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Bill Frisell, Eric Revis to perform with UW students at IMPFest V

Submitted by Humanities Web Project on April 3, 2013 - 12:00am
Bill Frisell
Guitarist Bill Frisell

Students from the University of Washington Jazz Studies program build on the success of a dynamic and ever-expanding creative endeavor April 24-27 when the Improvised Music Project presents IMPfest V.

The annual festival, which pairs local up-and-coming avant-garde music visionaries with some of the world’s top performers in a series of spring concerts, has experienced dramatic growth in its short history and has played an important role in igniting Seattle’s expanding new music scene. Past festival highlights have included appearances by renowned artists Bill Frisell, Andrew D’Angelo, Tim Berne, George Garzone, Ralph Alessi, and the Cuong Vu Quartet.

Continuing April 24-27 at the School of Music and at the Chapel Performance Space in Wallingford, the festival will feature performances on April 25 by internationally renowned guitarist Bill Frisell with drummer Ted Poor, UW Jazz Studies professor Cuong Vu, and UW Jazz Studies students; and on Friday, April 26 by Grammy winning bassist Eric Revis with Poor, Vu, and UW Jazz Studies students.

Concerts at the Chapel wrap up on Saturday, April 27 with performances by three Seattle groups featuring past and current Jazz Studies students—King Tears Bat Trip (the vision of Jazz Studies faculty member and alumnus Luke Bergman, guitar), Japanese Guy, and the How Glass is Made Ensemble. 

In addition to concert performances, workshop/clinics by Frisell and Revis are also scheduled in the Music Building, including a session with Bill Frisell and UW students on April 24 and with Eric Revis and UW students on April 25.  Clinics are at 12:30 p.m. in Music Room 35 and are free and open to the public.

The IMP and IMPfest are organized and run entirely by students from the UW Jazz Studies Program. In late 2011, many of those same students were involved in the launch of Table and Chairs, a Seattle-based record label that serves as an anchor for the same music community that the IMP has helped to develop. In an effort to foster the growth of forward-thinking musicians, IMP students curate monthly showcases at Café Solstice in the University District as well as participate in a weekly jam session called The Racer Sessions at Café Racer, a hub for avant-garde music in the University District.

A complete festival schedule and more details are available at and at

IMPfest V events April 24-27, 2013

Wednesday, April 24

Clinic/Workshop with guitarist Bill Frisell

12:30 p.m. Music Room 35



Thursday, April 25

Clinic/Workshop with bassist Eric Revis

12:30 p.m. Music Room 35



Concert: Bill Frisell, Ted Poor, and Cuong Vu with UW Jazz Students

Insistent Caterpillars

7:30 p.m. Chapel Performance Space (649 Sunnyside Ave. N. at the Good Shepherd Center)

Suggested donation: $15


Friday, April 26

Concert: Eric Revis with Ted Poor, and Cuong Vu with UW Jazz Students

Sequoia Ensemble
7:30 p.m. Chapel Performance Space (649 Sunnyside Ave. N. at the Good Shepherd Center)

Suggested donation: $15


Saturday, April 27

Concert: King Tears Bat Trip

Japanese Guy

Ray Larsen's How Glass is Made Ensemble

7:30 p.m. Chapel Performance Space (649 Sunnyside Ave. N. at the Good Shepherd Center)

Suggested donation: $15


Featured Artists

Bill Frisell, guitar

"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."

Eric Revis, bass

Grammy-winning bassist/composer Eric Revis has been one of the most solid and forceful voices in the contemporary jazz scene for over 15 years despite his young age. Eric met Delfeayo Marsalis while volunteering for the Arts Council of San Antonio. Delfeayo strongly suggested that Eric study under his father's program in University of New Orleans. Eric then moved to New Orleans where he has studied under Ellis Marsalis, Harold Battiste, and Victor Goines. Eric made his inevitable move to New York City in 1994, as he became a regular bassist for Ms. Betty Carter. It did not take long for the New York musicians to take a notice in Eric. He had worked regularly with Billy Harper, Louis Hays, Lionel Hampton, Tess Marsalis, Russell Gunn, etc.

In 1997, Eric met Branford Marsalis at a recording session with Russell Gunn. Mr. Marsalis, who was impressed with the young bassist, asked Eric to join him on his recording Bug Shot, along with Kenny Kirkland and Jeff "Tain" Watts. Eric has been one of Branford's most reliable allies since then.

Ted Poor, drums

Ted Poor began playing drums in 1984 at the tender age of three. He can’t remember his first attraction to the drums, though his parents place it at a Horace Silver concert in his hometown of Rochester, NY. That concert led to a homemade drum set, which in turn prompted a neighbor to donate his old set to the enthusiastic youngster. Ted continued playing throughout grade school and began studying privately with Rich Thompson in 1993. After briefly entertaining the thought of a career in engineering, Ted enrolled in the Eastman School of Music to study music full time – receiving his Bachelors of Music in 2003. While still at Eastman, Ted met acclaimed guitarist Ben Monder, who was visiting as a guest artist. Monder then appeared on Poor’s debut quartet record "All Around" (Trier 2003) and in the fall of 2003 Poor joined Monder’s band and moved to New York City.

Poor has since established himself as a unique and important voice in the NY jazz/improvised music community. 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 placed him amongst those drummers most in demand. In 2003 Poor began touring internationally with Grammy award winning trumpeter Cuong Vu. Together with bassist Stomu Takeishi, the trio collaborated with Bill Frisell to record "It’s Mostly Residual" (Artist Share 2004) and with Chris Speed to record "Vu-Tet" (Artist Share 2007). Ted has additionally performed with a broad spectrum of musicians including Kurt Rosenwinkel, Chris Potter, Aaron Parks, Maria Schneider, Scott Colley, George Garzone, Ralph Alessi, Marc Ducret, David Fiuczynski, David Berkman, Nils Wogram, Donny Mccaslin and John McNiel. 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 HR Big Band of Frankfurt, Colorado University at Denver and the University of Washington.

While maintaining a busy touring schedule as a sideman, Ted is also committed to a number of collaborative ensembles. Formed in 2001, the Respect Sextet is a powerhouse ensemble dedicated to performing a wide variety of improvisational musics. Relying on their explosive energy, rare telepathy, outstanding musicianship and a deep friendship, Respect pieces together free improvisations, original compositions, free jazz classics, television commercial jingles, text pieces, jazz standards, game pieces and more into “a whirling collage,” shouts Exclaim! Magazine, “that ransacks and reshapes the entire jazz tradition, from New Orleans march to Misha Mengelberg, Sun Ra to Charlie Parker.”

Most recently, Ted has joined with cohorts Loren Stillman, Gary Versace and Nate Radley to create Bad Touch. In a musical age of predominantly solo careers, Bad Touch has set out to nurture their identity as a collective. With a shared goal of developing improvised music, these likeminded musicians draw on a wide spectrum of jazz improvisational techniques within original compositions. Bad Touch believes that mutual friendship and commitment yield the most fulfilling musical adventures and aims for their work to reflect this philosophy. "Like A Magic Kiss" (Bad Touch Music, 2008) is a concise and potent example of their shared sense of direction.

Cuong Vu, trumpet

Chair of the UW Jazz Studies program, 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 talents to a wide range of artists including Pat Metheny, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Dave Douglas, Myra Melford, Cibo Matto, and Mitchell Froom.

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 five recordings, each making critics’ lists of the 10 best recordings of their respective years. Each record displays how he has carved out a distinctive sonic territory on the trumpet, blurring all stylistic borders while developing his own compositional aesthetic.

A recipient of numerous awards and honors, Cuong was awarded the Colbert Award for Excellence: The Downtown Arts Project Emerging Artist Award. As an assistant professor in jazz studies, he was recently awarded the University of Washington's prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award and is a Donald E. Petersen Endowed Fellow. 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 young 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”.

King Tears Bat Trip

A favorite among the emerging bands of the Northwest DIY scene, King Tears Bat Trip is the vision of Seattle bassist, guitarist, and composer Luke Bergman.  KTBT can be a ferocious, power-violent beast, but their catchy song forms and hypnotizing beats make this music extremely approachable. The folksy melodies seem as much like Haitian Vodou music as they do an Albert Ayler spirit song. Barking saxophone improvisations shout over Bergman’s washed-out, metallic guitar lines, and twangy, rolling percussion instruments sound in the radius. The band’s tightly-woven rhythmic patterns and careful control of pacing sound both raw and fully assured.

Insistent Caterpillars

Insistent Caterpillars is Cameron Sharif, piano; Carmen Rothwell, bass; and Evan Woodle, drums

Sequoia Ensemble

Sequoia Ensemble was formed in the Spring of 2011 as a part of the curatorship by Levi Gillis at the Racer Sessions. Drawing on inspiration from natural landscapes, this collective of Seattle musicians captures an earthy and organic sound. Fusing melancholy, poignant melodies with spirited improvisation, Sequoia Ensemble achieves a unique and layered collage of texture.

Japanese Guy

Japanese Guy is Skyler Skjelset (Fleet Foxes), Andrew J.S. (Speak, Heatwarmer), and Chris Icasiano (Speak, Bad Luck).

How Glass is Made

The vision of trumpeter Ray Larsen, How Glass is Made is a continuous piece of music in six sections for a group of seven improvising musicians. It is between 40-50 minutes in length. Instruments include saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet, trumpet, cello, guitar, piano, bass, drums. The piece presents the listener with a mixture of dense composition, hypnotic pulse, exploratory improvisation and spacious polyphony.