Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Tue, Jan 12 2010 7:30 PM

Tuesdays at Tom's Place
3111 Deakin Street Berkeley
Click for Venue page

Berliners Magda Mayas (playing piano innards) and Tony Buck (percussion)
Christopher Williams, now also living in Berlin, on solo contrabass.
And all three in trio

Magda Mayas (piano) and Tony Buck (percussion) are currently visiting the Bay Area from Berlin, and we're proud to have them on the program this month. To give you a taste of what you're in for, here's an excerpt of a recent album review from The Wire:

There's just 36 minutes of music here, but every second of it is interesting. Pianist Mayas plays chunky, bell-like clusters that seem to observe a slowly evolving musical logic, neither obviously melodic nor conventionally harmonic. Drummer Buck for the most part works a parallel path, working busily but delicately round his kit. The opening minutes of 'mercury machine' are full of light, skittering figures on the metal parts and big, damped clusters on the piano, some of them hand-damped inside the sound box, I suspect. It opens out thereafter, but there's no attempt here to emulate the iconic piano and drum duos of the past -- Coltrane and Ali, Taylor and Roach. Mayas and Buck create their own intimate languages and in the process deliver something very special and exactly the right length.

Improvised duos have lots of pitfalls to avoid: levels of alertness and/or talent can be too disparate, the speed of interaction may never sync, one person can try too hard to push the music in a certain direction, etc. But from the very first sounds they made and all the way to the final tones of the encore, these two were in perfect balance throughout. Tightly intertwined at the level of both the sonic material they pursued and the rhythmic pointillism with which they went about their journey, they stunned me into wide-eyed, open-mouthed attention. Even their minuscule pauses overlapped. And when they didn't, it was as if they were just making room to highlight and frame what the other was doing. Pianos are naturally percussive instruments, and especially so when attacked from the inside, and this piano/drum duo exploited that overlap of sonority with exquisite concentration. Buck and Mayas were completely wrapped up inside each other's sonics. A taut, highly successful combo.

Tonight we're also honored to have bassist Christopher Williams, originally from San Diego, now working out of Berlin. Chris studied at UCSD with Bert Turetszy and Mark Dresser and has performed with the likes of Derek Bailey, LaMonte Young and local lights Tom Djll and Matt Ingalls. At this month's Tuesday show he'll be performing solo and joining MM and TB in a trio.


Cost: donation
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