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Improvised Music Project Festival (IMPFest) 

Friday, April 28, 2023 - 7:30pm
Saturday, April 29, 2023 - 7:30pm
$20 general; $15 UW affiliate; $10 students/seniors.
  • IMPFest VIII
    The student-run Improvised Music Project (IMP) collaborates with the School of Music to produce IMPFest.
  • Pianist Kris Davis
    2023 IMPFest artist Kris Davis (Peter Gannushkin photo).
  • IMPFest artist Michael Libramento (Photo: courtesy the artist).
    IMPFest artist Michael Libramento

The School of Music and the student-run Improvised Music Project present the annual Improvised Music Project Festival (IMPFEST), featuring two evenings of distinct performances by UW Music students, faculty, and guests. Featured artists for IMPFest 2023 are composer/pianist (and 2023 GRAMMY winner) Kris Davis and multi-instrumentalist/composer Michael Libramento. 

IMPFEST is made possible through generous support from Seattle's Raynier Foundation.

Festival Schedule

Friday, April 28: Michael Libramento with UW students and faculty
Saturday, April 29: Kris Davis with UW students and faculty

IMPFest Ensembles

Friday, April 28:
Michael "Libro" Libramento - guitar, bass, drums/percussion
With UW Students
Matt Camgros - drums/percussion
Galin Hebert - drums/percussion
Trevor Eulau - guitar
Jai Lasker - guitar
Solomon Lubell - bass
Shai Permilovsky - piano/rhodes
Jacob Linden - piano/rhodes

Michael Libramento With UW Faculty
Cuong Vu, Ted Poor

Saturday, April 29:
Kris Davis - piano 
With UW Students
EJ Brannon - drums
Beau Wood - bass
Andrew Friedrich - guitar
Natalie Song - rhodes/piano
Jacob Lipp - tenor sax

Kris Davis With UW Faculty
Cuong Vu, Ted Poor, Steve Rodby  


Kris Davis
Pianist-composer Kris Davis was named 2017 Rising Star Pianist/2018 Rising Star Artist in Downbeat magazine and dubbed one of the music’s top up-and-comers in a 2012 New York Times article titled “New Pilots at the Keyboard,” with the newspaper saying: “One method for deciding where to hear jazz on a given night has been to track down the pianist Kris Davis.” To date, Davis has released twelve recordings as leader. Her 2016 release, Duopoly, made The New York Times, Pop Matters, NPR, LA Times, and Jazz Times best albums of 2016. Davis works as a collaborator and side person with artists such as John Zorn, Terri Lyne Carrington, Craig Taborn, Tyshawn Sorey, Eric Revis, Michael Formanek, Tony Malaby, Ingrid Laubrock, Julian Lage, Mary Halvorson and Tom Rainey. Davis received a Doris Duke Impact award in 2015 and multiple commissions to compose new works from The Shifting FoundationThe Jazz Gallery/Jerome Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts.  She is the Associate Program Director of Creative Development for the Insitute Jazz and Gender Justice at Berklee College of Music.

Michael Libramento

Asheville, N.C.-based multi-instrumentalist/composer Michael Libramento is known for his dynamic and unique drumming style; however, it would not be out of place to find him as a left-handed, upside-down electric guitarist or bassist in a rock club, possibly at the Hammond organ or Wurlitzer electric piano at a studio session…or laying down some vocal harmonies over his minimalist soul productions. In addition to live performances in venues across the country, including festivals like Bonnaroo and South By Southwest, Michael is often helping record/produce his friends’ albums or teaching private music lessons. Groups he has been involved with include Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Dr. Dog, among many others. 

Ted Poor is a New York-born, Seattle-based drummer and composer whose adventurous, soulful playing has vaulted him to the stages of some of today’s most vital artists. Modern Drummer describes his playing as “adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward-thinking.” A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Ted has toured and recorded with renowned artists such as Paul Simon, Marcus Mumford, Bill Frisell, Rufus Wainwright, Pat Metheny, Blake Mills, Madison Cunningham, Chris Thile, John Scofield, Cuong Vu, My Brightest Diamond, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Gabriel Kahane. 

Having signed with Verve Records (UMG), his debut album, You Already Know, was released in 2020 to critical acclaim.  The album, which is co-produced with Blake Mills features Andrew D’Angelo, Andrew Bird, Rob Moose, Paul Kowert and Sebastian Steinberg. JazzTimes calls the album “profound and moving” and states, “intimate, involving, and lasting, You Already Know balms the senses, wakes them up, slaps them around, and offers positive affirmations.” 

Ted is a member of Los Angeles based singer/song-writer Andrew Bird’s band; appearing on and touring the albums Are You Serious and My Finest Work Yet (Loma Vista/Concord).  He also performed regularly in the house band on the live radio broadcast of Live From Here with Chris Thile (formerly A Prairie Home Companion). Ted is an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies and the acting Associate Director of the School of Music at the University of Washington in Seattle. 

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.”

Steve Rodby
Acoustic and electric bassist, audio and video editor and producer Steve Rodby was born in Joliet, Illinois. He began studying classical orchestral bass at age 10, and quickly developed parallel interests in pop and jazz. A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in classical bass performance, Steve spent many years as a multi-style studio musician on both acoustic and electric bass in Chicago recording studios, while also playing with the leading contemporary classical chamber music group in the city, the University of Chicago's CCP. Playing regularly at the Jazz Showcase also gave him the opportunity to play with numerous jazz masters. In 1981, Steve joined the Pat Metheny Group, and would play with the PMG for 3 decades. Steve also started, in the early 80s, producing records for the PMG and many others, as well as working as a video editor for both PBS music specials and other music DVDs. In all, Steve has won 15 Grammy awards. Recently, Steve has been touring and recording with the international group The Impossible Gentlemen.