The Terry Riley Festival is underway at National Sawdust (check out pics from Sunday’s show w/ Matmos & more)
photos by Greg Cristman
Terry Riley / Matmos / Gyan Riley @ National Sawdust 10/4/2015
"Well you know, it's hard to accept labels in terms of creative work, in any case," he says. "In any period of life, I haven't felt nailed down to anything. I've always been interested in expanding my musical horizons. 'Minimalism' has been tacked on to my work, I think mainly because of In C and the Keyboard Studies and some of the works from the 60s." Then he allows himself a calm and gentle chuckle, before saying: "Certainly a lot of stuff has happened since then."
As evidence, he points to his new piece for Roomful of Teeth, titled Madrigal. "It's basically melodic, but it also has scat-singing sections ... It's a bit of a journey, this piece. In eight minutes, it goes to quite a few places." Another jazz-world texture - specifically, what Riley describes as the "gently swinging, kind of optimistic" feel of ragtime - also figures in his string quartet works, as well as his latter-day piano improvisations. When that influence is placed alongside lessons gleaned from his longtime study of Indian classical music (and, yes, the occasional trace of drone-based minimalism), the climax of a contemporary Riley concert tends to find him juggling a range of sounds that few other musicians would think to combine. - [The Guardian]
The Terry Riley Festival is currently underway at new Williamsburg venue National Sawdust. Sunday night (10/4) saw three events, the last of which featured Terry Riley's Abbeyozzud and Beyond series of works with son Gyan Riley, Zach Brock (violin), David Cossin (percussion), Travis Laplante (saxophone), Matmos (electronics), and Evan Ziporyn (saxophone). They performed Thanks Isn't Enough, Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band, Tread on the Trail, and Hashish Master. Riley, who is celebrating his 80th birthday this year, was in attendance but didn't perform at this event, but has at others. Martin C. Schmidt of Matmos thanked Riley for "loosening the collective asshole of American music." More pictures from last night's late National Sawdust set are below.
The Terry Riley Festival wraps up tonight (10/5) with two shows: a 7 PM performance featuring two world premieres: Remember This, Oh Mind, and Madrigal, a new work written for Roomful of Teeth, as well as ArchAngels, for cello octet led by National Sawdust curator Jeffrey Zeigler (tickets may still be available at the door); and then a 9 PM performance featuring Terry and Gyan Riley performing with John Zorn (tickets)
Travis Laplante solo
Evan Ziporyn and Nick Joliat duet
Gyan Riley, David Cossins, Travis Laplante, Zack Brock and Mark Stewart
Terry Riley with musicians and friends