This week I wrote about Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris and his concept of Conduction, which brings flexible, transgenre improvisation to large ensembles.
But this weekend has several other tempting options.
Yesterday Brendan Kiley wrote about the visionary Heiner Goebbels who appears for a weekend run at On the Boards. Goebbels has a genius for refreshing obviously derivative sonic ideas through breathtaking choreography of texts, people, stage sets, and objects.
Also tonight, Guardian Ear celebrates the release of their first CD at Egan's Ballard Jam House at 7 pm, $5. When I first them at the Rendezvous several years ago, I was smitten by how their unlikely combination of instruments - electric cello, oboe, and acoustic guitar - melded with John Delp's battered suitcase of tiny percussion instruments. I'm smitten by their new disc, too. "Out of Nowhere" suggests a lost Shaker Hymn with a dash of Philip Glass while the kaleidoscopic "An Improvisation" not only shifts textures but, unlike much improvised music, percussive patterns as well, thus avoiding the trap of always relying on timbre as a latent rhythmic impetus. Guardian Ear doesn't mind fusing multiple musics (salsa, avant improv, soft rock, flamenco guitar) forcibly; rather than smooth things out - they have little in common with much of the loathsome "world pop" heard on the radio today - they let seams and sutures show.
At the Chapel Performance Space (Fri Mar 5, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 8 pm $5-$15 suggested donation), the Seattle Composers Salon presents new pieces and works in progress by local composers. At OtB's presentation of György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments, composer Marcus Oldham intrigued me with his plans to debut an "ambient piano sonata."
The following night at the Chapel, the Affinity Chamber Players premiere a slew of works by young high school-age composers dubbed "Young Adventurers" along with Tom Baker's Three Songs and Four Pieces About Water by Emily Doolittle.
Early next week, Odeonquartet (Mon Mar 8, Town Hall, 7:30 pm, $10/$20) teams up with Dennis James, whose organ accompaniments at the Paramount Silent Movie series always delighted me. Here he plays the glass armonica in the Seattle premiere of Los Angeles composer Garry Eister's Quintet for Glass and Strings. Also on the docket: The obligatory Mozart Quintet for glass armonica and string quartet and the String Quartet No. 5 by Philip Glass. Show up early at 6:45 pm for an impromptu wine glass orchestra; James leads folks in rubbing the rims of wine glasses in what should be a lovely, eerie wail as if fire engine sirens were poems instead of just painfully loud.
James will soon leave Seattle to become curator of the glass instrument collection at the Corning Museum of Glass, so this might be his last appearance in town.