Extending its reach beyond its Carnegie Hall home base, American Composers Orchestra's season-long focus on composer-performers kicks off with a Composers OutFront! performance by composer-saxophonist Steve Coleman and the Aulos trio on Sunday, October 7 at 9:00pm at the Brecht Forum, 451 West Street (between Bank and Bethune) in Manhattan. Admission is free.
In this performance, Coleman extends concepts developed in his groundbreaking M-BASE collective; concepts he also employs in The Illusion of Body, a new piece commissioned by ACO that Coleman will premiere with the orchestra on October 19 at Zankel Hall. The composer says his musical philosophy "expresses our experiences through music that uses improvisation and structure as two of its main ingredients" and primarily draws on music from Africa and creative music of the African diaspora. The Composers OutFront! performance features Aulos, an exciting horn trio of Coleman and M-Base members Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet and Tim Albright, trombone. The trio will highlight Coleman's preferred term for his music, Spontaneous Composition, and his concept of improvisation within nested looping structures.
ACO's Composers OutFront! series puts composers on stage, and makes connections between their musical roots as performers and their works for the concert hall. By featuring a variety of diverse musical creators-with interests ranging from jazz and improvised music to rock and pop, and various world music influences-the series introduces an eclectic array of contemporary musicians to new audiences, extends the network of composers with him the orchestra collaborates, provides connections with the concerts ACO gives at Carnegie Hall, and establishes a deeper context for audiences to understand the artists' work.
Early in his career, after hearing groups from New York led by masters like Max Roach, Art Blakey, Woody Shaw, The Thad Jones - Mel Lewis Orchestra and Sonny Rollins come through his native Chicago, Steve Coleman knew where he wanted to go next. He soon hitchhiked to New York, where he has built a legacy of projects involving creative expression and the exchange of information between international artists. In 1999, Steve Coleman was commissioned by IRCAM to write a piece featuring his band, Steve Coleman and Five Elements, interacting with his own computer software program. In 2000-2001 he withdrew from performing/recording and began a study sabbatical. During this time he traveled extensively to India, Indonesia, Cuba and Brazil, and continued much of his research as a music professor at the University of California at Berkeley's Center for New Music and Technology.
Trombonist Tim Albright has worked with Steve Coleman since 1997 playing on Coleman's recording, Genisis (RCA). Tim lives in New York City where he has also recently worked with Don Byron, Ravi Coltrane, Ralph Alessi and many others. In addition to his love of improvised music, Tim is also a major proponent of new chamber music by living composers. In this vein, he helped found the Argento New Music Project.
Trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson is recognized in the international jazz community as a player to watch. He has brought his blistering trumpet attack and keen, courageous, harmonic intelligence to most of the world's prominent jazz festivals, including the San Francisco Jazz Festival, New Orleans, Monterey, Montreaux, Long Beach, the Grammy Awards, and all over Europe and Japan. He holds the trumpet chair in the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz fellowship band, a quintet chosen from over five thousand contestants. Finlayson studied with Roy Hargrove and Steve Coleman on full scholarship at the New School University.
Coleman's performance at The Brecht Forum previews his appearances at ACO's Orchestra Underground concert at Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on October 19 and the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia on October 21. In his new work for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, The Illusion of Body, Coleman constructs a musical representation of a Black Hole out of specific tonal and rhythmic figures, which he then explores as a symbol of the dynamics of Consciousness. As if by transmuting the energy of rotational momentum and electrical charge directly into sound, his visionary music pinpoints patterns that connect microcosm to macrocosm. "This story," Coleman explains, "is ultimately about the Nature of Consciousness, in the local and universal sense." The Illusion of Body is Steve Coleman's first orchestral piece for an American orchestra.
This performance is free to the public, but seating is limited. The Brecht Forum is located on the ground floor of the historic Westbeth building at 451 West Street between Bank and Bethune. Advance reservations can be made by calling 212-977-8495 x260.