Creative Differences presents a very special concert this.
BEN GOLDBERG w.DONNY McCASLIN,MICHAEL FORMANEK & HAMIR ATWAL
3134 EASTERN AVE
BALTIMORE MD 21231
SUNDAY 26 APRIL AT 7PM
$23 at door/$20 advance
Ben Goldberg – clarinet
Donny McCaslin – saxophone
Michael Formanek – bass
Hamir Atwal - drums
Ben Goldberg is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished clarinetists working on today's Jazz scene.He studied with Jazz legends Steve Lacy and Joe Lovano before going on to establish himself as a creative force alongside Bill Frisell,Nels Cline and John Zorn amongst countless others.
He is joined for this exclusive performance by the Grammy nominated saxophonist Donny McCaslin ,bassist Michel Formanek and the Bay Area drummer Hamir Atwal.
Clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg grew up in Denver, Colorado, and received degrees from the University of California and Mills College. He was a pupil of the eminent clarinetist Rosario Mazzeo, and studied with both Steve Lacy and Joe Lovano.
In the San Francisco Bay Area magazine The Monthly, Andrew Gilbert heralded Ben Goldberg as “a dauntless musical explorer who has played a central role in the Bay Area’s improvised music scene for more than two decades. Following his muse wherever it leads him has taken Goldberg on a circuitous musical journey, from Jewish roots music, blues and bebop to avant-garde jazz and chamber improvisation. Along the way, he himself has profoundly influenced some of the region’s most creative musicians……It’s difficult to overstate Goldberg’s impact on the California music scene, though he has often flown under the mainstream radar, ridiculously undetected by major clubs, festivals and the jazz press. Over the past year or so, however, he’s been impossible to ignore, as a series of collaborations have put him smack-dab in the center of several of the scene’s most fertile musical ensembles.”
Donny McCaslin grew up in in Santa Cruz, CA; inspired by his father, a pianist and vibraphonist, the youngster started playing tenor saxophone at 12, and quickly progressed, touring Europe and participating in the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival’s California All-Star band while in high school. After attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he joined Berklee professor Gary Burton’s quintet, with whom he toured for four years. McCaslin moved to New York, in 1991, working with bassist Eddie Gomez and then joining the group Steps Ahead, with whom he made the 1995 disc Vibe (NYC Records). But he really began to turn heads with his solo work in larger ensembles – first Ken Schaphorst’s big band, and subsequently the acclaimed Maria Schneider Orchestra, where his performance on the album Concert In The Garden received a Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo” in 2004.
So much for McCaslin’s “traditional” credentials, which provide the anchor for his much-admired work in more adventurous realms. Chief among these is the pianoless quartet Lan Xang (which evolved from an experimental partnership with fellow New York saxist David Binney) and the quintet led by the widely lionized trumpeter Dave Douglas, who added McCaslin to his band in 2005. Reviewing the Douglas Quintet in Jazz Times, Josef Woodard wrote of McCaslin: “He’s a versatile player who moves easily between inside and outside musical zones . . . . [T]here’s a fluidity and grace to his playing even when he’s pushing at envelopes.”
Thanks to the high profile of the Dave Douglas Quintet, McCaslin in the last two years has achieved wider praise for the incisive twists and purposeful turns of his emotionally charged solos. But those qualities – along with his sometimes startling virtuosity, and his distinctive voice as a composer – had actually been on display for much of the previous decade, during which McCaslin proved himself a valued sideman on recordings by Danilo Perez, Luciana Souza, and performances with Tom Harrell, Brian Blade, John Pattitucci, The Mingus Band, and Pat Metheny. . Meanwhile, the previous albums under his own name have shown him subtly incorporating elements of Latin American music within adventurous jazz frameworks.
One marker of bassist Michael Formanek’s creativity and versatility is the range of distinguished musicians of several generations he’s worked with. While still a teenager in the 1970s he toured with drummer Tony Williams and saxophonist Joe Henderson; starting in the ’80s he played long stints with Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Fred Hersch and Freddie Hubbard. (As a callback to those days, Formanek recorded with hardbop pianist Freddie Redd in 2013). The bassist has played a pivotal role on New York’s creative jazz scene going back to the ’90s when he notably led his own quintet and played in Tim Berne’s barnstorming quartet Bloodcount. Nowadays Formanek’s in the co-op Thumbscrew with Brooklyn guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara.
Formanek is also a composer and leader of various bands. His principal recording and international touring vehicle is his acclaimed quartet with Tim Berne on alto saxophone, Craig Taborn on piano and Gerald Cleaver on drums, which records for ECM; 2010’s The Rub and Spare Change and 2012’s Small Places both earned coveted five-star raves in Down Beat. Formanek writes, and the quartet plays, compositions of great rhythmic sophistication that unfold in a natural sounding way—challenging music the players make sound like lyrical free expression.
His occasional groups include the 18-piece all-star Ensemble Kolossus, roping in many New York improvisers he works with.
Formanek’s other recordings as leader include Wide Open Spaces and Extended Animation for quintet and Low Profile and Nature of the Beast for seven players (all on Enja), and the solo album Am I Bothering You? (Screwgun). Mirage (Clean Feed) is by the occasional improvising trio of Formanek, tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn. Thumbscrew’s 2014 debut is on Cuneiform Records.
Michael Formanek has also made dozens of recordings as sideman, for among others Dave Ballou, Tim Berne, Jane Ira Bloom, Dave Burrell, Harold Danko, Marty Ehrlich, Tomas Fujiwara, Gary Thomas and Jack Walrath.
As composer of works for ensembles from duo to mixed jazz and classical orchestra, Michael Formanek has received institutional support from Chamber Music America, the Peabody Conservatory, the Maryland State Arts Council and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
As educator, Formanek teaches bass and jazz history, and leads the jazz orchestra, at Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory.
Hamir Atwal began playing the drums at the age of 10 and started playing professionally at the age of 18. He studied at the Berklee College of Music on scholarship studying improvisation with saxophone great Joe Lovano and trombonist/composer Hal Crook. "Studying with composers and people who don't play your instrument really opened the way I approached music and improvising." After graduating from Berklee, Hamir moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he started working with creative musicians such as clarinetist/composer Ben Goldberg (Tin Hat Trio), trumpeter Darren Johnston (Nice Guy Trio) and saxophonist Patrick Wolff. Hamir's rock/jazz/improv group Glimpse Trio was founded with guitarist Mike Sopko in 2010. They released their 1st CD entitled "1985," which was described by Downbeat Magazine editor Frank Alkyer as "a furious blend of rock, jazz. blues with infectious folkiness." Glimpse Trio's 2nd CD "Garage," will be released July 2012 featuring anticon producer/keyboardist Martin Dosh (Andrew Byrd), and bassist Chris Lopes (Jeff Parker, Mike Patton's Mondo Cane). You can catch Hamir playing all over the San Francisco Bay Area, and is currently active with Glimpse Trio on the road playing over 100 shows a year with his group.
In addition to performing, Hamir has also has taught drum clinics at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Berkeley Jazzschool, and Music Academy International (Nancy, France).