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Jan 312015


What happens when you assemble a quartet of tenor saxophone free improvisers? Battle Trance happens. As record label NNA Tapes describes it, Travis LaPlante woke up one morning with the vision that he needed to start a group with three other tenor saxophone players: Matthew Nelson, Jeremy Viner, and Patrick Breiner.

They all agreed and Battle Trance was born. For the composition Palace of Wind, which they will play in its entirety Sunday, February 1st at Emma Bistro, “the rehearsals were much like martial arts training.” More from NNA Tapes:

Intricate sounds were rigorously copied and repeated by the ensemble members until they perfected the techniques. Many hours were spent building the sheer strength required to sustain continuous circular breathing for extended periods. Likewise, a steady focus on physicality was required to repeat rapid note patterns for long periods without sacrificing speed. Palace of Wind is such a demanding composition that there is a high risk of physically burning out before the piece concludes, as once it begins there is no opportunity for rest or even a quick drink of water. There was also extensive training in dissolving the distinct individual identities of the players into the greater collective sound: The band did various long-tone exercises, similar to group meditation, the purpose being to blend together into one sound, so that the origin of the collective sound’s components is completely impossible to discern – even by the members of the ensemble.

Palace of Wind does embrace both the cerebral nature of composition and the visceral act of performance, but immediately locates itself, the musicians and the audience in a purely spiritual space. It is a new kind of music and therefore modern, and yet it’s absolutely primordial, the transformative act of human beings blowing air through tubes and producing something timeless

Travis LaPlante played Noa Noa house a few years ago (in the living room), and I’m including a video of that performance below. Also be sure to check out the Theatre Intangible improv he did with Peter Evans, Craig Schenker, and Jamison Sevits.

The Sunday show is presented by FMRL Arts, the experimental arts company of Chris Davis and Tate Eskew. Also performing are jazz keyboardist Matt Endahl and euphoniumist Cody Carter. More info on the Facebook event page.

FMRL presents Battle Trance, Matt Endahl, and Cody Carter
Sunday, February 1st, 9 p.m., $12
@ Emma Bistro, 11 Lea Avenue, Nashville, TN

Apr 282013

Here’s Theatre Intangible podcast 93: Evans/Laplante/Schenker/Sevits, starring Peter Evans, Travis Laplante, Craig Schenker, and Jamison Sevits.

New York free improvisation artists Peter Evans and Travis Laplante performed a show at Noa Noa on May 15th, 2012 organized by Nashville’s Craig Schenker. See excerpts of their solo sets in the videos below. After the show, we recorded this incendiary improv, featuring Peter Evans on trumpet, Travis LaPlante on saxophone, Craig Schenker on saxophone, Jamison Sevits on trumpet, and all four on various woodwinds. I did the recording, live mixing, editing, and mastering.

Travis LaPlante plays in the band Little Women, as a solo saxophonist, and with the tenor saxophone quartet Battle Trance. His solo album Heart Protector released to rave reviews in 2011, and Little Women’s brand new album Lung is available now at aumfidelity.com.

Peter Evans plays with the Peter Evans Quartet, International Contemporary Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Continuum, and Ensemble 21, as a solo saxophonist, and with many jazz luminaries, including Peter Brotzmann, Evan Parker, Mary Halvorson Fred Frith, and Weasel Walter. He just released the debut recording of his “Zebulon” trio with John Hébert and Kassa Overall, recorded at and named after the now defunct Brooklyn club. It’s available on MoreIsMoreRecords.com.

May 112012

Photo triptych of Peter Evans taken and created by C. Neil Scott.

Here at Noa Noa house, we never host shows on weekdays. Neighbors and stuff. So why are we hosting one this Tuesday?


If you know anything about contemporary free jazz, you know the names Evans and LaPlante, two of the most important innovators in the New York jazz scene.

Here’s what Bowerbird says of Peter Evans:

Trumpeter Peter Evans is known for his super virtuosic cavalcade of furious blowing, madcap bebopping and nonstop circular breathing. He has an amazing list of collaborators, including: Mary Halvorson, Steve Beresford, Okkyung Lee, Keiji Haino, Jim Black, Evan Parker, Tyshawn Sorey, Peter Brotzmann, and many more. Peter also performs contemporary new music as a member of the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE).

And here’s what PopMatters had to say of Travis LaPlante’s 2011 album Heart Protector:

Solo saxophone albums aren’t as plentiful as, say, solo piano or guitar albums. As such, they are special. Yet no amount of listening to Anthony Braxton’s For Alto, Ken Vandermark’s Furniture Music or any of David S. Ware’s recent solo excursions could prepare me for the unaccompanied debut of Little Women member Travis Laplante. Heart Protector is a masterpiece that stands out in an already selective field, one that celebrates the creepy noises and spaces between the notes on a saxophone and creates a texture that owes more to Eno than Ewart.

SQUARE PEOPLE saxophonist CRAIG SCHENKER will also perform. Music starts at 8pm on the back porch of Noa Noa. We’re asking for an $8 to $10 donation to the touring musicians. If you consider yourself a fan of the cutting edge, DO NOT MISS THIS!

More details on the Facebook event page. Check out a video of Peter Evans with EVAN PARKER and FURT below. Incredible stuff.

An evening of solo improvisation.
Peter Evans, Travis LaPlante, Craig Schenker
Tuesday, May 15th, 8pm sharp
Noa Noa (house)
620 Hamilton Avenue
Nashville, TN 37203