music explores touchstones as disparate as John Cage, Studio One, Gnawa, and drum n’ bass. Joining the band for this show are special guests Hassan Hakmoun and Mat Maneri, who add elements of Moroccan folk music and microtonal free jazz to the mix.

Orbiting around permanent members Mike Rivard (bassist + composer) and Dean Johnston (drummer), each Club d’Elf performance features a different line-up drawing from creative improvisers from the jazz, DJ, rock, and world music scenes of Boston and New York City. The band owes its Moroccan trance influences to core member Brahim Fribgane, who hails from Casablanca. Informed as much by sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick’s ideas of shifting reality and parallel universes as by Miles Davis & Fela Kuti, the band draws inspiration from many sources, including the avant comedy of Firesign Theater and Mr. Show. Guitars, turntables, Fender Rhodes, laptops, horns, tablas and all manner of exotic instruments flow in and out of the mix. Derived from ancient sources, trance forms the central core of the Club d’Elf aesthetic, unifying the various genres the band has absorbed.

Ka Baird: Sapropelicisms

What: Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ka Baird, joined by Marcia Bassett and Camilla Padgitt-Coles, presents experiments in solo voice, piano, and flute.
When: Wednesday, January 18, 2016, 8pm
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25/20 Online $20/15 Doors
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: General Admission $20, Members/Students/Seniors $15, $25/20 Tickets at the door

Brooklyn, NY – Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ka Baird (aka Sapropelic Pycnic) will explore piano improvisation, electroacoustic interventions, extended vocal techniques, physical movement, and electronic manipulation of the flute to present Sapropelicisms, featuring Marcia Bassett on Buchla Easel and sound reactive projections from Camilla Padgitt-Coles. Baird coined the term “Sapropelicisms” as exercises or rituals that honor the dark rich sludge of our own psyches and the processes by which they are revealed. Sapropelicisms come from the root word sapropel, a contraction of ancient Greek words sapros and pelos meaning putrefaction and mud, respectively.

Ka Baird is one of the founding members of long running avant-psych project Spires That In The Sunset Rise, which has contributed a different slant to the New Folk movement by incorporating various avant-garde and world music influences into their music. Since 2001, the band released eight full length records and several side releases. Since relocating to New York City in November 2014, Baird has set off in numerous directions with new collaborations as well as honing in on her own solo work. Baird released See Sun Think Shadow, an album of piano improvisations in November 2015 and A Love Supreme, a tribute record to John Coltrane in January 2016. She co-runs the Brooklyn-based record label and concert organizer Perfect Wave with Camilla Padgitt-Coles.

As a co-founder of Philadelphia’s shambolic psychonauts un, tectonic drone pioneers Double Leopards, psych-folk drone trio GHQ, and Hototogisu, Marcia Bassett is deeply entwined with the American noise underground. In addition to collaborations with Samara Lubelski, Barry Weisblat and others, she performs solo under the moniker Zaimph and released the album Between The Infinite and The Finite in November.

Camilla Padgitt-Coles is a multimedia artist working in light, sound, video art and audio-visual environments. She makes music solo as Ivy Meadows and participates ambient projects Future Shuttle, Energy Star, Tropical Rock and Non Human Persons.

[GENERATE] William Parker

What: Two evenings of vocal + ensemble performance from free jazz legend William Parker.
When: Friday + Saturday, January 13+14, 2016, 8pm
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25/20 Online $20/15 Doors
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: General Admission $20, Members/Students/Seniors $15, $25/20 Tickets at the door

Brooklyn, NY – Roulette and Centering Music present two evenings celebrating the music of free jazz bassist, composer, and improviser William Parker. The first evening, Healing Songs from the Tone World, will feature various ensembles presenting vocal music, while the second evening, Tone World Creation Song, will feature the Little Huey Music Orchestra.

William Parker is a bassist, improviser, composer, writer, and educator from New York City. Heralded by The Village Voice as “the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time,” Parker has contributed to over 150 albums and six books in addition to teaching and mentoring young musicians and artists. Parker’s current bands include the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, In Order to Survive, Raining on the Moon, Stan’s Hat Flapping in the Wind, and the Cosmic Mountain Quartet with Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan, and Cooper-Moore. Parker has performed with Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Milford Graves, and David S. Ware, among many others.

Facelessness Plays Unlikelihoods

What: Matt Mehlan presents “Unlikelihoods,” a suite of new compositions written to be realized in iterations, from the new band Facelessness.
When: Wednesday, January 11, 2016, 8pm
Where: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, 2/3/4/5/A/C/G/D/M/N/R/B/Q trains & the LIRR
Cost: $25/20 Online $20/15 Doors
Info: www.roulette.org / (917) 267-0368
Tickets: General Admission $20, Members/Students/Seniors $15, $25/20 Tickets at the door

Brooklyn, NY – Chicago-based musician, filmmaker, and arts organizer Matt Mehlan presents “Unlikelihoods,” a suite of new compositions written to be realized in iterations, from the new band Facelessness. Performances from American Academy of Achievement and JOBS round out of the evening.

“Unlikelihoods” exists as two scores of the same music. The first cycle is fully entered into notation software, while the second cycle is a set of looser scores for ensemble. This music will be realized in as many iterations as possible, including:

  1. The MIDI Output / Computer Version of the “Score,” orchestrated for a collection of synthesizers and drum machines (with Choir – 3 vocalists + Mehlan)
  2. The performance of the “Score” by X musicians
  3. The performance of the score as a set instructions by Y musicians

Facelessness is a new band formed for the purpose of playing brand new compositions by Matt Mehlan in New York City. Mehlan is joined by longtime collaborators Jason McMahon and Matt Nelson, violist Jessica Pavone, Rob Lundberg and Max Jaffe, and Sam Sowyrda. Matt Mehlan is an artist and musician currently living in Chicago, where he is a lecturer at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Based in Brooklyn for 10 years, he is the lead singer of the Skeletons and Uumans, a member of Congotronics Vs. Rockers, and runs the record label Shinkoyo.

American Academy of Achievement is the pseudonym of guitarist, composer, and performer Jason McMahon.

Since forming in 2008, JOBS has quickly established itself as one of the most exciting new forces within the thriving Brooklyn experimental music scene. Comprised of drummer Max Jaffe, bassist Rob Lundberg, and guitarist Dave Scanlon, the group (formerly known as Killer Bob) has set itself apart with its charged performances dripping with intensity and wild spontaneity.

Glenn Branca

Writer Kurt Gottschalk sits down with legendary experimental guitarist Glenn Branca to discuss his premiere The Light (For David), a new work written for David Bowie, premiering at Roulette on October 8, 2016.

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KG: Your relationship with the electric guitar is well-known, from the twin guitars of Theoretical Girls in the late 70s to works for 100-guitar orchestras. For your appearance at Roulette, you’ve composed for four electric guitars along with bass and drums. How do you determine the shape of an ensemble for a given project?

GB: I had decided that if I was going to continue The Ascension project I would use the same instrumentation in all of them, although the tunings are different. In recent decades my symphonies for guitar ensemble are usually eight or nine guitars, bass and drums. Anything bigger is too expensive to tour. There are also the two symphonies for 100 guitars but they are always one-offs. I get the guitarists from whatever city we’re playing in. So far it’s worked out incredibly well but takes a lot of time online with the musicians since the scores are always in different tunings and in staff notation.

KG: Do you have a way of notating the particular sonic properties of the electric guitar, such as feedback and overtone, or are those decisions communicated verbally or left to the individual players?

GB: I don’t notate the sonic properties of the guitar. The pieces are written the same as I would write for any instrumentation. The sonic quality of the guitar speaks for itself, although I like to use an overdriven sound with no effects of any kind. This is the kind of sound I’ve used since the late 70s when I was doing rock bands. In the 80s, when I was working with a harmonic series tuning system, it was often a mistaken conception that I was working with overtones. The overtones are there, of course, but I was interested in the nature of sound produced by the harmonic series itself, or what is in fact the series of natural numbers.

KG: The Light (for David), which will receive its premiere at Roulette, is dedicated to David Bowie. When did you first start listening to Bowie’s music. What has it meant to you over the years?

GB: I first heard Bowie in the late 60s when Space Oddity would be played on FM stations. I thought it was great but I didn’t know who it was at the time. Later, in the early 70s when I was working in a record store, I came across Hunky Dory and was totally knocked out. I started looking for anything by him that I could find. I found The Man Who Sold the World in a bargain bin. Worst production ever. They’ve fixed the mix and the master at this point, after [Kurt] Cobain covered the title song.

Then Ziggy, of course, and I was hooked. There were a few avant-garde bands that had some pop success, but nothing like Bowie. He was our hero. Intelligent, talented and with the desire to create a really new, different rock. It was important at that time for us (the avant-gardists) to have someone who spoke our language actually be heard on the radio. And of course he was beautiful and clever and compelling.

KG: Did you ever have a chance to meet or work with him?

GB: Yes, Tony Oursler was doing an installation for a German world’s fair in, I think, 2001. I was invited to write the music and Tony wrote the text which Bowie read and was played back on multiple channels. Tony had worked with Bowie a lot, doing video for him I believe. During the work on this gig, I got to hang out with David twice. One surprise was that we were both book collectors. He was really excited about a book he had just bought for $50,000. This was literally a few days after his company had gone public and he had made $50 million in one day. It was hard for him to think about anything else. He was over the moon. Just proved to me that rock stars don’t make anywhere near as much money as people thought. Of course, they don’t make anything now unless they’re tits-out superstars.

I had a very strange “relationship” with David over the years that started in the early 80s when his office called my record label, Neutral, for the purpose of getting a copy of every record in the catalog. For almost 20 years I would get a call about every couple years from someone who was trying to get us together for some purpose: collaborate, play on the same bill, always something. One time I heard he had played the entirety of my Symphony No. 6 for the audience before he come out to do a show in Europe. Another time I heard from one of the engineers on the Tin Machine sessions that he had brought in about six or seven of my records and told the engineer “Make it sound like this.” Stuff like that was always happening.

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He died too soon, he was only a year older than me. I was shocked, just like everybody else. And with the release of his brilliant Black Star, I couldn’t stop listening to it. I hadn’t realized how much he had meant to me throughout most of my life and that album broke my heart.

I still can’t believe he’s just gone. It affected me even more than Lennon. I think that somehow knowing that he was here, in my case literally right down the street, was like having a muse. I don’t know what else to say. It hurts.

KG: Bowie worked with a remarkable succession of guitarists, from Mick Ronson and Carlos Alomar to Earl Slick, Adrian Belew and Reeves Gabrels not to mention recordings with Robert Fripp and David Torn. Is there something about Bowie’s use of guitar that speaks to you in particular?

GB: That’s a tough one to answer since most of that playing was part of a very distant past. I loved Mick Ronson at the time. There were few players getting that kind of sound. I was never into metal and found guys like Glen Buxton, Joe Perry and Johnny Thunders to be more what I wanted to hear. Ronson was one of the first, along with Mark Bolan. I think every single one of the guys you mentioned did a great job with Bowie’s music. And Reeves Gabrels could do anything. I think that’s why Bowie got him. His work on Outside was amazing. And of course there was Fripp, never a favorite, but what he did on Heroes was moving. It made the song.

These were guys that I loved to listen to, among many others. But as a composer my approach had almost nothing to do with any of them or anyone else for that matter. I wanted to do serious experimental rock and that sound, that approach, wasn’t gonna work. I liked to fool around with it very early on but the music was the priority. When Theoretical Girls and the Static started pushing the parameters, the audience just got bigger and bigger. After a very short time it became clear that this was going to be my work.

It’s never really been about the guitars. They just happened to be what was convenient. And as things have turned out they still are, although there’s far more I’d like to do. I’d really like to create an entire orchestra with mostly instruments that I create myself. But such things are far beyond my means.

KG: What’s coming up next for you?

GB: Death? I wouldn’t mind having Symphony No. 16, my second 100 guitar piece, heard in NYC, and maybe even properly recorded.