Part one - World premiere of Street Signs: A Love Letter to the Angel City, an original composition commissioned by the Los Angeles Jazz Society’s New Note program, featuring clarinet great Don Byron and Grammy award winning vocalist Martha Gonzalez
Part two - West Coast premiere of an adaptation of Ornette Coleman’s Skies of America, featuring Justo Almario on sax, and Ornette Coleman sideman Tom McNalley on guitar.
Marc Lowenstein, conductor | Mike Stever, trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo | Daniel Rosenboom, trumpet, flugelhorn | Allen Fogel, French horn | Peter Connell, trombone | Blake Cooper, tubas, cimbasso | Christine Tavolacci, flutes | Daniel Weidlein, flute, saxophones | Justo Almario, flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone | Gavin Templeton, flute, saxophones, bass clarinet | Brian Walsh, clarinets, baritone saxophone | John Stehney, bassoons | Daniel Szabo, piano | Alexander Noice, electric guitar | José Gurría-Cardénas, drum kit | Tylana Renga, violin, viola | Eric KM Clark, violin, electronics | Lauren Baba, violin, viola | Aniela Perry, cello, voice | Tara Atkinson, cello | Dave Tranchina, double bass
Born in Mexico City, optimistic, energetic José "Gurri" Gurría studied music in Boston (Berklee College of Music), New York, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City before obtaining his master's degree and doctorate at USC. Drawing from contacts in L.A.'s Creative Underground and CalArts, especially associates of longtime creative-music catalyst Vinny Golia, Gurría assembled his 21-piece Gurrisonic Orchestra to perform his own compositions. He writes with a fresh, modernistic slant, while keeping an ear on melody and listenability. Gurría opens today's program with "Street Signs: A Love Letter to the Angel City," a brand-new commission from Los Angeles Jazz Society's New Note program inspired by his vision of his adoptive home as a city whose strength springs from its diversity.
"Skies of America."
Gurrisonic Orchestra performs Ornette Coleman's orchestral work "Skies of America" as the second part of today's program. First brought to light in a 1972 album for Columbia Records, "Skies" paired a dense, often dissonant score with Coleman's alto-sax improvisations to paint a picture of societal conflicts metaphorically united by the vast sky above us. Coleman revived "Skies" in 1983 with the help of Fort Worth Symphony conductor John Giordano, after which it was performed sporadically in Europe, the USA and Japan, mostly under Giordano. It has not surfaced since a Bologna, Italy, event in 2006, however, and it has never been staged west of Texas; it is fitting that the composition's West Coast debut occurs in Los Angeles, Coleman's home through most of the 1950s. Gurria names "Skies" as one of the compositions he esteems most highly, and counts the opportunity to adapt and perform it as a special honor; he used both the Columbia recording and a Giordano interpretation as models. This production is the first since the 2015 death of Coleman, the creator of the "harmolodic" concept of musical improvisation, whose initial rejection by the musical establishment was eventually reversed when he received a Grammy Award and a Pulitzer Prize in 2007. Improvisational roles in "Skies" will be filled by guitarist Tom McNalley (who practiced intensively with Coleman and his band), tenor saxist Justo Almario, trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom and alto saxist Gavin Templeton.