“Cinematic post-jazz explorations, compositional & improvisational shapeshifting.”
Liam Hurlbut-tenor saxophone
“Terrestrial Contractions & Celestial Expansions from a zealous quartet of stalwart improvisers.”
Derrick Michaels-tenor saxophone
Trio Xolo is a telepathic improvising unit, based in Baltimore & Brooklyn. This performance will follow our first recording session at Big Orange Sheep Studio, for projected release later in 2019. Zach Swanson is my longest musical collaborator, boasting a huge tone & personal language that spans the diverse landscape of improvised music. Dalius Naujo is a dynamic, creative, and virtuosic drummer, in a league of his own.
DM & Ellery Eskelin-
Susan Alcorn-pedal steel guitar
A quintet of highly expressive improvisers, stalwarts of both local and international renown. I could not be more excited to unite the innovative veteran improvisers Ellery Eskelin & Susan Alcorn with two of my absolute favorite Baltimore jazz musicians, Theljon Allen & Eric Kennedy, for what promises to be a one-of-a-kind performance!
A personalized repertoire of songs from the Great American Songbook, this is an unapologetic celebration of romance and tenderness in the Millennial Age, and a Valentine’s Day tribute to the expressive beauty of the tenor saxophone throughout its history in jazz. To evolve this tradition into the 21st century, the rhythm section must play an equal role in the expression of the music. Reaching beyond the storied “soloist with rhythm section” paradigm allows the classic saxophone/piano quartet formation to bloom into an improvised chamber ensemble of impressive dynamic capacity.
Derrick Michaels-tenor saxophone
“Hot Air & Horse Hair” is an improvised chamber music ensemble - comprised of improvisers from Baltimore, MD and Brooklyn, NY. While this ensemble has never yet performed in this configuration, there are deep musical bonds across the group which will serve as fertile creative soil. While each performer is a compelling instrumentalist in their own right, the strength in each of these musicians is in their varied, supple, and compelling interjections - both as soloists and accompanists.
Sets at 8pm & 9:30pm
There is an invisible line that many traditionalists trace between styles of jazz performance. This line, while invisible, is palpable. On one side of the line, there is “correct” jazz vocabulary, played in a convincing manner, with enough emotion to instigate nostalgia in the listener, keeping the music of yesteryear alive and well. On the other side of the line are the outliers…the ones who perceive the jazz tradition to be rooted in a creative process, rather than a style or idiom. These outliers are more likely to risk going off the rails while reaching for something that may never have been played before - accepting mistakes as a part of the process. This, too is jazz. This, too, is tradition. On this night, we will offer music from the outlier perspective. We are creating spontaneous music, unafraid to draw inspiration from the tradition of jazz, and equally unafraid to stick a monkey wrench in its spokes.
Michael Vincent Ross-drums
The Avant Garde is about subverting expectations. Which limitations must an artist place on their creative forays, in order to communicate their story? The Avant Garde is not a style of music - it is an approach to life and art which is unpredictable, and rooted in an expression of the deepest parts of our humanity.
My music is often labeled as “avant garde” by folks promoting my performances. While this is not a label that offends me in the least, I do hesitate to fully embrace that descriptor. Admittedly - In the bands I assemble, the conventions of “jazz” tradition are often reimagined, sometimes even circumvented. This is done in order to be true to the moment - nothing more, nothing less. We are simply playing what we hear! This does not, however, indicate that song forms are ignored, or the rules of melody, harmony, and phrasing are disregarded. It means that we are taking extra care to pay attention to details and subtlety within our delivery of this music.
This particular concert will present an eschewing of my “avant garde” label - allowing me to reimagine my creative role as a storyteller: delivering and interpreting standard selections from the jazz canon, with a band that is unapologetically SWINGING. If the avant garde is about defying expectations, then it feels like a subversive action for me, anytime book a night of JAZZ that simply swings. The goal here is to be as free in the interpretations and improvisations that we would be if we were off the grid the whole evening. There’s freedom in the moment. Even when you recognize the tunes we are playing.
Experimental Ambient Music from Baltimore MD
Tim Houston- Guitar and Effects
Jake Finck- Guitar and Effects
Derrick Michaels/Phillip Greenlief
Two tenor saxophonists who hail from Baltimore and San Francisco, respectively - join forces for the first time, bringing with them the sum total of their individual life experiences, and weaving sonic tapestries together in real time.
Savino Palumbo/Chris Pumphrey
Piano/Rhodes duets from two of the most formidable keyboardists/improvisers in Baltimore.
“The Music Space was founded in 2015 to provide an open, creative environment for music lessons and recording in a professional studio.”
To swing in music is a powerful creative act. To accept responsibility for creativity in our lives, from moment-to-moment, is a revolutionary act. To be creative and connected in the moment and the music is what it means to swing.
Celebrating my 33rd revolution around the sun, I will be presenting some of my new original material, written for this quintet of incredible Baltimore-based musicians. Peppered into the sets will be a few of my favorite pieces and songs, written by composers who have made an indelible impact on my own creative process.
sets at 8:00pm & 9:30pm
In Ben’s Own Words:
“We've been doing this since 2008 at The Windup Space! Come celebrate another trip around the sun with Ben Frock and lots of good friends
Live music, art, food, fun and your good energy.
Byo friends, your open hearts and minds and let's celebrate each other.”
Chris Pumphrey solo set
Jeff Reed - Bass
Tim Murphy - Piano
Eric Kennedy - Drums
Russell Kirk - Alto Sax
Derrick Michaels - Tenor Sax
Theljon Allen - Trumpet
Ben Frock - trumpet
Derrick Michaels-tenor saxophone & Zach Swanson - bass
Since 2011, Michaels and Swanson have been conjuring and developing cohesive compositions from the ether. Defying the conventional roles relegated to the tenor saxophone and double bass, these nimble improvisers twist and turn, enmeshed like the roots of an ancient tree. This music evokes sonic textures spanning from dense & woody to spacious, fluid, & ethereal.
Chris Pumphrey’s Music For Quiet Spaces
Long-form, slow-moving compositions. This concert features a 10 piece ensemble of strings, woodwinds, voices
Maeve Royce - double bass
Zach Swanson - double bass
Zack Branch - cello
John Dierker - bass clarinet
Jamal Moore - bass clarinet
Derrick Michaels - tenor sax
Sarah Hughes - alto sax
Chris Pumphrey - alto sax
Kristen Toedtman - voice
Allison M. Clendaniel - voice
$10 suggested donation
Function Coworking Community
4709 Harford Rd
Baltimore, MD 2121
Happy to perform as part of Stephen Gauchi’s weekly series in Brooklyn, NY! Our set is at 9pm, and there is an excellent lineup of ensembles performing.
Bushwick Party House
1288 Myrtle Ave, New York, New York 11221
My debut as a leader in New York City! This trio features long-time collaborator and brilliant bassist Zach Swanson, and the incredibly expressive and commanding drummer Dalius Naujo, from Lithuania.
Thanks to Danny Gouker with A.E. Randolph Presents for having us, and I recommend folks stick around for the second set - SPACE TOYS: Sivan Arbel-voice, Yuma Uesaka-saxophone, Jason Smith-electric bass, Derek Swink-drums, Pravin Thompson-guitar
John Dierker-bass clarinet
"It is a beautiful thing to create something from nothing." - Mike Kuhl
Of the groups I assembled for the Third Wednesday Jazz series at Bertha's in the last year, this quartet was one of the most intimate, synergistic, and expansive. We presented two sets of improvised music that ebbed and flowed, pushed and pulled, lifted and plummeted, all within a cohesive and lush collective ensemble sound. "Solos" were few and far between, and the improvisations leaned toward a more collective ensemble-oriented sound, covering a stylistic gamut from chamber music to soul to jazz to skronk to ethereal soundscapes...this is sure to be a special performance.
DM-saxophone, Alex Weber-bass, Dominic Smith-drums
My aim (as a leader) when performing for a broad audience of folks (who are not necessarily or exclusively there for the music) - is to offer the most honest music I can with the most honest musicians who I know - performing with a dynamic and sensitive approach that encompasses our own feelings and experiences on stage, while taking the audience and venue into consideration as an integral part of the process. The repertoire and stylistic interests on our part are of secondary importance to the exchange of energy between the band and the audience...with that stated, we are quite careful to choose repertoire that invites the audience to lean in, while stimulating the utmost inspiration for the musicians onstage. No one left behind. Does this satisfy every single person's wishes? Perhaps not. But it DOES offer a unique experience that you have to be HERE and NOW in order to be a part of. I feel this is more important than even getting exactly what I BELIEVE I WANT from the experience.
Marie Louise Bistro - Selections and interpretations from the Great American Songbook.
Joshua Espinoza is one of my newest collaborators. He has been on the scene for a little over a year, and is already collaborating with nearly all of the most creative and accomplished and forward-thinking musicians in town. Josh has a feel, sound, and freedom at the piano, as well as within his very nature, that seem to free me of my own preconceptions of style, form, energy and motion. I hear myself reaching for a whole different way of playing when I play with Josh, and this is something I greatly appreciate about this new musical partnership. Very few musicians on the scene are as effortlessly and unapologetically soulful as Joshua Espinoza.
This is my newest venture into the jazz realm - Theljon Allen and I are quickly developing a rapport together. Having first played together in Matt Frazao's While You Were Sleeping project, Theljon occasionally invites me to sub in his excellent quintet and has performed on the Third Wednesday Jazz series with myself, Mike Formanek and Mike Kuhl. We both recently performed the music of Thelonious Monk with Alon Nechushtan's group, and have been endeavoring to make more music together in 2018.
This newest quintet features our sympatico horn playing along with my long time collaborators Alex Weber on bass and Savino Palumbo on piano. Dominic Smith rounds out the group with his ever-creative and swinging drumming, but we will be featuring the up-and-coming phenom Andrew Young in his stead for this particular date.
My last one of these until the fall. Reuniting with one of my first serious collaborators, the brilliant Zach Swanson on bass. My brother in rhythm and ethereal trance, Mike Kuhl, will play drums and percussion. This trio will present an evening of improvised music together.