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Aaron Prado didn't plan on being on the stage last Friday night. The pianist and former KRTU music director was merely planning on attending the performance of his old teacher's, Vijay Iyer's, composition,Time, Place, Action, with the Brentano String Quartet, a show as part of the Musical Bridges Around the World's Second Annual International Music Festival. He just so happened to be wearing a grey shirt and black slacks, perfect attire for sitting on a stage. Dr. Anya Grokhovski, MBAW's artistic director and CEO, wasn't quite up to the task that Friday evening of keeping up with the looping rhythms and odd time signatures (at least not tonight anyway). So Prado and Iyer talked it out and Friday night's performance of Time, Place, Action went off without a hitch.
Steve Coleman has always been a musician who could find the rhythm in anything. His compositions would seem to indicate his soul is a metronome. Steve Coleman's work has always seemed to exhibit finding the tune of the universe and all its disparate parts, as difficult as that concept may be to articulate. This description may not even be the best way to describe his work, but that may also be part of why it works so well. It's hard to say why Steve Coleman's music, with its many left turns and hard to grasp melodies, still seem so easy to latch onto. In the last year, much of the arts world has hipped themselves to Coleman's rhythms-- bestowing upon him a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. So after spending an album exploring the rhythms of the heart, in Coleman's quest to explore the rhythms of the universe, he and his band, the Council of Balance, are looking at joints of the body with the new album, Synovial Joints.
Experimental musicians, take note-- percussion is your friend. Last Friday, May 1, trumpeter Rob Mazurek headlined an evening of experimental music, touring with his latest configuration, Black Cube SP, and playing a well curated set featuring an adjustment to the Austin group, Marriage, and San Antonio duo Blacknail. What resulted that night was possibly the most enjoyable experimental music set I may have ever heard, all in a large part to the importance of the drums in each group. Rhythm was the tether for the night that was able to carry what is often difficult work.