Zeitgeist's Jazz Commissions at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival

June 24, 2014

Known for their 35+ year history as an acclaimed new music ensemble, Zeitgeist is always eager to explore new artistic frontiers and is dedicated to the creation and production of new and diverse music. This year, Zeitgeist has commissioned four new works from local jazz artists Chris Bates, Steve Kenny, Zacc Harris and Davu Seru to be premiered at the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. The ensemble is collaborating with each of the artists this week in rehearsals and will welcome them to the stage for the premiere performances at Studio Z on June 26 and 27 at 5 p.m.

Here are a few notes from the composers on what you’ll hear: 

Corridors by Zacc Harris

Guitarist and composer Zacc Harris has become a vital part of the Twin Cities jazz community since moving here in 2005, co-leading the band Atlantis Quartet and working with a number of other groups and artists. Exploring the possibilities of jazz through new compositions is central to his artistic mission, and having the opportunity to write for a unique and exceptional ensemble like Zeitgeist has opened up new ideas. This piece, Corridors, focuses on a couple of these new ideas. The lack of bass prompted the idea of writing in a straight eighth feel rather than swing, and gives the bass role to the piano. Primarily a modal piece, there are two main themes. The first is in Dm in 7/4 time and is based on the intervals of a 2nd and a 6th, in both the melody and the harmony. The second theme is in 5/4 and shifts between four harmonic centers, mostly parallel in nature, and the melody uses more quartal intervallic structures. The abrupt shifts in time and tonality are meant to give the listener the feeling of turning down a new path, or corridor. For more info, visit www.zaccharris.com.


Ghost Suite by Steve Kenny

"I've always considered jazz to be modern American chamber music, and so the concept whereby Zeitgeist is going to add freshly composed works to its repertoire by some of my favorite local jazz artists is really a great idea for the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Rehearsing up these compositions with that world class ensemble is a joy, and I can't wait to get a chance to hear and be a part of performing these works. The goal of my Ghost Suite is to forge a balance between the merit of Zeitgeist's 35+ years of new music performance practice with the more guttural emotions and extemporaneous events present in the modern jazz tradition. It also pays tribute to Bob Samarotto, Yuri Merzhevsky, and Eric Stokes with separate movements dedicated to each." --Steve Kenny


Relay Transmission by Chris Bates

Chris Bates is a very active jazz bassist here in the Twin Cities and he is excited to work with Zeitgeist as a composer. His new piece Relay Transmission explores the rhythmic evolution of a 12-tone melody from a slow, open introduction to the fast and frantic ending. The piece contains melodic material linked to improvised sections that rely on the ability of the performers to transform this written material from one pulse layer to the next. As with most improvisation, the results should vary each time the piece is played, creating a new version of the transmission at every performance. Find out more about Chris @ DoubleBates.com


Zeitgeist at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Thursday, June 26, 2014
5 p.m. 

Friday, June 27, 2014
5 p.m. 

Studio Z, 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200
St. Paul

Free
More information



See hotsummerjazz.com for all Twin Cities Jazz Festival events, and click here for more festival events taking place at Studio Z. 

 

Spitting Image Collective Concert Preview

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Spitting Image, a brand new composer collective in the Twin Cities, will make their debut this weekend with their The Hear and Now concerts at Studio Z in Lowertown St. Paul and Honey in Northeast Minneapolis.

Spitting Image was formed in 2013 by composers Katherine Bergman, Ted Moore and Daniel Nass with a mission of bringing together composers, performers, and listeners in order to strengthen the Minneapolis/St. Paul new music community. Their work includes commissioning new work from local ...

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Notes on høle in the skY

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The musicians of Zeitgeist, her fellow collaborators, enter this ...

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Interview with Kathy McTavish

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We caught up with Duluth composer/cellist/sound artist Kathy McTavish for a look at her unique path as an artist, activist, and environmentalist and to hear the back-story for her new work høle in the skY. Drawing on McTavish’s past work in ecosystem modeling, the work considers the delicacy of ecosystems, our human quest to recover those systems, and what it might mean to be the last of a species left alive. Zeitgeist will present the world premiere of høle in the skY this weekend, May 1...
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Kathy McTavish's "høle in the skY" Concert Preview

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Composer Kathy McTavish is our guest blogger today, providing insight on her new chamber work høle in the skY. Zeitgeist will present the premiere performance of høle in the skY this week, May 16-18 at Studio Z



I created an early sketch of this work for the 2013 Zeitgeist Composer Workshop funded by the Jerome Foundation. This opportunity "is a five-day workshop designed to give emerging composers the opportunity to develop creative ideas and stretch their artistic boundaries in an environ...

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Interview with Scotty Horey: Letting Go

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Percussionist Scotty Horey was kind enough to share some of his thoughts with us as he prepares for his “Letting Go” concert at Studio Z this Friday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets and info here


Preston Duncan will be joining you on the program--a saxophonist I understand you've worked with quite a bit. How did your collaboration come about and what have you worked on together? 

Preston and I met in graduate school in 2008. Now 6 years has passed and we have played together all around the twi...

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Eric Stokes Song Contest Winner Elaine Klaassen

February 18, 2014

Elaine Klaassen, a Hillsboro, Kansas native who currently lives in Minneapolis, was recently named a winner of Zeitgeist’s 19th annual Eric Stokes Song Contest. 

Elaine is originally from Hillsboro, Kansas and currently lives in Minneapolis, where she is a piano teacher and newspaper journalist. She has written experimental music for dance, theater and performance art events in addition to traditional music for churches and community theater productions.

Elaine’s winning piece, Beat No More...

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Interview with Nathan Hanson

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Zeitgiest’s annual Playing it Close to Home concert is a celebration of the wealth of musical creativity found right here in our own backyard. This year we’re featuring Nathan Hanson, a local saxophonist and composer who has been described as “unexpectedly tasteful and dignified” by ImproJazz-France. Over his career, he has performed with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Taylor, Mark Dresser, Carei Thomas and Douglas Ewart, as well as with current stars Chris Potter, Tony Malaby...

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Eric Stokes Song Contest Winner Riona Ryan

February 16, 2014

Riona Ryan, a 17-year-old junior at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, has been named winner of Zeitgeist’s 19th annual Eric Stokes Song Contest in the youth category. Ryan lives in Mankato and plays flute in the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony's premier auditioned ensemble.

Ryan’s winning composition, Jackal Dance, is her first completed piece. “In the end, the personality that came out of the piece felt mischievous and scrappy, reminding me a lot of jackals,” she explained.

Rya...

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Interview with Viv Corringham

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Zeitgiest’s annual Playing it Close to Home concert is a celebration of the wealth of musical creativity found right here in our own backyard. This year we’re featuring Viv Corringham, a British vocalist, composer and sound artist who has worked internationally since the early 1980s. After calling Minnesota home for many years, she has recently re-located to New York. Her work includes music performances, audio installations and soundwalks. She is interested in exploring people's special ...

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