This week, let's get acquainted via video with saxophonist Jonah Parzen-Johnson, who will be in St. Louis to play at 8:00 p.m. this coming Tuesday, June 16 at Foam, 3359 Jefferson Ave. The $5 admission charge also includes sets from New Music Circle's Jeremy Kannapell and another opening act TBA.
A Chicago native now residing in NYC, Parzen-Johnson specializes in solo works performed on baritone sax, augmented with electronics, and which often have titles that would fit right into a playlist of emo-rock tunes. Though there's an improvisational flavor and a fairly frequent use of extended techniques, Parzen-Johnson's pieces tend to be structured and relatively short, rather than lengthy, free-form blowing exercises.
So far, he's put out three albums of what's been described as “lo-fi experimental folk music”: his debut Michiana in 2012, Look Like You're Not Looking in 2013, and his latest, Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow, which was released just last week on Primary Records.
The first clip up top is a music video produced to promote that new album, featuring a composition called I Wrote A Story About You, Without You."
After the jump, there are three clips of live performances from 2012. In the first, recorded at a gig for CapitalBop in Washington DC, Parzen-Johnson talks for a moment about his playing style and then performs Never Meant To Keep In Touch." (Note that while the the performance footage is dark, the audio quality is still good.)
After that, there are compositions called Stay There, I'll Come To You," recorded at WOBC radio in Oberlin, OH, and What's Coming When They Stop Coming," from a gig at The Garage in Charlottesville, VA. The final two clips were recorded in 2013, at a venue called Hardware in Buffalo, NY, and at Spectrum in NYC.
Rhythm Abstraction: Azure is the first volume of new compositions created as a follow up to 2018’s
release Rhythm Kaleidoscope. As with that release, Brock Avery improvised drum and percussion
solos. Frank Macchia then composed music for woodwinds and orchestra to Brock’s creations. Azure
is the first of three extended play albums of 6-7 compositions which will be released starting in
January and followed up in April and July. In Azure we have a created a group of pieces that continue
our quest for honoring the art of improvisation with a “stream-of-consciousness” sense of
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