Link to home page : Bill Noertker
Biography:b. Pasadena, CA
16 February 1961
Noertker studied with various people, including bassist Putter Smith, cornetist Bobby Bradford, and bassist Mandy Flowers, but has learned mostly on the bandstand, and by listening and transcribing what he hears on records.
Noertker played trombone in grammar school, but when he got braces, it was too painful to continue. In 1974, while at San Gabriel High School, a friend gave Noertker his first electric bass. He began attending jam sessions and playing in heavy metal groups. He was strongly influenced by the melodic/contrapuntal rock bassists John Paul Jones, Geezer Butler, and Roger Glover. In his sophomore year, a teacher gave him a Count Basie record (Montreux '77) with Ray Brown on bass. Later that year, he heard Benny Goodman's version of Sing Sing Sing while he was tripping on acid. These two events changed his listening habits entirely.
In 1978, Noertker began his studies in anthropology, sociology, and religious studies at Occidental College. His particular emphasis was in cultural syncretism. Some of his fellow students introduced him to the avant garde music of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Also at this time he was introduced to soul music, reggae music and classical music. Again his listening habits changed.
In 1983, Noertker learned that the renowned cornetist Bobby Bradford was teaching at Pasadena City College. He went there to study with him. In Bradford's course, "Afro-American Music History," Noertker embraced the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Fletcher Henderson, Charles Mingus, and especially Duke Ellington. His listening habits became expansive and diverse.
In 1985, Noertker moved to San Francisco. In 1987 he studied composition under the tutelage of Aldo Ryzy-Ryzky while a member of the experimental art rock band, Bardo. At this time he switched from fretted to fretless electric bass.
In 1989, Bardo disbanded, and Noertker, along with other former Bardo members Annelise Zamula (reeds, flute) and Dave Mihaly (drums), formed the After the End of the World Coretet, in which Noertker was the primary composer. These three were joined by various fourth and fifth members (including Tracy McMullen - reeds, Jon Birdsong - cornet, Graham Connah - piano, Eva Festa - violin Hugh Schick - trumpet, Jim Peterson - saxophones, David Cooper - marimba/vibraphone, Tom Yoder - trombone, Mara Fox - trombone, Mike Richards - guitar) during their heyday from 1989-1996.
In the late 1990s, Noertker traveled to Europe, to soak up the culture and play music. Upon his return he finally switched from electric to upright bass.
In 2001 he formed his own group, Noertker's Moxie, as a vehicle for his compositional ideas. He is joined in Noertker's Moxie by his long-time musical co-collaborator, saxophonist/flutist Annelise Zamula. Many other fine bay area musicians have performed with Noertker's Moxie, including Jim Peterson (saxes, flute), David Slusser (tenor sax), Yehudit (five string electric violin), Jenny Maybee (piano), Hugh Schick (trumpet), Darren Johnston (trumpet), Rob Ewing (trombone), Greg Stephens (trombone) Beth Snelling (cello), Niels Myrner (drums), Rolf Wilkinson (drums), Dave Mihaly (drums), and Jason Levis (drums).
Inspired by his travels, in 2001 Noertker composed and performed his three part suite, Sketches of Catalonia, an ode to Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Antoni Gaudí . He also began work on the Blue Rider Suite (inspired by the art of Paul Klee, Vassily Kandinsky, and Franz Marc) and Angels and Acrobats (a jazz ballet inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies).
Also in 2001, Noertker and saxophonist Rent Romus began producing the Static Illusion/Methodical Madness music series, which presents two creative music concerts per month at the Musicians Union Hall in San Francisco. As of this writing (2004) the series is going strong.
In 2002-2003, Noertker continued his experimentation with the jazz suite, and his interest in music inspired by the works of artists and authors. He also began trying out unusual jazz instrumentations (bassoon, violin, cello, multiple trombones).
In September 2003, Noertker's Moxie released its first CD, Sketches of Catalonia, Vol. 1: Suite for Dalí on Edgetone Records.
The year 2003 was brought to a rousing close (and 2004 a rousing opening), as Noertker received a commision to compose a soundtrack for Animatique, six short films by sculptor David Beck. The films (and soundtrack) received acclaim as part of Beck's 2004 exhibit at the Allan Stone Gallery in New York.
In 2004, Noertker continued working with living artists. At a February happening at San Francisco's ICAN Gallery, Moxie debuted new open-ended compositions and improvisations in interactions with live painters (Tan Khanh, Liz Morton, Marinaomi, and Kyle Brunel) and a videographer (Monika Romero).
Also in 2004, Noertker's Moxie released CD-Rs of two of its live performances: 7 Days in February, a suite composed during the week prior to Noertker's 43rd birthday, and Haiku Songs, a suite inspired by a haiku exchange between Noertker and one of his bass students.
In 2005, Noertker traveled to Catalonia once again. He came back with another suite of music, Homage to Catalunya, a series of tonal portraits of Las Ramblas, Park Güell, Girona, the Ampurdan plain, and La Manzana de la Discordia. While in Barcelona, he played music with trumpeter Guillermo Torres. He also took a trip to Claira, near Perpignon (in French Catalonia), to play with John Tchicai and Margarite Naber-Tchicai and meet their son Yolo. Back in San Francisco, this led to a performance of solos, duos, and trios with Margarite and saxophonist Jim Peterson.
Also in 2005, Noertker formed an electric ensemble, the Jugglers, as a forum for his groove-oriented tunes.
Early in 2005, Noertker and drummer Dave Mihaly challenged each other to compose a string quartet to be performed in July. Noertker wrote six exercises for string quartet which he calls Peculiar Little Creatures, while Mihaly wrote a full piece entitled Influences of the Invisible. These were performed by the Strawberry Moon String Quartet, Sarah Jo Zaharako (violin), Linda Robertson (violin), Yehudit (viola), and Beth Snellings (cello).
In April 2007, Noertker's Moxie released its fourth CD, Sketches of Catalonia, Vol. 2: Suite for Miró, on Edgetone Records.
In June Moxie performed the music of Annelise Zamula, a departure from it's usual all-Noertker fare.
In July, the After the End of the World Coretet celebrated its 18th anniversary with a performance that included special guest trumpeter Ara Anderson.
In July Noertker composed, and in August 2007 Moxie performed, the Blue Rider Suite, Vol. 2: for Wassily Kandinsky. Members of the California Outside Music Associates (C.O.M.A.), saxophonist John Vaughn and drummer Dax Compise, travelled from Stockton to join Zamula and Noertker for the performance of the suite.
Also in August Noertker teamed up with Austrian singer Annette Giesriegl, saxophonist David Boyce, drummer Dave Mihaly, and dancer Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic for an improvisational/international collaboration.
September 2007 saw the premier of Noertker's newest string quartet, the long awaited Eurydice.
Noertker's performance season closed with a show celebrating music for film, including compositions by stalwarts Rota, Morricone, and Bacharach, as well as original compositions by Noertker and baritone saxophonist David Beck, who joined Moxie for the performance.
Noertker's 2008 performance season began with the a new Birthday Suite, composed in February and performed in March.
In July 2008, for the Edgetone New Music Summit, Noertker renewed his collaboration with sculptor David Beck, composing a suite of music, La Naturecanique, for live accompaniment of a screening of film loops of Mr. Beck's intimately-scaled moving sculptures.
In September 2008, Noertker composed and recorded an octet for a short film of David Beck's epic work , L'Opera.
In November 2008 Moxie was joined once again by fellow Edgetone Records' artists John Vaughn and Dax Compise for the performance of a new work, Blue Rider Suite, vol. 3: for Franz Marc.
Moxie's 2009 performance season began with yet another birthday suite, 7 Songs in 7 Days, which was composed from February 15-21.
In April 2009, Noertker composed music for the Nico Koumoundouros film, The Commandments (or the nostril of Ektor Kaknavatos).
Also in April, Noertker's Moxie released its third CD on Edgetone Records, Sketches of Catalonia, Vol. 2: Suite for Gaudí.
In June 2009, Moxie was invited to do a live radio performance on the Locals Only show with guest host DJ Schmeejay at KUSF 90.3fm. Noertker and Zamula were joined by oboist Amber Lamprecht for improvisations inspired by six paintings by Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies.
In August 2009, Moxie continued with the Antoni Tàpies inspiration. Noertker composed Sketches of Catalonia, Vol. 4: Suite for Tàpies, seven new tunes for flute, oboe, and two contrabasses. Bassist Lisa Mezzacappa joined Noertker, Zamula, and Lamprecht for the performance.
In September 2009, Noertker collaborated with dancer Laurie Buenafe Krsmanovic to create and perform window/frame for Richard Waara (inspired by the film Peter Ibbetson), a short Butoh piece that they performed at Bare Bones Butoh 15.
October 2009 saw the première of Noertker's Ariadne (a quartet in six movements) with Annelise Zamula - flute, Amber Lamprecht - oboe, Ilana Matfis - viola, and Shain Carrasco - cello.
Also in October 2009, Noertker's Moxie released druidh lacunae, its sixth CD (and the fourth on the Edgetone records label).
In 2010 Noertker took a little break from composing music as Moxie did live recordings of the Blue Rider Suite for an autumn CD release.
Noertker scored music for a Nikos Koumoundouros film, The Commandments (or the nostril of Ektor Kaknavatos). This film has been selected for the prestigious Festival de Cannes 2010 - Short Film Corner.
In June 2010 Noertker formed, and performed with, a new group, Tenor Gladness, with four tenor saxophonists: Tracy McMullen, Annelise Zamula, David Boyce, and Ralph Carney, and drummer Dave Mihaly.
In July, Noertker's Moxie debuted a new suite, While You Were Out, inspired by someone else's travels.
In August 2010 Austrian vocalist Annette Giesriegl was in town for some improvised music with Noertker, Boyce, Mihaly, and pianist Dena DeRose.
In September 2010, Noertker and David Beck debuted their new group, the Melanchoholics, and Noertker's Moxie performed some more improvisations and compositions from the Antoni Tàpies cycle.
In October 2010, Noertker's Moxie released its seventh CD, Some Circles (Blue Rider Suite, vol. 1), compositions and improvisations inspired by the art of Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and Paul Klee.
Noertker on CD and DVD:
Little Bluedevil (Blue Rider Suite, vol. 2)
Edgetone Records, 2012
Some Circles (Blue Rider Suite, vol. 1)
Edgetone Records, 2010
Edgetone Records, 2009
Sketches of Catalonia, vol. 3: Suite for Gaudí
Edgetone Records, 2009
(DVD Soundtrack), 2008
Sketches of Catalonia, vol. 2: Suite for Miró
Edgetone Records, 2007
(DVD Soundtrack), 2004
7 Days in February
AEWC Records, 2004
AEWC Records, 2004
Sketches of Catalonia, Vol. 1: Suite for Dalí
Edegetone Records, 2003
C.J.Reaven Borosque/Lords of Outland
The Metal Quan Yin
Edgetone Records, 2002
Rent Romus' Lords Of Outland
Avatar in the Field, a tribute to Albert Ayler
Edgetone Records, 2001
After the End of the World Coretet
AEWC Records, 1995
After the End of the World Coretet
Crystal Egg Records, 1993
to order these CDs go to www.noertker.com/store.html
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San Francisco CA 94117
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