We are looking forward to getting back to our favorite local art gallery for the first time in 2016. This Thursday we are going underground a bit and presenting some challenging music by two great saxophonists:
Alto saxophonist Nathaniel Morgan hails from pleasant Ventura, CA, but eight years ago gave up his comfortable hometown for the harsh urban cityscape of Brooklyn, NY. He’s been active in a number of avant-improvised groups, including Folklords, Buckminster/Darkminster, Erica Eso, and VaVatican. Nathaniel is also a key figure in helping to run the independent record label Prom Night Records. He was once a student at California Institute of the Arts, and during his time there he made music that was some of the most visceral and intense of any in the music department, which is saying a lot considering the history of that school to trend toward the outer reaches of insanity. This is a rare homecoming for Nathaniel, the first for him in California as a leader of his own original group from New York, which includes tenor saxophonist Angela Morris, Jason Ajemian on bass and Booker Stardrum on drums.
Saxophonist Joe Santa Maria also went to Calarts (albeit a few years after Nathaniel), and before that he was at Berklee School of Music in Boston, and before that he was at the famed High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston, TX. HSPVA sounds like something you don’t want to be told you might have by someone you didn’t know as well as you thought, but those in the know know that having those letters in your history makes you part of a select group of artistic individuals, including keyboardists Jason Moran and Robert Glasper, saxophonist Walter Smith III, drummer Kendrick Scott, and also, a singer named Beyoncé Knowles. Joe has been excellent at every level of his development, and now he is kind of a chameleon of the best kind, able to traverse the varied terrain of jazz with a sure footing and a confident gait, from the traditional elegance of Lester Young and Ben Webster all the way to the free-leaning jazz of Coltrane, Dolphy and Ornette, and beyond to today’s innovations. Joe has put together a forward-thinking band he calls Slick Willis and the Goo, featuring guitarist Max Gualtieri, bassist Masatoshi Sato, and drummer Andrew Lessman.
If you enjoy music that is challenging and slightly uncomfortable, you probably enjoy scary movies. If you enjoy scary movies, then this is the concert for you to see.