2016Open Letter Music Series Presents...
Sarah Louise / Josh Berman & Keefe Jackson / Parish, Libramento, & Rodriguez
Sarah Louise is a 12-string guitarist based in the mountains of North Carolina. The impulse for new compositions comes frequently from observing the sounds and movements of the woods around her home. Lush and ethereal at times, yet embracing dissonance as well as tonal and time-signature shifts, her music often encompasses a full spectrum of emotions within one piece. All-original tunings, picking patterns and bold transitions mark her as a unique player. Scissor Tail Editions released her first album, “Field Guide,” in early 2015, which quickly became an underground favorite. Her brand new album, VDSQ Volume 12, is already garnering praise from media outlets like NPR and artists such as Ben Chasny, who calls Volume 12 an album “that makes me love the sound and possibilities of the acoustic guitar.”
The music of the Josh Berman/Keefe Jackson Duo is a rare glimpse into the workings of a sound collaboration built on mutual appreciation, listening, and a years-long investigation into musical aesthetics. Having worked together in many ensembles (including the Fast Citizens, Chicago Luzern Exchange, Lucky 7s, Berman's Old Idea and Jackson's Project Project) and having spent countless hours together listening to and discussing music both in the van on the road and in the record store, their rapport's reputation has moved into the realm of the almost-mythical. For this tour, the two plan to reinvestigate and revisit some old territories, and also to share with you explorations of recent areas and improvisations vibrating in the eternity of the instant.
The real miracle of this band, though, stemmed from the seemingly telepathic rapport between Berman and Jackson, the two responding to each other with extraordinary alacrity and poise. ...Berman and Jackson represented two sides of the same, profoundly introspective aesthetic. To hear Berman's motifs bobbing and darting on cornet, while Jackson unfurled plushly sighing phrases low in his tenor saxophone, was to behold kindred spirits working poetically in an unmetered, harmonically free idiom. ---Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
For more than ten years, cornetist, improviser, composer, and music presenter Josh Berman has been an essential contributor to Chicago’s active improvised music scene. He’s a co- founder of critically acclaimed Umbrella Music, as well as co-curator of the Emerging Improvisers’ Organization.
Berman has performed and recorded with Bill Dixon, Ab Baars, Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, Rob Mazurek, Jeb Bishop, and Paul Lytton. He is also a frequent collaborator with dance artists. Berman was named in the DownBeat critics’ poll among Rising Stars, Trumpet. He has toured the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan.
In 2009, Berman and his group Old Idea released their rst full length CD/LP, Old Idea, on Delmark. Josh Berman and His Gang’s There Now, also on Delmark Records, came out in 2012. The albums have garnered critical acclaim in publications including The New York Times, DownBeat, Jazz Times, the Chicago Reader and the Chicago Tribune.
Keefe Jackson, saxophonist, clarinetist, improvisor, composer, arrived in Chicago in 2001 from his native Fayettevile, Arkansas. He performs regularly in the U.S. and in Europe with many musicians including Pandelis Karayorgis, Tomeka Reid, Tim Daisy, Dave Rempis, Jeb Bishop, Jason Roebke, Guillermo Gregorio, Jason Adasiewicz, Mike Reed, Jason Stein, Aram Shelton, Fred Lonberg-Holm, and Frank Rosaly in groups such as the Fast Citizens, Chicago Luzern Exchange, Keefe Jackson's Project Project and Likely So. He has also appeared with Michael Moore, Ab Baars, Michiel Braam, Satoko Fujii, and Anthony Coleman. Bill Meyer, writing in the Chicago Reader, commended: "...the impeccable logic of his lines and the richness of his tone leave you wanting more... Jackson's high-register squiggles and coarsely voiced, rippling runs push the limits of the tenor's tonal envelope." Frank van Herk, writing in de Volkskrant (Amsterdam), asserted that "...[Jackson] has an old-fashioned, warm-woolly sound, and a feeling for melodic lines that take their time in unfolding." He has been mentioned in the DownBeat Critics Poll in the Rising Star Tenor Saxophone category. Recordings are available on Delmark and Clean Feed Records.
Shane Parish (Ahleuchatistas), Michael Libramento (Coconut Cake, Natalie Prass, Grace Potter), & Jacob Rodriguez (Michael Buble) will interpret folklore, gospel, and blues music in a late-Coltrane-esqe exploratory improvised context.