ANW Celebrates Jazz Month in April


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Ars Nova Workshop is celebrating National Jazz Appreciation Month this April with four special jazz concerts by Ballister, Endangered Blood, Steve Lehman Trio and Steve Coleman & Five Elements.

Since 2001, the Smithsonian Institution has facilitated Jazz Month events across the country, and last year Mayor Nutter announced that the jazz community in Philadelphia, the city where legends like John Coltrane and Lee Morgan began their careers, would collectively participate. ANW is happy to announce the following performances as we help contribute to the celebration and elevation of one of America's most important art forms.

Information about ANW's four Jazz Month events is below, and tickets can be purchased on the individual event pages. Keep an eye out for other Jazz Month events across the city, and we hope to see you at the concerts!

Wednesday, April 4, 8pm BALLISTER Dave Rempis, saxophones; Fred Lonberg-Holm, bass; Paal Nilssen-Love, drums + LASSE MARHAUG, electronics The Maas Building, 1325 Randolph Street, $15 The Philadelphia debut of heavy-hitting power-trio Ballister, and a rare solo performance by Norwegian noise artist Lasse Marhaug. “They use their instruments like artillery, launching a barrage of explosive free improvisation," the Chicago Reader correctly observes about Ballister. Uniting two leading Chicago improvisers and Norway's Nilssen-Love, Ballister's debut, Bastard String, celebrates the jazz trio's furious capacity for daring improvisation, blistering solos and compelling group dynamics. Marhaug, who's worked with Merzbow, Mats Gustafsson and Sunn O))), has been at the forefront of the noise scene for two decades, frequently crossing into the domains of improv, free-jazz and metal.

Saturday, April 14, 8pm ENDANGERED BLOOD Chris Speed, saxophone; Oscar Noriega, saxophone; Trevor Dunn, bass; Jim Black, drums The Maas Building, 1325 Randolph Street, $15 “They play fast, looping, dynamically even and entwining lines, laying bebop over clanky grooves," The New York Times writes about Endangered Blood. These four artists have been on the jazz scene for many years, working with John Zorn, John Hollenbeck, Satoko Fuji, Susie Ibarra, Nels Cline, Mike Patton, Dave Douglas and Tom Rainey, and in celebrated ensembles such as The Claudia Quintet, Mr. Bungle, Alas No Axis, and Tim Berne's Los Totopos and Bloodcount groups. With their collective years of diverse musical experiences, when they unite, Endangered Blood forms a sharp jazz-unit with the ferocity of a heavy-metal band.

Sunday, April 15, 8pm STEVE LEHMAN TRIO Steve Lehman, saxophone; Chris Tordini, bass; Damion Reed, drums The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Free The first Philadelphia performance by the Steve Lehman Trio since 2009, and the saxophonist's first local appearance since ANW's three-night Composer Portrait: Fieldwork series last March. “Unlike many jazz-identified artists who have pursued formal composition as a distinguished sideline," writes The New York Times about the Fieldwork saxophonist's singular merging of jazz and modern composition, “Mr. Lehman proposes a risky but intriguing syncretism." Whether working with artists like Anthony Braxton and Vijay Iyer, or with the Janacek Philharmonic, JACK Quartet or the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Lehman blurs the lines between traditions and sound-worlds, and consistently offers a unique musical vision, making him one of the most forward-thinking young composers today. Tonight we celebrate Dialectic Fluorescent, the trio's upcoming Pi Recordings albums.

Saturday, April 21 STEVE COLEMAN & FIVE ELEMENTS Steve Coleman, alto saxophone; Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet; Miles Okazaki, guitar; Damion Reed, drums Johnny Brenda's, 1201 N. Frankford Avenue, $15 “Coleman comes up with some of the most original song structures in jazz," writes NPR. “In many others' hands, they'd sound like algebra; with his virtuosity and arranging, it crackles with excitement." Moving to New York City in the 1970s, Coleman worked with Sam Rivers, Cecil Taylor, David Murray and Dave Holland, then, along with young musicians like Greg Osby and Cassandra Wilson, he was a founding member of the M-Base movement. The last two years have seen Coleman pushing strongly into the future and creating the best music of his career with his long-running Five Elements ensemble. Both on Pi Recordings, Harvesting Semblances and Affinities (2010) and The Mancy Sound (2011) earned Coleman's collective of rotating musicians critical praise from The New York Times, Downbeat and JazzTimes.

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