words by Hal Rammel
On Sunday, September 18th, percussionist Jason Kahn returns to Milwaukee (from his home-base in Switzerland) to play a duo concert with Milwaukee’s Jon Mueller. Jason was in Milwaukee back in October of 2005 when he and Jon played a terrific show at Hotcakes Gallery in Riverwest (a gallery and music venue we sorely miss). A recording of this concert even appeared under the title Supershells on Formed Records. Jason and Jon recorded and toured a few years later from Milwaukee to points east and released a disc called Topography as a joint project on Xeric and Crouton. Jason’s playing analog synth on this tour. It will be terrific to hear their slowly gathering storm of held tones and dense harmonics in the gallery space at Woodland Pattern. If you enjoyed Jon’s show with double bassist Christian Weber for ACLive a few years ago you’ll love this one.
[I’ll take this opportunity to thank Pro Helvetia for their support of Jason’s U.S. tour this year. Pro Helvetia generously provides funding for Swiss touring musicians and it’s with their support that we’ve had visits from Urs Leimgruber, Charlotte Hug, Christian Weber, Jacques Demierre, and Carl Frederick Hubsch over the past few years.]
Alternating Currents Live continues on Sunday, October 23rd, with the Jason Roebke Combination, a Chicago-based quartet that includes Greg Ward (saxophone), Brian Labycz (modular synth), and Frank Rosaly (drums). The group takes inspiration from bebop of the 1950’s and freely improvised music of the 1960’s, two passions of band leader, bassist , and composer Jason Roebke. You’ll hear tight ensemble playing, great soloing, and wide ranging passages of total improvisation. Jason’s played at Woodland Pattern in the past with the Jeb Bishop and various groups led by Mike Reed. Greg Ward has become a much heralded new reed player in a number of New York bands since his last visit here with Fast Citizens. If you’ve caught some of the great musical events at the Sugar Maple over the past few years you’ve probably heard Frank on drums (with Dave Rempis and many others). The wide card in this pack is the modular synth of Brian Labycz which promises to throw everything off tilt at any moment. Don’t miss this very original sounding quartet.
The third and final concert for this season is our contribution to the Milwaukee celebration of saxophonist/pianist/composer Steve Nelson-Raney’s 65th birthday. On Sunday, November 13th, Steve will play a set of compositions for solo soprano saxophone and then join with Chris Burns (guitar and laptop) in the duo they’ve been working with around town for the past few years. Steve has been performing and recording solo music beginning with his LP Some Solo Piano (Cody Arts) in 1989 up to his most recent release this year of Bolden Cavern (Cody Arts) featuring solo tenor saxophone. Steve is recognized worldwide for his virtuoso technique on soprano saxophone. Since the early 1990s he’s has been an undimished force in Milwaukee’s new music and jazz scene and is, arguably, Milwaukee’s finest and most original saxophone player. We are honored to join in this citywide celebration of his 65th birthday.
We hope you make it over to Woodland Pattern this fall. It has been the midwest’s finest poetry book store for over 30 years and music has always been a significant part of their programing in that wonderful gallery space. Sound fills the gallery in unique ways and always offers a singularly intimate and often unforgettable experience of music taking shape from conventional and sometimes very unconventional musical instruments. We record these concerts for broadcast on Alternating Currents the following Sunday evening between 6 and 9 p.m. which, at the very least, doubles your opportunity to explore some very original music-making.