A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo by John Guillemen

Photo by John Guillemin

Innovative bassist and composer Linda Oh has led bands on the Gallery stage in many contexts. This past February, Linda led her quartet to promote her third album, Sun Pictures (Greenleaf). In the spring of 2012, Linda composed and performed work commissioned by the Gallery as part of our 2012 Residency Commissions series, Leading From the Bass. This effort comprised music written for jazz quartet and string quartet with Linda calling on the help of the Sirius Quartet

This Friday and Saturday, May 23rd and 24th, 2014, Linda returns with the Sirius Quartet in a similar eight-piece configuration, prepared to play some new music in addition to the material that she wrote for her 2012 residency. New to the configuration will be Matt Mitchell, Sara Caswell, and drummer Ches Smith. Ches is featured on Matt’s duo record Fiction, and the group will be playing one of Matt’s etudes from that album orchestrated for this configuration.

Two of the pieces that Linda will be presenting draw on melodic material from a traditional Chinese genre of storytelling called shuo chang (说唱—literally, “speak sing”). Along with Mandarin study and continued travel in China, Linda has been exploring shuo chang as a means of melodic inspiration. Also in this weekend’s repertoire will be Charlie Parker’s “Au Privave.” As Linda comments on her site, this rendition seeks to explore the boundaries of limited notation. Curious musicians can read the explanation from her website and see her screenshot below:

The restriction with this arrangement, was to have the strings (including bass) to play the melody of Au Privave in any rhythm, octave jumping is allowed, but you have to stay in the same key (didn’t have to be F, in fact Violin I and Cello are in C, Violin II is in Ab and Viola is in Eb). The piano plays the composite melody while alto plays the bass rhythm but outlining the harmony. Here’s a screenshot of the first few measures.


Photo courtesy of the artist

If you missed it, here is Linda premiering “Ebony” at The Jazz Gallery from the Residency Commissions series in 2012:

Linda Oh Group featuring Sirius Quartet performs at The Jazz Gallery this Friday, May 23rd and Saturday, May 24th, 2014. This performance features Linda Oh on bass, Matt Mitchell on piano, Greg Ward on saxophones, Ches Smith on drums, Fung Chern Hwei on violin, Sara Caswell on violin, Ron Lawrence on viola, and Jeremy Harman on cello. Sets are at 9 and 11 p.m., $22 general admission and $10 for Members. Purchase tickets here