Renowned guitarist (and affiliate UW Music faculty member) Bill Frisell and UW Music faculty band Indigo Mist (Cuong Vu, trumpet; Richard Karpen, piano; Ted Poor, drums; Juan Pampin, live electronics; and Steve Rodby, bass) present a program of all-new, original music in this performance made possible with support from the UW Creative Fellows Initiative, a multi-year program funded by the Mellon Foundation to spur exploration of the nature of creative research at a top research university.
Note: This concert is sold out, but a limited quantity of tickets may be released to the general public on Friday. Check with the ArtsUW Ticket Office on Friday, Jan. 11 in person at 1313 NE 41st Street or by phone at 206.543.4880 (1-800-859-5342 outside of Seattle).
"It's hard to find a more fruitful meditation on American music than in the compositions of guitarist Bill Frisell. Mixing rock and country with jazz and blues, he's found what connects them: improvisation and a sense of play. Unlike other pastichists, who tend to duck passion, Mr. Frisell plays up the pleasure in the music and also takes on another often-avoided subject, tenderness." - The New York Times
Over the years, Frisell has contributed to the work of such collaborators as Paul Motian, John Zorn, Elvis Costello, Ginger Baker, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, Suzanne Vega, Loudon Wainwright III, Van Dyke Parks, Vic Chesnutt, Rickie Lee Jones, Ron Sexsmith, Vinicius Cantuaria, Marc Johnson (in "Bass Desires"), Ronald Shannon Jackson and Melvin Gibbs (in "Power Tools"), Marianne Faithful, John Scofield, Jan Garbarek, Lyle Mays, Vernon Reid, Julius Hemphill, Paul Bley, Wayne Horvitz, Hal Willner, Robin Holcomb, Rinde Eckert, The Frankfurt Ballet, film director Gus Van Sant, David Sanborn, David Sylvian, Petra Haden and numerous others, including Bono, Brian Eno, Jon Hassell and Daniel Lanois on the soundtrack for Wim Wenders' film Million Dollar Hotel.
This work has established Frisell as one of the most sought-after guitar voices in contemporary music. The breadth of such performing and recording situations is a testament not only to his singular guitar conception, but his musical versatility as well. This, however, is old news by now. In recent years, it is Frisell's role as composer and band leader which has garnered him increasing notoriety.
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. The band even comfortably follows the leader onto Country and Western turf, as Frisell often approximates the whine of a lonely steel guitar." (Minneapolis Star Tribune). Bill's comments to the same publication: "When I was in Colorado, I never really played that country stuff or even liked it that much, though it was all over the radio. But as I got older, it crept into my music a lot." In fact, 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. When I sit down to write something in a certain style, it doesn't work. I don't know if that's important or something I need to do, or if it doesn't matter. I don't care; I'm just thankful something comes out sometimes."
This 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."
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. Petersen 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.”
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 in the forefront of the development of computer applications for music composition, interactive performance, and the sonic arts. He recently returned to the stage and the studio as a pianist.
Karpen was the founding director of DXARTS and is currently Director of the School of Music at the University of Washington, where he is also Professor of Music Composition. He has been the recipient of many awards, grants, and prizes, including those from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bourges Contest in France, and the Luigi Russolo Foundation in Italy. Karpen has composed works for many leading international soloists, such as soprano Judith Bettina, violists Garth Knox and Melia Watras, trombonist Stuart Dempster, flutists Laura Chislett and Jos Zwaanenberg, guitarist Stefan Östersjö, and ensembles such as The Six Tones, JACK Quartet, The Seattle Symphony, and the Harry Partch Ensemble. Karpen is a founding member, with Cuong Vu, of the experimental improvisation ensemble Indigo Mist. As a pianist, Karpen has performed and recorded with Cuong Vu, Bill Frisell, Ted Poor, Steve Rodby, and others. Karpen's compositions and performances have been recorded on a variety of labels including Wergo, Centaur, Neuma, Le Chant du Monde, DIFFUSION i MeDIA, Fleur du Son, Capstone, and RareNoise.
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.
Juan Pampin (b. Buenos Aires, 1967) is Associate Professor of composition at University of Washington and founding faculty member of the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) for which he currently serves as Associate Director.
Pampin received an MA in Composition from Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon, France and a DMA in Composition from Stanford University, where he studied with composer Jonathan Harvey. Juan Pampin's works explore the territory articulated by the concepts of space, memory, and material, using algorithmic composition and signal processing tools of his own development.
Juan Pampin's music compositions, including works for instrumental, digital, and mixed media, have been performed around the world by world-class soloists and ensembles. His work "On Space" –for percussion sextet and 3D electronic sounds– has been recently released on CD as part of Les Percussions de Strasbourg 50th anniversary historical edition box published by Universal France.