After a quiet start last week, the local music scene is back in the swing of adventurous programming. Four of this week’s events have already been given account, each at a different venue:
- The season’s first Composers in Performance Series at the Canessa Gallery on September 10
- The last of the four Salons serving as “progress reports” for jazz bassist Lisa Mezzacappa’s Cosmicomics project at Bird & Beckett Books and Records on September 13
- Charles Xavier’s Cow Walk Orchestra at the Center for New Music on September 15
- The world premiere of Richard Festinger’s “Winds of May,” performed by soprano Winnie Nieh and pianist Paul Dab at Old First Concerts on September 16
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg of a busy week. Most important will be a four-night residency by trumpeter Steven Bernstein at SFJAZZ, which deserves particular attention.
Bernstein plays slide trumpet, an instrument that is almost never encountered in either the classical or jazz repertoires. He is also a fearless improviser, composer, and arranger. For the course of his residency, Bernstein has prepared three programs that will involve two of his most explosive ensembles. All performances will take place at the Joe Henderson Lab of the SFJAZZ Center, located at 201 Franklin Street, on the northwest corner of Fell Street. All tickets will be sold for $25. Specifics are as follows:
- The first of the groups to perform will be Bernstein’s Sexmob quartet, whose other members are Briggan Krauss on saxophones, Tony Scherr on bass, and Kenny Wollesen on drums. According to their Web page on Bernstein’s Web site, their mission is “to deconstruct familiar pop tunes with subversive impunity.” One of Bernstein’s favorite sources of tunes is movie soundtracks. As a result the first program will be devoted to Nino Rota, who composed the scores for most of the films made by Federico Fellini. The title of the program will be Cinema, Circus & Spaghetti; and the film scores to be revisited will be those for La Strada, La Dolce Vita, and Amarcord. This program will be given two performances on Thursday, September 13, at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. The 7 p.m. concert is almost completely sold. Tickets may be purchased through the hyperlinks attached to the two times.
- The second Sexmob program will shift to the music of Duke Ellington. They will put their personal stamp on pieces including “Black and Tan Fantasy,” “The Mooche,” and “Come Sunday.” This program will also be given two performances, this time on Friday, September 14, at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Both concerts are almost completely sold. Tickets may be purchased through the hyperlinks attached to the two times.
- The final program will feature Bernstein’s more expansive ensemble, the Millennial Territory Orchestra (MTO). This group draws upon much earlier styles, those of the pre-swing era territory bands that crisscrossed the country in the Twenties and Thirties. However, their material draws not only on the music from that period but also much more recent material, including tunes by Charles Mingus and pop material from Prince, the Grateful Dead, and Sly and the Family Stone. The group includes all of the Sexmob players, as well as Jenny Scheinman on violin, Ben Goldberg on clarinet, Howard Wiley on tenor and soprano saxophones, Jeff Cressman on trombone, and a guitarist not yet announced. This program will be given four performances, on Saturday, September 15, at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. and on Sunday, September 16, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased through the hyperlinks attached to the four times.
Remaining events for this week’s installment are as follows:
Thursday, September 13, 8 p.m., The Lab: This will be a two-set program with an emphasis on electronics. The first set will be taken by performance artist Wizard Apprentice, who works with both electronic music and motion graphics. She combines song and video to create multimedia live performances that explore intimate emotional themes ranging from the challenges and triumphs of being an empath to overstimulation in the Internet Age. She will be followed by the duo of Julius Smack and Madalyn Merkey. Smack is the stage persona of musician Peter Hernandez, whose music is augmented by dance and theater segments. Merkey composes and plays live computer music.
The Lab is located in the Mission at 2948 16th Street. This is a short walk from the corner of Mission Street. This is particularly good for those using public transportation, since that corner provides bus stops for both north-south and east-west travel as well as a BART station. Admission will be $10 and free for members. Seats may be reserved through a login Web page for members and a guest registration Web page for others. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m., and it is usually the case that a long line has accumulated before then.
Thursday, September 13, 8:15 p.m., Luggage Store Gallery (LSG): The LSG Creative Music series will offer two sets of instrumental and electronic improvisations. The evening will begin with the Marshall/Pearce duo of Josh Marshall on tenor saxophone and Daniel Pearce on drums. They will be followed by the Earspray trio, which adds electronics to the percussion work of Mark Pino. Carlos Jennings works exclusively with electronic gear. Ann O’Rourke uses similar equipment but also plays electronic cello. In addition she provides vocals and video. 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.
Saturday, September 15, 1 p.m., Castro Theatre: The San Francisco Silent Film Festival will present a blockbuster day of four programs of silent favorites, all of which will be accompanied by the Club Foot Orchestra. This group has been creating modern music for silent films since its founding in 1983 by Richard Marriott. The full schedule for the day is as follows:
- 1 p.m.: Buster + Felix (Buster Keaton and Felix the Cat)
- 3:15 p.m.: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
- 6 p.m.: Metropolis
- 9:30 p.m.: Nosferatu
Tickets may be purchased for the individual films through a single event page. However, there will also be an all-day pass for this occasion, which may be purchased through a separate Web page. There are a variety of alternatives for pricing, all of which are enumerated on these two Web pages. The Castro Theatre is located at 429 Castro Street, a short walk from the Castro Muni station.
Monday, September 17, 7:00 p.m., Adobe Books: This will be a three-set evening of sound artists who draw upon a diversity of resources. Mark Kate’s approach to his music and audio works draws heavily on cinematic techniques. Joey Largent applies frequency enhancement and manipulation technology to acoustic instruments to explore their spectra of overtones, including both the natural harmonics and inharmonic frequencies. Chris Duncan employs repetition and accumulation techniques applied simultaneously to both visual and auditory media.
Adobe Books is located at 3130 24th Street in the Mission between South Van Ness Avenue and Folsom Street. The concert is free. However, donations will go directly to the performing artists and are strongly encouraged. At past events Adobe has provided free refreshments to those who make a book purchase of $6 or more, and it is likely that the managers of the book store will maintain this effort to encourage reading their offerings.