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A new venue for Creative & Improvised Music opened on March 1 in Berkeley California, managed by Seth Katz, Bill Hsu & me (Dan Plonsey). It's housed in a building which was once a bank but is now The Berkeley Store Gallery Annex. The series is called BEANBENDER's (after a club in Daniel Pinkwater's The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death where musical entertainment is provided by a Bolshevik accordionist, and a band consisting of guitarist, tap dancer, and singing chicken).

The location is 2295 Shattuck Ave (at Bancroft), in the Berkeley Store Gallery Annex. Just one block from the Berkeley BART station, shows will run from 8:15 to 11 PM, for the convenience of those who work, study, or rely on BART. Click for more information on how to get there, and for suggestions on dining, coffee and snacks, and things to do in the vicinity. _________________________________________________________________

For each date the band listed first goes on at 8:15 PM, and the second band at 9:30. Admission to all shows is $5, unless otherwise stated. All ages are welcome. Children under 12 get in free. There is no smoking inside the gallery. Coffee, cookies and other snacks are available! _________________________________________________________________


August 2:

+ Oluyemi Thomas & Gino Robair (Thomas is a powerful tenor sax/bass clarinetist with a recent CD on Music & Arts). + Witches and Devils(John Shiurba, guitar; Chris Daniels, bass; Tom Scandura, drums. Inspired by Ayler, these guys can scream).

AUGUST 2: The dynamic duo of Oluyemi Thomas (sax and bass clarinet) and Gino Robair (drums) are well known for their work as individuals and in many different groups within the Bay Area's growing new music / jazz avant-garde / new thing X community. Thomas plays with the articulate intent and energy that matches and extends the tradition of spiritually-inclined tenor players from Coltrane, Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, to Charles Gayle and David S. Ware. Robair has the agility to swing from moments of hilarious playfulness to a primal ferocity, and his compositional intelligence is always apparent. Robair is known for his work in The Splatter Trio, and for his many recordings, most recent of which being ``Jump or Die: the music of Anthony Braxton.''

Witches and Devils gets its name from an Albert Ayler record, and like Ayler, they bring fire to their music. Guitarist John Shiurba plays in and writes for the great energy/art/Beefheart-esque rock band Eskimo. Here he can shed the last constraints of song form and concentrate on creating a whirling tapestry of sound. That's right: a whirling tapestry. Or perhaps a pastry swirl? A swooping psaltry? Shiurba is accompanied ably by Chris Daniels (booming electric bass), and the gentlemanly Tom Scandura (drums, chains), who also plays with pretty much every one of the dada-noise-jazz bands (e.g., Molecules, Vacuum Tree Head). _________________________________________________________________ August 9:

+ The Molecules + Marco Eneidi Quartet (Eneidi, alto sax; Lisle Ellis, bass; Don Robinson and Spirit, drums)

AUGUST 9: Local historians date the recent resurgence of improvised music to the Olive Oil's scene five years ago. The Molecules rose to prominence during that period by creating a fresh mix of improvisation, theatre, and short tight compositions. They took the hardcore noise-guitar trio sound and applied structural ideas from prog rock, avant-garde classical music, urban noise, and their own fitfully sputtering brains. They've recorded four or five CDs, toured Europe and the U.S. several times, and leader/guitarist Ron Anderson is writing music so increasingly twisted and complex that human beings must put down their tools and wander mutely about the land.

Marco Eneidi has toured with Cecil Taylor, Raphe Malik, and made several recordings of his own quartets. His steel-edged alto saxophone playing has the bright liquidity of Jimmy Lyons or Oliver Lake. In recent months, he has gotten local attention by co-leading (with Glenn Spearman) a giant creative orchestra, blowing the roof (and the top three floors) off of the Berkeley Store Gallery on Sundays. Here he fronts a quartet, with the incredible Lisle Ellis on bass (himself a veteran of Cecil Taylor units, also working with many other giants in the creative music world), and Don Robinson and Spirit on drums. _________________________________________________________________ August 16:

+ The Manufacturing of Humidifiers (Dan Plonsey (reeds), Randy Porter (strings), Ward Spangler (percussion)). + Thread(bari sax/bass clarinetist Charles Sharp leads this trio)

AUGUST 16: Thread is a trio consisting of Charles Sharp (bari sax, bass clarinet, percussion, bike handle), Andrew Kushin (bass, erhu), and Albert Mathias (drums). Most of their music is by Sharp, but they'll occasionally cover compositions by Mingus, Sonny Clark, Coltrane, Ornette and Monk. Their sound is low, dark, spacious, and solid.

The Manufacturing of Humidifiers are Dan Plonsey (reeds), Randy Porter (strings), and Ward Spangler (percussion. They are mean as a bunch of dogs. They plang and twang and signal the end of civilization with their necessary buzz. They are to music what stars are to the sky. _________________________________________________________________ August 23:

+ Ellery Eskelin and Ben Goldberg. Eskelin is one of NY's hottest young tenor players.

AUGUST 23: Ben Goldberg is one of the most prominent musicians of the area's ``New Thing 2'' scene, leading the New Klezmer Trio, Snorkel, and producing last year's amazing series of concerts dedicated to lesser-known maverick jazz composers (Andrew Hill, Herbie Nichols, et al), working with John Zorn (and bringing Zorn into his world!). Ellery Eskelin is a New York-based tenor saxophonist who has been getting international recognition for his inventive and uncompromising music. _________________________________________________________________ August 30:

+ Emily Hay Singer from LA, with Michael Whitmore (guitar), and Brad Dutz (percussion) + Richie West Notorious drummer from LA, with David Kwan (electronics).

AUGUST 30: Emily Hay is a Los Angeles singer/flutist who has played with many of LA's most interesting musicians; toured the U.S., Canada, and Europe; recorded for Cuneiform Records, Recommended Records and Nine Winds Records. She has worked as a concert producer and promoter, and is a DJ for KXLU in LA. Her music has roots in improvised and progressive musics from around the world-one may hear elements of almost anything: Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Africa, ambient trance, California-style exotica muzak... Some of her music is simply brilliant non-idiomatic improvisation, and some is either even more profound or total silliness-no one seems to be able to decide. Her trio includes guitarist Michael Whitmore and Brad Dutz who plays all sorts of percussion and hand drums.

Richie West, also from LA, is a kind of iconoclastic drummer. His vocabulary derives from traditional jazz drumming, but he has so re-ordered the syntax, that one may get the impression that he is not from this planet at all. His compositions reflect a Monk-ish ability to get inside a very few notes, do some magic, and re-make a cliche into something entirely original and strange. Richie has played with pretty much everybody in LA and Santa Cruz. At Beanbender's, West will play in duet with David Kwan, one of those electronics geniuses who smiles diabolically. He plays in a group called Circular Firing Squad. This should be rather interesting.

September 6:

+ Bob Ostertag + Members of Mr. Bungle Meet Bob Ostertag

September 13:

+ Vinny Golia: the superlative player of bass, baritone, soprano saxophone, various clarinets, various flutes and who knows what double-reeds from LA.


OTHER CREATIVE AND IMPROVISED MUSIC IN THE BAY AREA * Beanbender's (Berkeley) * Clay Glad's Calendar of Selected Jazz/Improv etc. Shows * Radio Valencia (San Francisco) * The Luggage Store (San Francisco) * The Stork Club (Oakland)