PuSh Blog

PuSh 2010 Curatorial Statement: Sonic Genome

December 15, 2009

by Ken Pickering, Artistic Director of Coastal Jazz

Sonic Genome is a once in a lifetime dream project built around the critically acclaimed visionary, composer, musician and philosopher, Anthony Braxton. The project is in two parts: 12 + 1tet (at Christ Church Cathedral on Jan 29)) and the Sonic Genome (at the Roundhouse) two days later.

As a lifelong fan of Mr. Braxton’s music, the opportunities to present the maestro in Vancouver have sadly been rare primarily due to the economic realities. Previous appearances being at the Western Front and Oil Can Harry’s in the mid 70’s and a Jazz Festival appearance in 1989 in duet with the wonderful pianist, Marilyn Crispell.

After discussions with Robert Kerr ( Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad Program Director) we decided to pursue this project. My first two inquiries were to Mr. Braxton’s agent in Italy and Taylor Ho Bynum (Mr. Braxton’s trumpeter and lieutenant in the ensemble). As fate would have it Mr. Bynum would be visiting Vancouver in May 2008 and we made plans to meet. The meeting was memorable because the World Cup of Hockey was on and Canada played Sweden that day.

Meeting Mr. Bynum at a sports bar was amusing. When asked why we were meeting in such a strange location, I explained about the “Ice Hockey” multimedia project (another story altogether) that was being developed with Mats Gustafsson and Francois Houle. I think that was the precise moment he realized he’d found the right presenters for Sonic Genome!
Over the next 12 months we had numerous opportunities for meetings in both NYC and Vancouver.

Without question, the world premiere of Sonic Genome will be a historic event! A movable feast for eight hours (at the Roundhouse and free to the public), Sonic Genome is an interactive musical environment for over 50 musicians to explore this visionary’s compositions and improvisational languages to create a living sound world. The core ensemble 12 + 1tet will be joined by 10 of Vancouver’s finest professional improvisers and another 50 plus musicians drawn from the High School Jazz Intensive, Cap College, VCC etc. As a community initiative, the importance of this project cannot be underestimated. We’re proud to be partnering with the PuSh Festival for this very special program.

Sonic Genome is a FREE event, January 31 from 12pm-8pm at The Roundhouse. Click here for full details