Archive for the ‘special ops’ Category
New SPECIAL O.P.S. Backdoor Draft EP available right now.
Stephen Parris Farewell Concert
Special O.P.S. Honorable Discharge
Non Grata and special guest Italian guitarist Dario Elia
Frankly Mondays – The Royal Room
July 30 – 8pm – no cover
The Frankly Mondays series at the Royal Room features a very special evening of merriment with the Monktail Creative Music Concern. Guitarist Stephen Parris, a principle organ in MCMC’s core body, is leaving Seattle. To send him on his way in style, the collective will come together and do what they do best – have a giant sonic party.
The event begins with Special O.P.S joined by special guests Beth Fleenor & Italian guitarist Dario Elia, and finishes out with the flagship big band Non Grata.
Guitarist and composer STEPHEN PARRIS has been a vital figure in Seattle’s Monktail Creative Music Concern for over a decade as a member of the ensembles Special O.P.S., Non Grata, The Monktail Raymond Scott Orchestra, Shit Orange Horsey, Hunt & Peck, and Rusty Nail if you remember that one. He is also an active member of Gamelan Pacifica, the Heaney-Parris-Rea Guitar Threesome, and a couple of kick ass bar bands. Recent recordings where Stephen can be heard include “Lou Harrison: Scenes From Cavafy” on New World Records, and “Arm Me” By Special O.P.S. on Monktail Records. Radically different albums, but both rather enjoyable in their own way. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Cornish College of the Arts.
Mark Ostrowski – drums
Stephen Parris – guitar
John Seman – double bass
Zero-G Concert Series
Mars Bar, Seattle, April 21, 2011
Why Special O.P.S.
Special O.P.S. is a trio of improvising musicians from Seattle’s Monktail Creative Music Concern. Mark Ostrowski is the drummer, Stephen Parris is the electric guitarist, and John Seman is the contrabassist. Their title Special O.P.S., besides being their initials, is their mission. O.P.S. is the mercenary guerrilla unit of Monktail, the small, skilled force used to infiltrate hostile or unknown territory, to search and rescue, or seek and destroy. The analogies go on.
Special O.P.S. was formed September 12, 2001. Their regularly scheduled Wednesday practice with the rest of the Monktail collective that day was poorly attended. People had things on their mind. So Ostrowski, Parris, and Seman played anyway, and recorded, and played some more for several hours. They had only one goal that night, to be really, really loud. The recording begins with Ostrowski’s count off: one-two-loud. Sure, the rehearsal space was directly above the stage for Graceland (currently El Corazon, formerly the Off-Ramp), so you had to play loud, but it was also purging, a response, a reaction, an aural understanding, a sonic sympathy, a requiem.
Requiem for NYC is the recording they made that night. The recording is the birth of Special O.P.S., an urgent, flawed, emotive assault and decay of arguments and debates, poems and stories, fears and fragments. This was not three musicians making a statement; this was three friends exploring their feelings in the most intimate and amplified way they could, like much of the world that day. They paired the music with Ostrowski’s visual art, packaged it up and gave it to people.
Ten years later that recording serves as a treaty, an agreement to make current, honest, propulsive music outside any idiom, format, genre or trend as if the world would end and your life depended on it. Because it does.
Standard Special O.P.S. boilerplate, for reference:
“Everywhere we look, the monopolization of the broadcast of messages, the control of noise, and the institutionalization of the silence of others assure the duration of power…. Music and the musician essentially become either objects of consumption like everything else, recuperators of subversion, or meaningless noise.”
-Jacques Attali, “Noise: The Political Economy of Music”
(written 1977, translation from French 1985). p.8
TROIKA (TROI-kuh) noun:
1. A group of three persons, nations, etc. united in power or acting in unison.
2. A Russian vehicle drawn by three horses harnessed side-by-side.
SPECIAL O.P.S. (Ostrowski-Parris-Seman) is a free improvisation commando unit replete with dark regalia, sonic hand grenades and a warped sense of humor. Their performances draw influence from contemporary chamber composition, small group jazz improvisation, electronic experimentalism, dark metal, droll wit and sonic shenanigans from the subtle to the scabrous. It’s black noise and white noise. It’s cross-genre pollination boiled in ammonia, cured in bleach, dipped in battery acid and ignited with the American flag. It’s a damn good time.
SPECIAL OPS’ inaugural recording, Requiem for NYC, was recorded September 12, 2001, and is available independently through monktail.com. Their second release, Arm Me, is available everywhere.
Presented here are four concerts, from two consecutive days in March 2003 and September 2010.
MARCH 6 & 7, 2003 (shot by Joe Shansky)
SEPTEMBER 10 & 11, 2010 (shot by Bill Barton and Jessie Calhoun)
Monktail Creative Music Concern – Ten Years in Seattle
In celebrating ten years of music and advocacy in Seattle, the Monktail Creative Music Concern will be presenting a series of concerts the weekend of 10/10/10 as well as a brief Northwest tour of their “free improvisation commando unit,” the trio SPECIAL O.P.S.
SPECIAL O.P.S. NINTH ANNIVERSARY FIELD TRIP
Thursday, September 23: Egan’s Ballard Jam House 1707 NW Market St, Seattle 7PM
Friday, September 24: Mississippi Pizza 3552 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 9PM
Saturday, September 25: The Jazz Station 68 W. Broadway, Eugene, OR 9PM
Sunday, September 26: The Matrix 434 NW Prindle St, Chehalis, WA 8PM
Tuesday, September 28: The Comet 922 E Pike St, Seattle, WA 9PM
Friday, October 1: Molly Maguires 610 NW 65th St, Seattle, WA 10PM
MONKTAIL TENTH ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND 10/10/10
Friday, October 8: Egans Ballard Jam House1707 NW Market St, Ballard 7PM
Sunday, October 10 (10/10/10): THE JOSEPHINE 608 NW 65th St N, Ballard 7PM
Organized by founder and director John Seman, Monktail represents a breadth and depth of musical experience unmatched in the region. Ensembles as diverse as their flagship improv big band NON GRATA, the overtone choir SEATTLE HARMONIC VOICES, the celebrated funk and jazz onslaught of REPTET, the bopcore trio FLOSS and chamber oriented DEAL’S NUMBER, Beth Fleenor’s shape-shifting FIGEATER, as well as death-jazz trio SPECIAL O.P.S. all have found their home under the umbrella of Monktail.
While in Seattle, Monktail has earned top honors as an arts organization, including a 2002 Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award for Emerging Group and a 2002 Tablet Magazine Pretty Good Artist Award, as well as 2006 Golden Ear Awards for best Outside Group (Reptet) and Concert of the Year (The Monktail Raymond Scott Project).
Monktail Records celebrated their ninth full-length release in 2010, the second Floss long player VITAMIN A, a bold mix of free jazz, psychedelic, and electronic sounds. Other MCMC releases include three acclaimed CDs from Reptet (2008 Independent Jazz Record Finalist), and releases from Non Grata, Seattle Harmonic Voices, Deal’s Number, and Special O.P.S. Four new releases are already in the hopper for release in 2011.
Founded September 12, 2001 in Seattle, WA, SPECIAL O.P.S. is the sonic guerilla group of the Monktail Creative Music Concern. Featuring the rhythm section of MCMC founders John Seman on contrabass and Mark Ostrowski on percussion with electric guitarist Stephen Parris, SPECIAL O.P.S. is a free improvisation commando unit replete with dark regalia, sonic hand grenades and a warped sense of humor. Their performances draw influence from contemporary chamber composition, small group jazz improvisation, electronic experimentalism, dark metal, droll wit and sonic shenanigans from the subtle to the scabrous. It’s black noise and white noise. It’s cross-genre pollination boiled in ammonia, cured in bleach, dipped in battery acid and ignited with the American flag. It’s a damn good time.
Because it is September they will play a whole lot of concerts.
Friday September 3
610 NW 65th St
Saturday September 11 Special O.P.S. Collins Pub 526 2nd Ave Seattle 8PM
Thursday September 23 Special O.P.S. Egans Ballard Jam House 1707 NW Market St Ballard 7PM
Friday September 24 Special O.P.S. Mississippi Pizza 3552 N Mississippi Ave Portland, OR 9PM
Saturday September 25 Special O.P.S. The Jazz Station 68 W. Broadway Eugene, OR 9PM
Sunday September 26 Special O.P.S. The Matrix 434 NW Prindle St Chehalis, WA 8PM
Tuesday September 28 Special O.P.S. The Comet 922 E Pike St Seattle 9PM
Friday October 1 Special O.P.S. Molly Maguires 610 NW 65th St Ballard 10PM