Ben Goldberg and I spoke briefly the other day about his upcoming hit at YBCA, and he emphasized that this is the only live performance of a project with a new cd he recorded and his releasing Orphic Machine, featuring these nine players:
Carla Kihlstedt, violin and voice
Greg Cohen, bass
Kenny Wollesen, vibraphone
Ron Miles, trumpet
Ches Smith, drums
Nels Cline, guitar
Rob Sudduth, tenor saxophone
Myra Melford, piano
Ben Goldberg, clarinets
More on his site. More hopefully here, and better, later. Thanks again Ben for supporting Taylor Ho Bynum here in September, at Lytton Plaza, I have photo evidence. He say:
Orphic Machine was my biggest compositional project to date. I wrote around the clock for four months, completing a song cycle of ten movements, scored for nine musicians
The YBCA Yerba Buena Center Arts website is very confusing about this but he said Myra Melford artist in residence curated the music series which also has Henry Threadgill and Jenny Scheinman, and Matana Roberts on the post card we got.
Quote makes me EDITA that I libbed both Clockers the Richard Price 1992 novel and on DVD Spike Lee joint.
edit to add: the cd was reviewed by Nate Chinen in New York Times on April 28, 2015:
The high degree of difficulty on “Orphic Machine,” an enveloping new album by the clarinetist Ben Goldberg, has little to do with the formal intricacy or catalytic chemistry in his music.
The challenge comes from Mr. Goldberg’s inspiration for the album: “Summa Lyrica: A Primer of the Commonplaces in Speculative Poetics,” a book-length essay by Allen Grossman.
An influential work of poetic theory ever since its publication more than 20 years ago, it’s hardly a natural candidate for a musical adaptation. But Mr. Goldberg, who had Mr. Grossman as an undergraduate professor in the late-’70s, brings a light touch and a soulful ear. There’s little that rings emotionally heavy here, even though Mr. Grossman’s death last year at 82 imparts a whiff of elegy to this music.
Mr. Goldberg marshals some of the sharpest improvisers on the scene into a dynamic orchestra. Carla Kihlstedt, his fellow member of the style-blending chamber group Tin Hat, takes center stage through most of “Orphic Machine,” singing verses excerpted from the original text. That it works so bewitchingly is a testament to Ms. Kihlstedt’s coolheaded, unflashy singing, and to Mr. Goldberg’s graceful way with a melody. On “Immortality,” they even bring a sly sensuality to the first line of Mr. Grossman’s argument: “The function of poetry is to obtain for everybody one kind of success at the limits of the autonomy of the will.” (Yes, somehow it works.)
edit to add, four years later, Taylor Ho Bynum comment on that little show at Lytton: although this post is before that:
In Palo Alto I had a fantastic time duetting in the plaza with the clarinetist Ben Goldberg, wild abstractions with echoes of Rex Stewart and Barney Bigard, harkening back to busking days long past. Our first time playing together but hopefully not our last, I felt an immediate aesthetic connection. The night before, another wonderful first time duo, with pianist Myra Melford. (I’ve played in her quartet in the past, but this was the first one-on-one.) She is a player of such strength and sensitivity, it was a real pleasure. I’ve been so lucky with the music across the board; every concert has been both inspiring and unique, each collaborator has given me something special, I am truly grateful.