Orchestral jazz in Switzerland, Rhymes With Opera in New York

I’ve just arrived in Basel to perform tonight with the Orchestra of LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI and Swiss “über-jazz” group Hildegard Lernt Fliegen. We’ll also play in Schaffhausen, Switzerland this Wednesday, then next week I’ll play in the New York premiere of Bonnie Lander’s experimental opera Coping Mechanisms, presented by Rhymes with Opera. Details below!

Photographed by Kirk Marsh in San Antonio during Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests‘ monthlong tour from January to February.

I’m in Switzerland a lot this year. I was here for a couple weeks from late March to mid-April working on a new project with LUCERNE FESTIVAL Young Performance, in which choreographer Maged Mohammed is directing myself and five other musicians to develop an hourlong performance of music and movement for preteens. I’ll be back to work on that project for two weeks in June and again from late August until the premiere in Lucerne on 10 September, as well as for a tour in March 2018. But right now I’m here for a different project, playing in an orchestra of alumni of the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY. We’re joining forces with Hildegard Lernt Fliegen, a well-known Swiss group of six jazz musicians led by the Echo Jazz Award-winning vocal acrobat Andreas Schaerer, who composed and orchestrated the six pieces we’re playing expressly for this collaboration. It’s exciting, groovy music – catch a short preview video here. Hope to see some friends tonight at Offbeat Jazzfestival Basel, as well as this Wednesday at the Schaffhauser Jazzfestival! I’ll return for more Swiss and German shows with this project in late November, so keep an eye out.

I’ll be back in New York at the end of the week, then the following week I’m performing as one of three instrumentalists paired with vocalists Bonnie Lander, Elisabeth Halliday, and Robert Maril in Bonnie’s improvised experimental opera Coping Mechanisms, a project of Rhymes With Opera. The vocalists traveled to San Diego last month for the first iteration of the piece, and I’m excited to put my own spin on it alongside bassist Jason Anastasoff and percussionist Dennis Sullivan.

Keep an eye out at the end of May for more dates with Valerie Kuehne and the Wasps Nests, a reunion show in June with Food Will Win the War at The Knitting Factory opening for Ha Ha Tonka, then in July a new installation by thingNY celebrating our tenth anniversary. We’re collecting material from a decade of archival recordings for an interactive electronic piece at Harvestworks, sponsored by New Music USA. Plus I’m playing another show that month at Rockwood Music Hall with folk rocker Bill Steely. And there’s more cooking, so stay tuned!

Finally, check out this interview I did with fellow LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI in Third Coast Percussion about their GRAMMY win!
Jeff