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Sies/Willis Duo at the Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts

  • Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts / Riverwest Artists Association 926 East Center Street Milwaukee, WI, 53212 United States (map)

Ben and I head up to Milwaukee to share a bill with Jonah Parsen-Johnson & Tontine Ensemble.  More on the bill:

Jonah Parzen-Johnson is a saxophonist living in Brooklyn, NY. He writes music for solo saxophone and analog synthesizer. Imagine the raw energy of an Appalachian Folk choir, tempered by a lofi, minimal aesthetic. His carefully assembled analog synthesizer breathes with his saxophone, building independent melodic layers to support his sound, or soaring above his extended technique driven saxophone playing. All performed live, without any looping or recorded samples. A Chicago native, Jonah’s circular breathing, multi-phonics and inclusively experimental style owe a debt to the Chicago saxophone legacy, but his devotion to a quirky almost vocal approach places him in new territory for the solo saxophone. He has meticulously constructed a world of warm memories remembered in a cold present, as he melds the evocative nature of folk music with the chilling power of experimentalism. Along with playing solo, Jonah is a co-leader of Brooklyn Afrobeat outfit, Zongo Junction.

Tontine Ensemble was founded in the spring of 2014 with the mission to perform improvisational works and to champion the compositions of new music composers in their community. Its four current members first played together for a Blank Radio (Milwaukee, WI) recording session and immediately began rehearsing regularly. Allen Russell, Molly Lieberman, Pat Reinholz, and Barry Paul Clark are all classically trained musicians who teach and regularly perform in a variety of styles around the Milwaukee area and beyond.

Tontine Ensemble has appeared as guest artists at Mike Neumeyer and Friends, Danceworks, Inc. (Paleontology of a Woman - 2014, Footsteps, Shadows & Whispers - 2015), Milwaukee Follies, Formations Series for New and Improvised Music, Alverno Presents (Prince Uncovered - 2015), The Pre-Maturely Air Conditioned Arts Collective and performed at the inaugural Milwaukee Fringe Festival in August 2016. 

The ensemble has shared the stage with JOBS, Netmoiré, Lovely Socialite Mrs. Thomas W. Phipps, 1913, Geodes, Trench, Jonah Parzen-Johnson, Jamison Williams, Tashi Dorji + Tyler Damon duo, Spires That In The Sunset Rise + Michael Zerang, and Rhythmplex founder Jon Mueller.

Sies/Willis is a collbarotive duo comprised of Detroit based bassist Ben Willis and Chicago based percussionist Chris Sies.