Tuesday, May 10, 2011

John Ellis's Mobro @ Jazz Gallery 4/29/11

Score another one for a fantastic commissioned large ensemble work composed by John Ellis at The Jazz Gallery!  And, they were calling it a work in progress, so it's going to be fun to watch it evolve.  What I saw was fabulous and complete enough for me to leave very happy and satisfied.

He collaborated with Andy Bragen, the librettist he worked with when he did the dreamscapes project.  This ensemble includes 4 vocalists which I could handle.  They came up when it was time and also sat down a lot.  When any of them were on stage, the voice was another instrument, sometimes singing words, sometimes not.  It worked and it was appropriate.

The music and musicians were all fantastic.  I put the listing with the concept below.  It was fun how they used electronics to create the feeling of being on the barge.  It was probably over 90 min of music so they had to cut the last piece, Celebration very short.  It was very NOLA brass bandish and great for my last live music before I head down to jazzfest.

John Ellis - reeds, Mike Moreno - guitar, Ryan Scott- guitar, Joe Sanders - bass, Rudy Royston - drums
Shane Endsley - trumpet, John Clark - french horn, Josh Roseman - trombone, Alan Ferber - trombone
Jo Lawry, Becca Stevens, Miles Griffith, Sachal Vasandani, and Chris Turner - vocals

John's own words announcing the show on his mailing list:
I'm mostly writing to announce this one thing:  drop what you're doing this weekend and come see us at the Jazz Gallery this weekend.  I enlisted a bunch of my favorite musicians and created another wild collaboration with playwright Andy Bragen.  Join us at 9 and 10:30 this Friday and Saturday (yes, that means tomorrow night).
Andy and I got our inspiration for this piece from the journey of the Mobro 4000, a barge filled with garbage that went on a 7-month journey in 1987, from Long Island to North Carolina, New Orleans, Mexico, Belize, before finally returning to Brooklyn to be incinerated.  It's a wild story.
We also took some inspiration from the garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean.  If you haven't heard about this one and really want to be terrified, check this out.
Our piece features a band of enormous talent, and I'm so privilieged to have them all involved:
Jo Lawry, Sachal Vasandani, Becca Stevens, and Miles Griffith will be singing.
Alan Ferber and Josh Roseman are joining us on trombones.
Shane Endsley will be on trumpet, and John Clark on horn
Mike Moreno and Ryan Scott will be on guitars, Rudy Royston on drums, and Joe Sanders on bass.
We'll also have Roberto C. Lange - Electronics and Noise making Devices
I've been in residency this month at the Jazz Gallery, and I've been very grateful to have access to the space there to write and think.  If you haven't become a member yet, I hope you might consider it sometime.  Their support facilitates a lot of great work in New York that might not happen otherwise.

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