23 November 2011

December 9, 8:00 at the Nave

On December 9 at 8:00, Pianist Paul Carlson will be joining the Vortex Series presenting a solo piano work by Ruth Crawford Seeger as featured on his soon to be released solo album. Mr Carlson will also collaborate with violist Eve Boltax and clarinetist Todd Brunel with chamber works by Paul Walter Furst and Bertold Hummel. Todd Brunel will present solo clarinet and bass clarinet works works by Pamela Marshall and Claudio Gabriele.
On the second half of our program, percussionist Gary Fieldman will join saxophonist Rick Stone in a 6 part collaborative composition and pianist Peter Cassino will join Todd Brunel in presenting an improvisational work by composer John Morrison, as featured recently at the Longy School's Septemberfest: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybcIQXVYwjQ
Then in keeping with our ongoing tradition, improvisations will ensue by Cassino, Brunel, Fieldman and Stone. Location: The Nave Gallery, 155 Powderhouse Blvd, Somerville, MA. Time: 8:00. $10 admission. Tickets for this event available at: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=s7t7quhab&oeidk=a07e5amwba4f7c25a68
This concert is presented in part by a grant by the Somerville Arts Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

24 October 2011

November 18 show at the Nave

November 18, 8:00, the Nave Gallery in Somerville

The Vortex Series for New and Improvised Music proudly presents:

Guitarist Garrison Fewell, Forbes Graham trumpet and electronics,Pamela Marshall on French horn, John McLellan drums, Jodi Hitzhusen classical soprano, Melissa Kassell jazz vocalist and Sonic Sandbox with Tom Casale on double bass.

The Nave gallery is located at: 155 Powderhouse Blvd, Somerville, MA.

$10 suggested donation, wheel chair accessible.

12 October 2011

Two New SHOWS!

Nave Gallery, Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, 155 Powderhouse Blvd., Somerville, MA.
Friday November 18 at 8:00 and December 9 at 8:00.
More details will be emerging , save the date!

28 September 2011

A Break

Peter Cassino and Todd Brunel live at Septemberfest at the Longy School in Cambridge.The Vortex has been taking a break since our cd release party back in June. I welcome your thoughts, ideas about venues and future collaborations. Feel free to email me directly at:

28 June 2011

Great Cd party!

I just want to thank everyone who made our cd release party a success the other day, we had a blast! The Somerville Scout has run a nice article about our series and our cd. Check the article out here: http://www.somervillescout.com/2011/06/local-band-showcases-new-music/
We will be announcing our fall line up shortly. We're so grateful for our good friends, their incredible talent and support.

27 May 2011

Vortex Live CD Release Party!!

CD Release Party

Sunday, June 26, from 2:00-5:00

the Cafe at the Somerville Armory,

191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA.

The Vortex Series just released an amazing cd called Vortex Live. It features adventurous performances by some of the best musicians in the New England area. It took 3 years to cultivate and grow into the 9 track cd that it has become. We are very happy to announce our cd release party which will take place Sunday afternoon June 26 starting at 2:00. Some of our best friends will be there to perform live and you can pick up your very own copy in person. Feel free to check out our CD Baby page as well to sample or to even download our music. The link is right here at the top right hand side of our blog. So please save the time and the date and come on down!

26 May 2011

Andy Voelker Trio, b.mez, Todd Brunel Trio

Friday June 17 8:30 at Zumix, 260 Sumner st, E. Boston, MA.
The Vortex Series is proud to welcome the Andy Voelker trio with Jeff Galindo on trombone and Jeff Charland on double bass.
The Andy Voelker Trio plays free explorations and Andy's original compositions ranging from tone poems to swinging tours de forces. Andy has been playing in the saxophone trio setting for years born out of the noticeable lack of actual pianos in the clubs and bars around Boston. The AV Trio chooses compositions and approaches that make it differ from other formats Andy plays in even when the players are the same. He will be joined by Jeff Galindo on trombone and Jeff Charland on bass.

Andy Voelker is a Berklee trained jazz musician who has studied bebop, hard bop, modern jazz, free jazz, avant guard jazz, and so called noise music. Having embraced the Boston free music scene early on, Andy has been able to incorporate many of the techniques and morals of the avant guard into a unique approach that stands out on the Boston improvisation scene.

The vortex is also proud to welcome b.mez, an improvisational loop- and fx-based project featuring members of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic plus guests.
Michael Bierylo/guitar/loops/electronics

Ken Field/sax/flute/loops/electronics
Rick Scott/synthesizer/loops
Encanti/electronic beats/loops
Formed in 1980,post-punk,art-rock pioneers Birdsongs of the Mesozoic are known world-wide for their wide-ranging,innovative instrumental constructions."It's as if Ornette Coleman was in a no-rock band with Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny and the Kronos Quartet suddenly stopped by to get drunk with them on Teleman's grave." -Performer Magazine

In contrast to the compositionally-based Birdsongs, b.mez functions as a nimble landing craft, emphasizing spontaneity and improvisational energy, while retaining the structured sensibility that guides the mother ship.
"Totally sublime and deeply moving." - The Noise

The night will also feature an improvisational trio with Todd Brunel on clarinets and soprano sax, Peter Cassino on piano and Pam Marshall on french horn.

10 May 2011

John Tchicai's Six Points

John Tchicai's Six Points: Ascension Unending

Friday, May 20 - 8:30 PM @ Zumix, 260 Sumner St, East Boston

performers: John Tchicai, Garrison Fewell, Alex Weiss, Rosi Hertlein, Dmitry Ishenko, Ches Smith,

John Tchicai's Six Points is a collaborative ensemble consisting of the following six sensible musical personalities: Saxophonist/singer John Tchicai, and with sounds ready for Victoriaville and elsewhere, guitarist Garrison Fewell, along with the bass is "the base" bassist Dmitry Ishenko, totally in tune with herself violinist/singer Rosie Hertlein, excuisite drummer companion Ches Smith, and he who always knows when and where to place the next tone, fabulous saxophonist Alex Weiss.

The ensemble paints wonderful inner landscapes, plays compositions by the group members and improvises solo's, duo's, trio's etc. and continues the way of music communication initiated by John Coltrane on his momentous Ascension recordings.

By approaching jazz from a wide scope, Afro-Danish-American John Tchicai has been continuously progressive throughout his life. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1936, of a Danish mother and a Congolese father and growing up in healthy surroundings, John Martin Tchicai became a leading exponent of the jazz avant-garde in New York in the '60s and a father-figure for the European avant-garde after that. Now based in Davis, California, and Claira, France, by a single-mindedness of purpose and action, his work still reflects what he's always been doing, which is innovate and inspires other people, in a most refreshing way. The Danish ministry of Culture recognized his work by awarding him a lifetime grant.

23 April 2011

John Tchicai

Friday May 20, 2011 at Zumix, 260 Sumner St, E. Boston, MA. 8:30, $10 Suggested donation.

The Vortex Series is proud to present John Tchicai as a feature performer at its next concert, to be held May 20 at the beautifully renovated Zumix Firehouse in East Boston. Approaching jazz from a wide scope, Afro-Danish American John Tchicai is a composer & saxophonist whose music is internationally known for its compelling sense of rhythm, drama and humor, its freedom, spirituality, healing qualities and ultimate freshness. He recorded with both John Coltrane (“Ascension”) and John Lennon (“Life with Lions”), founded ensembles like “New York Art Quartet”, “Cadentia Nova Danica” and “John Tchicai & the Archetypes”, he has composed for jazz & classical ensembles and he records, tours and teaches continuously. Based today in Davis, CA and Claira, France, John Tchicai is also the first recipient of a lifetime grant for Jazz performance from the State of Danmark.

He will be working with his New York based project, Six Points which also features bassist Dmitry Ishenko, violinist/singer Rosie Hertlein, drummer Ches Smith and saxophonist Alex Weiss.

The concert will start at 8:30 pm at the Zumix Firehouse, 260 Sumner Street, East Boston, located just around the corner from the Blue Line Maverick T-stop. As a proud recipient of a 2011 Somerville Arts Council Grant, The Vortex Series is also an affiliate of Art Without Borders, based in Harvard Square.

05 April 2011

Sunshine Soldier, Saxophone in Machines, Peter Cassino

Friday April 15, 8:30 at Zumix, 260 Sumner St, E. Boston, MA 02128

Saxophone in Machines:

is Michael Dobiel and Kelly Roberge. Their axes of choice are saxophones and laptops. The duo seeks to tame these machines to create a fully integrated improvised music. Mike and Kelly have been playing together since May 2010. This day was characterized by everything from malfunctioning computers, to microphones being beaten against the ground. It was all done against the backdrop of a video of moon landings. They have not looked back

Sunshine Soldier:

It is rare that a new improvising band can walk right pastconvention and into a sonic territory all their own. Sunshine Soldier is doing just that. Whether its the delicious sonic hideousness of Brad Henkel playing a balloon through his mouthpiece, the soft-spoken
melodies on Stardrum's melodica or the crunchy, percussive blasts from Carlson's baritone guitar, these guys are executing their sonic landscapes fearlessly.

Peter Cassino piano:

In 1961 at the young age of 21, Peter was one of a growing number of American jazz players who relocated to Europe. During that time, Peter had the opportunity to play with a number of prominent players who were also living in Europe. Among them were trumpeter Benny Baily, alto saxophonist Leo Wright, and drummer Joe Harris. His life as a full-time jazz musician really started in West Berlin during this time. In 1969 Peter returned to the United States and completed his formal music studies. As an undergraduate piano major at the School for the Arts at Boston University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music, he had the good fortune to study piano with Leon Tumarkin and Anthony di Bonaventura. He received a Master of Music in jazz piano from the New England Conservatory where he studied piano with Jaki Byard and composition with George Russell.

Mr Cassino is head of the Modern American Music Department at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA.

21 March 2011

EAR DUO with Robots, Garrison Fewell Trio NYC.

Friday April 1, 8:00 Somerville Armory, 191 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA
The EAR DUO with Robots and The Garrison Fewell trio with Steve Swell trombone and Andrew Raffo Dewar alto sax.

The EAR Duo and Robots!

Founded in 2005 by saxophonist Michael Straus and bassoonist Dana Jessen, the EAR (Electro Acoustic Reed) Duo is dedicated to the performance of new, improvised and experimental electroacoustic music. Recently praised by the Boston Music Intelligencer for performing "with conviction and authenticity," the duo can regularly be seen presenting a variety of works ranging from new commissions written specifically for them, to original arrangements of works by Terry Riley, Steve Reich and James Tenney. Attempting to stretch the limits of duo performance, their concerts include aspects of theater coupled with visual and electronic media. Aside from performing on their respective instruments, EAR Duo has teamed up with the brilliant trio of guys in EMMI (Expressive Machines Musical Instruments) and recently received funding through a Kickstarter campaign. Yes the Ear duo will be playing live with robots at the Vortex!! They have commissioned a series of musical robots to unleash on the U.S. and Europe.

Garrison Fewell Trio with Steve Swell trombone and Andrew Raffo Dewar soprano saxophonist.

Renowned for his mature, melodic sound and elegant, lyrical style of writing, guitarist Garrison Fewell has established himself as a distinctive voice throughout his 30-year career. Critics have called him "one of today’s most personal guitar players" (Boston Phoenix), "an assured stylist with a strong sense of tradition" (The New Yorker), "a player of virtuosity and swinging intensity" (UPI), and "refined, passionate, and inspiring" (Guitar Player).

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Steve Swell has been an active member of the NYC music community since 1975. He has toured and recorded with many artists from main-streamers such as Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich to so called outsiders, Anthony Braxton, Bill Dixon, Cecil Taylor and William Parker. He has over 25 Cds as a leader or co-leader and is a featured artist on more than 90 other releases. He runs workshops around the world and is a teaching artist in the NYC public school system focusing on special needs children.

Andrew Raffo Dewar (b.1975 Rosario, Argentina) is a composer, improviser, woodwind instrumentalist and ethnomusicologist. Since 1995, he has been active in the music communities of Minneapolis, New Orleans, the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, performing his work in North America, Southeast Asia and Europe. Dewar studied with saxophonist/composers Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton and Phillip Greenlief, composer Alvin Lucier, trumpeter/composer Bill Dixon, and multi-instrumentalist improviser Milo Fine. He has also had a long involvement with Indonesian traditional and experimental music, particularly the Minangkabau music of West Sumatra and Central Javanese gamelan.

07 March 2011

Birdsongs and Quantum Trio

The Vortex Series presents: March 18, 8:30 at Zumix, 260 Sumner st, East Boston, MA.

Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic began in 1980 as a side project by half of Boston's now legendary Mission Of Burma, Roger Miller and Martin Swope. Miller and Swope joined forces with Rick Scott and Erik Lindgren for what was originally conceived as a recording project only. In 1983, they released a self-titled EP, Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic.

With the demise of Mission Of Burma at about the same time as the EP's release, Birdongs Of The Mesozoic became a full-time band for all members. In 1984 they released another LP, Magnetic Flip, and began extensive touring to support its release. A year later they released another EP, Beat Of The Mesozoic, and again set out on tour.

In 1987, Roger Miller left the group to concentrate on solo projects and was replaced by saxophonist Ken Field. Birdsongs' new lineup recorded Faultline, released on Cuneiform (Rune 19). Their second Cuneiform release, Pyroclastics (Rune 35), appeared in 1992. Shortly afterwards, guitarist Michael Bierylo replaced Martin Swope, who moved to Hawaii. In 1993 a collection of previously unreleased material from 1980-1987 featuring the band's first lineup and accompanied by a written history, The Fossil Record (Rune 55) paid tribute to Birdsongs' early years.

1995's Dancing On A'A (Rune 69) was the first Birdsongs release to feature the current lineup of the group, which has been performing ever since to widespread acclaim.

Birdsongs' instrumentation is as striking as its music: two keyboards, guitar, and saxophone blend with electronic and acoustic percussion (including a Mercury Cougar hubcap and a paint can) to produce sound "...as meditative as it is physical, as rooted in classical structure and jazz improvisation as it is in rock 'n roll." (The Boston Globe)

Since 1994, the members of Birdsongs have been Aritsts-In-Residence at Dartmouth College and Massachusetts College Of Art. Other recent notable performances have included the Knitting Factory in New York City, the Honolulu Academy Of Arts, the Monadnock Music Festival in New Hampshire, and Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut.

Quantum Trio
Michael Shea- piano/electric keyboard
Hilary Noble-tenor saxophone/flute/congas/
Dennis Warren-drums/timbales/quica/percussion

Michael Shea studied at Karl Berger's Creative Music Studio in
Woodstock NY; he has performed with Raqib Hassan, FMRJE and a wide
swathe of jazz and creative improvisation communities throughout the USA.

Hilary Noble studied congas in Havana with Maximino Duquesne and
saxophone in the USA with Yusef Lateef. He was mentored by in Europe by
the great Afrocentric free jazz bandleader Clifford Thornton. He has played with Bo Diddley, Esperanza Spalding, Eric Crasno, Bobby Sanabria, Ray Vega and others.

Dennis Warren the self described quantum drummer, graduated from Bennington College where he studied with Black music theorists like the late trumpeter Bill Dixon and drummer Milford Graves, he was around to experience the tail end of the Free Jazz psychedelic epoch. Dennis has toured Europe and recorded with trumpeter Raphe Malik and saxophonist Glenn Spearman. He also leads and produces FMRJE.

Hear the Trio at these links:

26 February 2011

March 4 Democracy Center

Tom Hall tenor sax, Kit Demos double bass, Ashley Addington flute, Rachel Arnold cello, Pam Marshall French horn, Todd Brunel clarinets.
Completing their three concert cycle, the duo of Rachel Arnold and Ashley Addington will once again grace our stage at the Democracy Center, bringing a program that will include newly commissioned works as well as 'Enchanted Preludes' by Elliot Carter.
The Vortex is also proud to present tenor saxophonist Tom Hall and bassist Kit Demos. Tom Hall has enjoyed a long and varied career as one of the most influential improvisers in the New England area. He has worked with such projects as club d'Elf, the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Bruce Katz and is on the faculty of Brandeis University.
Bassist Kit Demos works frequently with such artists as drummer John McClellan, cellist Junko Simons, guitarist Jeff Platz and alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs. He is the director of the Avant jazz Series in Lewiston, ME and is a New England Foundation for the Arts Grant Recipient.
Joining the artist will be fellow Vortex regulars Pam Marshall on french horn and clarinetist Todd Brunel.

10 February 2011

Our First Zumix show!

Friday February 25 at 8:30
Zumix, 260 sumner St
E. Boston, MA 02128
$10 suggested donation
Wheel Chair Accessible

Glenn Dickson, microtonal clarinet

The bandleader of Naftule's Dream and Shirim Klezmer Orchestra. Glenn has toured and recorded with Hypnotic Clambake, Joe Maneri, Taximi (Greek). Featured on the soundtracks of the feature films "A Stranger Among Us" (Sidney Lumet) and "Deconstructing Harry" (Woody Allen).

John McLellan, percussionist

John has toured and recorded with some of the most influential names in modern improvisation including: Pandelis Karyorgis, Blaise Siwula, Matt Maneri and has an extensive discography. A frequent feature with the Vortex Series, John mixes a blend of groove and poly-rhythm.

Dennis Shafer and the Chagall Performance Arts Collaborative

Hailed by the Boston Globe as “Brilliant,” Dennis has collaborated with the New England String ensemble and is the artistic director of the Chagall Performance Arts Collaborative. He will be performing with his Boston Sound-painting Ensemble that features an extensive line up.

Rachel Arnold Cello and Ashley Addington Flute

A brilliant and highly virtuosic duo that actively commission new works for the flute and cello.
Giving a wide variety of concerts throughout the Us and abroad, the two performers continue to stun audiences with a remarkable command of the repertoire.

15 January 2011

February 4, 8:00 Steven Jobe, Yael Bat Shimon

Steven Jobe

"Composer, instrument builder, avant-garde cabaret master and all-purpose madman..."

—Rick Massimo, The Providence Journal, June 8th, 2006

Steven Jobe began composing in 1987 when he was commissioned by the Community College of Rhode Island to compose the lyrics and music for an original musical, Walking on Air. A few years later he wrote the lyrics and music to an opera, Joan of Arc (then called Jeanne d’Arc), which premiered in Providence, Rhode Island in 1993. With the help of his friends and colleagues, a concert version of the work was performed at Bell St. Chapel with a twenty piece cha mber ensemble – including glass bells, hurdy gurdy, accordion and harmonic instruments in support of a cast of a dozen or more...
find out more about Steven Jobe at: http://www.stevenjobe.com/
Yael Bat-shimon
Yael Bat-Shimon, described by T he Boston Globe as an "adventurous contemporary violinist" whose improvisational work draws on her classical training as well as non-western musical traditions", has performed for audie nces from Paris, France to Cambridge, MA. Her music was featured in the fall 2008 edition of the arts and culture e-zine "Zingology", which called her improvisations, "Fiery interpretations of European and American folk traditions squarely anchored on her classical training. A Harvard graduate, she has also studied violin performance at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore and the New England Conservatory.
Find out more about Yael at:
http:// www.yaelbat-shimon.com/index.html

Cellist Rob Bethel
has been working with Steve Jobe and Yael Bat-Shim
on for years and enjoys a busy a career as a freelance cellis t. A regular feature at the Vortex series, Rob will be interacting with both artists and bringing his "listening as a creative act" approach to Friday nights intimate show. For more about Rob and his company, Yesterday Service, click:
http: //www.yesterdayservice.com/

10 January 2011

Thank you Somerville Arts Council

The Vortex Series for New and Improvised Music has been awarded a 2011 grant from the Somerville Arts council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The first Vortex Show of the new year at the Democracy Center went very well and we had a great turn out. Much thanks to all the artist involved, especially our features, Rob Manthy, Ashley Addington, Rachel Arnold and Gary Fieldman.