Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: Improvised Benefit Concert for Paul Hoskin, 7/31/2015

“Veteran Seattle improviser, contrabass clarinetist and concert organizer Paul Hoskin is currently in the hospital with very serious ailments. He had planned to play a duo concert tonight with Arrington De Dionyso, so instead Nonsequitur is organizing a benefit concert to help him out, with many members of Seattle’s improvised music community participating. All artist fees and audience admissions will be donated to assist Paul in his recovery.” – Wayward Music Website

What I’ve decided is that we’ll go basically in alphabetical order except for a few people who have to leave early, who will start. Every five minutes, a new person will come up. When the new person comes up, the person who’d been playing the previous five minutes can either stop and let them solo, or can decide to keep doing a duet with them. Likewise, when the next person comes up, the first person could still keep playing if they want or they can take a break and come back and play with someone else later. There will be no intermissions, it will be non-stop continuous hit music.” – Steve Peters, organizer of the concert (not an exact quote). [Applause]

Impressions of the Music

Wally Shoup (alto sax): Bluesy with spaces and variations.

Neil Welch (tenor sax and electronics): Beautiful atmospheric ambience; saxsamples with echoplex.

Christian Pinnock (trombone): Subterranean grunts and wails from the depths of the subconscious.

Arrington De Dionyso (contrabass clarinet): Heavy metal overtone growl-screeches against a backdrop of stark silence (and at first, Mr. Pinnock’s trombone). This was somewhat in the manner of Mr. Hoskin’s sonic explorations.

Stuart Dempster (bass trombone): Apocalyptic sounds, though quieter and more resigned than those of Mr. De Dionyso.

Beth Fleenor (clarinet): Continuing Mr. Dempster’s sound-world, though gradually evolving into the lyrical. Hints of Balkan music, though slowed. None of Ms. Fleenor’s signature vocal pyrotechnics since the “heavy metal” part of the concert had been earlier.

Sue Ann Harkey (guitar): All sounds derived from open strings; the guitar on the floor and played in the manner of the Chinese guqin (and later, hammer dulcimer). The hall was filled with peaceful reverberation.

Greg Kelley and Jim Knodle (trumpets): The “second movement” began with two solos, both of extreme silence punctuated by the quietest sounds possible on the trumpet – ordinarily a loud instrument of course, but here almost inaudible, whispered, wind-like.

Susie Kozawa (home-mades and objects): half-heard, half-forgotten lamentations from a lost civilization; then metallic echoes from a spring-gong that released a rainbow of harmonics when tipped away from the floor; then plastic percussion frog-croaks to accompany:

Carol Levin (harp): electric, with rhythmic delay and pentatonic suggestions of both Celtic and Chinese music (and a wah-wah pedal). Resurrected the tranquility of Ms. Harkey’s guitar.

At this point, several musicians came up in quick sequence. There were four on stage at one point. David Milford’s violin, played in the Indian (rather than more familiar European) manner continued the “world music” mood of Ms. Levin’s harp. A second harp, this one acoustic, was added by Monica Schley, in glissandi and guitar-like strumming. China Star brought in the soprano sax; avant-garde plunks and stutters added punctuation to what was already happening.

Slowly everyone cleared, leaving John Teske (string bass). Very quiet overtones led to double-bowing (with two bows).

Jenny Zeifel (clarinet): quasi-melodic fragments across all registers of the instrument brought the music to what at first seemed like a tranquil coda. But then, strange vibrations began to filter in from elsewhere. Several of the other wind instrument players (and Ms. Kozawa’s percussion) were joining in. They progressed slowly, trancelike, to the stage, and ended the concert in a flourish of noise and shifting chords.

The concert was recorded so that Mr. Hoskin can hear it. Latest news is that he is recovering, and I think he will like the recording.

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