On behalf of Zula Music & Arts Collective Hamilton (Zula Presents for short), I welcome you with glee, excitement and great pride to the 4th Annual Something Else! Festival of Creative Music in Hamilton. This year’s lineup covers many scenes and artists performing in newer traditions in jazz and improvised music. We are honoured that our artist in residence Ken Vandermark was able to join us this year and could bring such great players with him, and in turn, we were able to book such a varied, rich and interesting line up to provide many first time or returning artists of high calibre, with exciting opportunities for everyone. It was a treat to work with Ken Vandermark to put together a line up so intricate and satisfying… big thanks to Ken, for his ongoing efforts in helping further the dissemination of the music far and wide!
Zula Presents has been organizing the Annual Something Else! Festival of Creative Music since June 2014 in Hamilton, along with the year-round series of the same name. The festival (& the series) focuses on programming world-renowned visiting artists, revered local musicians and young up and comers, specializing in newer traditions in jazz, improvised music, experimental sounds and the avant-garde.
The 4th edition of the festival lineup is nothing short of the cream of creative music today, a fantastic representation of many scenes from around the world. Exciting Chicago reedsman, brilliant composer, tireless organizer, MacArthur prize recipient Ken Vandermark (Artist in Residence) brings his quarter century tenured DKV Trio (with master-drummer, much sought after jazz percussionist Hamid Drake & free jazz bassist extraordinaire Kent Kessler). Aside from DKV and a solo set, Ken Vandermark’s inspiring duo with New York trumpet visionary Nate Wooley is also featured at the festival. A thrilling solo set by the brilliant trumpeter, as well as group improv situations add to the depth of the festival’s programming immensely.
Percussionist Hamid Drake takes part in another highlight, an ethereal, otherworldly improvising trio, Eloping with the Sun (N. African instruments), with legendary New York master-bassist and multi-instrumentalist William Parker and exhilarating strings-master (guitar, banjo, banjouke, bass) Joe Morris from Connecticut. Joe Morris’s solo set will also be a definite highlight of the festival, as will his, William Parker’s and Hamid Drake’s involvement in new playing opportunities and existing projects. The first time merging of the groups DKV Trio & Eloping with the Sun will sure to surprise everyone involved, both the players and the audience!
Perch Hen Brock & Rain, an improvising Trans-Atlantic supergroup pairs two of Amsterdam’s most exciting players, Ab Baars (reeds) & Ig Henneman (viola), with two of NY’s finest, Ingrid Laubrock (saxophones) & Tom Rainey (drums). All four stalwarts of creative music will take part in ad hoc group situations, that will leave us breathless. Ab Baars will also join Eloping with the Sun for a sure to be memorable first time meeting!
Japanese masters, pianist Satoko Fujii and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura join forces with French stalwarts, trumpeter Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins, in Quartet Kaze. Also visiting are pianist Achim Kaufmann’s fierce, free trio from Germany with Robert Landfermann on double bass and Christian Lillinger on drums, percussion.
Osaka-born, Pennsylvania-based master-percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani will perform one of his incendiary solo sets, plus will be involved in ad hoc improv groups. Montreal quintet Togetherness!, which includes our 2015 and 2016 Artists in Residence Ellwood Epps on trumpet and Scott Thomson on trombone will bring some of that much needed joy and levity, performing originals and music by South African jazz expatriates and other creative masterminds, to whom they pay such graceful homage. Imaginative Montreal composer, sound artist, guitarist, improviser Steve Bates will collaborate on his project Black Seas with Hamilton’s finest in sound exploration, Eschaton, a fearless duo of improvising multi-instrumentalists, Aaron Hutchinson & Connor Bennett.
Intrepid Toronto trumpeter Nicole Rampersaud will perform a solo set, as she only can, providing us with breathtaking technique, ideas and heart. Nicole will also take part in an ad hoc improv group, with some surprise guests, helping us honour and cherish the memory of one our dear, beloved, departed friends last year, improvising guitarist, composer Ken Aldcroft (14 November, 1969 – 17 September, 2016).
Also from Toronto, Chiho Tokita & Germaine Liu’s exciting new pottery and object-specific compositions project CeramiX features creative percussionists Joe Sorbara, Tomasz Krakowiak & Mark Zurawinski. Poetry, text and sound visionaries Hamiltonian Gary Barwin & Toronto’s Stuart Ross re-connect to provide some inspired literary interlude.
Hamilton’s adventurous vocal institution Earth Wind & Choir will bring much intrigue and joy with the aid of their creative, welcoming voices at the Festival Opening BBQ. Another local phenomenon, improvising guitarist Chris Palmer will also be joining us for ad hoc improv groups. New York’s Arabic maqam meets Appalachian feel quartet Sandcatchers perform on a festival closing party double-bill with Vancouver’s Haram, a 10-piece Arabic/Western improv juggernaut.
Festival is studded with several, exciting solo performances, plus 6 sets of ad hoc improv groups, curated by Artist in Residence Ken Vandermark and Festival Director Cem Zafir. Admission to all 6 exciting ticketed events, chock-full of exciting and imaginative programming, can be purchased individually at $20-35. Saturday or Sunday day passes are $50. Festival passes are a mere $100. All available via PayPal.me/ZulaTix .
We’re proud to be contributing to the ecology of creative music and culture in Southern Ontario. We are excited to be joined by many audience members making the trek from Texas, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and from many distant and closer parts of Ontario this year. We are thrilled to be sharing this year’s embarrassment of riches with visitors and locals alike and really look forward to the known and the unknown outcomes of such a wondrous confluence of such remarkable talent and love under one roof.
Huge thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their kind support for the past two years!
We are also grateful for the City of Hamilton’s Canada 150 initiative support!
Much gratitude to the venues with whom we are working this year, for their generosity of spirit, warmth and hospitality; Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, Gallery on the Bay and This Ain’t Hollywood!
Huge thanks go to our volunteers, who have worked and will continue to work during festival weekend, tirelessly… as no one other than musicians and a few specialists (sound, graphics, etc.) gets paid in this enterprise, we truly couldn’t have done it without our dedicated volunteers… much love to you!
Thank you all for supporting vital, exciting, adventurous, creative live music in our community… enjoy!
Cem [gem] Zafir