Music Program

Friday, February 19, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.

$15 general admission, $12 students/seniors, $10 members

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Ches Smith / Mat Maneri / Craig Taborn Trio

Ches Smith (drums, percussion)
Mat Maneri (viola)
Craig Taborn (piano)

"The best thing I caught all weekend was a superb trio led by drummer Ches Smith with pianist Craig Taborn and violist Mat Maneri, which expertly infused seductively draggy, narcotic writing with a mixture of brooding melody and rich texture. The band had sheet music, but it seemed to offer a loose road map rather than a strict score." ‐Chicago Reader

The throngs for Ches Smith's trio…stayed on their feet. (Not that relaxation was encouraged by the music, with Mat Maneri's piercing, microtonal viola over Craig Taborn's dissonant piano vamps and Smith's dynamic drum work.) — Downbeat

This is a brand new trio composed of three notable musicians from New York: Ches Smith on drums and percussion, Craig Taborn on piano and Mat Maneri on viola. An early, all‐improvised gig proved the trio to possess a strong and distinct musical chemistry. Smith realized this had to be his new band in spite the daunting task of finding time to rehearse and play in his dense schedule, and those of Taborn and Maneri.

Smith composed a book of music that draws on the chemistry of the group, including through-composed material as well as pieces designed to be interpreted in open-ended ways where the material is funneled through the particular—and often peculiar—improvisational process of this ensemble.

That process is akin to anarchic expression (not "chaos" sense, although it often goes there as well…)—the result of each member bringing his decision making instinct to the table unmitigated, yet informed by 20+ years of work experience as leaders in their own right but also with the likes of (for Ches Smith): Marc Ribot, John Zorn, John Tchicai, Tim Berne, Lee Konitz, Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle, Xiu Xiu, Terry Riley, Iggy Pop; (Craig Taborn): Roscoe Mitchell, Dave Holland, James Carter, Wadada Leo Smith, Chris Potter, Dave Douglas, Evan Parker; (Mat Maneri): Barre Phillips, Maryiln Crispell, Paul Motian, Joe Maneri.

The trio will release its debut, The Bell, for ECM January 15, 2016. This will be Ches Smith's first studio album in almost three years. Given the acclaim of Smith's three releases with his quintet These Arches (including Hammered's 4 1⁄2 star "best of 2013" mention in Downbeat), this will be an anticipated record.

"Far and away my favorite set of the first night was the Ches Smith Trio. I'd seen him before a bunch of times in various bands but I'd never seen one of his own bands before and didn't really know what to expect going in. I was really blown away! The trio we saw was rounded out by Mat Maneri on viola and Craig Taborn on piano." —