Oakland Freedom Jazz Society presents:
Since forming in 2012, Chicago’s Twin Talk has steadily drifted from the conventions of the saxophone trio. While reedist Dustin Laurenzi, bassist-singer Katie Ernst, and drummer Andrew Green are deeply rooted in jazz tradition, they’ve spent their time on the band stage together making their music more elastic, spontaneous, and open, embracing new inspirations without stifling the improvisational heart of their work. All three musicians are active members in the city’s bustling jazz community, each playing in numerous working bands, but they’ve found a true collective voice as Twin Talk. They’ve used live performances as opportunities to stretch—expanding on composed material and ditching set lists in favor of calling tunes on the fly—but on Weaver they’ve pushed themselves further than ever, using the recording studio as a place for experimentation, letting a new batch of compositions develop and take new shapes. As critic Howard Reich wrote recently in the Chicago Tribune, “These musicians listen keenly to one another, and with a sensitivity that only comes from familiarity and trust."
Laurenzi spent much of 2016-17 on tour with Bon Iver, and when the group’s leader Justin Vernon caught a Twin Talk gig in Minneapolis he was knocked out and offered the trio a chance to record at his celebrated April Base studio. With five luxurious days at its disposal, Twin Talk recorded its new book of tunes as it had traditionally—live and unadorned. Then they spent the next three days reshaping the material with carefully plotted overdubs and edits, forging sleek arrangements with lush harmonies—the soulful, patiently accruing horn charts that limn the aching country-soul melody of “Folks,” or the ethereal wordless vocals of Ernst that float in deft unison with Laurenzi’s serene clarinet in the postlude of “Paxton,” the sole piece on the recording to splice two discrete sections to produce an intentionally jarring transition.
Ernst is a genuine double threat, her muscular bass playing matched by a crystalline voice—an instrument of astonishing precision and clarity. Those talents have been recognized by many, including pianist and composer Jason Moran, who made her playing and singing an integral part of his monumental suite Looks of a Lot in 2015. Her vocals are featured on “Solace,” a ballad of disarming beauty, as a solemn delivery initially backed by sonorous double stops gradually opens up with Laurenzi’s sobbing commentary and Green’s increasingly forceful pulse. As the song reaches its conclusion the contained emotions seem to burst into tears, only for Ernst to deliver a serene coda streaked with hope. Most of the music on Weaver pushes through shifting terrain. “The Sky Never Ends” toggles between gossamer delicacy, pop-like splendor, and explosive exposition, while the gorgeously meditative “Five” offers an extended platform for Green’s melodic percussion before Laurenzi’s knotty tenor cries push toward a rewarding climax. Vernon’s enthusiasm for Twin Talk continues, as he ushers Weaver into the world through his eclectic PEOPLE platform on February 8, 2019.
zBug [2019 reboot]
The premier industrial jazz unit that presents structured improvisational compositional music sets, based on architecture.
"David Leikam and zBug split our minds open." - Benjamin Ethan Tinker, composer-performer
David Leikam - NS Design CR6 cello, Moog synthesizers, acoustic piano
Sheila Bosco - drums, percussion, keyboards
Timothy Orr - drums, percussion
Patrick Cress - saxophones, electronics
About David Leikam: San Francisco-based composer-performer and bandleader. Being born with cerebral palsy has affected his body and speech, giving him a distinct view into his creative arts/music process and being largely a self-taught multi-instrumentalist.
DOORS 9:00 PM; SHOW 9:30(ish)
$7-15 sliding scale
Oakland Freedom Jazz Society takes place every Monday night at Studio Grand. Lineups feature avant-jazz, experimental and noise performances by local and touring musicians and multimedia artists. OFJS is a long-running (6 years and counting!) series curated by Fernando Carpenter of VAMP. For more information, check out OFJS's Facebook page.