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Songlines Recordings Will Celebrate Its 20th Anniversary With Guitar/Oud Night At New York's Shapeshifter Lab On June 14


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Triple Bill Will Feature Ben Monder Trio, Brad Shepik Quartet and Gordon Grdina/Mark Helias

To help celebrate Songlines Recordings’ 20th anniversary, three string players with deep connections to the label will perform at ShapeShifter Lab on June 14,co-presented by Songlines and Search and Restore.

Ben Monder is reviving his original trio with the personnel from its first recording, Flux (Songlines 1995) – Drew Gress on bass and Jim Black on drums. In fact it's this particular formation's first gig anywhere – Drew never actually performed or toured in the group, and Jim hasn’t for at least 10 years. Ben can also be heard on Songlines in two beautiful collaborations with Theo Bleckmann, No Boat (1997) and At Night (2007), as well as with Vancouver improvisers Chris Gestrin and Dylan van der Schyff on The Distance (2006).

Brad Shepik will bring his current guitar/vibes quartet, which released the highly regarded Across the Way on Songlines last year. Shepik has released nine CDs on the label, starting with three by the collective trio Babkas (1993 to 1996), then his jazz/world quintet the Commuters (1997 & 2000), the Lingua Franca collaboration with Peter Epstein and Matt Kilmer (2005), the trio Places You Go (2007), and the quintet Human Activity Suite (2009). These recordings trace a diverse and quite remarkable achievement.

Vancouver guitarist/oud player Gordon Grdina is coming to New York to record and debut a new collaboration with Mark Helias, featuring special guests Tony Malaby and Vancouver drummer Kenton Loewen. Grdina’s first release on Songlines was his trio with Gary Peacock and Paul Motian, Think Like the Waves (2006), followed by his avant chamber quartet East Van Strings (2009). This August his powerhouse Vancouver 10-piece Arabic/avant-garde ensemble Haram will release Her Eyes Illuminate. Grdina has been a student of Arabic music and the oud for over ten years and has developed his own unique style on both instruments. This will be a rare opportunity to hear him perform in New York.

By the way, Malaby, Helias and Black have all been featured on Songlines as well – Malaby on his Apparitions (2003) and Warblepeck (2008) and with James Carney; Black on Human Feel’s Speak to It (1996), also on No Boat, and with Hilmar Jensson, Ellery Eskelin and in Chris Speed’s Yeah No. Helias composed and performed for Dylan van der Schyff’s The Definition of a Toy (2005) and is on Benoît Delbecq’s Phonetics (and will also be heard in next year’s Hersch Delbecq Double Trio release), while Black and Helias are together on Canadian saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff’s Magic Numbers. Gress also performed on Apparitions and with Andy Laster.

The order of sets is Shepik, Grdina, Monder. Expect a couple of additional collaborations as the evening progresses.

Tickets $15 at the door.

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