This is the week of transition from August to September, and it turns out that September is going to begin with a major undertaking. Fortunately, the August portion of the week is relatively quiet. The final concert of the month at the Center for New Music has already been announced. That leaves only two other August events:
Wednesday, August 29, 8 p.m., Peacock Lounge: The monthly offering of experimental music will follow the usual tradition of groups whose names tend to be as provocative as the music they make. The end of summer will be celebrated with an evening of five, rather than the usual four, sets. As usual, the names of the groups suggest little about what they will actually be performing: Madonna-Id the Nut, Anti-Ear, ARE SQUAR2D, Svist, and Chiko.
The Peacock Lounge is located in the Lower Haight at 552 Haight Street. Doors will open at 7:45 p.m. to enable the first set to begin at 8 p.m. sharp. Admission will be $5.
Thursday, August 30, 8:15 p.m., Luggage Store Gallery (LSG): The LSG Creative Music series will wrap up the month with three sets of instrumental and electronic improvisations. The evening will begin with the Angel Archer duo of Sheila Bosco on drums and Brian Lucas on bass. They will be followed by a solo guitar set by Alee Karim. Electronic improvisations will be provided in the final set by J.Lee performing as captjrab. LSG is located at 1007 Market Street, across from the corner of Golden Gate Avenue and Taylor Street; and admission is on a sliding scale between $8 and $15.
September will then begin with a four-night celebration of John Zorn’s 65th birthday, which will be on September 2. This will involve seven shows being presented between Saturday, September 1, and Tuesday, September 4. Zorn will be present for the occasion and will be joined by an impressive array of local and visiting artists. Programming is currently planned as follows:
Saturday, September 1, 8 p.m.: Three different groups will perform Zorn’s bagatelles. Zorn himself will lead his own Bagatelles Quintet on saxophone, joined by saxophonist Dave Douglas, Greg Cohen on bass, and two drummers, Kenny Wollensen and Kenny Grohowski. They will conclude the program, which will begin with the Trigger trio of Will Greene on guitar, Simon Hanes on bass, and Aaron Edgcomb on drums. They will be followed by the cello duo of Erik Friedlander and Michael Nicolas.
A 2005 Masada concert with (left-to-right) Joey Baron, Greg Cohen, Dave Douglas, and John Zorn (photograph by Checiàp, from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)
Saturday, September 1, 10:30 p.m.: This will be a performance of the three books that Zorn published under the title Masada. This comes from a time when Zorn was writing very large numbers of very short pieces. The number of Masada pieces is so large that it is unlikely to be covered in its entirety at this concert. Three different combos will participate in the performance. Zorn will conduct the Masada Trio with Friedlander on cello and Cohen on bass joined by Mark Feldman on violin. Zorn will play in the Masada Quartet, whose personnel is the same as the Bagatelles Quartet but with Douglas on trumpet, rather than saxophone. Finally, there will be vocal performances by Sofia Rei, accompanied by JC Maillard playing his SazBass, an eight steel-string electroacoustic instrument, which is a hybrid of the Turkish saz and the Greek bouzouki.
Sunday, September 2, 8 p.m.: Zorn will lead an improvisation session as a benefit for The Stone, the performance space in New York that Zorn helped establish to serve as a platform for his own adventurous efforts and those of his colleagues. Zorn will lead the group, which will also include vocalist Mike Patton, Matt Hollenberg on guitar, John Medeski on organ, and, again, two drummers, Grohowski joined this time by Dave Lombardo. In addition Medeski, Hollenberg, and Grohowski will perform as the Simulacrum trio.
Sunday, September 2, 10:30 p.m.: Two different groups will play more music from Masada. Hollenberg will lead the Cleric quartet, whose other members are Nick Shellenberger (keyboards and vocals), Dan Kennedy (bass), and Larry Kwartowitz (drums). The other group, Secret Chiefs 3, includes Grohowski playing with guitarists Trey Spruance and Jason Schimmel, Matt Lebofsky in keyboards, Eyvind Kang on violin, Shanir Blumenkranz on bass, and Ches Smith on percussion.
Monday, September 3, 6 p.m.: Zorn himself will celebrate his 65th birthday with a trio performance with Terry Riley on piano and Laurie Anderson on violin, also providing vocals.
Monday, September 3, 8 p.m.: The trio performance will be followed by a survey of original chamber music compositions by Zorn, some of which will be presented for the first time. Nicholas, Blumenkranz, and Smith will return for this recital. They will be joined by Chris Otto on violin, Steve Gosling on piano, and Sae Hashimoto on vibraphone.
Tuesday, September 4, 8 p.m.: The featured artist on the final program will be pianist Brian Marsella. He will perform a selection of the solo bagatelles. He and Wollensen will also play more Masada music in two different combos. One is Marsella’s own trio, which includes Jason Fraticelli on bass. The other is a quartet called Banquet of the Spirits, whose bass player is Blumenkranz and also includes percussionist Cyro Baptista.
All performances will take place at The Chapel, which is located in the Mission at 777 Valencia Street. There are a variety of different ways to purchase both single and multiple-event tickets. They are all summarized on a single Web page. (Note that this Web page was created as the result of a search. The Chapel is not my favorite place when it comes to taking an organized approach to content, or other aspects of concert production for that matter. Nevertheless, Zorn clearly likes the place, since he is traveling across the country to celebrate his birthday there!) Doors for each performance will open half an hour before start time.