New Sounds of Zen Poetry will bring the poetry of Tu Fu (712-770), Li Po (705-762), Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) a new life in creative music! Theo Bleckmann, Ben Monder and Aaron Shragge will compose new works that either set translations of the poetry to music or express the essence of the poem in music. The new compositions will be premiered by each duo in concert at the Village Zendo (588 Broadway Suite 1108) on May 8th, 2015.
For over 15 years, the Theo Bleckmann & Ben Monder Duo has toured the U.S., Europe and Asia creating a unique approach to what might be called “jazz art song”, blurring the boundaries between jazz, classical, ambient and rock. Bleckmann’s vocal style is based on a thorough understanding of the jazz vocal tradition as well as “extended vocal techniques” (he has been a principal in Meredith Monk’s Vocal Ensemble since 1994) and also uses electronic looping and processing in order to create choral and textural soundscapes. Bleckmann was recently interviewed by Terry Gross for Fresh Air on NPR and received a GRAMMY™ nomination in 2010 for his CD of Ives songs with Kneebody. Monder has developed a compositional and playing style to exploit the full textural potential of the guitar; his playing is influenced as much by classical technique as jazz. Their two duo releases, “At Night” and “No Boat”, and continued collaborations on both Bleckmann’s “Origami” and Monder’s “Excavation”, “Oceana” and “Hydra” have garnered great critical acclaim world-wide.
Aaron Shragge & Ben Monder duo is an exploratory meditative collaboration, being described as both “thoroughly modern with a definitive sound...” (The Birmingham Times) as well as “lyrical and heartwarming” (Jazz Times). Aaron Shragge & Ben Monder have been collaborating since 2009. The duo incorporates influences from North Indian Vocals and the music of the Shakuhachi giving the listener a glance into a powerful, interconnected relationship between two musicians as they synthesize new sounds that at once calm and challenge the ear. Their first record The Key Is In The Window (2010) received critical acclaim and has led to performances throughout the NY area including an appearance at Festival of New Trumpet Music in NY and Montreal as well an EP release on Arabesque records: Hollow (2012). Shragge is greatly inspired by North Indian Vocals and the music of the Shakuahchi, which has allowed him to develop a unique sound/compositional style on the Dragon Mouth Trumpet (custom microtonal instrument) as well as the Shakuhachi (Japanes Flute). Monder, a new york area musician for 25 years, has performed with Jack Mcduff,Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler and continues to perform original music internationally with his own quartet, trio and in a duo.