The following text is taken from Front Magazine, vol. VIII, no. 3, pp. 10-12, January/February 1997:
– Kate Hammet-Vaughan, DB Boyko, Moreen Meriden 02/20/97
Co-sponsored by Vancouver Pro Musica
Join us for the premiere meeting of three of Vancouver’s most innovative vocalists in a performance dedicated to the art of vocal improvisation! Their approach to improvisation stems from a variety of sources that reach even beyond music making. Major musical influences that will colour this evening are American jazz, art song, contemporary 20th century music, chant, sound poetry, soundscape, as well as classical Indian music and the sung poetry of Javanese gamelan music. The second half of the program will include the V.I.E.W. ensemble (see page 12) joined by San Francisco musician/composer Beth Custer.
Acclaimed as “an important Canadian jazz voice” and “one of Canada’s most interesting jazz singers,” (Globe & Mail) Kate Hammet-Vaughan has been a major influence on the Vancouver jazz scene since she moved here from Nova Scotia in 1979. She has achieved international recognition for her work as an improvising vocalist with groups such as the trio Garbo’s Hat (1994 Juno nominee for Best Contemporary Jazz Album) and the NOW Orchestra. Influenced by the great “classic” jazz singers such as Billie Holiday and Carmen McRae, Kate’s update on the jazz tradition includes the influences of contemporary artists like Betty Carter, Jay Clayton, Sheila Jordan, Maggie Nichols, and Paul Minton. A current key project is the duo with bassist André Lachance.
DB Boyko‘s love for new performance experiences has lead her to perform with such notable composers and choreographers as Pauline Oliveros, Cecil Taylor, Hildegard Westerkamp, Serge Bennethan and the dance/theatre troupes Snake in the Grass Theatre and Vancouver Moving Theatre. He improvisational work during the 1980s with electroacoustic ensemble HEXTREMITIES has informed much of her musical practice. Imn 1995 Boyko was nominated for a Jesse Award for her live vocal score for the Arts Club production of Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing. DB is an active member and vocalist with the Vancouver Community Gamelan Orchestra. “A sensual pleasure,” raves the Georgia Straight.
Globe & Mail Jazz Critic Mark Miller has declared Moreen Meriden to be Canada’s most important jazz singer. She has performed in Jazz Festivals across Canada receiving standing ovations for her “riveting performances.” Her music has taken her to England, France and Hungary and her alternative music video “Ossisile’s Topic” was chosen to represent Canada in the Warsaw Poland Jazz Film & Video Festival. She is currently developing a CD-ROM that explores musical connections between Bjork and Coltrane.
– Beth Custer 02/21/97
Beth Custer is a charter member of the San Francisco based Clubfoot Orchestra, renown for their original compositions for such silent film classics as “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and “Nosferatu.” Beth has composed for several of the Orchestra’s film accompaniments including “Metropolis,” “Sherlock Jr.,” “Pandora’s Box” and “Felix the Cat.” She is also a founding member of City of Tribes recording artists, Trance Mission, whose CDs Trance Mission and Meanwhile are staples of the underground trance movement.
In 1990, Custer founded Clarinet Thing, a quintet of the Bay area’s finest clarinetist/composers, including Sheldon Brown (Club Foot, OJ Ekemodo), Ralph Carney (Tom Waits’ band), Ben Ggodlberg (New Klezmer Trio) and Peter Josheff (Earplay).
She has been instrumental in several theatrical projects including “Modesto”, a 13-minute opera, and the production of “Twelve Angry Men”. Beth was recently composer-in-residence for the dance/theatre troupe Joe Goode Performance Group. Her score for a full length work “The Maverick Strain” featured the Club Foot Orchestra. Her solo CD The Shirt I Slept In, which spans the last five years of her enormous and diverse body of work, has captured much critical attention, including the Georgia Straight’s remark, “a moody, magical delight from start to finish.” Along with some of the aforementioned artists, the CD features musicians from The Residents, Splatter Trio and John Zorn’s Masada.
Custer has also been working on an evolving body of solo work incorporating spoken text, song, percussion, keyboards, and electronic processing of instruments to create rhythmic and textural patterns for “comprovisation”. Beth will be joined by the V.I.E.W. ensemble (see page 12) and Joëlle Léandre for the second half of the program.
– Joëlle Léandre 02/22/97
Léandre is one of Europe’s star improvising bassists. Her solo performances are engaging and whimsical. Léandre takes her audiences on a journey that explores the bass, voice and the imaginary space around her. She performs with the European women’s trio, Les Diaboliques (Irene Schweizer & Maggie Nichols). She recently performed at the Vancouver du Maurier International Jazz Festival with the Canvas Trio and has performed extensively with Vancouver improviser François Houle. Léandre has several CDs to her credit including the recently released Live at Banlieues Bleues (Red Toucan label) with pianist Georg Graewe and clarinetist François Houle.
Joëlle will be joined by the V.I.E.W. ensemble for the second half of the program.
– Networking Session: Where are Women Improvisers? 02/23/97
While women have successfully penetrated the world of mainstream rock music, the jazz and improvising scene staggers behind in encouraging its female instrumentalists. Please join the festival musicians in an open discussion about the status of women improvisers on the local and international stage.
– Improvisation Workshop: Joëlle Léandre 02/23/97
Paris-based bassist Joëlle Léandre will conduct an improvisation workshop open to musicians and music lovers. Bring your instruments.
– V.I.E.W. from the FRONT Vancouver Improvising Ensemble of Women (V.I.E.W.)
Peggy Lee, Lauri Lyster, Karen Graves with special guests Lori Freedman and Marilyn Lerner.
An improvisation set will be included each night during the Women in View music series at the Western Front. The featured artists of each evening will be joined by Vancouver Improvising Ensemble of Women (V.I.E.W.). The ensemble includes Vancouver’s Peggy Lee on cello; percussionist Lauri Lyster; Karen Graves on saxophones with Winnipeg guests Lori Freedman on bass clarinet and pianist Marilyn Lerner. Feature artists Joëlle Léandre and Beth Custer will also sit in on these sessions giving Vancouver audiences the opportunity to witness the musical meeting of these great women improvisers. This festival sets a precedent in Canada for an exclusive slate of women improvising together!
Peggy Lee plays the field between opera, jazz and new music, currently receiving international recognition as one of Vancouver’s hottest improvisers. She is a member of Standing Wave, the NOW Orchestra, and Talking Pictures and has worked with Elizabeth Fischer, Tony Wilson, and dance choreographers Pipo Damiano and Cornelius Fischer-Credo.
Lauri Lyster is noted for her impeccable musical rhythm and superb technique. At ease in numerous playing styles, she makes appearances with the Vancouver Symphony, Drum Heat, Vancouver New Music, Standing Wave and the world beat group E-motion.
Karen Greaves is a versatile musician who has been active in the Vancouver Latin, blues and jazz scene. She has played with Hard Rubber Orchestra, Bugs Inside, Sound & Fury, Lisle Ellis Large Ensemble, The Temptations, Kenny Wheeler, Muhal Richard Abrahms as well as her own Quinteclectic and the Karen Graves Group.
Marilyn Lerner’s career on the Canadian music scene has taken her from solo performance to a variety of musical projects for film, radio and theatre. She has performed with such jazz luminaries as Bobby Hutcherson, Paquito D’Rivera, Tito Puente, Steve Lacy and Jane Bunnett. Her musical collaborations include the recording Quarter to Three with the Roy – Lerner Group, touring with bassist Keiran Overs and exploring the edges of new music and jazz with bass clarinet virtuoso, Lori Freedman. Lerner is known for her “drive and lyricism.”
Lori Freedman is described as fluid, physical and mesmerizing. She is recognized by a variety of audiences encompassing dance, theatre, new music electroacoustics and improvisation. She has held positions with the Vancouver and Winnipeg Symphony and performs regularly with the Vancouver New Music Ensemble, Banff Music Theatre Productions, Winnipeg’s duo-actuelle Queen Mab (with Marilyn Lerner) and Toronto ensemble Fifth Species and multi-disciplinary project URGE.