EARPLAY JAZZQUINTET: a groundbreaking electro-acoustic ensemble

Please join us on Sunday, November 16th at 4pm for a special afternoon show by The earPlay Jazzquintet!

The earPlay Jazzquintet is a groundbreaking electro-acoustic ensemble with a uniquely kaleidoscopic sound. They take stylistic variety to new heights, cross-fertilizing North Indian, West African, Brazilian, and Middle Eastern influences with jazz and 20th-century classical idioms. The ensemble deftly weaves together compelling textures, uniting the realms of composition and improvisation, spoken word and stage magic. Add to that a veritable banquet of instruments from around the world — including the subtle usage of electronic sounds — and you’ve got an unforgettable musical adventure!

The earPlay Jazzquintet brings together a multitude of musical influences—from Brazilian choro to vintage funk, Afro-Cuban to jump swing, country-western to the latest in digital sound design—and interweaves them with jazz and 20th century classical idioms. The resulting tapestry of sound is a mix of structured composition and bold improvisation, with elements of poetry and stage magic stitched in for dramatic effect.

Michael Smolens is the leader of the group. A composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist for nearly four decades, Smolens takes his inspiration from the contemporary jazz of Art Lande, the vocal flights of Bobby McFerrin, the Sufi poetry of Hafiz and Rumi, and the stage magic of Jeff McBride, as well as the music of Brazil, West Africa, northern India, and modern composers like Brian Eno, Steve Reich, and Gabriel Faure. The San Francisco Chronicle has called Smolens a highly skilled writer whose works recall Miles Davis’ ESP period as well as the exoticism of groups like Oregon.”

A kaleidoscope of sound, the earPlay Jazzquintet features some 30 instruments played by some of the Bay Areas most in-demand musicians. These musicians have been heard performing or recording with many jazz luminaries, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Stefon Harris, Paul McCandless, Zakir Hussain, Poncho Sanchez, Donald Byrd, Bob Mintzer, Diana Krall, Mel Torme, and Natalie Cole. Michael Smolens sings and plays piano, synthesizer, alto flute, and balafon, a West African cousin of the xylophone. Alex Murzyn plays three kinds of saxophone, two kinds of flute, and bass clarinet. Fred Randolph plays bass, guitar, saxophone, flute, and percussion. Brian Rice holds down the drums, tabla, and percussion. Michael Hatfield sings and plays vibes, accordion, percussion, and marimba lumina, an electronic instrument that sounds like a conventional marimba.  He also uses a sampler to record and play back brief “samples” of music.

earPlay Jazzquintet members:

Michael Smolens: piano / synthesizers / voice / balafon / alto flute

Michael Hatfield: vibes / “marimba lumina” / sampler / accordion / percussion / voice

Brian Rice: Percussion / Drum set / Tablas

Fred Randolph: Acoustic & electric basses & guitars / soprano sax / clarinet / percussion

Alex Murzyn: soprano, alto, & tenor saxes / C & alto flutes / bass clarinet


Get advance tickets here or by clicking on the image below:

EARPLAY JAZZQUINTET: a groundbreaking electro-acoustic ensemble
Sunday November 16th 2014. 3:30 pm doors, 4 pm show.
The Emerald Tablet, 80 Fresno St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (map)
$20 suggested donation. Nobody turned away for lack of funds.
Door donations go to the musicians! Delicious complimentary food. Drinks by donation.

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