BYRON VANNOY’S MERIDIAN | PONTIUS PILOTS
Thursday, Aug 28, 7:30pm
Chapel Performance Space
Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N
After several years of steady and impressive growth as a player and leader, Byron Vannoy has developed a quintet sound that exemplifies impressively his sense of one direction jazz is taking in this century. He says: “I believe this is music that could be representative of the 21st century because we are not ignoring any influence. If I heard something, I wrote it and developed it without considering the origin or the style. I chose players who are very versatile and have played a wide variety of music. It is an organic fusion music that is honest and unpretentious, and at the core hopefully retains a sense of progressiveness and tradition.”
Vannoy is a busy drummer, working with such projects as the Hans Teuber Trio, Ziggurat Quartet, the Joe Doria Trio, Julian Priester’s Cue, and Tom Varner’s Tentet. With his own Meridian, he issued an album of original music last month. Rooted in jazz and fueled by rock and popular music, it features both improvisation and composed sections. His writing embraces odd meters whose harmonic changes and vamps offer springboards for free playing.
He has ideal partners for that. All are highly seasoned players with experience ranging through the full spectrum of jazz styles. For example, saxophonist Eric Barber, who integrates elements of jazz, Balkan, and Indian music into a personal vocabulary of extended saxophone techniques, has worked with many figures of national repute, and leads the impressive Ziggurat quartet jointly with pianist Bill Anschell.
Pontius Pilots is an electro-acoustic project that combines live piano and keyboards with pre-recorded samples. A collaboration between pianist and composer Victor Noriega and producer-musician Robert Nelson (e.R.DoN), the duo marries an array of real-instrument samples and synthesized sounds in combination with the acoustic piano to create, as Daniel Mitha wrote in the Journal of Popular Noise, “improv jazz forms imbued with inscrutable MPC-triggered samples.”