Chromatic Mysteries

Posted by jim on 2/4/2009 9:09 am

Tuesday 2/17
Johnny Brenda's
1201 N. Frankford Ave., Philadelphia
$10, 21+, doors at 8pm
w/ Racketshop

Wednesday 2/18
Twins Jazz
1344 U St NW, Washington DC
$10, all ages, show at 8pm

Thursday 2/19
Windup Space
12 W. North Ave., Baltimore
$10, all ages, show at 8pm

Friday 2/20
The Studio at Webster Hall
125 E. 11th St., NYC
$8 adv/$10 dos, all ages, doors at 7pm
w/ Paul Flaherty-Steve Swell-Randall Colbourne Trio

Chromatic Mysteries is a new Philly-based ensemble -- or perhaps a conduit for extraterrestrial audio manipulation -- comprised of members from such sonic explorers as Sun Ra Arkestra, Bardo Pond, Kohoutek, and New Ghost. Horns collide with guitars that melt with percussion to create alien emissions that communicate with man's primordial urges.

As a young musician, Marshall Allen (b. 1924 in Louisville, Kentucky)
performed with pianist Art
Simmons, Don Byas and James Moody
before enrolling in the Paris Conservatory of Music. After relocating to
Chicago, Allen became a pupil of Sun Ra, subsequently joining the
Arkestra in 1958 and leading Sun Ra's formidable reed section for the
next 40 years. Marshall, along with John Gilmore, June Tyson and
James Jacson, lived, rehearsed, toured and recorded with Sun Ra
almost exclusively for much of Sun Ra's musical career. As a member
of the Arkestra, Allen pioneered the Free Jazz movement of the early
'60s, having remarkable influence on leading voices in the avant-garde.
He is featured on over 200 Sun Ra recordings in addition to
collaborations with Phish, Sonic Youth, Digable Planets, and Medeski,
Martin & Wood. Allen assumed the position of maestro in 1995,
following the ascension of Sun Ra in 1993 and John Gilmore in 1995.
Allen continues to be committed to the study, research, and
of Sun Ra's musical precepts.

Have you seen this man walking the streets of Philly? His signature
single dread emits musical spores over sidewalks, music halls and
coffeehouses. Elliott Levin is the ubiquitous Philadelphia musician.
He has played with everyone...reading his poetry into his flute, literally,
improvising with Charles Cohen, Rick Iannacone and New Ghost, the
list is long. Elliott studied music and creative writing at the University of
Oregon. He also studied extensively with Michael Guera (former
saxophonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra), Cecil Taylor (pianist/
composer/improviser), and Claire Polin (flutist/composer). Born in
1953, Levin is a Philadelphia-born-and-based jazz musician and poet.
For 10 years he toured the world with Harold Melvin & The Blue
Notes, as saxophonist in The Sound of Philadelphia band. He regularly
performs jazz and
poetry with Cecil Taylor's groups Phthongas and
Unit Core Ensemble, Odean Pope's Sax Choir, New Ghost, Interplay,
Talking Free Be-Bop, Gloria Tropp, and Miguel Algarin. His original
music and poetry was recorded for broadcast throughout the USA as
part of the New American Radio Series. He is also currently a member
of drummer (Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer, Lounge Lizards)
G. Calvin Weston's Big Tree; Animus (world/fusion music); The
Philadelphia Phenomenon (w/ Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Rick Iannacone,
Calvin Weston); and the West Philadelphia Orchestra.

Born in 1878 to a Madagascar whaler and a Nepalese snake charmer,
Outer Philadelphia's Michael Gibbons has been tantalizing intoxicated
audiences for well over a century. In 1989, after decades roving the
southern seas as a pirate, inventing cures and pharmaceuticals as a mad
scientist, and designing top-secret UFOs
as an astrophysicist during the
Cold War, Gibbons, at the age of 111, along with his brother and
one-time cellmate John, formed the well-regarded and mightily feared
pop combo The Bardo Pond. Armed with electrified guitars and almost
as many pedals an hair follicles, The Brothers Gibbons kidnapped
Swedish debutante Isobel Sollenberger, Japanese samurai dishwasher
Clint Takeda, and some shlub named Joe, licked a few toads and
conquered the Psychedelphia scene. However, not content with utter
global domination and thousands of passionate caresses from women
the world over, Gibbons decided to unleash his solo machinations upon
the unsuspecting public, in the form of "kosmische raga folk" (according
to one victim, Ed Hardy), as 500mg. Gibbons continues to emit
fuzzed-out washes of meditative drone, squealing feedback, and
chemically-influenced riffs in such socially unacceptable configurations
as Alasehir,
Vapour Theories, Alumbrados, Baikal, Third Troll, and
Curanderos, and can be found at the offices of Matador, Siltbreeze,
ATP, and Important begging for royalty checks.

Drummer/percussionist Scott Verrastro utilizes a plethora of sticks,
brushes, bells, shakers, cymbals and gongs, metal, contact mics, and
household items -- in addition to a traditional drum kit -- to coax a wide
palette of sounds. Verrastro received a degree in music literature from
Northeastern University in Boston and continues to examine many forms
of music, including all styles of improvisation and traditional folk. His
main percussion influences are Milford Graves, Rashied and Muhammed
Ali, Sunny Murray, Han Bennink, Jaki Liebezeit, Bill Bruford and Jamie
Muir from King Crimson's Larks' Tongues in Aspic, and yes, even John
Bonham, Bill Ward, Keith Moon, and
Nick Mason. His improv psych
band Kohoutek explores all of this territory, veering from drony
Krautrock-inspired psych to abstract noise freak-outs and everything in
between. Verrastro also plays in a duo with guitarist Chris Grier (To
Live and Shave in L.A.) called Thee Ultimate VAG, a trio with guitarists
Anthony Pirog and Ed Ricart called PRV Trio, often accompanies
guitarist Jeff Barsky in Insect Factory and multi-instrumentalist John
Stanton in Kuschty Rye Ergot, and has collaborated with saxophonists
Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra Arkestra), Elliott Levin, Paul Flaherty, Dan
Scofield, and John Dikeman. He has also performed with Damo Suzuki
(of Can), Richard Pinhas (of Heldon), numerous Bardo Pond projects,
and multi-instrumentalists Mike Tamburo and Little Holwin' Wolf.

Born in Ancon, Panama, Edward J. Ricart began his studies in Prague
with Tony Ackerman, a
student of the great trumpeter Bill Dixon. He's
opened the book to his very own chapter of 'avant' guitaring, combining
the ferocity of no wave and vintage hardcore with the endless spiritual
possibilities afforded by free jazz and improvisation. In the process, he's
unleashed a fire music fit to score the technological developments and
social unrest of this modern age. He currently performs as a member of
DC's avant-rock PRV TRIO. He can occasionally be seen onstage with
DC space-rock stalwarts KOHOUTEK, and noise troupe SONIC
SUICIDE SQUAD, who will be touring in support of Acid Mothers
Temple this coming April. In the past year, his ensembles have supported
Sabir Mateen, Eugene Chadbourne, Elliott Sharp, The Convocation,
Toshi Makihara, Uri Caine, Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone. Equally
likely to perform everything from math rock to modern classical, you can
catch him on tour this February as a member
MYSTERIES with Marshall Allen, Elliott Levin, Scott Verrastro, and
Michael Gibbons.


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