Amherst College Faultlines Festival to Host Multi-Site Networked Concert Featuring Pianist Myra Melford in California and Saxophonist Jason Robinson in Amherst

March 24, 2010
Contact: Sara R. Leonard
Concert and Production Manager
413/542-2195

AMHERST, Mass.— The yearlong Amherst College music festival Faultlines: Mapping Jazz in the 21st Century concludes at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 25, at Amherst College’s Buckley Recital Hall with a multi-site networked concert featuring pianist Myra Melford at the University of California Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT) and saxophonist, electronics musician and Amherst Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Jason Robinson. Coordinated by Robinson, the concert will use high-speed Internet connections to network the artists in real time, creating a long-distance ensemble. Both performances are free of charge and open to the public. 

“Concluding this year’s installment of Faultlines with a concert of this nature is both exciting and revealing,” explains Robinson. “We’ll be using emergent, cutting-edge software to enable nearly simultaneous long-distance performing, something many of us only daydreamed about a few years ago.” The concert will also feature the debut of several of Robinsons’ new “telematic” scores: dynamic, multi-site musical scores that feed continually changing information to performers at each performance location.

A fearless musical adventurer, painist and composer, Melford has followed a fascinating path since her emergence in the 1980s creative jazz scene. Having studied classical piano into her teens, her interest in improvised music and jazz began in college. Today she recasts the blues and boogie-woogie of her native Chicago, draws upon elements of the music of Eastern Europe and India and blends them with the rangy, percussive avant-garde approach she cultivated in studies with Don Pullen and Henry Threadgill. Veteran music critic Francis Davis has written that she “is the genuine article, the most gifted pianist/composer to emerge from jazz since Anthony Davis.” With more than 30 recordings in her catalog (including 19 as leader or co-leader) Melford currently divides her time between teaching, composition and performance. Since 2004, she has been on the music faculty of the University of California Berkeley, where she has developed and taught a series of courses in contemporary jazz and improvisation-based music for performers and composers. She also lectures on jazz innovations since the 1960s and other topics in contemporary improvised music.

American saxophonist and scholar Jason Robinson performs regularly as a soloist (acoustically and with electronics), with groups he co-leads (Cosmologic and the Cross Border Trio), as a leader of varying ensembles performing his original music and in a variety of collaborative contexts. His latest albums include his third release as a leader, Fingerprint, and the fourth release by Cosmologic, Eyes in the Back of My Head. He has performed at festivals and prominent venues in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe. He has performed or recorded with Peter Kowald, George Lewis, Bertram Turetzky, Mark Dresser, John Russell, Roger Turner, Gerry Hemingway, Kei Akagi, Mel Graves, Michael Dessen, the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra (at Pearl’s in San Francisco), the La Jolla Symphony, and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, among others. He is a published author and is currently a visiting assistant professor of music at Amherst College.

The Faultlines festival includes concerts, performance workshops, talks and roundtable discussions, all free and open to the public, and all guaranteed to generate passionate debate about the nature of jazz and its relationship to American cultural identity. The festival is made possible through the generous support of the Amherst College Arts Series Fund, Amherst College Department of Music, the Amherst College Mead Art Museum, and the UMass-Amherst Fine Arts Center’s Solos and Duos Concert Series and Magic Triangle Concert Series.

For more information about the concert, or any events associated with Faultlines: Mapping Jazz in the 21st Century, visit the festival website at www.amherst.edu/faultlines or call 413/542-2195.

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