Commissioned by the Greenfield Foundation, IN TRANSIT will be an evening length piece for quintet written by Bobby Previte, the winner of the 2015 Greenfield Prize. The piece brings together into one ensemble the separate soloists chosen by Previte for his work TERMINALS: five concertos for percussion ensemble and soloist.
TERMINALS (recording released in November 2014 by Cantaloupe Music), was guided by two disciplines which Previte has been investigating for many years: the controlled beauty of precisely notated music, and the wild beauty of spur-of-the-moment music, the music of the improviser. These two poles were represented respectively in TERMINALS by SO Percussion and by the brilliant musicians and improvisers Zeena Parkins on harp, Greg Osby on alto saxophone, Nels Cline on guitar, John Medeski on piano and organ, and the composer on trap drums. In TERMINALS these two worlds collude and collide seamlessly into a third entity. Previte chose each of the soloists for their ability to carry and sustain a separate concerto. Now, by extracting them from their original solo setting and placing them together in a ensemble, IN TRANSIT now turns that choice on its head, invoking the tradition of chance determination by treating the musicians themselves as ‘found materials.’
What is the experience of being in transit? Sitting in an airplane at 30,000 feet, you are flying through the atmosphere in a manufactured environment, on a certain schedule with a precise amount of fuel. Separated from your home but not at your destination, you are neither here nor there, anonymous yet sitting too close to strangers in an intimate space, confined for a predetermined amount of time, uncomfortable yet strangely free. You are flying. IN TRANSIT will place this powerhouse, all-star band, as well as the audience, within this atmosphere.
Guitar explorer Nels Cline is best known these days as the lead guitarist in the band Wilco. His recording and performing career – spanning jazz, rock, punk, and experimental – is well into its fourth decade, with over 160 recordings, including at least 30 for which he is leader. Born in Los Angeles in 1956, Cline has received many accolades including Rolling Stone anointing him as both one of 20 “new guitar gods” and one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. Beyond Wilco, he leads The Nels Cline Singers (featuring Scott Amendola and bassist Trevor Dunn), and plays with Fig (a collaboration with Yuka Honda), BB&C (a collective with Time Berne & Jim Black), Pillow Wand (duo with guitarist Thurston Moore), and a new duo project with jazz guitar prodigy Julian Lage. A few of the other musicians with whom he has performed and/or recorded include: Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Yoko Ono, Jeff Gauthier, Mike Watt, Carla Bozulich, Vinny Golia, Marc Ribot, Tinariwen, Julius Hemphill, Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, Lydia Lunch, and Lee Ranaldo.
As the keyboardist in the trailblazing instrumental trio Medeski Martin & Wood, a solo
performer, film composer, and producer, collaborator and sideman with countless artists,
John Medeski channels his transformative forces with uncanny power and imagination. A
skilled composer and whirling-dervish improviser, he consistently wrings sonic revelations from acoustic and electric piano, Hammond organ, Clavinet, Mellotron, assorted synthesizers and other instruments. Thanks to his mentor, Bob Moses, Medeski landed gigs with the likes of Dewey Redman and the Either/Orchestra while still in school. Shortly after graduating, John moved to New York City and immersed himself in the downtown arts scene. He has performed and/or recorded with T Bone Burnett, Natalie Merchant, Ray Lamontagne, Trey Anastasio, The Blind Boys of Alabama, k.d.lang, Susana Baca, Rufus Wainwright, and many others. He has scored several feature films including William Vincent starring James Franco, and he has produced records for the Wood Brothers, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and the Campbell Brothers.
Recording artist, saxophonist and composer Greg Osby has recorded and toured with such diverse artists as Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Jack DeJohnette, Andrew Hill, Muhal Richard Abrams, Jim Hall and Jaki Byard. Mr. Osby is a four time winner of the prestigious Jazz Journalists Award and is a recent recipient of the Doris Duke Foundation award for composers. Osby has been a Blue Note records recording artist since 1990. In addition to his performance schedule, Osby devotes a generous amount of his time to educational activities. He was an adjunct faculty member in the jazz program at The Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland from 2000 to 2003, a faculty member of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the New School in New York and has hosted clinics and lectures at some of the most prestigious music conservatories in the world. Osby
continues to tour with his primary groups the “Greg Osby Four” and “Symbols of Light”, an eight piece string and jazz ensemble. He has earned numerous awards, and critical acclaim for his recorded works and exciting live performances.
Zeena Parkins, composer, multi-instrumentalist, improviser, sound artist, well-known as a pioneer of the electric harp, has also extended the language of the acoustic harp with the
inventive use of unusual playing techniques, preparations, and layers of digital and analog
processing. She also builds multi-speaker environments to reconfigure sonic spaces. Parkins has received commissions to provide scores for film, video, chamber orchestras, theater and dance. She has a particularly strong commitment to her collaborations with dance and has long-term creative relationships with choreographers Neil Greenberg,
John Jasperse, Jennifer Monson, Jennifer Lacey, DD Dorvillier, and Emmanuelle Vo-Dinh. Merce Cunningham Dance Company commissioned a new work from Ms. Parkins for Experiments in the Studio and she performed with MCDC in their ongoing EVENTS series at DIA Beacon. Zeena also works with Body Cartography. Their most recent piece together, Mammal, was choreographed for the Lyon Opera Ballet. Zeena appears in festivals worldwide and on numerous recordings. Collaborators include: Ikue Mori, Kim Gordon, Bjork, Yoko Ono, Christian Marclay, Matmos, William Winant, Fred Frith, Elliott Sharp, Marina Rosenfeld, Thurston Moore, Carla Kilhstedt and filmmakers: Abigail Child, Cynthia Madansky, Mandy McIntosh and Daria Martin. Zeena’s recent solo release on Table of the Elements, Between The Whiles, has met with critical acclaim. Zeena is
honored to have received three New York Dance and Performance Awards (Bessies). Zeena is a distinguished visiting artist, teaching at Mills College.
Bobby Previte is a composer and performer whose work explores the nexus between notated and improvised music. One of the seminal figures of the 80s New York ʻDowntownʼ scene, Previte is the winner of the 2015 Greenfield Prize for music, as well as a 2012 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. He has received multiple awards for composition from the NEA, NYFA, NYSCA, NY State Music Fund, and the American Music Center. Mr. Previte has been an artist-in-residence at the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy, Civitella Ranieri, The Montalvo Arts Center, and nine times at the
MacDowell Colony. His original compositions have been recorded and released on Sony, Elektra, Rykodisc, Palmetto, New World, Ropeadope, Thirsty Ear, and Cantaloupe. Leading a plethora of diverse ensembles from his instrument, the drums, he has collaborated with many of the leading lights in and beyond the world of music – master composer John Adams, rock icon Tom Waits, and legendary filmmaker Robert Altman. His music has
been labeled as “utterly original,” by the New York Times, while The New Yorker says his
ensembles “speak in visionary tongues,” and the Village Voice calls him “a serious composer with the heart of a roadhouse rocker.” His newest work, TERMINALS, Five Concertos for Percussion Ensemble and Soloist, was released October 28th by Cantaloupe Music.