Archive for the ‘Event’ Category

2014 NW Folklife Creative Music Spotlight














Third Annual NW Folklife Creative Music Spotlight
Friday, May 23 – Seattle Center Theater – 7-10pm
Featuring performances by:

7:00 – Bill Horist and Doug Haire
7:35 – Beth Fleenor Workshop Ensemble
8:15 – Seattle Bass Trio: Geoff Harper, PK, John Seman
8:50 – Samantha Boshnack and Chris Credit
9:30 – Ask The Ages: Brian Heaney, Kate Olson, Steven Bell, Greg Campbell, John Seman

with MC David Utevsky

organized by John Seman, MCMC
more info at

MCMC presents Wally Shoup Trio, Crystal Beth, Gonzo



Shoup-Ostrowski-Seman recorded June 2011 at Hollow Earth Radio

Monktail Spite House Tuesdays


Stephen Fandrich on KEXP’s Sonarchy Radio

Stephen Fandrich, piano
Featured on Sonarchy Radio
Produced by Jack Straw Studios
Engineered by Doug Haire
Broadcast Sunday evening at midnight, September 15th on KEXP 90.3
Recorded June 1st 2013 before a live studio audience at Jack Straw Studios, Seattle Wa.

Crepuscule with Nellie
by Thelonious Monk

“Crepuscule” is French for twilight. Different recordings of Monk, particularly in a solo setting, reveal the ways that Monk elaborated on this composition, however, it is uniquely played with little or no improvisation. Nellie, Monk’s love and muse was in the hospital during the time this music was composed in 1957.

Vers la Flamme Op. 72
By Alexander Scriabin

The year was 1914, at the end of Scriabin’s life. 43 years before Crepuscule with Nellie was written, Scriabin worked this composition into form from a vision that a constant accumulation of heat would consume the earth. Financial needs drove this piece from its original exalted position as his 11th piano Sonata to that of a tone poem. Vers la Flamme depicts, in musical terms, the growth of an all consuming flame, thus a slow but constant ascendence of the melody and gradual increase in the density of sound from beginning to end, are very important architectural features.
The beginning of Verse la Flamme is so similar to the bare bones quality of Thelonious’ harmonic style that, in this program, I hoped it would be hard to tell where Monk ends and Scriabin begins. The tritone, a symmetrical, though dissonant interval that slices an octave into two equal parts, is the prime harmonic architectural component of this unique composition. The opening sequences are almost exclusively a pair of tritones. These opening sequences defined by this interval, reveal the skeletal ever-present components of a tonal structure that explodes into elaborate and rich extended harmonies that herald the tonality explored in the 20th century by Jazz composers and improvisors like Monk.

By John Seman
Improvisations on a Double Theme by Mark Ostrowski

These two composers are the ones responsible for the enduring nature of the Monktail Creative Music Concern. Both composers reside more completely in the realm of free improvisation however, they each have a substantial canon of rather heady compositions. The themes presented here on this program are perhaps two of the most emotionally lyrical moments of genius uttered by these celestial improvisors. Medleno is a russian word meaning slowly, and seeps Seman’s russian lyrical melodic heritage.
The two themes are from Mark Ostrowski’s work in progress titled, “For the Daughter of Sonoma O’neal”. He considers this work an homage to Beethoven and is dedicated to his mother. This work brought a melody into the world that needs no accompaniment.

Ballade no. 2
By Stephen Fandrich
Ballade no. 2 is a conversation between Orpheus and Cerberus.
Inspired by, Alexander Mosolov, Balinese processional music, Chopin’s second Ballade and Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Piano and Gamelan, Ballade no. 2 is an attempt to find common ground between piano and gamelan. In this bitonal work, the two tonal fields “Pelog” and “Slendro” as they are tuned on Si Thomas, a Javanese gamelan in residence at Cornish College of the arts, are combined to form one 8 note tonal field.

By Stephen Fandrich
Fulcrum was inspired long ago by a conversation with vocalist Jessika Kenney about how to sing in the Javanese tonal field called Slendro. She spoke of the experience of singing a pentatonic scale a half step away from a drone of a perfect fifth as being a way to get the feel of what it’s like to sing in such a mutable melodic space. This piece has evolved into a modal exploration much like a raag.



Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand, Diminished Men, Uncle Pooch


SPECIAL O.P.S. + Figeater at Rendezvous 8/25/2013 [recording]


Zachary Watkins and Black Spirituals at Gallery 1412 – June 14



MCMC presents

Zachary Watkins/Marshall Trammell/Black Spirituals (OAK)

Fandrich/Seman/Ostrowski Trio (MCMC)

Jonathan James Carr/Kaori Suzuki (MEM)

Gallery 1412, Friday, June 14, 8pm.


Black Spirituals features a new tradition in conversant duo vernacular utilizing electronics, and heavy-heavy percussion. Watkins’ tunes his fragile circuits as performance developing resonance and as a percussionist, Marshall Trammell explores folkloric Afro-Cuban music systems. Conceptions of space, stage, ritual, performance, geography, praxis, brotherhood, relationships, rockin’ out are living concerns. As individuals, solo vernacular is not at all tethered to idiomatic, timbral expectations associated with the lyricisms of “Free Jazz”-related instrumentalists, in fact Black Spirituals aspire towards a “Multi-Aesthetic Approach to Improvisation.” Marshall writes: “As a ‘tone-generator,’ Mr. Watkins flies me away from the familiar to an ever-emergent present in which we are simultaneously engaged in redefining our singular languages (vertical voice) and horizontally engaging the tandem vehicle that drives Deep Sets.”


Radio Minos at SIFF



Archival footage and a jazzy soundtrack contrast with modern dark humor

A film by Steve Demas, MCMC resident film guy

Featuring Doug Lane, Mark Ostrowski, DJ Hubba Hubba

Music by Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand (Jeffrey Taylor & Mark Ostrowski with PK)

Playing as a part of ALT Shorts: Strange animations, cinematic explorations, and some formal experiments that work on a purely emotional level.

Screening at Seattle International Film Festival, May 23, 2013, 9pm, SIFF Cinema Uptown

MCMC 2013 Northwest Folklife Creative Music Spotlight



Organized by MCMC. Featuring Moraine, MetriLodic, Ronin 4, Simon Henneman Quartet, John Seman’s Lil Coop Sextet

Simon Henneman Quartet 7:00 PM-7:30 PM
Moraine 7:40 PM-8:10 PM
Ronin 4 8:15 PM-8:45 PM
Eric Barber’s MetriLodic 8:50 PM-9:20 PM
John Seman’s Lil Coop Sextet 9:30 PM-10:00 PM

Friday May 24, 7-10pm

Seattle Center Theater


Recording by Steve Kennedy-Wiliams available here.

Deal’s Number at Zero-G, Lucid 5/2 [recording]



Deal Rides Again… at the Zero-G Concert Series

We are proud to present Deal’s Number at the Zero-G Concert Series. May 2nd, 8 pm, Lucid Lounge.

Also performing are Syrinx Effect with Kate Olson and Naomi Siegel. They are awesome! Very famous. You don’t want to miss it.

The longest running Monktail contingent in Seattle, Deal’s Number represents the Monktail philosophy of improvisation and spontaneous composition through the musings of saxophonist Bill Monto. Classically trained and devoid of jazz cliché and traditionalist hubris, Monto’s tone stretches and skronks and splats patterns of sound around the rolling boil of the Seman/Ostrowski rhythm section.