Join us for an evening of jazz with solo performances from Tim Berne & Matt Mitchell! Between sets, the musicians will also collaborate with poets Natalie Diaz and Lynn Emanuel for a jazz and poetry interlude.
The compositions of iconic saxophonist/bandleader Tim Berne have earned renown for their intensely kinetic, dizzyingly intricate quality as performed around the world by his various groups over the past four decades. With the album førage – available digitally and on CD from Screwgun – listeners have the chance to experience Berne’s music as never before, in versions for solo piano. Virtuoso pianist Matt Mitchell, a member of Berne’s hit band Snakeoil, has explored the full range of the composer’s songbook. In fact, Berne says: “No one knows my music better than Matt.” On førage, Mitchell devises mash-ups of multiple compositions, improvises new angles off the music, and often slows it down to reveal heretofore hidden beauties – limpid harmonies and ruminative melodies, like dark pearls unspooled. Studio maestro David Torn – a longtime sonic co-conspirator with Berne, as well as producer of Mitchell’s past two albums – helmed the recording of førage. The cover artwork and distinctive CD package is by Steven Byram, who has worked hand in glove with Berne for decades (including the recent Screwgun publication of their joint art book, Spare).
Thomas Wendt has been playing the drums professionally since the age of 14. A graduate of The Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, he has studied with master drummers Roger Humphries, Joe Harris, and Kenny Washington. Thomas maintains a busy freelancing schedule with Pittsburgh’s top jazz artists such as Dwayne Dolphin, Joe Negri, Sean Jones, Dave & Maureen Budway, Kenia, the Latin jazz group, Salsamba, and the newly re-formed Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra. He has also played with many visiting international artists like David “Fathead” Newman, Donald Byrd, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Freddy Cole, Monty Alexander, Bill Watrous, Paquito D’Rivera, Curtis Lundy, Wycliffe Gordon, and Javon Jackson. In 2008, Thomas played on the Emmy Award winning soundtrack for the PBS documentary, “Fly Boys” and in 2010 he recorded an album featuring trombonists Jay Ashby and Steve Davis. Thomas has also recorded albums with Gene Ludwig, Sandy Staley, Salsamba, David and Maureen Budway, and Joe Negri. Recently, he appeared at The 2012 Litchfield Jazz Festival with jazz legend Hubert Laws and in 2013 performed with pianist Alan Broadbent for the Nyack NY Library Concert Series. Thomas has been on the faculty at the Afro-American Music Institute in Homewood since 1998 and in 2014/15 taught drumset fundamentals at Duquesne University.
Local jazz stand out Dwayne Dolphin is a mainstay in the jazz scene, working with Pittsburgh greats such as Roger Humphries, Pete Henderson and Carl Arter. Throughout his career, Dolphin has had the opportunity to play and record with the “Who’s Who” of music, such as Nancy Wilson, Melba Moore, Fred Wesley and Abby Lincoln, among others. Dwayne Dolphin’s vast and diverse experience has afforded him the opportunity to lend his musical expertise in many areas.
Anthony Ambroso is a Pittsburgh-based guitarist who has performed with Dave Holland, Christian Wolff, Anthony Coleman, Troy Roberts, Alex Norris, Sean Jones, Roger Humphries, Charles “Poogie” Bell, Joe Negri, Jimmy Bruno, and Ralph Lalama. Anthony is a member of the music faculty at Frostburg State University, where he coaches jazz ensembles and teaches guitar and music history.
Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. After playing professional basketball for four years in Europe and Asia, Diaz returned to the states to complete her MFA at Old Dominion University. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a 2012 Lannan Literary Fellow and a 2012 Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. In 2014, she was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, as well as the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University, and a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Residency MFA program and lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she directs the Fort Mojave Language Recovery Program, working with the last remaining Mojave speakers at Fort Mojave to teach and revitalize the Mojave language.
Lynn Emanuel is the author of five books of poetry, Hotel Fiesta, The Dig, Then, Suddenly–, Noose and Hook, and, most recently, The Nerve Of It : Poems New and Selected. Her work has been featured in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best American Poetry numerous times and is included in The Oxford Book of American Poetry and the Norton anthology of hybrid American poetry. Her work has been published most recently in The New York Times, POETRY, and Best American Poetry, 2016. She has been a judge for the National Book Awards and has taught at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, The Warren Wilson Program in Creative Writing, and the Bennington College Low Residency MFA program. Among the awards she has received are two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The National Poetry Series Award, the Lenore Marshall and Eric Matthieu King Awards from The Academy of American Poets and, fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation.