Trevor Dunn, No BS! at Balliceaux this week

Bassist Trevor Dunn and Proofreaders play Balliceaux on Saturday night, No BS! Brass on Thursday. Dunn prepares us for the shape of jazz to come this weekend.

Bassist Trevor Dunn plays Balliceaux on Saturday night with his group Proofreaders. The ex-Mr. Bungle member has been in groups like John Zorn Electric Masada, Fantômas, and Big Girl with Emre Kartari. Proofreaders play the music of Ornette Coleman, and trumpeter Nate Wooley, drummer Ryan Sawyer, and alto saxophonist Darius Jones (whom Dunn met while playing with harpist Shelley Burgon at a Richmond art gallery in 2004) complete the band.

As Coleman was the trailblazer (or at least one of them) for what he called “free jazz” back around 1960, a band that plays his music fifty years later is an interesting thing, considering that free jazz has changed drastically since then. Dunn describes how Proofreaders reinterprets Coleman’s compositions:

Several years ago I transcribed a descent amount of Ornette’s tunes.  A lot of the ones we play are from the ’50s and ’60s –basically, his “classic” quartet music that he played with Charlie Haden, Don Cherry and either Billy Higgins or Ed Blackwell. Most of which, have been shamefully absent from any fake books or from the repertoire of performing musicians. We try to stay true to his compositions in terms of playing the “head”, but since this is “free jazz” and it’s 2010, we improvise unfettered.  That is to say, Ornette’s idea of improvising, as he has often stated, has to do with dealing with the melody.  We, too, are interested in that, but we are also interested in just playing and interpreting his music on an appropriately free plane.  Defining jazz is pointless in my opinion.  That said, I consider this jazz.

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Two days before that, No BS! Brass will play their Richmond Appreciation Night at Balliceaux on Thursday. It’s your chance to see the band for free before they embark on their brief southern tour and hit Greensboro and Ashville, NC, and Birmingham, AL. Watch here soon for more on that. View event details

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Dean Christesen

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