The exploratory sounds of experimental jazz will grace the halls of the Coral Gables Congregational Church beginning early next year, as Tigertail Productions presents the four-show Composers in Performance series, an annual event that in the past has featured concerts by various jazz icons, including Don Pullen and the late Don Cherry.
Artists scheduled for the series include: Keshavan Maslak and Sergey Kuryokhin, the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Bill Frisell, and Mental Groove. The lineup reflects the local production company's strategy of presenting both national and local artists who seldom perform in the area. "This is music that is not usually heard here but needs to be heard in the community," explains Tigertail director Mary Luft, who started the concert series after attending a New Music America festival in Minneapolis in the late Seventies. "These people are not always on a touring circuit, and Miami is a long way from the rest of the country."
Composers in Performance kicks off January 11 with Keshavan Maslak and Sergey Kuryokhin. Maslak, a reedsmith based in Hallandale who also records under the name Kenny Millions, has released numerous solo albums and worked with an eclectic group of artists, from noted jazzbos Jack DeJohnette and Larry Coryell to Big Apple avant-gardists John Zorn and Laurie Anderson. Kuryokhin is a Russian pianist known for his mixed-media "Pop Mechanics" performances, which offer satirical takes on various Western art forms.
On March 21, the ROVA Saxophone Quartet, pioneers of the all-sax format, will be at the church. Their hard-swinging style mixes traditional bop with the noisy excursions of free jazz. Guitarist Bill Frisell, an accomplished bandleader and a ubiquitous sideman, will perform solo on April 11. Miami trio Mental Groove, supplemented by saxophonist Gottfried Stoger and a chamber chorale, will close the series on April 25 with the premiere of their modern-day interpretation of the Mass, loosely based on the Catholic liturgy.
This year's series will mark its debut in the historical confines of the Coral Gables Congregational Church (past venues have included downtown's Center for the Fine Arts and the sound stage at Ivan Tors Entertainment in Lake Buena Vista near Orlando). The church is no stranger to adventurous musical endeavors. It hosts two annual concert series; among the artists slated for upcoming shows are jazz trumpeters Maynard Ferguson and Nat Adderley. "We believe that music and the arts are windows to the presence of God," states Coral Gables Rev. Gary Miller. "If you approach the arts with that in mind, you must be open to all forms of artistic expression to see where the presence is."
Call Tigertail Productions at 324-4337 for show times and ticket prices.