The Return of the Shocking

Pray for Brain

Pray for Brain opens the sixth annual edition of The Roost.

OK, it’s not really shocking (I couldn’t resist echoing the previous post’s title), but it is definitely out of the ordinary: The Roost, Albuquerque’s creative music series, founded, curated, and
produced by Mark Weaver.

Weaver, who hangs out in the lower registers, notably on the tuba and didgeridoo, has an
omnivorous appetite for musical genres. He plays regularly in a trad jazz trio and an edgy,
unclassifiable banjo/tuba duo, as well as a wide variety of irregular aggregations that explore the far reaches of improvisational possibilities. He feels strongly that all varieties of out-of-the-ordinary music deserve a place to call home, and so he founded The Roost, which has
presented several weeks of creative sounds at summer’s end for the last five years.

He didn’t necessarily envision such an ongoing proposition when he started. “I probably wasn’t focusing on that far in the future,” says Weaver. “I think I thought, ‘Well, if this works out the first year, maybe I’ll do it again the next year.’ ”

Well, it has worked out, and each year, Weaver has signed himself up for another edition of the peripatetic festival, which has called several places home. The 2014 edition will be housed at Spirit Abuse, a space created by Postcommodity, an interdisciplinary arts collective.

The Roost will present seven Sunday evenings of extraordinary sounds, with two acts each week, primarily featuring musicians residing in New Mexico but also including several out-of-state types. In addition, the Local Poets Guild, which will present a featured performer on two of the evenings, will install the Cerebral Peepshow every week, offering a look, literally and
literately, into a poet’s head. The guild also invites poets to compose while attending the
performances and to submit their work for possible publication on the guild’s website.

Weaver has provided thumbnail descriptions of the performers, which saves me a great deal of time researching the ones with whom I am not familiar, and allows me to get this post up
before the first event. (Thanks, Mark.) I’ve appended the descriptions below, with slight edits, with Weaver’s blessing.

I hope you’ll venture out to see what your ears can discover. You may find, as I have, that out-of-the-ordinary sounds deliver out-of-the-ordinary epiphanies.

August 3
Pray for Brain
This New Mexican trio evolved from the Sama Duo of guitarist/oudist Mustafa Stefan Dill and percussionist Jefferson Voorhees with the addition of bassist Christine Nelson. They stir up groove-oriented improvisations with gutsy South Asian and Middle Eastern twists, an eclectic mix of jazz, world, funk, prog and classic rock, and jazz fusion. The trio’s CD, None of the Above, was released earlier this year to rave reviews on this site—no, I’m not planning to dance naked. Thank your lucky stars—and elsewhere. The duo’s music was described by yours truly in Weekly Alibi as “catchy, challenging, spacey, and spiritual all at the same time”—and that applies equally to the trio.

Brian Hendrickson

Brian Hendrickson.

Local Poets Guild #1 presents spoken word artist Brian
Hendrickson. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in rhetoric and writing at UNM, Hendrickson is making his third
appearance at The Roost. His forthcoming collection of
poems, titled Of Small Children/And Other Poor Swimmers, will be published by Swimming with Elephants Publications.

August 10
Rob Wallace’s HAND&MOUTH
Ohio-based percussionist/spoken word artist Rob Wallace returns to The Roost with a solo set blending jazz and other improvised-music traditions with written and improvised texts inspired by Gertrude Stein, the blues, Dada, Steve
Reich, and jazz poets Langston Hughes, Jayne Cortez, and Lawson Inada. Rob is author of Improvisation and the
Making of American Literary Modernism
 (Bloomsbury, 2010) and (with Ajay Heble) co-editor and contributor to People Get Ready: The Future of Jazz is Now (Duke, 2013).

Jeff Platz Trio with Ben Wright/Dave Wayne
Boston-based modern jazz guitarist Jeff Platz joins New Mexico’s Ben Wright on bass and Dave Wayne on drums for a set of improvised music based on melodic/harmonic/rhythmic kernels devised independently by each, incorporating solo sections and each possible duo combination, in addition to trio explorations. Signal to Noise magazine wrote: “Platz’s mystic axe tones
gradually madden into vapor-like labyrinths letting the subtleties unfold in sparse bubbling

August 17
Emily Hay solo
Los Angeles–based Emily Hay returns to The Roost this year with a solo set incorporating flute, alto flute, voice, and electronics. Her music combines the complexity of contemporary classical instrumental technique with the spontaneity and experimentation of a free-improvisation
approach, embodying unusual tone colors, soaring rhythmic structures, and stream-of-
consciousness vocals. Memory Select: Avant-jazz radio wrote: “Hay puts the [flute] to dark uses, from shrill chirps to unsettling low-register improvising.”

Ba Ba De Na Zin
Steven Robert Allen on banjo and Mark Weaver on tuba make up the New Mexico duo BaBa. For their set at The Roost, they will improvise a musical score to a projection of “Ba Ba De Na Zin,” Steve’s semi-abstract video collage of images from the remote De-Na-Zin wilderness in northwest New Mexico. Once the coastal swamp of an inland sea, De-Na-Zin is now a vast desert badlands filled with strange hoodoos and ancient petrified forests.

August 24
Catahoula Curse
Last year, The Roost season kicked off with a fantastic set by Santa Fe duo Catahoula Curse—Alex Neville on vocals/guitar/electronics and Milton Villarrubia III on drums/electronics. This year, they return with the addition of bassist Jeremy Bleich for an acoustically oriented
exploration of the duo’s southern roots music, which they have dubbed “Southern Gothic

This new quartet, comprising New Mexico musicians Dan Pearlman on cornet, Lee Steck on
vibraphone, Noah Baumeister on acoustic bass, and Dave Wayne on drums addresses
compositions of the band members along with a handful of less-often-performed tunes by jazz artists such as Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, and Kenny Wheeler. A particular focus of the group has been the compositions of Hungarian saxophonist/composer Mihaly Dresch.

August 31
The long-standing Santa Fe duo of bassist Carlos Santistevan and percussionist Milton
Villarrubia III called iNK oN pAPER ordinarily performs with a heavy dose of electronics and
amplification. For their set at The Roost this year, they will debut an acoustic version of their duo concept, which they have developed over 15 years of playing music together.

Rampant Egos Trio
“Music for Cracklebox, Theramins, Recorders, and Gadgets.” New Mexico–based Rampant Egos has been performing and recording music for many years in configurations from trio to sextet. The core trio—Dwight Loop, Justin Parker, and Arnold Bodmer—utilizes electronic and acoustic instruments to construct their improvised soundscapes of new and experimental music, which is represented on six CD releases on Loop’s Third Ear Music label.

September 7
th3 e1emental orke5tra
Also known as TEO315, th3 e1emental orke5tra is an improvised music project that is currently manifesting in bicity quintet form, with Santa Feans Shawn Woodyard (saxophones/flute), Matt
Norman (piano/keyboards), and Al Faaet (drums/percussion) joining Albuquerqueans Mike
Balistreri (leader, bass/percussion/small instruments) and Mark Weaver (tuba/didgeridoo). Real-time video manipulations for this performance have been produced by Basement Films.

Local Poets Guild presents spoken word artist Erin M. Daughtrey, who, in her third appearance at The Roost, will perform with cellist Joe Hay. Daughtrey has developed a richly inquisitive
approach to linguistic style and artistry, and her work places high value on the exploratory
possibilities of subtle language and imagery, as well as the connotative influence of structure and sound.

September 14
This new Albuquerque quartet merges the talents and perspectives of its individual members to create what they call a “post-genre experience of expression,” using strategies of improvisation, including elements of Butch Morris’s conduction method. The quartet includes New Mexicans Bonnie Schmader (bass flute and flute), Katie Harlow (cello), Alicia Ultan (viola), and Rick DiZenzo (drumset).

Three of New Mexico’s most experienced improvising musicians come together in a new trio configuration for this final show at The Roost. Jeremy Bleich (electric bass) and Milton Villarrubia III (drums), both from Santa Fe, join Ben Wright (acoustic bass) from Taos to intuitively evolve fresh sonic landscapes.


The Roost
Sundays, August 3 through September 14, 7:30 p.m.
Spirit Abuse
1103 Fourth St. NW, Albuquerque
$5 minimum at the door
For tickets or more information,


© 2014 Mel Minter. All rights reserved.

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