2002 Festival | Past Performers | Reviews

15th Seattle Festival of Free Improvisation
Friday, June 23–Monday, July 3, 2000
Various venues - see individual listings below
Admission to all events at the door


North America's longest-running festival devoted to freely improvised music celebrates its 15th year with an impressive array of international, national, and local players working in the areas of open and structured improvisation, free jazz, and electroacoustic music. Events will take place throughout the city at venues ranging from concert halls to clubs to cafes.

This year's festival is a joint effort by several Seattle organizations who present quality creative music on a year-round basis, including Earshot Jazz, HipSync Records, Other Sounds, Peruvian Night Train Productions, Resonant/Circuit, Strategic Improv Labs 2000 (SIL2K), the Tentacle, and their.own.devices, under the overall direction of longtime festival organizers Dennis Rea and Wally Shoup.

Friday, June 23

John Butcher (UK) with Gino Robair & Matthew Sperry (SF)
Seattle Chamber Theater, Odd Fellows Building (4th floor), 915 E Pine (4th floor), 98122, 9 pm, $8, (206) 324-8788

UK saxophone virtuoso John Butcher is known for his phenomenal extended techniques and uncanny ear for microsonic detail. He has performed with important international improvisers such as Elton Dean, Joe Gallivan, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Chris Burn, Trevor Watts, Lol Coxhill, Alexander Balanescu, Fred Frith, Gerry Hemingway, Reggie Workman, Veryan Weston, and Paul Lovens, among many others. He was a member of the final version of John Stevens's Spontaneous Music Ensemble, performs in a longtime trio with guitarist John Russell and violinist Phil Durrant, and is an occasional member of the Fred Van Hove t'nonet, King Ubu Orchestru, Derek Bailey's Company, and Polwechsel. He works regularly with Chris Burn in the remarkable 11-piece group Ensemble.

San Francisco Bay Area percussionist/composer Gino Robair has developed a unique approach to the ordinary drum set by treating the drums as both a complex resonator and a sound source. Each drum head is divided into sections using mutes, preparations, and heavy objects; the partitioning of the heads develops organically throughout the course of a performance, changing constantly and incrementally. Gino has also expanded traditional stick choices to include a variety of implements that strike or rub the instruments. Any sound is fair game, and the safety and well-being of the instruments themselves are never a consideration.

Bassist and former Seattle resident Matthew Sperry regularly performs in the San Francisco Bay Area with percussionist Gino Robair and many others. He has performed with an international cast of improvisers such as John Butcher, Wolfgang Fuchs, Gunter Christmann, Jack Wright, Georg Graewe, Wally Shoup, Phil Gelb, Paul Hoskin, Francois Houle, Carla Kihlstedt, Raymond Strid, Gianni Gebbia, Erhard Hirt, Sean Meehan, Stuart Dempster, Wadada Leo Smith, and Dana Reason.

Co-presented with Other Sounds.

Sunday, June 25

SRJ2K / King Leah & Soultheft
Habitat Cafe, 202 Broadway E, 98102, 7:30 pm, FREE, (206) 329-3807

SRJ2K is Stuart/Robert/James2000, an electronic subset of Strategic Improv Labs 2000. They are programmed to create dense, otherworldly soundscapes with an array of guitars and samplers for pure sensuous enjoyment. Sounds of the earth are processed and played back to transport the listener to a greater plane of existence. This is SRJ2K's first mission.

King Leah & Southeft: A legendary show among the squeamish - before it has even happened. This duo will push limits and boundaries that many people may not know exist.
King Leah (vocals, toys, organ), Soultheft (turntable, noise)

Co-presented with their.own.devices

Tuesday, June 27

Fred Van Hove & Johannes Bauer Duo
On The Boards Mainstage, 100 W Roy (lower Queen Anne), 98119, 9 pm, $10, (206) 217-9888

Belgian pianist, organist, accordionist, and composer Fred Van Hove has been a leading figure on the European free improvisation scene since its inception in the 1960s. Among his earliest associations was a longstanding collaboration with German saxophone titan Peter Brotzmann (culminating in the historic Machine Gun LP) that later evolved into a trio with celebrated Dutch drummer Han Bennink. He has given concerts throughout Europe, North America, and Japan, and has performed with a who's who of international improvisers including Steve Lacy, Vinko Globokar, Albert Mangelsdorff, Phil Wachsmann, Paul Rutherford, John Butcher, Wolfgang Fuchs, Sabu Toyazumi, Ned Rothenberg, Hans Reichel, Evan Parker, and Barry Guy. While touring as Cultural Ambassador of Flanders in 1996, Van Hove gave a now-legendary solo piano performance as part of the 12th Seattle Improvised Music Festival.

Berlin-based trombonist Johannes Bauer has been active as an improvising musician and bandleader since 1979. He has performed frequently with his trombonist brother Conny Bauer and in the Manfred Schulze Blaserquintette, Ulrich Gumpert Workshop Band, Doppelmoppel, Slawterhaus, Fred Van Hove Trio (with Annick Nozati), Tony Oxley Orchestra, Peter Brotzmann Marz Combo, and the Cecil Taylor European Orchestra. Among his current projects is the east German trombone quartet Fo(u)r Bones with Conny Bauer, Iven Hausmann, and Joerg Huke.

Co-presented by the Tentacle

Wednesday, June 28

KK Null (Japan) with Bill Horist / Toshi Makihara (Philadelphia) with Wally Shoup and Michael Bisio / SIL2K All-DJ Ensemble performs game pieces for improvisers
Mezzanine: inBOIL & dj jjustice / Intonarumori / Soultheft & John Schuller
Club I-Spy, 1921 Fifth Ave. (alley entrance), 98101, 9 pm, $7, (206) 374-9492

Note: Unfortunately, K.K. Null's performance had to be canceled when U.S. Customs refused him entry into the country.
Kazayuki K. Null has been described as 'one of the most energetic, eclectic, and prolific guitarists running loose on the planet today.' After studies with Butoh dancer Min Tanaka in 1982, he began his music career as an electric guitar improviser and collaborated with seminal noise artist Merzbow and legendary speedcore band Hanatarashi. In 1987 he formed the influential 'roar-rock aggregate' Zeni Geva. He has collaborated with such innovative musicians as Fred Frith, John Zorn, Jim O'Rourke, Jim Plotkin, Keiji Haino, Jon Rose, Steve Albini, and Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida. In recent years Null has pursued a highly repetitive form of electro-trance using the sounds of skipping CDs and other looped sounds in addition to extensive use of the Nullsonic, a bank of effects pedals that nearly defies escription.' Tonight Null collaborates with Seattle guitar maverick Bill Horist, with whom he is recording a CD.

Born in Japan and based in Philadelphia, Toshi Makihara is an innovative percussionist and unique sound artist whose original improvisational style combines masterful percussion technique with vaudeville humor, a Zen-influenced use of silence and gesture, and a dazzling range of discovered/invented sound media ranging from bicycle wheels to feather dusters to coiled slinkies, all used in unexpected ways. He has performed with many outstanding artists including LaDonna Smith, Davey Williams, Tom Cora, Peter Brotzmann, John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne, Peter Kowald, Jon Rose, William Parker, and Gianni Gebbia. His recordings include the Grammy-nominated Another Shining Path with saxophonist Gary Hassay and bassist William Parker, and an upcoming release by the Thurston Moore-Wally Shoup-Toshi Makihara Trio."

Wally Shoup is a compelling and passionate saxophonist and veteran free improvisor who has developed a playing style (and organizing ethos) that merges the radical breakthroughs of both American free jazz and European free improvisation, attempting to combine raw creative spontaneity with a precise, extended language, able to respond to quickly shifting group dynamics. His voice is at once immediately recognizable, yet adaptable to a variety of improvising contexts.

Bass adventurer Michael Bisio has performed and/or recorded with many of the leading propoenents of creative improvised music, including Charles Gayle, Marilyn Crispell, Joe McPhee, Gregg Bendian, Vinny Golia, Bern Nix, Andrew Hill, and Wayne Horvitz. The Penguin Guide to Jazz calls his work "an exemplary instance of the kind of contemporary jazz being created away from the principal American centres."

Bill Horist: See 7/3 listing below.

The specially assembled SIL2K All-DJ Ensemble will perform game-strategy pieces for improvisers by John Zorn and SIL2K composers, including Zorn's Cobra and Robert Henson's Graffika..

Soultheft/Schuller Vol.3: The third public display of musical misconduct from Seattle's darkest and most sickly ones. Expect nothing less than ear-bleeding circus rides.
Soultheft (turntable, drum machine, loops), John Schuller (guitar, vocals, loops)

The word 'Intonarumori' was coined by the Italian Futurist art movement to describe machines built to mimic the industrial sounds of the age. Kevin Goldsmith's Intonarumori project is very much influenced by the ideas of the Futurists, as well as the later conceptions of the serialists, minimalists, musique concrete composers, and modern experimental and industrial composers.

Co-presented with Strategic Improv Labs 200 (SIL2K).

Thursday, June 29

Project W + Toshi Makihara / Fred Chalenor's Arc / Tard Quartet
The Rainbow, 722 NE 45th, 98105, 9 pm, $5, (206) 634-1761

In Project W, alto saxophonist Wally Shoup and cellist Brent Arnold advance the cause of intense, energetic, interactive music that moves at the speed of thought and aims to raise sound to a state of exhilaration. Wally Shoup appears on a forthcoming CD with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and with Philadelphia percussion mystic Toshi Makihara, who will augment Project W tonight." (See 6/28 listing above for more information on Toshi Makihara.)

Arc is the latest project of Fred Chalenor, widely acclaimed as one of the most virtuosic and imaginative electric bassists in the West. He leads his own ensemble Hughscore (with former Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper), is a member of LAND, Radio Chongching, Boodler$ (with Elliott Sharp), and Elaine DiFalco's Fabric, and has performed with Wayne Horvitz's The President, Pigpen, and Zony Mash, the Tone Dogs, Face Ditch, and Minus. In Arc, Fred plays bass and 10-string Chapman Stick alongside Seattle reed treasure Craig Flory on bass clarinet and Jason McGerr on drums.

Tard Quartet is a specially assembled aggregate of players who regularly perform improvised music at the Rainbow: guitarist Peter Reilly (Millennium Bug Revue, Oxygen Ensemble), bassist Paul Hinklin (Sadhappy), trumpeter Dave Carter (Wayne Horvitz, Hughscore, Aiko Shimada), and drummer Mike Peterson (Ghidra, Sauce, Apes of Wrath).

Co-presented with Peruvian Night Train Productions.

Friday, June 30

Small Group Improvisations
Zeitgeist Cafe, 171 S Jackson, 98104, 8-10 pm, $5 suggested donation, (206) 583-0497
An evening of small-group improvisations curated by Seattle Improvised Music Festival founder Paul Hoskin and Angelina Baldoz, featuring Greg Powers (trombone), Lori Goldston (cello), Aimee Sullivan (saxophone), Mark Collins (acoustic bass), Takeshi Nakamura (trumpet), Tari Nelson-Zagar (bass, violin), Frances Woods (violin), and others, in the intimate surroundings of the Zeitgeist Cafe.

Co-presented with Resonant/Circuit; this event marks the relaunching of the biweekly Resonant/Circuit new-music concert series at the new Zeitgeist space.

Friday, June 30

Outhouse Farewell Show / Marlo & Snarpy
The Rainbow, 722 NE 45th, 98105, 9 pm, $5, (206) 634-1761
Ornette-inspired harmolodic juggernaut Outhouse play their final show, as saxophonist Paul Chuey prepares to relocate to NYC. With Ken Masters (guitar), Cedric Ross (bass), and Steve Cavit (drums). We'll miss you guys!
In Marlo & Snarpy, Rich Hinklin alternates between electric bass and guitar, layering riffs and improvising stimulating groove-oriented textures for drum "animal" Mike Peterson.

Co-presented with Peruvian Night Train Productions.

Sunday, July 2

Ham and Treachery / Tripod
Habitat Cafe, 202 Broadway E, 98102, 7:30 pm, FREE, (206) 329-3807

Ham and Treachery: Explorations in duality: good/evil, black/white, light/dark, loud/quiet, electric/acoustic, large/small, duo/orchestra, ham/treachery. "The group that actually tastes great and is less filling."
John Schuller (guitar), Mark Schlipper (bass, drums)

Tripod is a truly unclassifiable amalgam of musical improvisation, performance art, hijinks, and weirdness, featuring the inimitable Seymour King and cohorts Lisa DeFrance, Jason Glover, and Beth Simon in performances ranging from the sublime to the hilarious.

Co-presented with their.own.devices

Monday, July 3

Monitor Trio: Michael Moore, Cor Fuhler & Tristan Honsinger (Netherlands) / Bill Horist
On The Boards Studio Theater, 100 W Roy, 98119, 8 pm, $7, (206) 217-9888

These extraordinarily accomplished musicians are three of the greatest Netherlands-based new-jazz practitioners. Perhaps best known for his work in the madcap Clusone Trio with Han Bennink and Ernst Reijseger, the U.S.-born, Amsterdam-based saxophonist Michael Moore seems to know every tune ever written, yet can hang with the wildest of the Dutch improvisers. Cor Fuhler is one of those; whether playing prepared or au naturel piano, he's arguably the freshest voice on the instrument anywhere along the jazz spectrum. He focuses on expanding the sound of the piano, on collecting/playing many kinds of electronic and acoustic keyboards and other instruments, and on building his own instruments, such as the 'keyolin,' a hybrid of keyboard instrument and violin. Cellist Tristan Honsinger is a vaunted musical technician and spirit who has collaborated with many of the world's finest improvisers, including Derek Bailey's Company, Cecil Taylor, Misha Mengelberg's Instant Composers Pool, and the Globe Unity Orchestra.

Opener Bill Horist works the electric guitar over with a vast kit of objects and electronics to create strage, transporting soundscapes. His latest solo CD, Songs from the Nerve Wheel, was released this month by Seattle's Unit Circle Rekkids.

Co-presented with Earshot Jazz.

The 15th Seattle Improvised Music Festival was organized by Wally Shoup and Dennis Rea

Past Performers | Reviews | Other Sounds Concert Series | The Tentacle