UW Music joins forces this year with the student-led Improvised Music Project (IMP) to present IMPFest VII May 1 through 3, 2015 at the UW Ethnic Cultural Center.
Over the past seven years the IMP has established itself as a leading force in Seattle’s jazz and improvised music community. The annual festival, which pairs up-and-coming musicians with seasoned professionals, is IMP’s signature annual event.
This year, IMP and the School of Music welcome renowned guitarist and UW faculty member Bill Frisell, legendary bassist Steve Swallow, and acclaimed saxophonist Chris Cheek to perform with UW students and a rotating faculty house band featuring Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu, Ted Poor, and Richard Karpen.
Learn more about the Improvised Music Project and IMPFest VII here.
All performances are at 7:30 p.m. at the Ethnic Cultural Theater
Friday, May 1: SOLD OUT
Bill Frisell + Students (Mike Gebhart, Ian Mengedoht, Tai Taitano)
Bill Frisell with Cuong Vu, Ted Poor, Richard Karpen, Juan Pampin, Carmen Rothwell
Saturday, May 2
Chris Cheek with students (Dune Butler, Gus Carns, William Mappe, Adrian Noteboom, Eric Vanderbilt-Mathews)
Chris Cheek with Cuong Vu, Ted Poor, Cameron Sharif
Sunday, May 3
Steve Swallow with students (Gregg Beslisle Chi, Thomas Campbell, Ray Larsen, Steve Treseler)
Steve Swallow with Cuong Vu, Ted Poor, and Bill Frisell
MEET THE ARTISTS: Steve Swallow and Chris Cheek
April 30, 3:30 pm Music Building Room 35
IMP guest artists lead a workshop/clinic with UW music students.
More about the Improvised Music Project
The Improvised Music Project is a collection of musicians and music fans working to present great improvised music in Seattle and promote its appreciation. The IMP is based in and out of the School of Music at the University of Washington where it is a Registered Student Organization. Our vision is to shape the local music culture by serving as a voice, network and source for live improvised music.
The IMP first appeared in the fall of 2008 when a group of UW’s Jazz Studies students realized the need for greater participation in the local music scene. Since its inception, the IMP has benefitted from outstanding support from the University of Washington, which has helped fund the festivals, rent the performance spaces, and procure some of the incredible artists that are featured yearly. The IMP is also affiliated with the record label Table and Chairs, which was founded by former IMP officers.
One of the most sought-after guitar voices in contemporary music, Bill Frisell has contributed to the work of such collaborators as Paul Motian, John Zorn, Elvis Costello, Ginger Baker, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Van Dyke Parks, Vic Chesnutt, Rickie Lee Jones, Ron Sexsmith, Marianne Faithful, John Scofield, Jan Garbarek, Lyle Mays, Vernon Reid, Julius Hemphill, Paul Bley, Wayne Horvitz, Hal Willner, Robin Holcomb, The Frankfurt Ballet, Petra Haden and numerous others, including Bono, Brian Eno, Jon Hassell and Daniel Lanois.
The breadth of such performing and recording situations is a testament not only to his singular guitar conception, but his musical versatility as well. Much has been made of the uncategorizable nature of Frisell's music and the seamlessness with which his bands have navigated such a variety of styles. "Frisell's pals just happen to be superb musical chameleons, up to every change of gears and genre the guitarist's catch-all music throws at them.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune). The Chicago Tribune observed that "Frisell possesses not only impressive compositional skills but also a remarkable ability to encompass seemingly antagonistic musical genres." Commenting on his eclectic compositional inclinations, Frisell told Down Beat: "When I write something, it just sort of comes out. I'm not thinking, 'Now I'm going to write a cowboy song'. It just happens, then I usually think about what must have influenced it later."
A musical kinship with Miles Davis has been cited repeatedly in the music press. The New Yorker notes: "Bill Frisell plays the guitar like Miles Davis played the trumpet: in the hands of such radical thinkers, their instruments simply become different animals. And, like Davis, Frisell loves to have a lot of legroom when he improvises--the space that terrifies others quickens his blood."
A significant jazz composer and a distinctively lyrical bassist, Steve Swallow has had a notably wide-ranging career, from early work on acoustic bass to his innovative use of the electric bass. Swallow is noted for collaborations with Jimmy Giuffre, Gary Burton and Carla Bley and was one of the first double bassists in jazz to switch entirely to electric bass guitar, on which he has a distinctively nimble sound. Swallow’s compelling compositions bridge the genres of jazz and rock. As a child, Swallow studied piano and trumpet before turning to the double bass at age 14. While attending a prep school, he began trying his hand in jazz improvisation. In 1960, he left Yale, where he was studying composition, and settled in New York City, playing at the time in Jimmy Giuffre's trio along with Paul Bley. After joining Art Farmer's quartet in 1964, Swallow began to write. It is in the 1960s that his long-term association with Gary Burton's various bands began.
Steve Swallow has placed first in the Downbeat International Critics Poll since 1983 (electric bass), in the Downbeat Readers Poll since 1985, and has won the Jazz Times poll (electric bass) several times recently. He lives in upstate New York.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Chris Cheek began playing the alto sax at the age of 12. Thanks to a strong public school music program and a highly supportive family, Chris had good educational and performance experiences from the very beginning. While attending Webster University, Chris played with a variety of local Jazz and Blues bands including legendary saxophonist Willie Akins' group and the Bob Kuban Brass. Chris went to Boston in 1988 to attend Berklee College of music where he studied with Herb Pomeroy, Joe Viola and Hal Crook.
Chris moved to New York in 1992 and since then has toured and recorded with Paul Motian, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, The Bloomdaddies, and the Orquestra de Jazz de Matosinhos . Chris has also played with Bill Frisell, Brian Blade, Lee Konitz, Carla Bley, Tom Harrell, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Frank Carlberg, Eliot Zigmund, Brad Mehldau, Kurt Rosenwinkel, El Muchacho and many others!
Cheek also plays with the Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout, Rudder, Steve Swallow's Quintet, Guillermo Klein's "Los Guachos", and the newly formed Axis Saxophone Quartet, alongside Josh Redman, Chris Potter and Mark Turner. In addition to appearing on numerous CD's as a sideman, Chris has recorded 4 albums as a leader for Fresh Sound Records. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Cuong Vu is widely recognized by jazz critics as a leader of a generation of innovative musicians. A truly unique musical voice, Cuong has lent his trumpet playing to a wide range of artists such as Pat Metheny, Laurie Anderson, and David Bowie.
As a youngster, Cuong's intense dedication and love for music led him to a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies with a distinction in performance. Transitioning from his studies in Boston, he moved to New York in 1994 and began his career actively leading various groups while touring extensively throughout the world. As a leader, Cuong has released eight recordings, each making critics’ lists of the 10 best recordings of their respective years and has received rave reviews from notable publications such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, the Guardian, BBC Music Magazine, JazzTimes and Downbeat. Each record displays how he has carved out a distinctive sonic territory as a trumpet player, blurring all stylistic borders while developing his own compositional aesthetic and sound world.
Awards and honors that Cuong has garnered include grants from the Royalty Research Foundation, the Donald E. Peterson Professorship, ArtistTrust, 4Culture, CityArts and the Colbert Award for Excellence. Cuong is currently associate professor and chair of Jazz Studies at the University of Washington and was awarded the University of Washington's prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award in his third year on faculty. In 2002 and 2006, Cuong was a recipient of the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album as a member of the Pat Metheny Group. He’s been recognized as one of the top 50 Jazz Artists in an article called “The New Masters” from the British magazine, “Classic CD” and in 2006 was named the Best International Jazz Artist by the Italian Jazz Critics’ Society. Amazon listed Vu’s “Come Play With Me” on their “The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time.”
After graduating from the Eastman School of Music in 2003, drummer Ted Poor moved to New York City, where he has made a deep impression on the jazz and improvised music scene. Modern Drummer describes his playing as “adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward-thinking.” Jazz Review writes, “Ted has an uncanny ability to shape the music and a refreshingly unique, organic approach to playing the drums.” This unique approach has caught the ears of many of jazz’s most established musicians and quickly placed him amongst those drummers most in demand.
Ted has toured the world over and is a regular member of many bands, including those of Grammy award winning trumpeter Cuong Vu, guitarist Ben Monder, Bad Touch, and the Respect Sextet. Ted’s most recent project as a leader is called Mt. Varnum. Formed in August of 2011, Mt. Varnum reconciles a life-long love of deep swing with an equally earnest adoration of classic and indie rock. The band’s forthcoming debut release “Wounded Caroline” is a powerful and complete manifestation of that union.
As an in-demand sideman, Ted has appeared on dozens of recordings and has shared the stage with many world renowned artists such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Frisell, Mark Turner, Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Maria Schneider, Aaron Parks and Ralph Alessi. As a guest soloist and educator, Poor has held residencies at, among others, the Eastman School of Music, Berklee College of Music, Cal Arts, Lawrence University, the University of Oregon, and the HR Big Band of Frankfurt. He is currently an Artist in Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Richard Karpen is a composer and researcher in multiple areas of music and the arts. His compositions for both electronic media and live performance are widely known, recorded, and performed internationally. Over the last 30 years he has also been one of the leading pioneers in the development of computer applications for music composition, interactive performance, and sonic arts. He has recently returned to the stage as a pianist.
Karpen is currently Director of the School of Music at the University of Washington where he is also a Professor of Music Composition. He previously served at the UW as Divisional Dean for Research in the College of Arts and Sciences and Founding Director of the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS). He has been the recipient of many awards, grants, and prizes including those from the National Endowment for the Arts, the ASCAP Foundation, the Bourges Contest in France, and the Luigi Russolo Foundation in Italy. Fellowships and grants for work outside of the United States include a Fulbright to Italy, a residency at IRCAM in France, and a Leverhulme Visiting Fellowship to the United Kingdom. He received his doctorate in composition from Stanford University, where he also worked at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). Karpen is a native of New York, where he studied composition with Charles Dodge and Gheorghe Costinescu.
Karpen has composed works for many leading international soloists such as soprano Judith Bettina, violist Garth Knox, trombonist Stuart Dempster, flutists Laura Chislett and Jos Zwaanenberg, guitarist Stefan Ostersjo, and oboist Alex Klein. Along with numerous concert and radio performances, his works have been set to dance by groups such as the Royal Danish Ballet and the Guandong Dance Company of China. Karpen's compositions have been recorded on a variety of labels including Wergo, Centaur, Neuma, Le Chant du Monde, DIFFUSION i MeDIA, Fleur du Son, and Capstone.