© Andrea Canter
Over the years of their life and musical partnership, Ellen Lease and Pat Moriarty have led many ensembles teetering on the edge of modern jazz. Best known perhaps for their Lease-Moriarty Quintet, the pianist and saxophonist have also presented numerous variations of quintet and quartet in the company of the finest area improvisers. After the debut of a new edition of the Lease/Moriarty Quartet (featuring Chris Bates and Davu Seru) in 2016, the band returns to headline Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog on October 28 at 8:30 pm, with another innovative ensemble, the Nathan Hanson Trio, opening at 7 pm.
Nathan Hanson Trio (7 pm)
Fresh off their gig this week at Khyber Pass, the Nathan Hanson Trio provides the perfect opening for Lease/Moriarty. Composer/performer Nathan Hanson (tenor and soprano saxophones) has been described as “unexpectedly tasteful and dignified” by ImproJazz-France. Over his career, he has performed with such legends as Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Taylor, Mark Dresser, Carei Thomas and Douglas Ewart, as well as with current stars Chris Potter, Tony Malaby, Liberty Ellman, Elliot Humberto Kavee and Federico Ughi. A graduate of Newberry College and the University of South Carolina, Hanson worked on the East Coast for many years before returning to his hometown of Minneapolis. A member of the Fantastic Merlins, Nathan has maintained a longstanding duo with bassist Doan Brian Roessler and has collaborated with local luminaries George Cartwright, Viv Corringham, and Pat Moriarty. Awards include grants and commissions from New Music USA, The American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer, City of St. Paul Cultural STAR, The Cedar Cultural Center, MN State Arts Board, The Jerome Foundation, The Southern Theater, and the National Performing Arts Convention.
Hanson’s cohorts for this performance include Sylvain Kassap on bass clarinet and Marc Anderson on percussion. French musician Sylvain Kassap has been a chief instigator in improvised music since the 70s, performing with Michel Portal, John Surman, Barre Philips, Louis Sclavis, Evan Parker, Sam Rivers, Hamid Drake, Han Bennink, Steve Lacy, Henri Texier, Anthony Ortéga, Gian Luigi Trovesi, Okay Temiz, Bernard Lubat, Gunter Sommer and many others, as well as with dancers, actors, and writers; he has released over 20 albums as leader or co-leader. Kassap uses his clarinets in ways that go well beyond conventional melodic and harmonic expectations. With percussive bursts and textural sounds, Kassap expands the range and vocabulary of the instrument.
Marc Anderson has toured or recorded with Steve Tibbets, Lorie Line, Butch Morris, Don Cherry, Peter Ostroushko, Claudia Schmidt. Greg Brown, Max Roach, Taj Mahal, and more. He was also the percussionist for the Minneapolis Celtic rock band, Boiled in Lead. Marc is an adjunct professor in the Anthropology department at Hamline University and leads an African drum ensemble. He has received Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grants, McKnight Foundation Fellowships, a State Arts Board Grant, and a West Bank School of Music Composers Grant. Marc is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Music Award and a Minnesota Artist of the Year nominee.
Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty Quartet (8:30 pm)
The music of Ellen Lease and Pat Moriarty receives frequent raves from critics. Noted Avant Music News, “Through the consistency of personnel and a stable but expanding repertoire, the quintet has developed a high level of group interplay and risk-taking within the structures of the tunes. Although comparisons to the musics of Steve Lacy, Charles Mingus, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago are well taken, this band definitely has its own sound and conception.” The Lease/Moriarty Quintet (with Kelly Rossum, Chris Bates and Dave Stanoch) released their acclaimed debut album, Chance, Love and Logic, in 2008. In varying combinations of musicians since, Lease and Moriarty have led the quartet Insurgent and other small ensembles, often performing at Studio Z. They have combined forces several times with New York-based saxophonist Michael Attias, a former student of Pat’s.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Music, Ellen Lease has received both McKnight and Bush Fellowships. Performing across classical and jazz idioms, she co-led the Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty Quintet for more than a decade, and appears throughout the Twin Cities with many jazz and new music groups. She had the honor of accompanying Jean Pierre Rampal at a Twin Cities master class. In addition to performing and composing, Ellen is a busy music educator.
Alto saxophonist Pat Moriarty has been on the freer end of the Twin Cities jazz scene for the past three decades, recording in the late 70s with drummer Phil Hey and since with a long list of the edgier musicians and ensembles in the metro area, including Nathan Hanson’s Saxophone Choir. In addition to composing and performing, Moriarty keeps busy leading the award-winning jazz bands at Roseville Area High School.
A frequent collaborator with Ellen Lease and Pat Moriarty, bassist Chris Bates studied at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and privately with Anthony Cox. A member of the 1990s ensemble, the Motion Poets, Chris was a 1999 McKnight Composer Fellow, and often lends his compositions to the many ensembles that he juggles throughout his busy performance schedule. In addition to his local ensemble work (Atlantis Quartet, Red Planet, How Birds Work, Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, Bill Simenson Orchestra, Klezmerica, Enormous Quartet, Framework, Leisure Valley, Zacc Harris Group, Dean Granros’ Tall Tales) and leading his own Red 5 and the Good Vibes Trio, Chris has played solo concerts using both acoustic and electronic instruments, and appears on over 30 recordings. With Red 5, he released New Hope in fall 2012; with his Good Vibes Trio (with Dave Hagedorn and Phil Hey), he celebrated the release of their eponymous debut CD in spring 2014. He curates a new music gig every month at Jazz Central, among other projects.
Respected internationally as a free jazz drummer as well as his performances in jazz, rock and avant-garde improvised music, Davu Seru is known for his “big ears.” His percussion style is notable for its attention to sound, silence and melodic line as much as rhythmic pattern. The Minneapolis native has worked with Charles Gillett, Elliot Fine, Paul Metzger, Anthony Cox, Dean Granros, Dean Magraw, Wendy Ultan, Adam Linz, Evan Parker, George Cartwright, James Buckley, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Nicole Mitchell. In addition to leading his No Territory Band, he currently plays with Merciless Ghost, Milo Fine, J. Otis Powell‽, Dean Magraw (monthly duo at the Black Dog), and more; curates a monthly show at Khyber Pass Cafe; and is a member of the composer-improviser collective orchestra, Cherry Spoon Collective. He has received awards from the American Composers Forum (Minnesota Emerging Composer Award) and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and commissions from the Zeitgeist Ensemble and Walker Art Center. He is a new Artist in Residence at Studio Z.
The Black Dog is located at 308 Prince Street (Northern Warehouse) in St. Paul’s Lowertown arts district. Saturday Night Jazz series offers two bands every Saturday night, no cover but tips ($10 suggested) are appreciated to support the musicians and the series. Series schedule at www.saturdaynightjazzattheblackdog.info; full calendar of music at the Black Dog at www.blackdogstpaul.com