Machado Mijiga

Black Music Matters, Volume Two: Multiples

Joe Henderson multiplies, Bobby McFerrin medicates, Machado Mijiga jams for the beach

If you’ve been following Fear No Music’s season, you probably caught Amelia Lukas playing solo flute music by a quartet of Black composers last week. Lukas has been performing fearlessly on FNM shows for years, and we consistently enjoy her sensitive, emotive, virtuosic approach to the often gnarly contemporary classical world that FNM specializes in. So it was unsurprising that her livestream performance on March 1st (recorded in an endearingly empty Alberta Rose Theatre) was some of the best modern classical I’ve heard in awhile.

My favorite of the four was by Dr. Carlos Simon, and although you can’t hear Lukas’ performance of it (those livestreams expire after 48 hours), you can hear it performed by the flutist who commissioned it, Dr. Brice Smith. According to Smith, here’s what Simon has to say about his 2019 composition “Move It”:

Dr. Simon characterizes his solo work as, “a syncopated joy ride. I want to explore the percussive and rhythmic nature of the flute; something moves with energy and forward motion.”

Rainbow bridge

I wish every composer I know would take notes from local maestro Machado Mijiga. The composer-drummer-saxophonist has been cranking out music for damn near a decade, and the beautiful thing about Mijiga’s Bandcamp page is how it archives this varied musical history, from his earliest student work up to the most recent EPs. And, lucky us, we can trace that history with two of Mijiga’s original compositions: “Heimdall’s Creek” and “Diffused Solstices.”

Continues…

MusicWatch Weekly: Big and small

Big bands, big choirs, chamber classical, and hybrid music from Indonesia and the British Isles

Well, I just got back from hearing Third Angle play Eve Beglarian, Lee Hyla, David Lang, and a bunch of other sweet stuff down in the cozy Jack London Revue basement underneath the billiard tables. You know how sometimes when you’re watching a big band play a long set there’ll be a few players in the corps who have some classical tricks up their sleeves, and when the rest of the band takes a break one of those soloists might come downstage and rip out a crazy impressive solo, maybe a bit of Bach or Wuorinen, the sort of stuff they don’t usually get to play in jazz clubs? 3A’s Back in the Groove was exactly like that. A whole evening of it.

Artistic Director Sarah Tiedemann saved the best, grooviest, flashiest music for herself, like a boss–but like a good boss, you know? The rare type of boss who approves all your sick days, keeps meetings on topic, knows how to use Excel, and not only can fix the copier but actually does. Clarinetist James Shields and saxophonist Sean Fredenburg both killed it–the latter tearing his way through Shelley Washington’s Mo’ingus, the former playing Reich’s New York Counterpoint along with his own fifteen-year-old undergrad backing tracks, the pair of ’em barking at each other in Lee Hyla’s gnarly, groovy, gloriously incomprehensible We Speak Etruscan–but it was Tiedemann’s graceful performance of the fiendishly difficult (but oh so melodic!) music of Jacob TV and Eve Beglarian that had us shooting coffee out our noses in shocked delight.

Anyways, you’ll hear all about the rest of this lovely show from me soon enough. Right now you’ve got new concerts to read about–big bands and small bands and sludgey bands and tribes of singers and song collectors–and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Continues…

MusicWatch Weekly: How to decide

Your guide to choosing a balanced musical diet

I know what you’re thinking. “Hey Mr. Music Editor Guy, how the [redacted] am I supposed to pick one of these million shows you’re always telling us about?” Good question, dear foul-mouthed reader. The short answer, as always, is: follow your bliss!

But you want a real answer, don’t you? Normally, you might use genre as a guideline. But genre is dead and can’t help you anymore. Instead, I have three recommended methods for picking a weekend of concerts. First: rely on institutions. Second: use this newfangled interweb thingy to listen ahead of time to whatever’s happening on whichever morning/afternoon/evening you happen to be free. Third: ask your friends!

Rely on institutions

It may sound strange to hear a certified Discordian Pope telling you to rely on institutions, since any organization stuffy enough to earn the name “institution” is pretty reliably unreliable. But Oregon is blessed with several well-established music organizations that have earned our Trust in such matters.

Two of these are Cascadia Composers and Fear No Music, both of whom celebrate contemporary “classical” music and the (usually living) composers who create it, both of whom have concerts at The Old Church in the next week (Cascadia Saturday, FNM Monday). Stay tuned for Senior Editor Brett Campbell’s FNM Hearings preview tomorrow, and he’ll have something to say about Cascadia in just a moment. For now, I’d like to tell you about two other Portland institutions with shows coming up: School of Rock and Creative Music Guild.

Yes.

Continues…