Oakland Freedom Jazz Society Presents Mercury Falls and Portrait Maker.

Mercury Falls

Mercury Falls exists in the endless space between dreaming and awareness, light and dark, thought and expression. The band’s music moves in countless directions at the same time, but without confusion or cacophony. It’s quiet, but not ambient, it’s free, but not formless.  As Mercury Falls pull you deeper into their own singular world, musical phrases rise and fall and spin together without any obvious logic or resolution, inviting you to open your mind and drift into a comforting space where sound is the only reality.

Mercury Falls is Patrick Cress, saxes, electronics, and composition; Roger Riedlbauer, guitar, electronics, and composition; Rob Ewing, electric bass; and Aaron Kierbel, drums and samples.  The band has toured both the east and west coasts, from places like Spike Hill in Brooklyn, Caffé Vivaldi in NYC, Royal T in Los Angeles, Brava Theater in San Francisco, and 917 Main in Vacouver B.C.. The quartet combines years of experience in jazz, folk, pop, experimental, electronic, and world music, creating a sound that blurs the lines of genre.  The music can suggest West Coast cool jazz, the sounds of a tropical forest, experiential indie rock, and the dark, creaky rhythms of a passing carnival, but doesn’t really sound like anything you’ve heard before.

The Members of Mercury Falls:

Patrick Cress :: Saxophones, Electronics

Graduating with a bachelor’s in music at the University of Michigan in 1998, Patrick Cress was schooled by Donald Walden’s strict jazz theory and Donald Sinta’s brilliant musical mind.   It was there that he conceived his concept for his brainchild, Telepathy (two saxophones, upright, drums), after heavy influences of Ornette Coleman and Tim Berne.  Founded in March 2002, Telepathy has recorded four albums, as well as performed both nationally and internationally, and features world class musicianship from the San Francisco Bay  Area.  

Cress has performed and composed for dance for over a decade.  He started by forming his own music and dance improvisation group, the Pax Ensemble, at the University of Michigan in 1998.  Since then, he has been music director for Dandelion Dancetheater’s Undressed Phase II and Octagon. In those experiences, and other cameos including Kunst-Stoff, Kara Davis’ Mother Tongue, and with Ledoh’s Salt Farm, Cress has performed and created scores to accompany a wide variety of choreography.

In addition, Cress has played with an eclectic array of notable musicians and artists over the years including the String Cheese Incident, Joshua Redman, John Clayton, Nancy Ostrovsky, Scott Amendola, Lee Presson, The Humidors, Strike Iron, Seth Augustus, Disappear Incompletely, John Shifflet, Tim Bulkley, and Aaron Novik. He has also lead or co-directed many ensembles in the Bay Area since 2002, including Telepathy, Ah LaRocca, Bulkleycress, Blicker, Acá, and Mercury Falls.

Roger Riedlbauer :: Guitar, Electronics

Roger Riedlbauer’s varied projects have gained him recognition as both a versatile and gifted guitarist. Studying improvisation and composition under Art Johnson and Rick Helzer at SDSU, he relocated to the Bay Area in 1997, where he began composing and performing as a freelance guitarist.

The ease with which Riedlbauer approaches his instrument, is such that can only be gained from years of experience. His technical mastery and diverse musical palette, allow him to shift effortlessly from delicate melodies to gritty heart-stopping noise. There may be a surplus of guitarists, but few share these rare qualities which have attracted musicians and audiences alike.

Riedlbauer has established himself as a vital member of the music scene, performing with Jolie Holland, Sean Hayes, the Halifax Pier, and Odessa Chen and collaborating with numerous filmmakers and visual artists for multi-media performances. Serving as lead guitarist for noir rock band Boxcar Saints and experimental jazz ensemble Transmission, Riedlbauer has recently expanded his range to include songwriter and singer for the band the Cannery, on Awful Bliss Records.

While he has toured extensively in both the U.S. and abroad, Riedlbauer has also made his mark as a recording artist. His catalog includes Last Things (Boxcar Saints), There Is Life In This Old Land (the Cannery), Hollow Sea (Transmission), and All is Fair (Gojogo).

Whether he is composing, performing, producing, or teaching, Riedlbauer brings his own unique voice and a level of excellence to all he accomplishes.

Rob Ewing :: Electric Bass, Electronics

Rob Ewing is a trombonist, bassist, and drummer from Oakland, California. Trained at Berklee College of Music and Naropa University, Rob has been performing primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area since the early 2000’s. Important collaborations over this period have included avantjazz quartet Married Couple; jazz fusion band Reorchestra; Rob’s own electrojazz Radiohead tribute band Disappear Incompletely (w/Kasey Knudsen, Patrick Cress, Steve Blum, Noah Phillips, Joe Bagale and Jamie Moore); the Marcus Shelby Orchestra; Graham Connah NoPorkestra; Oakland Active Orchestra; Cory Wright Outfit, Karl Evangelista’s Taglish; The Weiner Kids Family Band; Jacob Zimmerman’s Lawson; Aaron Bennett’s Electro-Magnetic Trans-Personal Orchestra; Jason Levis’s Joseph’s Bones; 4 modular and overlapping reggae bands Pavlov’s Band, Junior Reggae, Reggae on the Radio and Next Music; the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra; Brass Magic; Les Gawn Jupons; Britt Ciampa Hugs You; and Mercury Falls.

Aaron Kierbel :: Drums, Samples

Aaron Kierbel is a drummer, teaching artist and Rhythmallogist. He has toured the world many times over with the genre defying group “Rupa and the April Fishes,” and plays with many local artists including Jazz Mafia, and the San Francisco Mime Troup.  He teaches critical thinking skills and violence prevention to youth of all ages in the Bay Area using drumming, dancing and singing through organizations such as Destiny Arts, Performing Arts Workshop and Bread and Roses.

Portrait Maker

Portrait Maker is an experimental chamber ensemble that marries beautiful melody, unorthodox harmony, improvisation, complex rhythm, and theater in a polygamous relationship. 

Roger Kim approaches music with the understanding that it is a language. By playing with expectations, rhythm and impulses, tension and release, music bypasses the specificity of words and reaches straight into the human psyche. Shaped by a background in classical form and orchestration, modern compositional techniques, and jazz harmony, Roger's playing, in addition to his compositions and arrangements, ask questions, take journeys, and evoke sentiments.

Roger Kim - Guitar/Banjo
Ryan Pate - Guitar
Andrea Wang - Vocals
Debra Gold - Flute
Michelle Lee - Alto Flute
Jason Gillenwater - Bb Clarinet
Zachary Hazen - Violin/Viola

Doors: 9:00PM, 9:30PM
$7-$15 Sliding Scale