On Thursday, April 12 a performance at The Camel will be sure to freak out metal enthusiasts, thrill avant-garde jazz heads, and possibly tickle any residents from the Balkans.
On Thursday, April 12 a performance at The Camel will be sure to freak out metal enthusiasts, thrill avant-garde jazzheads, and possibly tickle any residents from the Balkans. Richmond’s Scott Clark will lead his free jazz project The Scott Clark 4tet and will support Trevor Dunn’s Endangered Blood.
Here at the dawn of the 21st century the idea of being an ‘eclectic’ musician is old news. Fusions of all kinds, genre-shifting, and layering have been with us, at this point, far too long to calculate. Today, as a member of the audience, I’m not sure I could even hold a conversation with someone who hasn’t spent quality time listening to Slayer and Webern and Mingus. It is hard to believe there are actually people who don’t appreciate The Swans and Jo Stafford. Trevor Dunn, Arcana II: Musicians on Music
If the above quote is any indication of the myriad influences that Dunn and his group have absorbed over their respective careers in music, then this part of the show is no doubt going to be a total-immersion in what downtown New York City is all about: a complete understanding of musical details and a complete freedom to express them. The cross-pollinated Endangered Blood consists of Dunn, drummer Jim Black, alto saxophonist/clarinetist Oscar Noriega, and tenor saxophonist Chris Speed. Initially, they started performing four years ago at a benefit concert for a musician and friend, alto saxophonist and bandleader Andrew D’Angelo, that needed to raise money for brain cancer treatment. After that first performance, they continued to work together as well as on their respective projects. Having recorded their self-titled debut album on Skirl Records and released it on March 15, the band is now traveling and performing in support of the album and traversing musical territories born out of fascinations with everything from searching ‘60s post-bop, to early 20th century chromaticism, to sweaty post-punk filtered through their acoustic instrumentation.
Trevor Dunn, bandleader
Bandleader Trevor Dunn shows a dedication to using the acoustic contrabass in thrash metal, jazz, a Beach Boys cover–you name it. But he is equally adept as an electric player and most famously showcased his command of that instrument as a founding member of experimental rock band Mr. Bungle. Currently he is a member of John Zorn’s Electric Masada band and works frequently in the metal genre as a member of Fantômas and The Melvins. He also is a member of The Nels Cline Singers, which despite the name, is an all-instrumental jazz project led by Wilco guitarist Nels Cline. As a leader, Dunn also has a group called Trio Convulsant, a metal-meets-jazz concept that shifts in and out of the two poles without being forced. Check out their cover of Duke Ellington’s “The Single Petal of a Rose” off the album Sister Phantom Owl Fish, released on Ipecac records.
Jim Black, drums
Drummer Jim Black is a long-time friend and musical associate of tenorist Chris Speed. A discography on Black’s website is sickly diverse, comprised of work with experimental singer/songwriter Laurie Anderson, saxophone/flute icon Dave Liebman, and Nels Cline. From listening to Endangered Blood, his influences seem limitless, and waves of lyrical jazz accompaniment move seamlessly into punk rock oriented energy where nothing is ornamental and everything is pulsating in the extreme. On one side, the cymbals shimmer and sizzle, and on the other the bass drum fiercely pounds, and the cracking snare is like a razor cutting through it all.
Oscar Noriega, alto saxophone/bass clarinet
Alto saxophonist/bass clarinetist Oscar Noriega is probably the lesser known member within the band, but his resume shines as a downtown New York jazz contributor of the highest order. He is an associate of NEA Jazz Master Lee Konitz and recorded with him in a nonet format in 2006. He is a collaborator with altoist Tim Berne on the latter’s Snakeoil project and appears on a host of recordings with Japanese pianist Sakoto Fujii. Further adding to his creative chops is a band called Slavic Soul Party!, which is a reinterpretation of Macedonian and Balkian folk tunes by some of New York’s downtown jazz musicians. For more background on Noriega, check out an interview with him describing his upbringing in his family band in Tuscon, Arizona playing norteño music.
Chris Speed, tenor saxophone
Tenor saxophonist Chris Speed already had a hit at The Camel recently as a member of The Claudia Quintet back in October and has since been busy touring with a wide variety of creative improvisers like Dave King (drummer for The Bad Plus), pianist Uri Caine, and The Claudia Quintet. He is a founding member of the artist-run record label Skirl Records, which boasts a long roster of the finest creative improvising musicians in New York. Speed, just like Noriega, also is a member of a Balkan/jazz fusion project called Pachora, which includes Black on drums.
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The Camel is located at 1621 W. Broad Street. Tickets are $7 at the door, $5 for students. Showtime starts at 9pm.