October 9, 2019

CHICAGO, IL (Oct 9, 2019)– On Thursday, October 24, the adventurous string trio HEAR in NOW will perform at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. The performance, the first act of the 2019–2020 Experimental Music Series, will feature Chicago-based cellist and composer Tomeka Reid, NYC-based violinist and vocalist Mazz Swift, and Siena, Italy-based double bassist Silvia Bolognesi.

The Experimental Music Series, spearheaded by Sam Pluta, Assistant Professor of Music and director of the Chicago Integrated Media Experimental Studio (CHIME) Studio, showcases music on the edge by artists whose work falls between the cracks of historically defined categories of composition, improvisation, jazz, and electronic music. Programming for this series highlights two specific musical approaches: composer-led bands that create experimental new music by fusing elements of composition and improvisation, and music that focuses on electronics and technology to expand what is artistically possible. 

For this event, HEAR in NOW will perform selected work from their repertoire. First brought together in the winter of 2009 by an Italian concert promoter for the WomaJazz festival in Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy, the trio, feeling a great sense of musical chemistry, have kept the momentum going for nearly a decade. The women of HEAR in NOW combine elements from their individual regions for a unique sound experience by exploring free improvisation along with through-composed pieces.

“The amazing women of HEAR in NOW come at music from all angles at once,” said Pluta.“Equally comfortable singing songs as they are improvising freely and shredding over changes, this is a true supergroup, one that is sure to excite and move you.”

Recently described as a “new jazz power source” by The New York Times, cellist and composer Tomeka Reid has emerged as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community over the last decade. Now based in New York, her distinctive melodic sensibility, usually braided to a strong sense of groove, has been featured in many distinguished ensembles over the years. 

Reid has been a key member of ensembles led by legendary reedists like Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, as well as a younger generation of visionaries including flutist Nicole Mitchell, singer Dee Alexander, and drummer Mike Reed. Reid released her debut recording as a bandleader in 2015, with the eponymous recording by the Tomeka Reid Quartet (Jason Roebke, Tomas Fujiwara, and Mary Halvorson), a lively yet charged debut album that is a vibrant showcase not only for the cellist’s improvisational acumen, but also her knack for dynamic arrangements and her compositional ability.

Critically acclaimed as one of America’s most talented and versatile performers today, violin/vox/freestyle composition artist Mazz Swift has engaged audiences all over the world with the signature weaving of song, melody, and improvisation that she calls MazzMuse. Swift combines elements of classical, folk, rock, jazz, free improvisational music, and and electronica to create a rich, unique, and diverse musical experience. She is a singer, composer, and Juilliard-trained violinist who plays electric and acoustic instruments and has, over the years, performed and recorded with a diverse accumulation of artists including Whitney Houston, Perry Farrell, Dee Snider, James “Blood” Ulmer, Vernon Reid, Valerie June, DJ Logic, William Parker, Butch Morris, Jason Lindner, Kanye West, and most recently as string mistress for D’Angelo’s “Vanguard Strings.”

Silvia Bolognesi is a double bass player, composer, and arranger who graduated in double bass from the R. Franci Institute of Siena where she studied with Maestro Andrea Granai, and later furthered her training with Maestro Alberto Bocini. The most significant encounters in her musical training have been those with William Parker, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lawrence "Butch" Morris, Roscoe Mitchell, and Anthony Braxton. She has led several bands, including Open Combo, Almond Tree, Xilo Ensemble, Ju-Ju Sounds, Fonterossa Open Orchestra, Young Shouts, and Sly Family. Since 2016 she has been a part of the "European exchange-Erasmus +" program for the Conservatory of Maastricht (Holland), Tbilisi (Georgia), Riga (Latvia), Birmingham (UK).

This performance is presented as part of the Experimental Music Seriesby: the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition; the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture; the Arts, Science + Culture Initiative; and UChicago Arts.

Experimental Music Series: HEAR in NOW
Thu, Oct 24, 7:30pm
Logan Center, Performance Penthouse
915 E 60th St / Free, but space is limited.

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Contact: Julie Marie Lemon
Director and Curator, Arts, Science + Culture Initiative
UChicago Arts
jmlemon@uchicago.edu| 773.702.8029