Most of the rest of December was spent composing new music for a brand new ensemble, the Frame Quartet, and getting together with the group (with Tim Daisy, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Nate McBride) to rehearse for our first gig, at the Hideout on the 27th. This was preparatory work for a premier in January at the Come Sunday Festival in Antwerp, which would begin our first European tour. I am extremely excited about the creative direction of this band. Its aesthetics are built in extension of the modular ideas I’ve used in the Free Music Ensemble; my attempts to construct a way to coordinate predetermined elements and improvisation that are inspired by Peter Brötzmann’s early trio with Han Bennink and Fred Van Hove, and Last Exit; and the soundtrack compositions of Ennio Morricone. By organizing the group around musicians who have dealt with my compositions before, and who have worked together frequently, the process of constructing this different way of performing came together with incredible speed- it was possible to put together two sets of completely new material, performed by a brand new band, all at a very high level, within one week. I am really enthusiastic about the results, and know that having the opportunity to work with the ensemble and the ideas for it while on tour is going to do nothing but accelerate the process and development of the music.
The next night a performance by a special double quartet project took place at Elastic. In the lineup were Jason Adasiewicz, Jeb Bishop, Tim Daisy, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Mike Reed, and Dave Rempis. I put together two fairly straightforward, long form pieces to work with (the only chance we had to rehearse was in the evening right before the show), and things held together pretty well overall, considering the time limitations we were faced with. One of these long charts were played each set. In addition to this, one of the quartets (Jeb, Ingebrigt, Mike, and Dave in the first; Jason, Tim, Fred, and myself in the second) played on open improvisation at the start of each set. Good music and a good reception, I hope to return to this “blowing session” ensemble later in the spring, hopefully augmenting it by adding Jim Baker and Jamie Branch.
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