The following text is taken from Front Magazine, vol. VIII, no. 1, p. 11, September/October 1996:
– What We Live (Four) – Lisle Ellis, Larry Ochs, Donald Robinson with guest Dave Douglas 11/01/96
What We Live (Four) is a three person music collective formed in 1994 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The member-players are Lisle Ellis, bass; Lawrence Ochs, tenor and sopranino saxophones; and Donald Robinson, drums and percussion. The musicians call it a collective because there is no single leader of the band. The ultimate goal of the musicians is to create a group voice or sound that is immediately recognizable in the same way that an individual musician’s “voice” on a particular instrument is immediately recognizable to knowledgeable listeners. The group has just released a new CD on the DIW label with a second CD due out in December. Although the trio is a relatively new group, the musicians are veterans in improvised and new music. Originally from BC, Lisle Ellis is best known for his 20 year association with pianist Paul Plimley, and more recently for his performances in the Cecil Taylor Unit. Under his own name, a 1993 release entitled Elevations (Victo) was on many top CD lists for that year. He has also recorded on Music and Arts and Hat Art. Lisle will also host a workshop on November 3.
As a member of Rova, Larry Ochs has performed internationally and recorded with the electro-acoustic group, Room. He has performed with Terry Riley, Kronos Quartet, Anthony Braxton, Butch Morris, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Alvin Curran and many others. Since 1971, drummer Donald Robinson has worked with many known leaders in contemporary jazz including Oliver Lake, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton and Glenn Spearman. For this special concert the trio is joined by New York trumpet whiz Dave Douglas.
– Jaap Blonk 11/02/96
Jaap Blonk is a self-taught musician and Holland’s best known sound poet. His voice is an instrument of boundless possibilities — a sound source that goes beyond singing, reciting or acting to encompass the vastness of vocal expression. Blonk earned his reputation with his interpretation of Kurt Schwitter’s Ursonate in the mid-80s. In reciting poetry, especially the works of Antonin Artaud and Lucebert he discovered the directness and flexibility of vocal utterance, whether the words were meaningful or not. He has also become known for his references to the historical roots of sound poetry, through the works of the Dadaists Hugo Ball and Tristan Tzara. Blonk has performed with an array of composers and improvisers including Tristan Honsinger, Guus Janssen, David Moss and Nicolas Collins. He has a powerful stage presence and an almost childlike freedom in improvisation. Blonk’s work is witty, charged with tension, and it’s international, as it short-circuits any language barrier.
– Georg Graewe, Frank Gratkowski, François Houle 11/03/96
German pianist/composer Georg Graewe has been interested in Jazz and New Music since forming his first group, a quintet in 1974. An early interest in Free Jazz eventually led Graewe to look for ways to integrate composition and improvisation over the years. From 1983 to 1993 he was director of the GrübenKlangOrchester, a 10-piece chamber ensemble with an international lineup. Outside his own bands Graewe has performed with Anthony Braxton, Marilyn Crispell, Evan Parker, Mark Dresser, Herb Robertson and Phil Minton among others.
Current projects include a trio with Ernst Reijseger & Gerry Hemingway, The Graewe Quintet and Mats Gustafsson, Sebi Tramontana, Mark Dresser and Michael Vatcher and The Georg Graewe Chamber Ensemble with Dorothea Schurch, Anne LeBaron, Horst Grabosch, Robert Dick, Hans Schneider and Gerry Hemingway. Georg will host a workshop on November 2.
German saxophonist Frank Gratkowski has worked in various international groups (GrubenKlangOrchester, DRAFT, Klaus Konig Orchester, Tony Oxley Celebration Orchestra and WDR Big Band). His solo CD called Artikulationen was released to critical acclaim in 1991. He has worked in a duo format with Georg Graewe (duo CD, Vicissetudes), and has recently formed the Gratkowski Chamber Trio with English tuba player Melvyn Poore and German bassist Hans Schneider and another trio with German bassist Dieter Manderscheid and U.S. drummer Gerry Hemingway. He has also performed with Radu Malfatti, Ray Anderson, Greg Osby, Kenny Wheeler, Louis Sclavis, Muhal Richard Abrams and others.
François Houle is a virtuoso Canadian clarinetist/soprano saxophonist whose innovative style, dramatic compositions and powerful imagination have attracted international attention, especially his latest CD with pianist Marilyn Crispell, Any Terrain Tumultuous, on Red Toucan. 7˚ of Light, a new series of quartet compositions was performed at the Jazz Festival in Vancouver this past summer.
– Georg Graewe: 11/02/96
– Lisle Ellis: 11/03/96