Cecil Taylor's Akisakila

We sat down with Philadelphia saxophonist-composer and “Still The New Thing” curator Bobby Zankel and asked him about some of his favorite recordings and performances from Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and Sun Ra. Our first post in this series – just in time for tonight’s Celebrating Cecil event – takes us back to May 22, 1973 when Mr. Taylor performed at Koseinenkin Dai-Hall in Tokyo with drummer Andrew Cyrille and the late great alto saxophonist Jimmy Lyons. The event was recorded and released on the Japanese label Trio Records as a double LP called Akisakila – Cecil Taylor Unit In Japan. read more

Still The New Thing Festival

The Painted Bride Art CenterArs Nova Workshop, Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, and the Philadelphia Jazz Project are excited to announce a three-show collaboration paying homage to jazz legends Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and Sun Ra.  Scheduled to coincide with the artists' respective birthdays, these one-of-a-kind all-star evenings feature musicians who, over the last five decades, have had key professional and personal relationships with Cecil, Ornette and Sun Ra. These special performances will celebrate the lives and work of these challenging, uncompromising composer-performers.

The inimitable Cecil Taylor has received the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has been named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. In March, to celebrate both his remarkable contributions to jazz and his 85th birthday, saxophonist Bobby Zankel will lead a one-night only quintet featuring some of Taylor's closest and most longstanding colleagues, including bassists Henry Grimes and William Parker, Philadelphia pianist Dave Burrell, and drummer Andrew Cyrille.

To celebrate the 84th birthday of Ornette Coleman, the artist who coined the term “Free Jazz,” two unique ensembles will be presented.  The first, the Denardo Coleman Group, is led by the saxophonist's son (who first recorded with his father as a 10-year-old boy) and will feature members of the elder Coleman's unique current quartet. Additionally, bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma, best known for his work in Ornette’s Prime Time ensemble, will perform with a group hand-selected for this special night.

The series will culminate in a double-header celebrating not only the work and lives of Ornette and Cecil, but also Sun Ra, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. Two big bands with extraordinarily rich Philadelphia histories will be featured: the Sun Ra Arkestra led by Marshall Allen, and “Still The New Thing” curater Bobby Zankel with his Warriors of the Wonderful Sound. read more

Philadelphia City Paper Preview

We're pleased to have a bunch of our upcoming activities previewed in this week's Philadelphia City Paper. So no need to take our word for it. read more

Bushman’s Revenge/Cortex in the Philadelphia City Paper

"Decades ago, jazz established itself as an invasive species in Scandinavia, flourishing to such a degree that we’re now re-importing it at an increasing rate. Tuesday, Ars Nova Workshop presents a double bill of younger Norwegian bands with divergent takes on the avant garde. Bushman’s Revenge is a guitar, bass and drums power trio that has as much psych-prog in its DNA as it does fiery free jazz. Led by trumpeter Thomas Johansson, the two-horns and rhythm section quartet Cortex is more firmly entrenched in the jazz idiom, albeit irreverently jostling one era against the next. Brassy swing is filtered through an Ayler breakdown, or Ornette angularity suddenly bounces into a bebop flurry." -Shaun Brady, Philadelphia City Paper

Fall (and Beyond)

Thanks to those who joined us recently for the Norwegian-Chicago collaboration of VCDC. We're keeping our fingers crossed for a spring return of saxophonist Frode Gjerstad with his friend, legendary trumpeter Bobby Bradford. More soon. We have just one concert in November and another in December, so no excuse to miss the final two events in 2013. 

Free Ts at VCDC

Join us on Sunday for the Philadelphia debut of VCDC featuring our friends Frode Gjerstad and Fred Lonberg-Holm. We have a few small (mens and womens) ANW t-shirts we'll be giving away to ticket buyers (who can fit in them!). Hope to see you then.

Spring 2013: An Update

Ars Nova Workshop has reached the halfway point of its Spring 2013 concert season; it has been a great one so far! Thanks for joining us for the performances by Barry Altschul's 3Dom Factor, the Whammies, Kris Davis's Capricorn Climber, Ches Smith & These Arches, and most recently, the spectacular sold-out show at Philadelphia Art Alliance with the Billy Hart Quartet. It was the perfect way to welcome the quartet for its first ever Philly date. The season continues. Due to reasons beyond our control, we had to cancel dates with Mats Gustafsson and Merzbow, and with Jasaon Adasiewicz's Sun Rooms. But we're happy to announce some new additions to the calendar. ICP Orchestra, the Engines and the Craig Taborn Trio are up next, and we've just added performances by Odean Pope and Andrew Cyrille in duo, a double-bill with the Sun Ra Arkestra and Mike Reed's People, Places and Things, Peter Brötzmann and Joe McPhee in duo, and the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble. Check out a summary of our upcoming events below. To purchase tickets, and for more information about the performers, please refer to the “Events” page of the ANW website. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news. read more

Spring 2013

Ars Nova Workshop is thrilled to announce the second half of our 13th season! We have two more shows remaining this year – Unfold Ordinary Mind on December 9, and the Frode Gjerstad Trio with Ingebrigt Håker Flaten's The Young Mothers on December 14 – and then we take a month off, returning on January 14 with the Philadelphia debut of Barry Altschul's Threedom Trio.

ANW will be presenting many groups making Philadelphia debuts in the New Year, including The Whammies, Kris Davis's Capricorn Climber, the Billy Hart Quartet, and the Craig Taborn Trio. ANW will also welcome back to Philadelphia Ches Smith & These Arches, the ICP Orchestra and The Engines.

Check out a summary of our Spring 2013 season below. To purchase tickets, and for more information about the performers, please refer to the “Events” page of the website. And don't forget to follow Ars Nova Workshop on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news. read more

Machine Gun

In May, 1968, the German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann brought together seven emerging European experimental musicians for what is now considered to be one of the most critical recording sessions in the history of improvised music.

The “Machine Gun Sessions” featured several improvisers whose soon-to-be-celebrated careers were just beginning: the British saxophonist Evan Parker, the Dutch reedsman Willem Breuker, the German bassists Peter Kowald and Buschi Niebergall, the Swedish drummer Sven-Åke Johansson, the Dutch drummer Han Bennink, and the Belgian pianist Fred Van Hove. Released in 1968 by Brötzmann's BRO label, and reissued three years later on FMP (the label founded by Brötzmann, Kowald and Alexander von Schlippenbach), Machine Gun is arguably the most brutal, beautiful and enlightened recording of the early Free-Jazz period.

In celebration of the 44th Anniversary of this legendary moment in the history of Free-Jazz, Ars Nova Workshop is excited to present several Machine Gun-related performances this Fall. (Prepare for another Philadelphia appearance by a Machine Gun musician next Spring. Hint: He's Dutch and he plays drums).

The season begins on Tuesday, September 4 at the International House, as Peter Brötzmann performs in duo with the Chicago vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz (with an opening set by the drummer Chris Corsano and the guitarist Bill Orcutt).

Then, on Tuesday, October 2, ANW presents the final Philadelphia performance by the Willem Breuker Kollektief. When Breuker, also a founding member of the Instant Composers Pool with Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink, died in 2010, his will stated that this 10-piece ensemble he founded in 1974 could embark on only one more tour following his death. This is it.

Finally, on Saturday, November 10, ANW presents a very rare solo performance by the pianist Fred van Hove. Following his participation in the legendary “Machine Gun Sessions,” van Hove went on to create the renowned avant-garde musician collectives the Werkgroep Improviserende Musici, the Musica Libera Antverpiae and the Musica Libera Belgicae.

We look forward to seeing you on September 4! For more information about these events, and the rest of Ars Nova Workshop's Fall Season, please go to: www.arsnovaworkshop.org. For the latest news, follow ANW on Twitter and Facebook.

Fall 2012


Ars Nova Workshop is excited to announce our Fall 2012 Season! We plan to commence our 13th year as Philadelphia's leading presenter of jazz and experimental music with a bang, and it all begins at the International House on September 4 with a night of duos featuring legendary German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann with vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, and guitarist Bill Orcutt with drummer Chris Corsano.

This season we will be presenting new ensembles making their first Philadelphia appearances, such as the bassoonist Katherine Young's Pretty Monsters and the Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten's The Young Mothers, and several very rare performances by legendary and renowned European experimental musicians, including the last Philadelphia concert by the Willem Breuker Kollektief, a solo set by the Belgian pianist Fred Van Hove, and the saxophonist Frode Gjerstad's all-Norwegian trio.

Below you will find a summary of our Fall Season. Please refer to the event pages to the right for more details, including information about purchasing tickets, and don't forget to follow Ars Nova Workshop on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news. Be sure to survive the summer heat, because we hope to see you all in September!

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