Non Grata and Special OPS #tbt [2001-2002]

Non Grata recording sessions, July 2002

Monktail Creative Music Concern – NON GRATA


Stephen Parris discusses art prepared by Mark Ostrowski for Special O.P.S. Requiem for NYC and Ostrowski/Seman duets and solos CD-R packaging, November 2001, Seattle.
Special O.P.S. Requiem for NYC


Lil Coop and Justified Remains video

Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand – Live At The Comet [tape]

First ever release by Seattle’s secret weapon against the tech squares and yuppie droolers! Jeffery Taylor (Climax Golden Twins) spins tall 6-string tales with his guitar and the crowd bows down before an ascended master. Vets of the NW improv-wars, Mark Ostrowski,and John Seman unleash a barrage of sounds via drums and stand-up bass that toss genres like dirty underwear, leaving the inner ear dizzy and thirsting for more…lots more. It’s equal parts groovy, LOUD, and out there for more than just a minute. Live, improvised chanteys for squirming larvae everywhere, “Live At The Comet” is a document from a town that doesn’t even know what’s good for it.

Jeffrey Taylor – guitar

Mark Ostrowski – drums

John Seman – bass

recorded by John Seman at The Comet Sept. 25, 2013

released 24 November 2014 by Eiderdown Records

Limited edition cassette…edition of 100…green and black screen prints on pink stock, drawn by Max Clotfelter

Ask the Ages host at Lofi Front Room DEC 10


Ask The Ages, Heaney/Henneman/Rea Guitar Threesome, OhhoohHo at Lofi Front Room

Wednesday, December 10, 8pm

LoFi Performance Gallery
429 Eastlake Ave E # B, Seattle

Ask The Ages host an evening of new music and free improvisation.

Ask The Ages play in the spirit of Alice Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders, Sun Ra, and perform the music of their guitarist Brian Heaney. With Kate Olson, Steven Bell, John Seman and Greg Campbell.

Heaney/Henneman/Rea Guitar Threesome: This longstanding trio of leading Seattle creative guitarists brew up a head-spinning panoply of incandescent sounds and questionable legal advice. With Brian Heaney, Simon Henneman and Dennis Rea.

OhhoohHo are Mark Ostrowski on drums and Simon Henneman on guitar. Melodic mind-crushing musicians.


DJ of weird music: John Seman (Flotation Device/KBCS)

Lil Coop at 2014 Earshot Jazz Festival [recording]


John Seman’s Lil Coop Quintet recorded at the 2014 Earshot Jazz Fest, Seattle.

Robby Beasley, trumpet; Kate Olson, tenor sax; Stephen Fandrich, piano; Tom Zgonc, drums; John Seman, bass, compositions.

Earshot Jazz Fest presents John Seman’s Lil Coop Quintet, Oct 11


Lil Coop performs music by John Seman (double bass) with Stephen Fandrich (piano), Robby Beasley (trumpet), Kate Olson (sax), and Tommy Zgonc (drums).

Tickets available here.

John Seman’s Lil Coop Quintet
Gregg Belisle-Chi

$14 general; $12 members & seniors; $7 students & veterans

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 tenor 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.

Sonarchy Radio broadcast recording of Pale Fruit by John Seman’s Lil Coop, 2014.

Pale Fruit is composed of two twelve-tone rows. The first, the bass line, was inspired by David Foster Wallace while reading his novel The Pale King. I took letters from his name (D-F-ACE) as the first five notes of a row, continued at the tritone and wound up with an interesting little chord progression.

The melody is drawn from five non-consecutive major second intervals, the interval of small hands. My daughter started exploring the piano around the same time she started eating stone fruits, plunking out sticky-fingered seconds. This reminded me of Stravinsky’s Les cinq doigts.

While preparing charts for Lil Coop’s Sonarchy Radio session I combined the bass line and the melody and this recording is the result. Lil Coop will perform Pale Fruit at the Earshot Jazz Festival this Saturday, October 11, 8pm at the Good Shepherd Chapel.

Stephen Fandrich is the secret weapon of Lil Coop. The melody of Medlenno is extracted from a violin duet I wrote years ago. I gave it to Stephen and he re-harmonized it several ways. He performs it frequently as a solo piano piece, as he does here, and it is now a feature for his particular talents in Lil Coop. Medlenno is Russian for slowly because if you asked my Russian grandmother how are things going, she replied: slowly.

John Seman’s Lil Coop: Sonarchy Radio and Earshot 2014

John Seman’s Lil Coop featured on Sonarchy Radio, KEXP 90.3 FM and 

Live Performances from the Seattle Underground, Pacific Northwest
Sunday, September 14

New compositions from the bassist John Seman, with Stephen Fandrich – piano, Mark Ostrowski – drums, Billy Monto – alto / tenor sax, Darian Asplund – tenor sax and Robby Beasley – trumpet / flugelhorn.

Sonarchy Radio is a live performance broadcast that is a showcase for the many northwest artists who are pushing the limits of their music. Each week Jack Straw Productions in Seattle’s University District hooks up it’s non-profit recording studio to KEXP and sets the stage for you to sit in the middle of unique performance.


John Seman’s Lil Coop featured at 2014 Earshot Jazz Festival

The Earshot Jazz Festival swings into its 26th edition on October 10 and includes more than 50 distinctive concerts and events in venues all around the city through November 11. The festival brings jazz greats from around the world into creative collaboration with area audiences and artists.

“Bass giant John Seman’s Lil Coop Quintet – Stephen Fandrich, piano; Robbie Beasley, trumpet; Kate Olson, soprano sax; Tom Zgonc, drums – explores composition and free improvisation and musical past and future, in the moment. With Guitarist Belisle-Chi and vocalist Chelsea Crabtree.”

Saturday, October 11, Chapel Performance Space, 8pm
John Seman’s Lil Coop
Gregg Belisle-Chi