THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4 PONCHO CONCERT HALL, CORNISH COLLEGE OF THE ARTS, 8PM
Wayne Horvitz: TONK
Michael Blake’s Lucky Thompson Project
$18 general, $16 members/seniors, $9 students BUY NOW
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4 PONCHO CONCERT HALL, Noon
Workshop with Michael Blake and Company
Free and open to the public
By now, pianist Wayne Horvitz has hit just about every musical vein there is. He’s kept it club-ready with Zony Mash and Pigpen – imagining the Meters and a post-punk, post-Naked City tunefulness in two well-loved ensembles. There was the less heralded (perhaps) Varmint, a band built to play Lottie’s Lounge in Columbia City, and then over several albums, Horvitz has dived fully into a chamber-music maze that seems to re-invigorate what was once called the “Third Stream.” The undertow of “A Walk in the Rain” from 2008’s Gravitas Quartet release One Dance Alone comes from Horvitz’s subtle swing and dark-hued piano tones, a skeletal pull, a centimeter-by-centimeter tug that delights between Ron Miles’s trumpet, Peggy Lee’s cello, and Sarah Schoenbeck’s bassoon. No, the November 4th show won’t be with this band, but it’s destined to include the same undertow, pulling beneath a varied landscape. Expect the wide-ranging.
Michael Blake’s Nordic ensemble, Blake Tartare, and their tribute to Lucky Thompson, the peripatetic tenor and soprano genius who went from the bands of Don Redman, Billy Eckstine, and Count Basie, to a world without improvising, without playing publicly, after he abandoned playing in the 1970s. It’s a fitting locale for Blake’s tribute, given Thompson’s final days here in Seattle and his death in 2005 after a bout with Alzheimer’s. Blake Tartare will certainly indulge Thompson’s lyrical side, but they’ve also got a broader view of the tradition, one where the avant-garde and tradition aren’t separate kingdoms; it’s instructive in this light to herald Thompson’s soprano playing, which was more Steve Lacy and John Coltrane, not completely avant but certainly tinged with plenty of post-bop thought patterns even when the horn was barely being dusted off. Blake has a similar ear, a likeminded sense of the tradition, and when it came time to record Thompson’s tunes, Blake added cello and bass clarinet and more, scaling some Thompsonian bop staircases and adding color and depth along the way.
Paired with the Horvitz project as a double-bill, Blake’s Thomson reveries will touch that classic nerve center in the annals of experiencing improvisation: mutual discovery simultaneously with the audience.