ASMAC NYC Presents: Old Hat/New Hat: Eclectic Arrangements
LA 4 PM | NY 7 PM | SYD 9 AM (+1 day)
ASMAC NYC Presents: Old Hat/New Hat: Eclectic Arrangements featuring Bobby Spellman, Steven Bernstein (NYC), Russ Anixter & Brian Crock
Hosts Russ Anixter and Brian Krock talk with NY’s Bobby Spellman about his Nonet recording: Revenge of the Cool, and NY’s prolific arranger Steven Bernstein about his Millennial Territory Orchestra and other projects.
Spellman and Bernstein will present scores and recordings of their arrangements, and we’ll talk about the music and the process.
Brian Krock will share his transformation of a Ligeti piano work for his18 piece Big Heart Machine, and Russ Anixter will premier a new video featuring his 11 piece Hippie Big Band.
Russ Anixter started as a copyist when the work still required pen and ink and made the transition to computer copying when the Mac still had those very small screens with very little memory. He has been a music copyist in NYC for 30 years. As a partner with Don Rice at Anixter Rice Music Service they have supervised music preparation for countless Broadway shows, regional theatre, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, live concerts and recordings. Notable theater projects include all of the Disney musicals on Broadway, Wicked, and Jersey Boys.
Originally from San Francisco, Russ holds a Masters degree in Jazz/Commercial Composition from Manhattan School of Music where he was a student of Manny Albam. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Relations from California State University at Chico.
Russ is the leader of Russ Anixter’s Hippie Big Band, writing arrangements for the 11 piece ensemble. Music for the Hippie Big Band includes arrangements of music by The Grateful Dead, Miles Davis, Weather Report, Little Feat, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and some jazz classics occasionally fusing together disparate styles. During the recent pandemic and sequestering Russ and the band have produced 5 remote videos including Curtis Mayfield’s Freddie’s Dead featuring Danny Louis from Gov’t Mule as a guest soloist, and War Pigs by Black Sabbath.
Russ has had performances of his compositions by the Queens Symphony Orchestra, The Broadway Chamber Players, and the Alfred Loeffler New Music Composium. Art of Sound Music, in Princeton, NJ, publishes Russ’ arrangements for brass ensembles and other chamber groups.
In his San Francisco days, Russ played trombone, bass trombone and tuba in several big bands and performed throughout the Bay Area. He now plays electric bass in assorted blues bands and in The Ward Hill Boys, a Grateful Dead influenced country band.
Russ is Co-Vice President of ASMAC-NYC and former Chair of Local 802 Music Copying Committee.
Navigating the intersections of countless musical forms in a way that is irreducibly his own, trumpeter, composer, arranger and bandleader Steven Bernstein approaches the age of 60 having fashioned a career unlike virtually anyone in the annals of music. A specialist on the rare slide trumpet, he continues to explore new concepts with Sexmob and the Millennial Territory Orchestra, two of the most inspired and longest-surviving groups of the new millennium.
Along the way, he’s also arranged music for films by Woody Allen and Robert Altman; had his compositions choreographed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Twyla Tharp; arranged for project after inspired, out-of-left-field project hatched by the late, great Hal Willner, including an Apollo Theater encounter between U2 and the Sun Ra Arkestra; interpreted the cantorial music of Moshe Koussevitsky with tenor master and loft-jazz legend Sam Rivers (Diaspora Blues); took part in the career revival of The Band’s Levon Helm, an effort that led to three Grammy Awards; worked with Lou Reed on the rock legend’s final three albums; and collaborated closely with greats on the order of Roswell Rudd (Trombone for Lovers), Henry Butler (Viper’s Drag, by Butler/Bernstein & The Hot 9) and Bernie Worrell (MTO Plays Sly), to name just a few.
Now, after the loss of Willner, Butler, Rivers, Reed, Worrell and a number of older heroes and colleagues, Bernstein finds himself carrying on their storied legacy. Once heralded as a firebrand and provocateur on the margins, he’s arrived as an eminent figure at the center, helping to expand and redefine the musical establishment itself.
In forthcoming new music from Bernstein with Sexmob, the historic and innovative quartet partners with producer and longtime collaborator Scott Harding (a.k.a. Scotty Hard) for an outing that skews decisively electronic. Kenny Wollesen plays both acoustic and electric drums as the band delves deep into Harding’s electronic beats and soundscapes, transforming them in the process.
With support from the Shifting Foundation, Bernstein also spent four days in the studio with the Millennial Territory Orchestra, resulting in 26 new tracks. One day focused on Bernstein originals (a first for the MTO), while another was devoted to arrangements of songs ranging from the Grateful Dead to Eddie Harris to Charles Mingus. Another session featured vocal great Catherine Russell, and the last was with The Hot 9 — in essence a modified MTO lineup — documenting songs they’d never gotten to record with Henry Butler. Organist John Medeski and pianist Arturo O’Farrill also appear. This new and expansive batch of music will start to see release in the near future.
Bernstein also directs the Town Hall Ensemble, which was formed to mark the Manhattan concert venue’s 100th year. The ensemble’s mandate is to celebrate the culture and music of New York of the last 100 years, with a lineup that looks “like an New York City subway car,” Bernstein says, “people of all ages, races, sexes.” Rather than enlist Bernstein’s usual cohorts, the Town Hall Ensemble is “a gathering of the tribes, where every tribe sends a representative.” The result is a roster of players who wouldn’t necessarily find themselves playing together: Nels Cline, Pedrito Martinez, Marc Cary, Bria Skonberg, Lenny Pickett and more. In addition, Bernstein is an Artistic Director of the revitalized Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, a fount of exploratory music founded by Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso and Ornette Coleman in 1971.
Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Bernstein formed a lifelong musical partnership in sixth grade with saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum, indispensable MTO member and leader of the Hieroglyphics Ensemble. Together the two absorbed all the great jazz of the era, and Bernstein drew particularly deeply from the influence of Lester Bowie and Don Cherry. He also nourished a great love of Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and pre-bop jazz in general, and has dealt with that music on a deep level and celebrated its spirit in his own projects.
Moving to New York in 1979 and coming under the mentorship of lead trumpeter and ubiquitous session man Jimmie Maxwell of the Benny Goodman Orchestra, Bernstein laid the groundwork for the omnifarious activities he pursues to this day. From his early work with John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, Ray Anderson, Kamikaze Ground Crew and Spanish Fly, to his appearances with Elvis Costello (Look Now), Laurie Anderson (Heart of a Dog), Antony & the Johnsons (Turning) and Nels Cline (Lovers), to his arrangements for the documentary Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, Bernstein has distinguished himself as both a renegade musical thinker and sought-after master of the trade, loved by players, producers and listeners alike.
“Perhaps you’ve heard about a new big-band resurgence in New York. Near the center of that wave is this 18-piece ensemble led by a Midwestern-born multireedist and composer named Brian Krock.” (Nate Chinen, WBGO) Known mainly as the brain behind the behemoth band Big Heart Machine, composer and multi-instrumentalist Brian Krock writes music that simultaneously embraces and transcends the diverse array of musical genres he works within. A fierce and probing improviser on the alto saxophone, he has also had the opportunity to make creative music in New York’s classical, theater, and pop music scenes playing all of the woodwind instruments.
A recipient of a Master’s Degree in Composition from the Manhattan School of Music, Brian was a student of world-renowned jazz composer Jim McNeely and acclaimed opera composer Dr. J. Mark Stambaugh. Highlights from his long list of awards and honors include the Aaron Copland Recording Grant, the Manhattan Prize in Composition for his “String Quartet No. 1,” two ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s Awards, a composer-residency at the Bloomingdale School of Music, and most recently commissions from the New York Youth Symphony and the Metropole Orkest with Grammy-winning R&B vocalist Lalah Hathaway. Krock’s music is notable for its seamless incorporation of contemporary classical techniques, heavy metal aesthetics, and free group improvisation. In this way, he hopes to continue the tradition of saxophonist/composers such as Anthony Braxton, Steve Coleman, Tim Berne, and Henry Threadgill. For Krock, composition is a daily practice that challenges him to continually rethink the norms of the jazz tradition whilst paying tribute to the daring iconoclasts who paved the way toward creative freedom.
Bobby Spellman is a New York-based trumpeter and composer known for leading an eclectic collection of ensembles including his Revenge of the Cool nonet and Dingonek Street Band. In addition to working regularly with his own groups, Bobby has performed across the Northeast U.S. with Motown legends the Temptations and the Four Tops, reggae juggernaut John Brown's Body, and with experimental jazz groups including the Either/Orchestra and the Ed Palermo Big Band. From 2009-2016 Bobby served as composer and musical director for the experimental Afrobeat collective Big Mean Sound Machine, touring extensively and releasing six full-length albums of original music.
A native of Boston, Bobby earned a degree in philosophy before pursuing a master’s degree at New England Conservatory, where he specialized in using principles of George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept to fuse disparate musical styles. Bobby won first prize in the 2019 Ithaca College Jazz Composition Contest for his Ethiopian-inspired piece “The Kingdom of Aksum,” performed by the Ithaca College Big Band and trombone soloist Vincent Gardner. The Bobby Spellman Nonet’s debut album, Revenge of the Cool, was released in May of 2020 on Sunnyside Records and features eight original compositions blending the cool jazz aesthetic with elements of free improvisation.
|Event Date||Tuesday, May 11, 2021 4:00 pm|
|Registration Start Date||Tuesday, May 4, 2021 8:00 am|
|Cut off date||Tuesday, May 11, 2021 7:00 pm|