Linda May Han Oh
Aventurine album release with Greg Ward, Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith, Curtis Stewart, Sara Caswell, Benni von Gutzeit, and Eleanor Norton
6pm doors • 7pm show
Over the past decade, Linda May Han Oh has become one of the most critically acclaimed and in-demand bassists of her generation, working with the likes of Pat Metheny, Vijay Iyer, and the late Geri Allen. Now, she’s assembling her own ensemble of fearless improvisers to bring her evanescent, multi-faceted music to life.
Oh herself will appear alongside saxophonist Greg Ward, pianist Matt Mitchell, percussionist Ches Smith, and a string quartet of outstanding musicians of astonishing range — Grammy-nominated Sara Caswell and PUBLIQuartet member Curtis Stewart on violin, with Turtle Island Quartet members Benni von Gutzeit and Eleanor Norton rounding out the group.
Featuring Oh’s most adventurous and compelling works to date, this is not an evening to be missed.
Based in New York City, Linda May Han Oh is a bassist and composer who has performed and recorded with artists such as Pat Metheny, Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Terri Lyne Carrington, Steve Wilson, and Geri Allen.
Originally born in Malaysia and raised in Perth, Western Australia, she has received many awards, such as an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers award, 2nd place at the BASS2010 Competition, and an honorary mention at the 2009 Thelonious Monk Bass Competition. Linda also received the 2010 Bell Award for Young Australian Artist of the Year and was the 2012 Downbeat Critics’ Poll "Rising Star" on bass. She was voted the 2018 Bassist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists’ Association. Linda recently received a Jerome Foundation Fellowship as well as the Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant for 2019.
After graduating from the Manhattan School of Music, she has released five albums as a leader, all of which have received critical acclaim.
Her most recent release is 2017’s Walk Against Wind, featuring Ben Wendel, Matthew Stevens on guitar, Justin Brown on drums, and other guests such as Fabian Almazan and Korean percussionist Minji Park. Her forthcoming album, Aventurine, is a double quartet album that features a string quartet and the vocal group Invenio. She is also working on a trumpet trio album featuring Ambrose Akinmusire and Tyshawn Sorey.
Matt Mitchell is a pianist and composer interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. He currently composes for and leads several ensembles featuring many of the current foremost musicians and improvisers, including Tim Berne, Kim Cass, Kate Gentile, Ben Gerstein, Jon Irabagon, Travis Laplante, Ava Mendoza, Miles Okazaki, Ches Smith, Chris Speed, Tyshawn Sorey, Chris Tordini, Anna Webber, and Dan Weiss. He is an anchor member of several significant creative music ensembles that integrate composed and improvised music, including Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, the Dave Douglas Quintet, John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Dan Weiss’s Starebaby, Jonathan Finlayson’s Sicilian Defense, Steve Coleman’s Natal Eclipse, Kate Gentile’s Mannequins, Mario Pavone’s Blue Dialect Trio, Anna Webber’s Simple Trio, Ches Smith’s We All Break, the Dave King Trio, and Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux. He is also among the core performers of John Zorn’s Bagatelles.
Musicians with whom he performs and has performed include Steve Coleman and Five Elements, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls, the Darius Jones Quartet, Jon Irabagon, Michael Attias’ Spun Tree, Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth, John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet + 1, Ohad Talmor’s Grand Ensemble, JD Allen, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green’s Apex, Rez Abbasi’s Invocation, Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Alessi’s Baida Quartet, Dave King’s Indelicate duo, Amir ElSaffar, Marc Ducret, David Torn, Vernon Reid, Clarence Penn and Penn Station, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston, Allison Miller, Donny McCaslin, Brad Shepik, and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.
He has taught extensively with the Brooklyn-based School for Improvisational Music, as well as at the New School, NYU, and the Siena Jazz Workshop. He is also a 2015 recipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award and a 2012 recipient of a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.
Greg Ward is a saxophonist and composer born in Peoria, IL. Currently based in Chicago, Ward has had the opportunity to perform and record with a varied group of artists including Prefuse 73, Lupe Fiasco, Tortoise, William Parker, Andrew D’Angelo, and Mike Reed.
In 2000, Ward began his studies at Northern Illinois University, where he worked with Steve Duke, Fareed Haque, Ron Carter, and Joey Sellers. Already interested in composition, he had the opportunity to compose for NIU’s jazz combos, deepening his understanding of the inner workings of music. Working with composer and arranger Joey Sellers equipped Ward with some important tools to further explore this new love.
Around his sophomore year in college, Ward started spending many nights performing in the jazz clubs of Chicago. Soon, he would meet another one of his mentors, saxophonist Fred Anderson, who would later select him to host a jam session at the Velvet Lounge for four years. During this time, Ward experienced much growth as a performer and composer and developed a vibrant community of performers, artists, dancers, and listeners.
After graduating from NIU in 2004 with a degree in Jazz Studies and Saxophone Performance, Ward moved to Chicago and took advantage of every opportunity that was offered to him. Composing two pieces for the International Contemporary Ensemble, performing a quartet composition for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Music Series, composing Wings for the Peoria Ballet Company, and being commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago for a new composition (which was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival in 2009) are just a few of the many experiences that shaped Ward during his years in Chicago.
In 2009, Ward decided to move to New York City. Almost immediately after he arrived in NYC, he began working with JazzReach, an NYC-based jazz education organization that shares multimedia programs throughout the US. In 2010, he produced his first CD as a leader with his Chicago-based band Fitted Shards. South Side Story received much critical acclaim, including "Recording of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune. Next, in 2011, Ward formed Phonic Juggernaut, which features Damion Reid on drums and Joe Sanders on bass. Together, they recorded and released a CD on Thirsty Ear Recordings that same year. Also in 2011, Ward composed and performed a commission from the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra for a concerto for jazz quartet and string orchestra. In 2012, Ward was selected as one of the two New Music USA Van Lier Fellows. In 2014, he received a commission/residency from the Jazz Gallery and premiered Capturing Sunlight, an hour-long work for septet that included a short documentary by Diana Quinones Rivera. The Capturing Sunlight project was inspired by the life and work of Preston Jackson.
Recently, Ward has collaborated with another composer, sound designer, and performer: Caleb Willitz. First, they composed the film score for Beresford Bennett’s film Pinch, an official selection of the 2015 San Diego Black Film Festival. Second, Ward and Willitz will be releasing an electro-acoustic project, Gaps and Spaces: Synoptic Optiks.
In addition to leading his own trio, We All Break (with Mat Maneri), and his solo project Congs for Brums, Ches Smith also works as a side musician, playing drums and percussion with Mary Halvorson, Darius Jones, Matt Mitchell, Jandek, and many others. He collaborates in the doom-improv trio Tanks with Brandon Seabrook and Toby Driver, and the free jazz duo Good for Cows with Devin Hoff. He is a long-time student of Haitian Vodou drums and plays in religious and folkloric contexts in New York, San Francisco, and Haiti. He has published an article to that end: "We All Break: a Crossroads of Haitian Vodou and Creative music", featured in Arcana VII.
Curtis Stewart enjoys an eclectic career bouncing between various realms of music: from MTV specials with Wyclef Jean and sold out shows at Madison Square Garden with Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and Seal, to stints at the Kennedy center with the Jimmy Heath Big Band and performance installations at the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, and Museum of Modern Art in NYC.
Curtis has performed as a classical soloist at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and has made chamber music appearances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Newport Jazz Festival. His ensembles PUBLIQuartet and The Mighty Third Rail realize a vision to find personal and powerful connections between styles, cultures, and musics. Curtis has worked with today’s forward-thinking musicians, including Henry Threadgill, Jason Moran, members of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Billy Childs, the JACK quartet, members of Snarky Puppy, Don Byron, Linda Oh, Ari Hoenig, Matt Wilson, and many others.
An avid teacher, he currently teaches at the LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City. Curtis graduated magna cum laude from the Eastman School of Music and has a BA of Mathematics from the University of Rochester.
2018 Grammy nominee Sara Caswell is fast becoming one of today’s foremost jazz violinists through her technical facility and gift for lyricism. Recognized as a “Rising Star” in the DownBeat Magazine Critics’ and Readers’ Polls every year since 2013, Sara’s artistry and unique sound led Grammy-winning violinist Mark O’Connor to write: “What Sara creates with her instrument . . . is beautifully refined emotion that lifts the spirit.”
Sara has released three highly acclaimed CDs: First Song and But Beautiful under her own name and, most recently, Alive in the Singing Air in partnership with her sister, vocalist Rachel Caswell. She leads the Sara Caswell Quartet, co-leads the Caswell Sisters Quintet, and regularly performs with mandolinist Joseph Brent’s 9 Horses. She has toured extensively with bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding‘s Chamber Music Society, clarinetist David Krakauer’s Big Picture, vocalist Roseanna Vitro’s quintet, and Mark O’Connor‘s American String Celebration, and has performed and/or recorded with such artists as Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch, Fabian Almazan, Linda Oh, Laila Biali, Regina Carter, Jenny Scheinman, Alan Ferber, Nadje Noordhuis, Skitch Henderson, Gene Bertoncini, Kishi Bashi, and Bruce Springsteen. She is a member of the New York Pops Orchestra, with which she has been a featured soloist several times in Carnegie Hall, and was part of the house band for NBC’s weekly variety show Maya & Marty, starring Maya Rudolph and Martin Short.
Currently on faculty at both the Berklee College of Music and Manhattan School of Music, Sara’s formidable teaching experience also includes the Mark O’Connor String Camps, the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, the Indiana University String Academy, and a private studio. Sara began playing violin at age 5, studied with two legendary giants (Josef Gingold (classical) and David Baker (jazz)), made her orchestral debut at 15, earned degrees from Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music, and amassed over 100 awards in the jazz and classical competition worlds.
Benni von Gutzeit — one of only a handful of violists truly committed to improvising in the field of jazz — was born in Bochum, Germany, and endowed with a strong musical heritage. His father, Reinhart, is a well-known music pedagogue and his mother, Gabriele, is a pianist. His sisters, Susanne and Konstanze, like him, became professional string players.
Benni began his viola studies at the age of four, starting on a very small violin that was fitted with viola strings. He received instruction from his father until the age of twelve, when he became the pupil of esteemed viola player Emile Cantor of the Orpheus String Quartet.
In 1992 and again in 1994, Benni took first place in the finals of the German youth competition Jugend Musiziert. His 1994 win was with the maximum possible points and led to a concert tour of Japan at the age of fourteen. Expanded by this experience, his musical interests broadened, and, at age fifteen, he developed a fascination for popular music and took up playing the electric bass in addition to viola.
From 2001 to 2004, he studied at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria, under jazz violinist Andreas Schreiber. In 2004, Benni moved to Holland to further his jazz studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with Dutch Saxophone icons Ferdinand Povel and Jasper Blom and guitarist Jesse van Ruller. There he became an active part of the Dutch jazz and improvised music scenes. He performed with numerous formations, including Elastic Jargon by Maurice Horsthuis, Starvinsky Orkestar by Martin Fondse, the Laetitia van Krieken Big Bang, the Celano-Baggiani-Group, and Wicked Jazz Sounds. He performed at countless concert venues and festivals including the North Sea Jazz Festival.
In 2010, he moved to New York City (supported by scholarships from the Dutch Fonds Podiumkunsten, the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben, and the Kogel & Schmidt Foundation) and became the very first violist to earn a master’s degree from the jazz department at the Manhattan School of Music. His teachers there included Phil Markowitz, Garry Dial, Chris Rosenberg, and John Riley.
Benni has performed and recorded with many great musicians including jazz violinist Mark Feldman, electronic music virtuoso Matthew Herbert, cellist Ernst Reijseger, pianist Cyrus Chestnut and Saxophonist Dave Liebman.
Since 2012, Benni has been the violist of the Grammy-winning jazz ensemble Turtle Island String Quartet.
Eleanor Norton is an internationally renowned cellist known for her versatility and lyricism. From Adele to Jay Z, Eleanor appears with a coterie of artists across genres and platforms. Based in New York City and currently in the pit for The Cher Show on Broadway, Eleanor regularly performs on television including the Late Show with David Letterman, America’s Got Talent, The Tonight Show with Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and tours extensively with long-time collaborator Alan Cumming, Natalie Merchant, Kristjan Jarvi’s Absolute Ensemble, and the Sephardic/Mizrahi group Divahn. Other Broadway includes The King and I, My Fair Lady, Little Women, The Last Ship. Off-Broadway: For The Last Time, and The Invisible Thread. Extended world tours: Adele, The Jonas Brothers, Chris Garneau, Joshua Radin, and Arlo Guthrie. Eleanor was the cello coach and music consultant for Saffron Burrows on the Amazon Prime TV Show Mozart in The Jungle, Sarah Jeffrey on the NBC drama Shades of Blue, and is currently the coach for Eisa Davis for her role in the theater production of The Secret Life of Bees.
A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Eleanor began playing cello at age seven in Pelham, Massachusetts. Norton’s principle teachers And mentors include Jennifer Allen, Kim Cook, Alan Stepansky, Peter Wiley, Leon Fleisher, Boris Slutsky, and Bassam Saba. Notable appearances with Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Liza Minnelli, Jake Shears, Bebe Rexha, Avril Lavigne, Bela Fleck, Gladys Knight, Cassandra Wilson, Beyoncé, Sarah Chang, Dionne Warwick, Bonobo, Jay Z, Simone Dinnerstein, Justin Timberlake, Maureen McGovern, Bassam Saba, Thalia, Marcel Khalife, Cyndi Lauper, Princeton Symphony, Hawaii Symphony, and Vermont Symphony Orchestras, and at the 2010 State Dinner hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama honoring the President of Mexico. Recordings include a Beyoncé track, Sony Classical, and hundreds of contributions including works on the Sony Label, Yellow Sound, and PBS Great Performances.
Eleanor is endorsed by NS design electric strings and Mezzo-Forte Carbon Instruments, and her primary instrument was made in 2015 by Peter Westerlund. https://www.eleanornortoncello.com