John Zorn's Stone Commissioning Series presents: Miles Okazaki and Dan Weiss
6pm doors • 7pm show
John Zorn’s Stone Commissioning Series celebrates The Stone, Zorn’s revolutionary venue “dedicated to the experimental and avant-garde,” which served as a vital spot for new music in the East Village for over a decade and now continues in the Glass Box Theatre at the New School. Held on the last Wednesday of every month, National Sawdust honors the spirit of The Stone, hosting artists selected by John Zorn presenting world premieres of new works.
This month’s installment of the Stone Commissioning Series features guitarist Miles Okazaki, whose playing is “utterly contemporary, free from the expectations of what it means to play a guitar in a group setting” (New York Times), with drummer Dan Weiss. They premiere a new piece by Okazaki, to be recorded for a collaborative album later this year.
Miles Okazaki is a NYC-based guitarist originally from Port Townsend, a small seaside town in Washington State. His approach to the guitar is described by the New York Times as “utterly contemporary, free from the expectations of what it means to play a guitar in a group setting — not just in jazz, but any kind.” His sideman experience over the last two decades covers a broad spectrum, from standards to experimental music (Kenny Barron, John Zorn, Stanley Turrentine, Dan Weiss, Matt Mitchell, Jonathan Finlayson, Jane Monheit, Amir ElSaffar, Darcy James Argue, and many others). He was seen prominently with Steve Coleman and Five Elements from 2009-2017.
As a leader, Miles Okazaki has released five albums of original compositions over the last 12 years, and is an artist on the Pi Recordings label. He has also released a six-album recording of the complete compositions of Thelonious Monk for solo guitar, published the book Fundamentals of Guitar with Mel Bay, and taught guitar and rhythmic theory at the University of Michigan for five years. He has received awards and grants from the Shifting Foundation, Chamber Music America, the Jazz Gallery/Jerome Foundation, the American Music Center, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brother’s Fund Artist Residency. He holds degrees from Harvard University, Manhattan School of Music, and The Juilliard School, and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Shifting Foundation grantee Dan Weiss has been hailed as one of the top five jazz drummers by the New York Times, and his large ensemble recording Fourteen made the top ten list of their best recordings of 2014. Weiss’s innovative drumming and forward-thinking compositions have been pushing musical limits for years. With his piano trio, he has released two recordings, entitled Now Yes When (2006) and Timshel (2011), which have been critically acclaimed for their unique approach to song structure and endless creative improvisation. Weiss also leads a sixteen-piece large ensemble featuring some of NYC’s most gifted musicians. His albums Fourteen (2014) and Sixteen: Drummers Suite (2016), released on Pi Recordings, have made numerous critic’s polls. His newest project features Craig Taborn, Matt Mitchell, Ben Monder, and Trevor Dunn, and is an amalgam of jazz, metal, and new music. The recording will be released on Pi Recordings in the spring of 2018. Weiss has been studying tabla under Pandit Samir Chatterjee for twenty years. He has performed with the legendary Ashish Khan and Ramesh Misra and recorded a solo tabla album, 3dcd (2007). Weiss recorded two groundbreaking albums, Teental Drumset Solo (2005) and Jhaptal Drumset Solo (2011), in which he performs classical Indian repertoire on drum set. Weiss was named “The Top Up and Coming Percussionist” two years in a row in the 60th and 61st annual DownBeat Critics Poll and earned a spot in Modern Drummer’s coveted Top 5 Jazz Drummers of 2014.