Two entertaining and unclassifiable experimental music groups visit Highways in a shared evening of New Work. Each group combines voices and instruments, virtuosity, humor, and improvisation, in sophisticated and unexpected ways.
The Obihiro Cowboys are Bobby Bradford (cornet), Michael Vlatkovich (trombone), William Roper (tuba), and Joseph Mitchell (percussion). They are the union of Roper’s most frequent collaborators from other duos, trios, and larger groups, each a brilliant instrumentalist and improviser.
JAB is vocalist/performance artist Anna Homler’s new ensemble with bassist Jeff Schwartz and soundscape percussionist Breeze Smith. Homler sings in an invented language and uses toys and other objects to make sound, while Smith plays his own wood and metal sculptures, as well as conventional instruments, and uses electronics to capture and transform his and the others’ sounds.
Sunday, February 28 @ 7.30pm
$20 general admission / $15 members, students, seniors
Bobby Bradford was born in Mississippi and grew up in Texas. He started taking piano lessons in Mississippi from an itinerant music teacher. When the family moved to Texas, he bartered with a neighbor for a cornet. Though his father thought he made a bum deal, Bobby has never regretted it. The list of players he has collaborated and sided with is long and impressive and includes the likes of Buster Smith, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, John Carter, David Murray, Charlie Haden. As impressive is the long list of students he has taught and mentored. Bradford is a masterful composer and has led several iterations of his Mo’tet for decades. http://markweber.free-jazz.net/2013/01/28/bobby-bradford-timeline-work-in-progress/
Michael Vlatkovich is one of the most prolific composers of improvised music around. He is also relentless in his efforts to document and distribute his work. Michael hails from the Mid-west, but left in plenty of time. He used to ride bicycles for miles and miles. His often aggressive trombone solos add to the grand tradition of the instrument’s nobility of tone and heroic nature. That being said, some of his best work is with the small, intimate ensembles he assembles. That is because he is a nuanced thinker. How one thinks, shows up in the music. He is not to be trifled with. http://www.vlatkovich.com/
William Roper plays bottom brass instruments, along with bovine and mollusk body parts. He has tried to make an instrument out of Aves (which are highly advanced theropod dinosaurs) bones, like the Iranians do, but has yet to succeed. No worries, all those birds were honored with a tasty sauce. Roper is the only Los Angeles native in the group, but he has left many times and he for sure doesn’t want to die in the City of the Queen of Angels. Roper strongly believes that there is no business like show business. One day, walking around the city of Obihiro, in Hokkaido, he said to himself, “This is a cow town. These people understand about cows.” http://roperarts.com
Joseph Mitchell hits things. What is that about? It’s about time, it’s about space, it’s about being in a very strange place. He was born in Indiana, grew up in L.A., joined the Army, then came home. He is very disciplined. He wears bow ties because he plays with groups like the L.A. Philharmonic, Pasadena and Pacific symphonies, the L.A. Opera and L.A. Master Chorale. To balance that, he composes and improvises, most notably with Judicanti Responsura and Orange Peal Vibrations.
Anna Homler is a vocal, visual and performance artist based in Los Angeles. She has performed and exhibited her work in venues around the world. With a sensibility that is both ancient and post-modern, Homler sings in an improvised melodic language. Her work explores alternative means of communication and the poetics of ordinary things. She creates perceptual interventions by using language as music and objects as instruments. http://www.annahomler.com
Jeff Schwartz is the principal bass of MESTO (the Multi-Ethnic STar Orchestra), a member of the Santa Monica Symphony, co-leader of The Decisive Instant large ensemble, and is very active in the Los Angeles creative music community. He has also performed with artists including Anthony Braxton, Glenn Branca, Andrea Centazzo, Dana Reason, Nicole Mitchell, and Adam Rudolph, and attended the Creative Music Studio and the Vancouver Creative Music Institute. The author of a popular online biography of Albert Ayler, his writing has also appeared in the journals American Music, Popular Music, and Postmodern Culture. His day job is as a reference librarian at a public library. http://jeffschwartzmusic.wordpress.com
Breeze Smith is a drummer, percussionist, instrument maker/designer, educator, and improviser, working in solo and ensemble formats in Europe & the US with artists including Vinny Golia, Dwight Trible, Steuart Liebig, Billy Childs, John Beasley, David Ornette Cherry, Rod Poole, Hannibal Lakumbe, String Planet, Roberto Miranda, Justo Amario, Ralph “Buzzy” Jones, Yuval Ron, and Tadashi Namba. He also facilitates sound guided meditations with a myriad of gongs, singing bowls, eclectic and electronic percussion with live looping, and has accompanied dance performances by the Ohio State University Dance Dept, Cheryl Banks-Smith, and others.