Music Program

Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.

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

To learn more about the benefits of becoming a member, please click here.


Ray Anderson - trombone
Mark Helias - contrabass
Gerry Hemingway - drums

40th Anniversary tour and recording in 2017!

BassDrumBone is a trio that has wedded the uniquness of its instrumentation with the singular personality of its three members. A true collective, their music combines three distinct compositional and improvisational approaches with an exceptional musical rapport. Mark Helias, Gerry Hemingway and Ray Anderson began performing as a trio in the fall of 1977. Their first record, "Oahspe", was released in 1979 on the Auricle Record label. Bob Rusch, in his review of the record, wrote: "Exceptionally good music, fearlessly played and tightly coordinated. Recommended."

In 1984, "Right Down Your Alley" was released on Soul Note Records of Italy, and in the beginning of 1986 "You Be" was released on the Minor Music label of Germany. Both records received acclaim from the European and American press including a five star review in Downbeat magazine for "You Be." In 1988 came "Wooferlo" which was released on the Soul Note label. Ben Watson of The Wire commented: "Each musician has a story to tell, the solos are stuffed with event and happenstance."

After 1988 the group went into a temporary dormancy while all three of its members pursued their own individual groups. In the Fall of 1993, BassDrumBone became active again for a tour in Europe. A tour in 1996 yielded "Hence the Reason" (enj9222), and in March of 1999, BDB released some archival material from 1986-97 on an Auricle Records CD entitled "Cooked to Perfection." BassDrumBone celebrated its 25th year together with the release of "March of Dimes" on the Dutch label Data. On the eve of our 30th anniversary, Clean Feed released "The Line Up," followed by "The Other Parade," also on Clean Feed, in 2009.

And now, on November 15, 2017 will come a very special double CD called "The Long Road" on Auricle Records.

"...brimming with a telepathy indicative of the threesome's long journey as kindred spirits. * * * * (4 stars)" - Bradley Bambarger, March 2017 Downbeat

"Four decades on and still going strong, this venerable group, comprised of established musicians who share aesthetic outlooks and common histories, is something of a rarity by contemporary standards. Richly varied, The Long Road is a winning testament to their creative longevity." - Troy Collins, November 2016 AllAboutJazz

Gerry Hemingway has been composing and performing solo and ensemble music since 1974. Recent recordings of his music for solo percussion include "Electro-Acoustic Solo Works" (84-95) and "Acoustic Solo Works" (83-94) on the German Random Acoustics label. Mr. Hemingwayʼs newest working band is a quartet with Ray Anderson or Herb Robertson, Ellery Eskelin on tenor sax, and Mark Dresser or Mark Helias on bass. The band performed 40 concerts in the states in 1998 and its first recording is "Johnnyʼs Corner Song" on the Auricle Record label. The quartet has since released Devil's Paradise & The Whimbler on the Clean Feed label of Portugal. This follows twelve years of performances and recordings of his European based quintet whose final CD is entitled "Waltzes, Two-Steps and Other Matters of the Heart." Previous recordings include, "Special Detail" ('91), "Down to the Wire" ('93) and "Demon Chaser" ('94) all on the Swiss Hat Art label and "Slamadam" ('95) and "Perfect World" ('96) on Random Acoustics. His work as a composer and percussionist includes recordings and performances with Derek Bailey, Leo Smith, Oliver Lake, Ray Anderson, Conrad Bauer, John Cale and Hank Roberts among many others. For eleven years, starting in 1983, he was a member of the Anthony Braxton Quartet from 1983-1994 and more recently has been performing as a member of the Reggie Workman Ensemble. Collaborative projects include trios with pianist Georg Graewe and cellist Ernst Reijseger, Michel Wintsch & Baenz Oester, duos with Marilyn Crispell, Thomas Lehn, and John Butcher.

"If I ever had a home, it was the slide trombone," says Ray Anderson. Although the perennial poll-winner (6 times in Downbeatʼs Critics Poll!) is indeed at home with the "slip-horn," his unique music is now being heard all over the world. Andersonʼs innovative and influential style is technically awesome but straight from the heart. Born in Chicago in 1952, Ray Anderson started playing trombone when he was eight. After three years in California, playing in funk, R&B and jazz groups, Ray Anderson moved to New York City in 1972. He picked up a wide variety of musical experience, played in the booming loft scene and spent important periods with Barry Altschulʼs trio and Anthony Braxton's quartet. "Playing with Braxton (during 1978-81) really ended my period of apprenticeship and Iʼve led or co-led my own groups ever since." These bands have included the wild funk unit Slickaphonics. Now Anderson can be heard leading his quartet (piano or guitar, upright bass and drums), his Wishbone Ensemble (which adds percussion and violin to the quartet), his Alligatory Band (electric bass and guitar, drums, percussion and trumpet) his Bonified Big Band (classic big band instrumentation) and Rayʼs latest incarnation, The Pocket Brass Band featuring Jack Walrath on Trumpet, Bob Stewart on Tuba and Charli Persip on Drums. Ray is also a member of Slideride, a four trombone cooperative featuring Craig Harris, George Lewis and Gary Valente.

Composer/bassist Mark Helias has been making innovative music since finishing a Masters Degree at the Yale School of Music in 1976. With impeccable credentials as a virtuoso bassist, composer and band leader, he has composed for, as well as performed and recorded with, such modern masters as Edward Blackwell, Anthony Davis, Dewey Redman and Anthony Braxton. Mr. Helias has recorded five albums of his own compositions beginning in 1984 with Split Image. This was followed by four others, "The Current Set" (1987), "Desert Blue" (1989) and "Attack The Future" (1992), "Loopin the Cool" (1995) - all for the German label Enja Records. His varied interests have involved him in such projects as two Anthony Davis operas X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X and Under The Double Moon, as well as performance, dance, film and video collaborations with Mary Perillo and John Sanborn. Heliasʼ compositional output includes numerous notated pieces ranging from solo bass to symphony orchestra. Since 1981 Mr. Helias has been awarded thirteen composition and performance grants. In 1992 his piece Upside the Downside was premiered in St. Louis, Missouri by the String Trio of New York. The piece was commissioned by Meet the Composer/Readers Digest. Helias has worked with numerous bands including those of Barry Altschul, Oliver Lake, Slickaphonics, Abbey Lincoln, Don Cherry, Cecil Taylor and Ray Anderson. In addition to his performances on over sixty albums, Mr. Helias has been producing recordings for other artists on the Gramavision, Enja, Avant/DIW and Sound Aspects, and New World labels. He has recently completed a large work for symphony orchestra.