~ David Adler
On Apr. 1st, John Zorn's new club The Stone began greeting enthusiastic packed houses with "John Zorn's Improv Party . Half the club's namesake - Stephanie Stone (widow of the late Irving)- sat front row as a collective of musicians mixed and matched in various formations playing densely improvised spontaneous percussive compositions. Zorn's trio invocation, featuring drummers Kenny Wollesen and Tony Buck, appropriately ended with the proprietor's pointed acknowledgement to Ms. Stone. Joining Okkyung Lee (cello) was Ned Rothenberg (bass clarinet), the club's first music curator (the club designates a different musician each month). Lukas Ligeti (drums/percussion) and Shanir Blumenkranz (bass) supported the duo (Rothenberg switching to clarinet) in a spectacular orchestral coda of coordinated circular breathing techniques - Lee effectively creaking out continuous effects in applying pressure to strings, sound scientist Ligeti rubbing stick tips on cymbals, Rothenberg selecting a morphing and mesmerizing note pattern. Of the many other not-soon-to-be-forgotten moments: the rhythm section-less "3 Altos of Marty Ehrlich, Rothenberg and Zorn and the Wollesen-Ligeti duo. With Ligeti the lead voice, the two suitably complemented one another for the longest improv of the set; Wollesen colored spaces with tones, beats and accents, offering form to Ligeti's atonal proclivity. And in the tradition of Zorn's improv parties, the closing joined everyone together for a set-ending send-off for the new club.
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