COMPOSER-TRUMPETER SARAH WILSON EARNS CENTER FOR CULTURAL INNOVATION GRANT
Sarah Wilson -][- Trapeze Project – [Brass Tonic Records, 2010]
Wilson’s recent CD “Trapeze Project” is also Earning Acclaim Composer/trumpeter Sarah Wilson is one of 11 California artists (and just 2 musicians) awarded a prestigious Investing in Artists grant in the Artistic Innovation category from The Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI).
Wilson will use the grant to fund a new project writing music in tribute to her female jazz mentors, Myra Melford, Laurie Frink and Carla Bley. “While I don’t know Carla Bley personally, it was at her 1999 Knitting Factory concert that I finally saw a model for what I wanted to do…just be up there and have the focus be on my music,” says Wilson. “If these women hadn’t paved the road for me, I never would’ve been able to do what I do. They made it possible for me to follow my musical path.” Wilson will also write compositions for her male mentors, John McNeil and Paul Caputo.
Wilson has emerged as “one of the most intriguing and promising composers and trumpeters on the contemporary music scene” (Derk Richardson, San Francisco Chronicle). Her original work has earned numerous commissions and premiered internationally and she earned wide acclaim for her 2006 Evander Music debut, Music for an Imaginary Play. Her new CD Trapeze Project – with clarinetist Ben Goldberg, pianist Myra Melford, bassist Jerome Harris, and drummer Scott Amendola – showcases her danceable, visually evocative, and melodic music that is both sophisticated and accessible. Trapeze Project was released September 28, 2010 on Brass Tonic Records and is already earning acclaim:
“Few contemporary jazz musicians can have paid their dues in the esoteric environment of a puppet theater, but for Sarah Wilson the Bread and Puppet Theater proved to be an invaluable part of her musical education. Trapeze Project, the trumpeter’s second album, is such an engaging and evocative recording that maybe more jazz players should spend their apprenticeships with puppetsŠ A small gem of delight.”- Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz
“What I love about Trapeze Project is that every player is given space to shine on this record and never fails to do so. Š There is a wonderful sense of simplicity, innocence and plainness in Wilson’s playing, singing and writing, and along with the top level playing from the members of her band, it’s the disc’s most noticeable and praiseworthy attribute.” – Chris Robinson, http://www.OutsideInsideout.com
“Šthe music she produces is striking in its broad nature and sense of melodyŠthe album is filled with great songs.” – Bob Karlovits, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Wilson didn’t come to music through the usual channels. As an undergraduate anthropology major at the University of California, Berkeley, Wilson, a lapsed high school trumpet player, took a strong interest in theater. A visiting artist from Vermont’s globe-trotting Bread and Puppet Theater inspired her to move east to work on their spectacular giant-puppet productions after graduation. She spent two years as a member of the troupe, increasingly conducting, arranging and performing music for their shows. In 1993, she moved to New York to concentrate on music, studying with trumpeters John McNeil and Laurie Frink. Through her affiliation with Bread and Puppet Theater, she soon found herself musical director and composer of Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival’s annual puppet program. “At the time, I didn’t really have any formal training or experience composing,” Wilson says. “I didn’t know much harmony, so I would just write these melodic bass lines and layer contrapuntal melodies on top of them. I was really into Afro-Cuban music and Henry Threadgill and Steve Coleman, so everything had a really strong rhythmic base, sometimes with odd meters. I’ve formally studied music since then, but my basic composing approach hasn’t changed much.”
“Because I started writing for puppet theater, there is a strong visual reference to my music, a kind of music to image to movement concept,” she continues. “When I compose I imagine myself in the music, picturing the image it evokes. It is also a visceral, physical feeling. Composing can be a kind of ecstatic experience for me, it’s like finding the right movement for a puppet on stage, and by puppet I don’t mean hand puppet, but the kind of big puppet we used in Bread and Puppet Theater, that requires use of your entire body. On a basic level, it’s music you can dance to. That kind of a pulse is always there because that’s where I get my inspiration.”
Wilson absorbed other sources of inspiration from the eclectic downtown New York new music scene of the 1990s into her compositions, and found plenty of open-minded musicians willing to play them. “I was fortunate to find these amazing musicians, like Kenny Wollesen, and Peck Allmond, Tony Scherr, and others,” she says, “who liked my work precisely because it was different and original.”
To further blur stylistic boundaries, Wilson began singing and writing her own songs in 2000. “My mom died that year, and I gave up the trumpet. I listened to the radio a lot and I started writing songs. It was distracting, soothing as I was dealing with this terrible loss in my life. Finally, I put together some songs, borrowed a microphone from Norah Jones (this was before she became famous, we were all scuffling then) and performed at Performance Space 122. I realized afterwards that singing gave me this intimate connection with the audience and I felt relaxed doing it. It is another avenue for my music to travel down. I don’t feel like I have any direct influences as a singer. It’s very pure.”
The Investing in Artists grants program was established by the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) in 2007 to enhance the working lives and strengthen the creative support system for California artists working in all disciplines. CCI is now continuing the grants program in its fourth year with support from The James Irvine Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
The Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) was founded in 2001 to strengthen the support system for artists in California. Its mission is to promote knowledge sharing, networking, and financial independence for individual artists and creative entrepreneurs by providing grants, business training, and incubating innovative projects that create new program knowledge, tools, and practices for artists in the field. For more information about the Center for Cultural Innovation and the Investing in Artists grants program please go to CCI’s website at http://www.cciarts.org.
Visit http://www.sarahwilsonmusic.com, for more details.
..:: Source: BKMusicPR ::..