NRM Season 25: Ensemble Helacious

Thursday, January 20, 8pm
Greenwich House Music School (GHMS) presents Ensemble Helacious as part of its 25th anniversary season of North River Music. Admission is payable at the door from 7:30pm and costs $15 general, $10 for students and seniors.

Set into motion by acclaimed multi-woodwind artist JD Parran for the Rhythm in the Kitchen Festival in March 2007, the trio also includes masterful improvisers/composers Peter Zummo (trombone), and Kevin Norton (drums/ vibraphone).

Ensemble Helacious will perform the premiere of Untitled Number Nine, a study in the generation, propagation and emotional reception of sound, specifically written for GHMS’s Renee Weiler Concert Hall, and the acclaimed MC 5, inspired by the musical spirit of the legendary Detroit-based rock band of the same name. Founded by Frank Wigglesworth in 1985, GHMS’s North River Music is one of New York City’s first concert series devoted to new and experimental music. The concert will be followed by a reception.

A matrix of overlapping systems, Untitled Number Nine is meant to express the artists’ connection to an eternal spirit. The drums provide trance-inducing rhythms while the trombone and woodwinds are processed by live electronics. The piece is about making decisions on what to leave out as the improvisational element moves forward in real-time. In this journey, the performance space plays a role in the formation (and discovery) of raw, unsettled sounds.

Premiered at La Roulette in 2009, MC 5 draws its inspiration from the radical 1960s American rock band, which, under the leadership of their “manager” John Sinclair, attempted to fuse revolutionary politics with music that motivated action and solidarity. The composition is divided in three sections that morph into each other, without interruption. Section one begins with intense, riotous drumming above low note “feedback” from the bass sax and trombone. The drum “solo” gives way to a driving pulse (somewhere between Motown and punk rock), while the soprano sax takes the role that the drums previously enacted. Section three offers a chant for peace through a repeated two-note motive that is sometimes transposed but always spiraling in. It becomes more meditative as the trombone and electronics provide the final musical statements.

This performance will be held at Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow Street, NYC.
Phone (212) 242-4770 for more information.

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