Characters & Events
The cast of characters of Music at Large as a production series includes performers in poetry, dance, theater and visual arts. The cast intentionally includes performers of different ethnicities. The reason for that is not because we live in a society that has melted us down into indistinguishable components. Instead, it is because the elements we share come to expression differently. And these different expressions inform each of us of the breadth of elements of which we are all composed (or improvised).
Recently, Music at Large as a performing unit, based in the San Francisco Bay area, features myself on alto and baritone saxophones; Karl Evangelista on electric guitar; John-Carlos Perea on electric bass and cedar flute; and Jimmy Biala on percussion; with collaborators India Cooke on violin, Masaru Koga on saxophones, and Marshall Trammell on drums. The group has performed at Velma’s Jazz Club, Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, Anna’s Jazz Island in Berkeley, and at the Community Music Center in San Francisco and San Francisco State University. The group has recorded several times, and a CD is in the works.
Music at Large premiered the composition only children at the Outsound New Music Summit in 2013. Involving music and text (in five sections), with a five-member ensemble: alto saxophone, violin, electric guitar, electric bass and drums/percussion (Jordan, Cooke, Evangelista, Perea and Biala). The work is specifically intended to meld three different perspectives: only children, as in more than one only child; only children, as in Groddeck’s idea of growing older once more to be a child (to become either childlike or childish); and only children, as in we are all children of the Earth, no matter the religion. In the composition there is a theme of youth; there are themes of play; and there are themes built on Middle Eastern scales. In the spring of 2015, we reprised it at San Francisco State University in the ImprovisAsians! series (a series which explores the connection between the performing arts and community building).
Music at Large presented King for a Day in 2010, music and poetry (in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other kings, real or legendary, profound and/or imagined). The event featured the poetry of devorah major, Raymond Nat Turner, James Cagney, Genny Lim and Q.R. Hand Jr. Musicians were Karl Evangelista (guitar), John-Carlos Perea (electric bass), Marshall Trammell (drums) and Lewis Jordan saxophone/poetry).
Music at Large presented a performance/panel at the Headlands Center of the Arts, in Sausalito. CA. Featured were improvisers speaking on their work and performing: Miya Masaoka, India Cooke, Sara Shelton Mann, Genny Lim and Bob Ernst, representing improvisation in the fields of music, dance, poetic and theatrical disciplines. Theater was also a component of the four-part interdisciplinary series at the Noh Space in San Francisco. Each part featured improvised music with another specific discipline: poetry (Alejandro Murguía, Genny Lim), dance (Charles Alston, Lita Tayao, Naomi Sample), theater (devorah major, Taj Johns) and visual art (Miranda Bergman), working with musicians Akinyele Sadiq, Joe Vance and myself.
Music at Large produced “Language By Any Means Necessary,” in words and music, composed and improvised. This was a presentation (on KPFA-FM and at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA.), featuring Charles Alston (voice), Q.R. Hand (poetry), Lewis Jordan (saxophone), Juan Ceballos (flute), Dhyani Dharma Mas (guitar), Lisle Ellis (acoustic bass), and Donald Robinson (drums).
Music at Large presented “Music…From the Inside…Out!” at San Francisco’s New College. Featuring Charles Alston, Brenda Aoki, Simone Genet, Barbara Goto, Lewis Jordan and Sachiko Nakamura, the cast brought a collective experience in dance, theater and music
Early in the Music at Large story, there were the dancers Adela Chu, Andrea Sherman and Yuki Shiroma at the Metropolitan Art Center in San Francisco. Composed and improvised music and dance were the theme. There was a series of duets. I performed with the legendary alto saxophonist Russel Baba, with drummer Carl Hoffman, and with vocalist Jesse Foster. At the Blue Dolphin in San Francisco, using the staging of a live “radio broadcast,” we weaved improvised music into a debate between presidential candidates Tweedledee and Twedledum. Featured were Ray Collins, Albert Harris, Lewis Jordan, Henry Peters, and Laurel Sprigg.
Music at Large featured performances in New York City. I worked with bassist John Lindberg and drummer Rashid Bakr in the presentation Re: Arrangements and De Compositions. Trumpeter George Sams joined us for more productions.
As part of the Internationalist Arts Festival in San Francisco, Music at Large brought together a unique group (Music at Large Liberation Orchestra) which included Brenda Aoki (voice, percussion), Anthony Brown (multiple percussion), Ray Collins (saxophones, clarinet), Mark Izu (bass, sheng), Jon Jang (piano), Lewis Jordan (also saxophone), voice), George Sams (trumpet, flugelhorn), Duke Santos (congas, percussion), Paul Yamazaki (clarinet). From the program: “America’s indigenous art form (called Jazz) plus dance, poetry, theater and whatever it takes have been included to capture the mood/soul of our ongoing struggle/movement towards self-determination in the personal, social and political spheres.”