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New England's premier 
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Jazz Listening Session #6: Marion Brown, Paul Bley & Arthur Blythe in NYC Underground Venues of 1977

Two separate takes including live discussion with attendees:
Thursday July 8, 7-9 PM EDT Register here
Saturday July 18, 3-5 PM EDT Register here
This Session revolves around three artists I recall hearing in tiny venues in New York City in 1977, two of which performances were released as LP's shortly afterward. Marion Brown, Paul Bley and Arthur Blythe – three B's – each played with a startling range of musicians during their careers, and each employed multiple approaches in their quest to make original jazz in the wake of Ornette, Mingus and Trane. Their collective discography is enormous, important and full of captivating music.

Alto saxophonist Brown (1931-2010) created notable compositions and improvising environments for his collaborators in the US and Europe. Bley (1932-2016) was a pianist with Bird, Mingus, Ornette, Sonny Rollins and many more, and who put his personal stamp on every jazz style from stride to free music. Blythe (1940-2017) sported one of the most recognizable alto sax sounds of the past half century and created a distinct body of work, often with unusual instrumentation, in multiple contexts.

As well as introducing the music of these important figures, our Session will examine the question: how did players organize jazz improvisations without using the popular and blues song forms that had provided structure since the birth of jazz? Brown, Bley and Blythe answered this question in a variety of ways, creating music from the visceral to the profoundly mysterious.

Spotify playlist, which will evolve from now till the session HERE

Documents, including links to many performances on YouTube HERE

"Just Kissed My Baby" to raise funds for the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic
I was invited to contribute a song video to Wolf's Virtual Mardi Gras Ball, an annual event, which premiered on Fat Tuesday, along with an array a fine contributions from musicians all over the country.

Mike Castellana of the great Blue Ribbons and many other bands plays guitars; I played all the other instruments and did the singing; Andy Plaisted mixed the track.

The Virtual Ball may be over, but you can still donate to the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic any time to help them with their great work.

Russ Gershon
The Quarry Dance IX film is now online here

Music by Russ Gershon

For the past eight years, the end of July has found me improvising music to accompany "Quarry Dance" at various locations on Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Dusan Tynek choreographs his dancers in a variety of setting around, on and sometimes inside of the beautiful rocks, trees and water found in these settings.

The 2020 challenge for Dusan and his dancers was to transform what have been in the past ensemble works performed in front of sizable in-person audiences into something safe and appropriate for pandemic times. With the help of videographer Anders Johnson, they created intimate takes within grand settings, using smaller groupings and and the power of the closeup.

Instead of improvising on a series of instruments in response to the dancers, setting and audience, I locked myself in my dimly lit studio and created a variety of music, using virtual instruments, that is, samples and synthesizers. You can hear drum ensembles, all kinds of keyboards, woodwinds and percussion, along with sounds of nature. 

As with the live Quarry Dances, the choreography was created first and the music in response. For musicians and others interested in such things, there was no click track or sequencing used except a drum loop on one of the fourteen segments. I'll leave it to you to guess which one...

Hundreds attended the online premiere and Q&A sessions a month ago, but for those who were unable – and those who want to enjoy the work again – as of today the entire 34 minute dance is available for viewing at your pleasure.

As always, I thank Dusan, Alex, Jessie, Liz and Gary, and this year for the first time, Anders, for their extraordinary work. And I give special thanks for the opportunity to Windhover Executive Director Lisa Hahn, who carries on her late mother Ina Hahn's vision of Quarry Dance and Windhover.

And it's FREE

Quarry Dance is produced by the Windhover Performing Arts Center

Quarry Dance composer with pandemic beard (right)

Quarry Dance IX trailer (below)

Accurate Records space available for band rehearsals

The fabulous space that many of you have enjoyed over the years is available as a rehearsal room. Large volume space – over 10,000 cubic feet. Drum set, amps, PA. Room for distancing.

Contact: 617-899-9685