NEC in NYC: Contemporary Improv stretches out at The Stone


For those of us who love thoughtful, improvisational music, the Downtown style and scene of jazz music in New York City is something of a modern mecca: a signpost at the crossroads of experimentation, risk-taking, and beauty. Indeed, one of the “cornerstones” of that scene is John Zorn’s performance space, The Stone.

It is therefore a telltale sign of the level of musicianship within and throughout the Boston underground scene that this past week (9/29–10/4), The Stone presented a special program curated by Downtown hero Anthony Coleman and Chair of the NEC Contemporary Improvisation department Hankus Netsky. It is a pleasure to consider that among those artists performing at the club are individuals and outfits known to frequent our very own Hassle listings.

Some background on this program at The Stone: In November of 2014, the NEC Contemporary Improvisation department assembled a program celebrating the Zorn catalogue, titled Music of John Zorn: A 35-Year Retrospective. The extraordinary program played out over some two hours in the comfortable intimacy (and acoustic gorgeousness) of Jordan Hall, preceded by the presentation of an honorary Doctor of Music degree to John Zorn, and concluding with Anthony Coleman conducting the improvisational musical game piece known as “Cobra.”

Only a few weeks later, many members of the student ensembles that made up the Zorn program were asked to perform at the lauded club in New York City for a residency, which was hailed as a success. Now, just shy of a year later, Coleman and Netsky have again curated a program which spotlights the rich, diverse array of composers and musicians that make Boston their base of operations for creation and experimentation.

You can review the program by visiting The Stone’s website and checking out their calendar.

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