The Squid's Ear Magazine

Thollem's Astral Traveling Sessions

Thollem + Karl Berger, Thollem + Michael Snow

Thollem's Astral Traveling Sessions: Thollem + Karl Berger, Thollem + Michael Snow (Astral Spirits)

One of a series of pianist Thollem McDonas' Astral Traveling Sessions, a 25-album series of concerts from around the globe, performing concerts in varying configurations with 70 musicians, here with two collaborations: in Kingston, NY with the great vibraphonist Karl Berger for 3 improvisations, and in Toronto with pianist Michael Snow for an extended piano duo.
 

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Personnel:



Karl Berger-vibraphones

Thollem McDonas-piano

Michael Snow-piano


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Label: Astral Spirits
Catalog ID: AS153-22
Squidco Product Code: 31275

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Tracks 1-3 recorded in Kingston, New York, December, 2019, by Karl Berger.

Track 5 recorded at Array Music in Toronto, Canada, on November 28th, 2019, by Laurie Kwasnik.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

One of a series of pianist Thollem McDonas' Astral Traveling Sessions, a 25-album series of concerts from around the globe, performing concerts in varying configurations with 70 musicians, here with two collaborations: in Kingston, NY with the great vibraphonist Karl Berger for 3 improvisations, and in Toronto with pianist Michael Snow for an extended piano duo.


Artist Biographies

"Karl Berger is a six time winner of the Downbeat Critics Poll as a jazz soloist, recipient of numerous Composition Awards ( commissions by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, European Radio and Television: WDR, NDR, SWF, Radio France, Rai Italy. SWF-Prize 1994 ). Professor of Composition, Artist-in-Residence at universities, schools and festivals worldwide; PhD in Music Esthetics.

Karl Berger became noted for his innovative arrangements for recordings by Jeff Buckley ("Grace"), Natalie Merchant ("Ophelia"), Better Than Ezra, The Cardigans, Jonatha Brooke, Buckethead, Bootsie Collins, The Swans, Sly + Robbie, Angelique Kidjo a.o.; and for his collaborations with producers Bill Laswell, Alan Douglas ("Operazone"), Peter Collins, Andy Wallace, Craig Street, Alain Mallet, Malcolm Burn, Bob Marlett a.m.o. in Woodstock, NY. New York City, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Paris, Rome.

He recorded and performed with Don Cherry, Lee Konitz, John McLaughlin, Gunther Schuller, the Mingus Epitaph Orchestra, Dave Brubeck, Ingrid Sertso, Dave Holland, Ed Blackwell, Ray Anderson, Carlos Ward, Pharoah Sanders, Blood Ulmer, Hozan Yamamoto and many others at festivals and concerts in the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, India, Phillippines, Japan, Mexico, Brazil.

His recordings and arrangements appear on the Atlantic, Axiom, Black Saint, Blue Note, Capitol, CBS, Columbia Double Moon, Douglas Music, Elektra , EMI, Enja, Island, JVC, Knitting Factory, In&Out, MCA, Milestone, Polygram, Pye , RCA, SONY, Stockholm, Vogue a.o.

Founder and director of the Creative Music Foundation, Inc., dba The Creative Music Studio, a not-for-profit corporation, dedicated to the research of the power of music and sound and the elements common to all of the world's music forms; and to educational presentations through workshops, concerts, recordings, with a growing network of artists and CMS members worldwide.Conducted CMS Residencies worldwide. In the 90s, Dr. Berger was Professor of Composition and Dean of Music Education at the Hochschule fuer Musik, Frankfurt / Germany. Chairman of the Music Department at UMass Dartmouth till 2006.Now re-establishing CMS programming in collaboration with producer Rob Saffer, directing the CMS Archive Project, recording and producing. Performing internationally with the Allstar Ensemble "In the Spirit of Don Cherry" and with numerous projects, collaborating with vocalist/poet Ingrid Sertso ( contact CreativeMusicAgency@gmail.com ). Recording a Trlogy of Piano Music for Tzadik Records. Collaborating with bassist Ken Filiano, vocalist Ingrid Sertso (KIK) + guitarist Kenny Wessel (KIKK). The Karl Berger Improvisers Orchestra, completed 75 performances in New York since the Spring of 2011 (see BLOG at www.karlberger.org). New collaboration in Europe with drummer Baby Sommer, bassist Antonio Borghini, guitarist Carsten Radtke, vocalist/poet Ingrid Sertso (DIFFERENT STANDARDS). Collaborating with cornetist Ken Knuffke, violinist Jason Hwang, saxophonists Ivo Perelman, Peter Apfelbaum, Mercedes Figueras, drummers Harvey Sorgen, Tani Tabbal, Warren Smith, Tyshawn Sorey. bassists Joe Fonda, Mark Helias, Max Johnson, William Parker, trumpeter Steven Bernstein and others for recordings and performances."

-Karl Berger Website (http://www.karlberger.org/biography.html)
2/26/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Thollem is a pianist, keyboardist, organist, composer, improviser, singer-songwriter, activist, author and teacher. He's spent his life skirting and erasing the edges of boundaries musically, culturally, geographically. His work is ever changing, evolving and responding to the times and his experiences, both as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of artists across idioms and disciplines. Though Thollem's widely known as an acoustic piano player, he's also the lead vocalist for the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti and has recently branched out significantly into the world of electronics through a multitude of projects.

Thollem was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, studying the standard classical piano repertoire, composing and improvising since he was a young child and absorbing the myriad of sounds of his culturally diverse upbringing. After dedicating his 20s and 30s to grassroots political activism, he's refocused his attention these last 15 years on a breadth of musics that incorporate his myriad experiences and curiosities. In this last decade alone, he has played well over 1,000 concerts throughout N. America and Europe as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of musicians, dancers, and filmmakers. As leader or co-leader, he has released over 50 albums in that span on 22 different vanguard labels to international critical acclaim. "Thollem is an astounding pianist who understands the huge scope of the instrument" (Terry Riley) and who continues to delve into the furthest reaches and sub-genres of Post-Classical, Free Jazz, Noise, Punk, dance and film. A brief cross section of his many recent collaborators include William Parker, Pauline Oliveros, Stefano Scodanibbio, Nels Cline, Mike Watt, Rob Mazurek, Martha Colburn and ACVilla. He is the founding director of Estamos Ensemble, a Mexican-American cross border ensemble for musical exchange as well as the lead singer of the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti. Presently Thollem is developing an audio/visual experience about America through an 8 month, 48 state odyssey with his partner the videographer ACVilla. He's also a published author about art, politics and his travels in The Anthology of Essays On Deep Listening, Full Moon Magazine (Prague) and First American Art Magazine."

-Thollem McDonas Website (http://www.thollem.com/bio.html)
2/26/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Michael Snow was born in Toronto not so long ago, and lives there now - but has also lived in Montréal, Chicoutimi and New York.

He is a musician (piano and other instruments) who has performed solo as well as with various ensemble (most often with the CCMC of Toronto) in Canada, USA, Europe and Japan. Many recordings of his music have been released.

His films have been presented at festivals in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands and USA, and are in the collections of several archives, such as Anthology Film Archives in New York City, the Royal Belgian Film Archives, Brussels, and the Oesterreichesches Film Museum, Vienna.

He is a painter and sculptor, though since 1962, much of his gallery work has been photo-based or holographic. Work in all these media is represented in private and public collections world-wide, including for example the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Museum Ludwig (Cologne and Vienna), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), and both the Musée des Beaux-Arts and Musée d'art contemporain in Montréal.

He has done video, film and sound installations, and designed books, examples of the latter being Micheal Snow/A Survey (1970) and Cover to Cover (1975).

Retrospectives of his painting, sculpture, photoworks and holography have been presented at the Hara Museum (Tokyo), of his films at the Cinémathèquie Française (Paris), Anthology Film Archives and L'Institut Lumière (Lyons) and of his work in all media simultaneously at the Power Plant and the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1994. Additional retrospective exhibitions have been mounted at the Vancouver Art Grallery and the Musée d'art contemporain (Montréal).

Solo and group shows of his visual-arts works have been presented at museums and galleries in Amsterdam, Bonn, Boston, Brussels, Kassel, Los Angeles, Lucerne, Lyons, Minneapolis, Montreux, Munich, New York, Ottawa, Paris, Pittsburgh, Québec City, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Toronto and elsewhere.

Michael Snow has executed several public sculpture commissions, the most well known being Flight Stop at Eaton Center and The Audience at Skydome, both in Toronto.

He has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1975) and the Order of Canada (1982).

Michael Snow started to play piano around 1948, after hearing and being very moved by boogie woogie and blues. He then listened to everything he could in jazz. He met some other would-be musicians and they taught each other and started to play in bands. For several summers, he and his new musician friends went to Chicago, for a couple of weeks at a time, where they sat in where they could and heard a lot.

In Toronto, he played frequently with Ken Dean's Hot Seven and in other bands. He lived in Europe for a year and a half (53-54), supporting himself by playing piano and trumpet in Italy, Yugoslavia and France, and for a month in Brussels with a local band. starting around 1961, he played with Mike White's Imperial Jazz Band, which was quite busy for a couple of years on TV, making records, and performing at The Park Plaza, The Colonial, and for a year at The Westover Hotel where extraordinary guest artists were hired to play with the band: Dicky Wells, Vic Dickinson, Edmuind Hall, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart, Buck Clayton, Jimmy Rushing and many other notable Swing and Dixieland musicians.

Subsequently, he played with some of these musicians (and with Wingy Mannone, a New Orleans trumpeter) elsewhere, mostly New York State and Michigan. At the same time, he had his own group which played more "modern" music (Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker). The group usually included larry Dubin on drums, Terry Forster on bass and Alf Jones on trombone. We played at such places as the House of Hambourg, George's and elsewhere.

He lived in New York from 63 to 70 and played with many fine musicians: Kenny Davern, Roswell Rudd, Milford Graves, Steve Lacy, Pharoah Sanders and others. Returning to Toronto, he started playing with the Artists jazz band, a unique band made up of mostly visual artists who also played. They made two lp's. In 1970, Chatam Square, a new York label, issued a double album of his solo music. He have made sound sculpture and have done sound installations, eg "hearing Aid" first intalled at The Kitchen in New York and later in various locations in Europe and Canada.

He joined the CCMC which, since 1976, has played weekly and biweekly concerts at The Music Gallery, sometimes with such guest musicians as Derek Bailey, Misha Mendelberg and Evan Parker. They made 6 tours of Europe and played in several festivals. CCMC has issued 6 albums and a three-record box "Larry Dubin and the CCMC." Snow also published a number of solo recordings, like "The Last LP" (Art Metropole), "Two Radio Solos" (Freedom in a Vacuum), and "Sinoms" (Art Metropole). A complete discography can be found in "Music/Sound: the performed and recorded music/sound of Michael Snow" (The Michael Snow Project; 4), Art Gallery of Ontario/The Power Plant/Alfred A. Knopf Canada, p. 141, 1993."

-ActuelleCD (http://www.actuellecd.com/en/bio/snow_mi/)
2/26/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Thollem + Berger 1 8:09

2. Thollem + Berger 2 8:55

3. Thollem + Berger 3 13:57

4. Intermission 1:01

5. Thollem + Snow 31:04

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Duo Recordings
Piano & Keyboards
Percussion & Drums

Search for other titles on the label:
Astral Spirits.


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