This week, let's get acquainted with the Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet, who will be making their St. Louis debut in a concert presented by New Music Circle on Saturday, November 3 at Luminary Center for the Arts.
Bynum, a 37-year-old cornet and trumpet player from Boston, first became widely known in the jazz world for his association with multi-instrumentalist and composer Anthony Braxton, with whom he studied while attending Wesleyan University in the 1990s. In addition to his work with Braxton and leading his own bands, Bynum also is a member of The Fully Celebrated Orchestra, which has been named Boston's best jazz group in several polls, and a co-founded of the collective ensembles Paradigm Shift and Trio Ex Nihilo.
His other credits include work with Ghanaian drummer Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng, avant-salsa" group Zemog el Gallo Bueno, the Boston Jazz Repertory Orchestra, and the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, as well as Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, Fred Ho, Alan Silva, J.D. Parran, Elliot Sharp, Jay Hoggard, The Sound and Vision Orchestra, Alvin Batiste, Pheeroan akLaff, and many others. Bynum also is known for his interest in interdisciplinary collaborations, working with dancers, filmmakers, visual artists and others on a variety of projects.
The Sextet, which has been Bynum's main working band for the last few years, currently includes Mary Halvorson (guitar), Jim Hobbs (alto sax), Bill Lowe (bass trombone & tuba), Ken Filiano (bass), and Tomas Fujiwara (drums). Though their music includes both free improvisation and compositional elements suggesting Braxton's influence - such as melodies containing dissonance, odd intervals or big jumps, and asymmetric song forms - they also can swing pretty hard for a band usually labeled avant-jazz," making for a sound that can be surprisingly accessible.
Today, we've got videos from two different concerts by the Sextet. The clip up above is the first part of about 19 minutes' worth of video from their show in 2010 at the jazz festival in Saalfelden, Germany, with the second part down below.
Below that, you can see an entire concert, recorded during the Crosscurrent Festival on September 11, 2011 at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC, and available here in five parts. The lineup is the same as above, except that Michael Formanek is in for Filiano on bass.
For more about Taylor Ho Bynum and the Sextet, check out this article published last year in the Boston Globe; this interview Bynum did in September to promote the annual Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT Music); and this post from Destination: Out in which Bynum expounds about his band mate and teacher Bill Lowe.