Vinny Golia - woodwinds | Steve Adams - Alto Saxophone
Matt Small - bass | John Hanes - Drums
Although the words "most" and "best" rarely coincide, Vinny Golia marks a notable exception. He plays the most woodwinds (more than two dozen). He writes the most individualistic compositions. His Large Ensembles encompass the most improvising musicians (often more than 50). And for some 40 years, Golia has been not only the most influential avant-garde musician in Los Angeles, but by any measure among the best.
Golia arrived in Los Angeles in the 1970s as a painter, but soon steered his abstractionist talents in the direction of music, for which he possessed little training at the time. Noticing the strength and expressive skill of such local lights as Horace Tapscott, John Carter and Bobby Bradford, Golia enlisted in the nontraditional jazz movement and began a long association with Bradford, also forming alliances with like-minded West Coast players such as Nels Cline, Alex Cline, Michael Vlatkovich and Rob Blakeslee, and eventually with national progressive figures such as Wadada Leo Smith, Oliver Lake and Anthony Braxton.
In 1980, Golia launched his own Nine Winds Records to expose many of his favorite musicians as well as his own units, which have included duos, quintets, inventive like-instrument arrays and explosive large groups. He has performed all over the world. His bandleading experience, as well as his burgeoning technical knowledge, led naturally to work as an educator, most recently as CalArts, where he has served as mentor to working musicians such as Daniel Rosenboom, Gavin Templeton, Alexander Noice and Jeff Schwartz.
Golia's immediately identifiable composing methods incorporate unusual melodic intervals, irregular rhythms and modern harmonies, almost always with plenty of room for improvisation. Although the novelty and difficulty of his music makes for a challenge, all his players report enormous growth thanks to exposure to him.
In tonight's quartet, Golia's front-line foil is Bay Area alto saxist Steve Adams (of ROVA Saxophone Quartet among others), who has shared stages and recording sessions with him for decades. Bassist Matt Small and drummer John Hanes also hail from San Francisco, where they have logged many hours with Adams.