On the first and third Mondays of October and November, musician and educator Taylor Ho Bynum will lead open sessions dedicated to introducing listeners to jazz and other forms of improvised and creative music. The first hour will consist of listening to classic albums in their entirety, with introductory comments and post-listening discussion around the history and aesthetics of the recordings. The second hour will consist of musical and verbal dialogues prompted by audience questions, with THB performing solo and occasionally with invited guests.
Attend in person in Claremont, or join us online via zoom (advanced registration required).
The series kicks off on October 2 with “And His Mother Called Him Bill”, Duke Ellington’s tribute to his compositional partner Billy Strayhorn, and will conclude on November 20 with a live performance of Bynum’s collaborative duo with acclaimed drummer/composer Tomas Fujiwara.
Registration for the first three sessions is sliding scale donation suggested at $10-50, with all proceeds going to support WCCMA, and sliding scale tickets for the November 20th concert.
Taylor Ho Bynum is a musician, teacher, and writer, with a background including work in composition, performance, interdisciplinary collaboration, production, organizing, and advocacy. His expressionistic playing on cornet and other brass instruments, his expansive vision as composer, and his idiosyncratic improvisational approach have been documented on over twenty recordings as a bandleader and over a hundred as a sideperson. His past endeavors include his Acoustic Bicycle Tours (where he traveled to concerts solely by bike across thousands of miles) and his stewardship of Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation (which he served as executive director from 2010-2018, producing and performing on many major Braxton projects, including two operas and multiple festivals). Bynum has worked with other legendary figures such as Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor and currently enjoys playing with friends in collective ensembles like his duo with Tomas Fujiwara, Illegal Crowns (with Fujiwara, Benoit Delbecq, and Mary Halvorson), and Geometry (with Kyoko Kitamura, Tomeka Reid, and Joe Morris), and as a sideperson in groups led by Fujiwara, Reid, Jim Hobbs, Bill Lowe, Bill Cole, and William Parker, among others. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Baffler, Point of Departure and Sound American, and he has been the director of the Coast Jazz Orchestra at Dartmouth College since 2017.
Over the past thirty years, over twenty-five albums and hundreds of gigs in dozens of different bands, drummer Tomas Fujiwara and cornettist Taylor Ho Bynum have developed one of the deeper levels of creative communication in the contemporary music scene – in groups under Fujiwara’s leadership like Triple Double and Shizuko, ensembles led by Bynum including his Sextet, 9-tette, and PlusTet big band, and collective projects like Illegal Crowns (with Mary Halvorson and Benoit Delbecq) and the Thirteenth Assembly (with Halvorson and Jessica Pavone). Throughout this history, they’ve maintained their duo, which has released four albums: “True Events” (2007), “Stepwise” (2010), “Through Foundation” (2014), and “Notice” (2022).
Described as “a ubiquitous presence in the New York scene…an artist whose urbane writing is equal to his impressively nuanced drumming,” (Point of Departure) Brooklyn-based Tomas Fujiwara is an active player in some of the most exciting music of the current generation. He leads the bands Triple Double, 7 Poets Trio, and Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up; is a member of the collective trio Thumbscrew (with Mary Halvorson and Michael Formanek); has a collaborative duo with Taylor Ho Bynum; and engages in a diversity of creative work with Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Mary Halvorson, Tomeka Reid, Matana Roberts, Taylor Ho Bynum, Nicole Mitchell, Ben Goldberg, Amir ElSaffar, Benoit Delbecq, and many others. In 2021, he won the Downbeat Critics Poll for Rising Star Drummer, and premiered two suites of new music as part of his Roulette Residency: “You Don’t Have to Try” (with Meshell Ndegeocello) and “Shizuko.” His most recent work is “Dream Up,” a suite for percussion quartet, commissioned by NYSCA and Roulette Intermedium. “Drummer Tomas Fujiwara works with rhythm as a pliable substance, solid but ever shifting. His style is forward-driving but rarely blunt or aggressive, and never random. He has a way of spreading out the center of a pulse while setting up a rigorous scaffolding of restraint…A conception of the drum set as a full-canvas instrument, almost orchestral in its scope.” (New York Times)