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By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell University's ongoing Jazz at Bucknell First Wednesdays series continues Nov. 7 with Bobby Avey's "Authority Melts from Me" at 8:30 p.m. in Bucknell Hall.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, includes Bobby Avey, piano and compositions; Ben Monder, electric guitar; Thomson Kneeland, bass; Jordan Perlson, drums; and Jeremy Viner, tenor saxophone.
"Authority Melts From Me" is an instrumental suite inspired by events surrounding the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803. This revolution was the only time in recorded history that slaves were able to eradicate slavery and subsequently successful in declaring their independence from an imperial colonizer. Haitian oral tradition holds the slave involvement in the uprising commenced following a secret Vodou ceremony at Bois Caïman in the northern mountains of the island.
Avey has undertaken an intense study of Vodou drumming rhythms including a trip to Haiti earlier this year to record such ceremonies in the small village of Soukri. He meticulously transcribed these drumming ensembles and has used their music as a rhythmic key for his new suite. Avey's "Authority Melts From Me" has been made possible by the Chamber Music America 2011 New Jazz Works, funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Praised by the New Yorker magazine as "a young pianist of invention and refinement," Avey has established himself as an emerging star in the jazz community. In 2011, he won the esteemed Thelonious Monk Competition for composition. This award followed his 2010 debut record as a leader, "A New Face", lauded by The New York Times as "a promising debut." In 2005, while a student at the Purchase Conservatory of Music, he was invited by NEA Jazz Master David Liebman to adapt and arrange art songs from the Classical and Romantic eras for reinterpretation, creating a vehicle for improvisation. The project, which culminated with the album "Vienna Dialogues", was released in 2006 on ZOHO to rave reviews. Avey graduated from Purchase Conservatory of Music summa cum laude in 2007.
Kneeland has established himself as a formidable sideman and leader since moving to New York City in 2003, working with such established musicians as Ted Rosenthal, Kenny Werner, Billy Drummond, Lynne Arriale, Paul Bollenback, Peter Leitch, and Jed Levy among many, as well as leading his own groups. Kneeland has released five albums as a leader, most recently" Mazurka for a Modern Man" and" The Voice of Silence", featuring a quintet of his peers making their mark on the NYC scene.
A singular musician in the New York area for 25 years, Monder has performed with a variety of artists, including Jack McDuff, Marc Johnson, Lee Konitz, George Garzone, Tim Berne, and Kenny Wheeler. He is a regular member of the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra and was a member of the late Paul Motian Octet. He has conducted clinics and workshops around the world, and served on the faculty of the New England Conservatory from 2002-05. Monder continues to perform original music internationally with his own quartet, trio, and in a duo project with vocalist Theo Bleckmann. He has appeared on more than 100 CDs as a sideman, and has released four as a leader: "Oceana" (Sunnyside, 2005), "Excavation" (Arabesque, 2000), "Dust" (Arabesque, 1997), and "Flux" (Songlines,1995).
Perlson was born in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where he began drumming at the age of 10. He began studying with famed drummer Joe Morello at the age of 17, and attended Berklee College of Music on scholarship, graduating with a dual degree in Performance and Music Business. Now a long-time resident of New York City, Perlson keeps a busy touring and recording schedule and has shared the stage with such musicians as Kaki King, Trevor Hall, Hiromi, David Liebman, Gary Burton, Chris Potter, Greg Osby, Cuong Vu, Becca Stevens, Henry Hey, Donny McCaslin, Brad Shepik, Chris Cheek, George Garzone, David Binney, Wayne Krantz and many others. He is working on several instructional books as well as his first solo project of original material.
Viner is an active performer, composer and educator participating in a wide range of musical idioms. As a saxophonist and clarinetist, he has performed nationally and internationally with ensembles led by Steve Lehman, John Hollenbeck, Tim Berne and David Moore. Viner received his B.A. from the New School in 2008 and his M.A. from The Juilliard School in 2010. His woodwinds can be heard on record with the twice Grammy nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and is featured on the September 25th EP "Strata" and the October 23rd album "Yes It Will" by the Rafiq Bhatia Group.
Produced by Phil Haynes, Jazz at Bucknell is a chamber series conceived to present international modern masters and young visionaries, showcasing the entire tradition of jazz, from standards to the avant-garde, with an eye on artists who continue the innovative tradition of the music with their personal approaches to sound, style, and composition.
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