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Bassist, composer, archivist and advocate for improvised music John Seman explores composition and free improvisation and musical past and future in the moment with his Lil Coop Quintet, featuring Stephen Fandrich on piano, Robbie Beasley on trumpet, Kate Olson on soprano sax and Tom Zgonc on drums.
A fixture on the Seattle music scene for more than a decade, Seman is co-founder (with Mark Ostroski) of nonprofit new music advocacy organization Monktail Creative Music Concern. Additionally, he holds a sound preservation and recording venture, RPM Preservation, and is a co-host of Floatation Device (91.3 KBCS), a program dedicated to highlighting improvised music from the Northwest and around the world.
Born in New Jersey and raised there and outside Philadelphia, Seman eventually enrolled at Oberlin Conservatory as a composition major. Part way through his studies there, he switched to an independent study program focused equally on ethnomusicology and music performance as a double bassist. Seman pursued graduate studies in ethnomusicology, with a particular interest in field recording and archiving, at the University of Maryland before moving to Seattle in 1999.
Guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi and vocalist Chelsea Crabtree also mine the intersections of composition and improvisation with dark, rich guitar work and pristine vocals.
The marriage of improvisation and composition in jazz has been tumultuous, especially in the technological age. But guitarist Belisle-Chi looks to reinvigorate this relationship. He sees improvisation and composition not as disparate entities at odds with one another, but two studies that serve each other a view that is reflected in Belisle-Chi's dark and rich fret-board wanderings.
Recordings from the Belisle-Chi curated Racer Session last March exist in beautiful and thought-provoking ambiguity: what seems structured is loose and free, improvisation is focused and informed. The future of Belisle-Chi's music is one of exploration into the dark, liminal spaces between composition and improvisation, and even the earliest fruits of this adventure are thoughtful and impacting.
Photo of John Seman by Daniel Sheehan.
Photo of Greg Belisle-Chi by Kyle Turver.
Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center (View)
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, 4th Floor
Seattle, WA 98103
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|