Monday, September 26, 2016

Alex Levine's "Toward The Center" out next month

Alex Levine is a guitarist, composer and improviser, currently living in New York City. He graduated from the University of Michigan jazz studies program in 2012, where he studied with Geri Allen and Frank Portolese, and is an alumnus of the Banff International Jazz and Creative Music Workshop. In New York, he has continued his studies with Miles Okazaki and Henry Grimes. 

Alex has played with groups led by Francois Moutin, Geri Allen, Marcus Belgrave, and many others, along with leading his own projects, performing concerts throughout the United States and Europe. He's a founding member of Polyfold Musical Arts Collective, whose focus is to support the creation, presentation, and ongoing development of creative music, and to foster artistic expression through education and outreach.

On his own words:

The body of work represented on Towards The Center was first developed during my time at the University of Michigan School of Music. The earliest composition on the album, "Ritual Dance", was inspired in part by contemplative practices introduced to me by Professor Martha Travers. "Ritual Dance" refers not only to physical movement, but also the merging of individual minds into a group consciousness. Creating, practicing, and performing music is a ritual that transforms and transcends boundaries between individuals, musicians and listeners. Towards The Center is a process by which each musician, and listener alike, relates to the mysterious gravity that exists at the center of a group interaction, and improvises with a focus on the total group dynamic. At the core of each performance is a collection of ideas, compositional and formal frameworks, and shared practices and strategies that each of us draws upon to intuitively realize a collective musical statement.

It was essential to me that the music presented on this album be created through an intuitive and unhurried process. So, rather than presenting the music in a written form, with specific pre-determined arrangements, all of the music captured on this album was communicated and developed aurally. This process required each musician to engage deeply with the material and to fully internalize each element of the compositions, and enables a greater fluidity and flexibility in our execution of the music. I am eternally grateful to saxophonist Marcus Elliot, bassist Ben Rolston, and drummer Stephen Boegehold for their creativity, musicianship, and commitment to this project. As a quartet, we have been collaborating for almost five years, and our individual relationships go back even further. Much of the work preparing for Towards The Center occurred during a three-week period of intense composition, practice, and group development in Poschiavo, Switzerland, as a part of the UNCOOL Artists in Residence program sponsored by Cornelia Mueller.

Towards The Center is dedicated to the visionary musician, poet, and artist, Henry Grimes. Since moving to New York in 2012, Henry has provided me with immeasurable creative wisdom and guidance during many hours of private lessons, playing, and conversation. Henry's brilliance as a musician is equalled by his profound poetic statements. The newest composition on the album is a suite of music entitled "Adama," inspired by Henry's poem "Adama and Porquory" (2006 Signs Along The Road). The poem, and the suite, is a spiritual history of human beings, beginning with total Harmony, unity of purpose and understanding, to disorder and conflict, and disparate human mythologies created to define the inexplicable forces that have shaped our universe. It is a cycle from togetherness to apartness, and could be heard from any starting point.

October 7, 2016 - Radiobean - Burlington, VE
October 8, 2016 - Café Résonance - Montreal, QC 
October 9, 2016 - Lovin Cup - Rochester, NY
October 15, 2016 - Trinosophes - Detroit, MI 
November 26, 2016 - Virgil Carr Center - Detroit, MI - Towards The Center CD Release
January 6, 2017 - Cliff Bell's - Detroit, MI 
January 7,  2017 - Cliff Bell's - Detroit, MI 

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