UMASS Magic Triangle Concert Series: Janus Ensemble

Saxophonist, composer, and Amherst College Assistant Professor of Music Jason Robinson presents his celebrated, unusual nine-piece Janus Ensemble on the 25th season of the award winning (Chamber Music America, 2012 "Adventurous Programming") Magic Triangle Concert Series at Bezanson Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  The concert takes place at 8pm on Thursday, February 20, 2014.  Advance tickets and information are available at https://fac.umass.edu/Online/JasonRobinson.  Described by Nate Chinen (The New York Times) as “rugged and scintillating...chaotic but in perfect order,” the group’s lineup includes distinct figures in New York's creative music community: reedists JD Parran and Marty Ehrlich, tuba players Marcus Rojas and Bill Lowe (also on bass trombone), guitarist Liberty Ellman, bassist Drew Gress, drummers George Schuller and Ches Smith, and Robinson himself.
 
The concert will feature imaginative reworkings of pieces from Tiresian Symmetry, the group’s acclaimed 2012 album released by Cuneiform Records, as well as the debut of “Resonant Geographies,” a new suite inspired by the emotional ephemera of specific places in northern California and western Massachusetts.  The first of a five-concert tour of the US Northeast and Canada titled “Tiresian Symmetry & Beyond,” the concert will feature the debut of three pieces from the new suite: "Outcropping (Salt Point, 1995),” “Futures Unimagined (Quabbin Reservoir, 2012),” and “Confluence (Virgin Creek, 1996)”—each serving as a meditation on the relationship between geography and personal history, structure and expression.  
 
“Resonant Geographies departs from the mythologies and metrical relationships that were at the core of my last two albums for the group [Tiresian Symmetry and The Two Faces of Janus, both released by Cuneiform Records],” Robinson says.  “While these earlier projects drew inspiration from ancient mythology to generate visceral and grooving music, more recently I’ve felt drawn to the magical, ineffable connections between ourselves and the places we live: the trees, the buildings, the wildlife, the rolling hills and water, the communities.”  For Robinson, these connections prompt a celebration of life and community, and a deep reverence for the places we live.  Named after specific places and moments, the suite of pieces that comprise "Resonant Geographies" presents a vivid, dynamic imagined soundscape—intense grooves meet lower-than-low contra bass clarinet gurgles; hocketed tubas become infectious, impossible-not-to-dance-to jam-outs; the two-drummer lineup explodes into a back-and-forth drum breakdown; and other-worldly harmonies and textures give way to gorgeous melodies that suggest a bygone Ellingtonian era.
Thu, 02/20/2014 - 20:30