Beginning in Fall 2011, Tracy McMullen has been a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities at the University of Southern California. In 2007–2008 she was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the seven-year “Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice” (ICASP) research initiative at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. She received her Ph.D. in Music from UC San Diego in 2007 and was a faculty member in the Music and the Gender & Women’s Studies departments at UC Berkeley from 2009 to 2011. Her articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Current Musicology; Critical Studies in Improvisation;Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies; People Get Ready: The Future of Jazz is Now;Sounding the Body: Improvisation, Representation and Subjectivity; The Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies; The Dictionary of African American Music; and The Grove Dictionary of American Music. As a saxophonist in the jazz and improvised music traditions she has recorded on Cadence Jazz and numerous other independent labels and maintains an active performance schedule.
McMullen received an M.A. in Music Composition and an M.M. in Jazz Studies (with an emphasis on saxophone performance) from the University of North Texas. As a jazz/experimentalist saxophonist, she has performed or recorded with George Lewis, Anthony Davis, Dana Reason, Mark Dresser, Pauline Oliveros, and many others.
Improviser, guitarist and constructor Han-earl Park has been working within/from/around traditions of fuzzily idiomatic, on occasion experimental, mostly open improvised musics for over fifteen years, sometimes engineering theater, sometimes inventing ritual. He feels the gravitational pull of collaborative, multi-authored contexts, and has performed in clubs, theaters, art galleries, concert halls, and (ad-hoc) alternative spaces in Austria, Denmark, Germany, England, Ireland, The Netherlands, Scotland and the USA.
He is part of Mathilde 253 with Charles Hayward and Ian Smith, is involved in collaborations with Bruce Coates, Franziska Schroeder, Alex Fiennes and Murray Campbell. Recent performances include Mathilde 253 with Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith; duo concerts with Paul Dunmall, and with Richard Barrett; trios with Matana Roberts and Mark Sanders, with Catherine Sikora and Ian Smith, and with Jin Sangtae and Jeffrey Weeter; as part of the Evan Parker-led 20-piece improvising ensemble; and the performance of Pauline Oliveros’ ‘Droniphonia’ alongside the composer. Park has also recently performed with Lol Coxhill, Pat Thomas, Corey Mwamba, Mark Trayle, Pedro Rebelo, Alexander Hawkins, Mike Hurley, Chick Lyall, Thomas Buckner and Kato Hideki. Festival appearances include Sonorities (Belfast), Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), dialogues festival (Edinburgh), VAIN Live Art (Oxford), and the Center for Experiments in Art, Information and Technology Festival (California). His recordings have been released by labels including Slam Productions and DUNS Limited Edition.
Park founded Stet Lab, a monthly improvised music space in Cork, Ireland, and taught improvisation at the UCC Department of Music.
I feel honored to have been part of an orchestra of performers of that caliber. As best I can make out, the final lineup of the Silver Orchestra on the night was:
Thomas Buckner (voice), Jennifer Choi, Wendy Law (strings), Casey Anderson, Casey Butler, Jamie Baum, Marty Ehrlich, Sara Schoenbeck, J. D. Parran, Jason Mears (winds), Ted Daniel, Taylor Ho Bynum, Mark Taylor (brass), Yuko Fujiyama (piano), John Lindberg (bass), Han-earl Park (guitar), and Bobby Naughton, Susie Ibarra, Martin Obeng, Harris Eisenstadt (percussion).
Was great to catch up with some old acquaintances, and meet many new people. Some things to take away: the trio of drummers to my right (Susie, Martin and Harris) always sounded fantastic; Mark’s fluttering, playful solo was a highlight; Angelica Sanchez for her sense of humor; musing with Jason about the possibilities (and practicalities) of large ensemble creative music; and Yuko and Taylor making the sections breaks clearer for the rest of us.
And of course, thanks to Wadada for taking time to guide us through his compositions; always a pleasure. Happy Birthday, Wadada!
More reviews of ‘io 0.0.1 beta++’ (SLAMCD 531) including Vittorio’s big thumbs-up at MusicZoom where he hails the recordings as a “total hymn to modernity”, in which the human musicians “throw themselves with passion on the ideas from the inanimate object”, and the listener will be “fully repaid by that which is a successful experiment”:
Il titolo da romanzo o di sigla di messaggio segreto è il nome della macchina sparamusica/rumori che fa bella mostra di sè sul palco e che senza alcun intervento dei musicisti intorno tira giù il suo catalogo di suoni con cui gli altri si trovano a confrontarsi. Un´idea che sarebbe piaciuta ai futuristi di omai un secolo fa, un inno totale alla modernità. Altro che strumenti acustici!
I tre musicisti coinvolti insieme alla macchina sono Han-earl Park alla chitarra, Bruce Coates al sax alto e sopranino e Franziska Schroeder al sax soprano. Non hanno nessuna paura per il confronto e così si avventano con passione sulla proposta dell´oggetto inanimato.
La session completamente improvvisata richiede molta attenzione da parte dell´ascoltatore, ripagata completamente da quello che è un esperimento riuscito. [Read the rest…] [English translation…]
Meanwhile, what to me is ‘playful’ may be ‘uncompromising’ to someone else:
Fra segmenti più atmosferico-minimali, e altri invece più frammentati e nervosi, si procede così, talora arrestandosi a una sorta di limbo emozionale, di quieta truculenza, peraltro sempre ammirevole per coerenza e rigore. [Read the rest…]
On the other hand, Ed Pinsent of The Sound Projector highlights the (fun, playful) material and interactive dimensions in the meeting between human and machine musicians:
The guitarist Park, sometime member of Mathilde 253 whose fine CD impressed us in March this year, is joined by two improvising saxophonists, Bruce Coates (from the Birmingham Improvisers’ Orchestra) and Franziska Schroeder (member of the trio FAINT), and the record documents the meeting of this trio with the “machine musician” io 0.0.1 beta++. This device is an automaton, a musical robot if you will, built by Mr Park; it’s not just another computer programme that plays random sounds or builds an “interactive” space for other laptop musicians, but actually occupies physical space and performs on the stage alongside its human counterparts. Shades of Pierre Bastien…. The multi-media artist Sara Roberts from California writes the liner notes and she does a much better job than I possibly could in articulating the cultural resonances of this man-meets-automaton event. [Read the rest…]
And Rui Eduardo Paes hears a meeting in which the human musicians bring their varied experience, in avant-jazz and in the space between electroacoustics and contemporary music, and in which the automaton “interactively reacting to what they do and even giving them cues”:
Os músicos de carbono envolvidos ora trabalham na área do ‘avant-jazz’, ora na da electroacústica de fronteira com a música contemporânea: Park com Charles Hayward, Wadada Leo Smith e Paul Dunmall, Coates com Tony Oxley, Lol Coxhill e o compositor indeterminista Christian Wolff, e Schroeder ao lado do pianista português Pedro Rebelo e em colaborações com Pauline Oliveros e Evan Parker. Todas essas experiências se reflectem em temas como ‘Ground-Based Telemetry’ e ‘Laplace: Instability’, sempre com o io a reagir interactivamente ao que fazem e até a dar-lhes deixas. [Read the rest…] [English translation…]
Very proud to present these recordings; I feel privileged to have performed alongside these powerful musicians. Many thanks to Chris Trent for the recording, and Mike Hurley of Fizzle for hosting the performance.