Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Lab to Host Major Evening of Improvisation

Once again The Lab has announced a significant event that deserves advance notice before it is due to show up in the weekly Bleeding Edge article. The program is entitled simply An Evening of Improvisation. However, the evening will bring together five participants, all of whom have strong reputations for their highly imaginative approaches to invention. To the best of my knowledge, the program will be a two-set evening with a duo in the first set and a trio in the second.

The duo set will be of particular interest because it will entail a visit to San Francisco by French bass player Joëlle Léandre. Léandre performed with the Ensemble InterContemporain back when it was still being led by its founder, Pierre Boulez. She championed new music in her recitals, and both John Cage and Giacinto Scelsi composed works for her. However, she has a long-standing interest in genre-independent free improvisation that dates back at least as far as 1983. For her visit to The Lab, she will be joined by saxophonist Philip Greenlief, whose adventurous approaches to improvisation have been performed at any number of venues here in San Francisco, including the Center for New Music.

Guitarist Fred Frith (right) playing with two of his colleagues, percussionist Nava Dunkelman (left) and violinist gabby fluke-mogul (center) (courtesy of The Lab)

The second set will feature English guitarist Fred Frith, who was a major figure in the avant-rock movement half a century ago. He continues to pursue adventurous approaches to making music and now teaches in the Music Department at Mills College, where he is Professor of Composition. He will be joined by two adventurous improvisers of the current generation, who often perform as a duo. They are violinist gabby fluke-mogul and percussionist Nava Dunkelman.

This concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Sunday, October 14. The Lab is located in the Mission at 2948 16th Street, which is a short walk to the east 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 $15, and there will be no charge for 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.

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