Portland Conservatory of Music presents: Dimensions in Jazz
Ryan Blotnick, Aryeh Kobrinski, Vinnie Sperrazza
January 11, 2019 at 8pm | Doors at 7:30pm
Tickets: $5 Students | $10 Seniors | $15 Advance | $20 at the door
Meloon Chapel, Woodfords Church 202 Woodford St., Portland, ME 04103
The Trio: This is a new trio that was formed last year when Ryan reconnected with some old friends from music school days in New York. They are some of the more innovative jazz players in New York, leading their own solo projects and playing in tons of different bands. This group features new original music by all members of the group.
Guitarist and composer Ryan Blotnick, 34, grew up in Kennebunkport and was introduced to jazz through Maine Jazz Camp. He went to high school at Waynflete for their innovative jazz program, studying privately with Bob Thompson, and then moved on to William Paterson University at age 16 to study with Gene Bertoncini. Searching for new sounds, Ryan later moved to Copenhagen where he lived for five years, graduating with a Masters degree from the Rhythmic Music Conservatory. With a new perspective, he returned to the New York area and delved headlong into the creative composition and improvisation scene for ten years. He has since recorded four albums of original compositions (the latest to be released this year, featuring Michael Blake and Maine’s own RJ Miller), and toured Europe half a dozen times. He now lives in Southwest Harbor, Maine and travels to the NYC once a month to play and record. Last year he played with a new band called Etheric Currents with Otto Hauser (Sharon Von Etten, Cass McCombs), Scott Colberg (Calexico), Tyler Wood (Glass Ghost) and Jarrett Gilgore where they played a few shows and also joined Bobby Previte for his conducted improvisation project “Blueprints.” He also wen to Europe to play with some friends in Barcelona, Milan and the Swiss Alps, including Daniele Richiedei, Jean-Lou Treboux, and Jorge Rossy.
Ryan Blotnick has been called “a vital contemporary voice” by Time Out New York, “an authentic, compelling player” by Cadence Magazine, and has garnered praise from fellow guitarists John Abercrombie, Steve Cardenas and Ben Monder. As part of one of the last generations to study with 1960s era masters like Gene Bertoncini, Harold Mabern, Yusef Lateef, Billy Taylor and Andrew Cyrille, Blotnick developed a deep respect for the post-bop and free-jazz traditions, while simultaneously being exposed to current directions in European and American improvisation. His interest in creative composition has led him to work with artists such as Michael Blake, Pete Robbins, Bill McHenry, Mat Maneri, and Tyshawn Sorey, who have each carved out their own niche at the forefront of modern jazz. His own compositions draw on an eclectic mix of genres and display a rich understanding of harmony and lyricism. His latest release Kush (2016) mines a bittersweet melodic/harmonic vein balanced by an African-influenced rhythmic elan. Conceived as an antidote to the more aggressive forms of New York jazz, Kush offers freshly-minted waltzes, haunting ballads and more than a touch of Frisellian Americana, as well as a variety of grooves combining jazz and African feels.
Vinnie Sperrazza is a Brooklyn-based jazz drummer. His first album as a bandleader and composer, Apocryphal, was released by Loyal Label on September 9, 2014. Originally from a small town south of Utica, New York, Vin moved to NYC right after college, and he’s lived in Brooklyn almost long enough to say he’s from Brooklyn.
He’s played lots and lots of good music with many amazing musicians, but he feels self-conscious about dropping names, so he’s not going to do it, save mentioning the late great Mr. James Williams, pianist, with whom Vin played many memorable concerts. He’s in lots of bands, spent a recent summer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as an actor (he played a drummer- not much of a stretch), is on some cool records that have just come out (Dana Lyn/Vincent D’Onofrio Slim Bone Head Volt, Sperrazza/Sacks/Kamaguchi Play Tadd Dameron, Jacob Garchik Ye Olde), and as of this writing, is listening to rough mixes of three new projects: Apocryphal II (with the returning cast of Loren Stillman, Brandon Seabrook, Eivind Opsvik, produced by Geoff Kraly), a quartet date with Chris Speed, Bruce Barth, and Peter Brendler, and an album of music by Lee Morgan for Fresh Sound Records, all for 2017 release.
Since moving to New York City in 2005 via Montreal and Fargo, North Dakota, Aryeh Kobrinsky has quickly established himself as a creative and versatile bassist on the New York jazz scene. Aryeh stands at the vanguard of a generation of instrumental performers for whom the notion of genre is becoming increasingly ambiguous. He holds a BMus from McGill University and a MMus from New England Conservatory where he studied with Danilo Perez, George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi and double bass luminary, Don Palma.Having toured Europe, North Africa, Canada and the United States Aryeh has performed with a wide variety of artists including Tyshawn Sorey, Hal Crook, Andrew D’Angelo, Matt Wilson, Bob Moses and Dominique Eade. Currently he can often be heard with with John McNeil’s Hush Point, The New Old Timers, Bob Moses, Perfect Friend and last but not least, his own quintet Brinsk.In 2015, Aryeh switched to tuning his bass in fifths, an octave below cello: C – G – D – A. The conversion to the new tuning was a major undertaking as he essentially had to unlearn and relearn the entire instrument. His solo project “Solo Shmolo” has been a gradual documentation of the process. Aryeh is currently finishing up his solo bass record which was released in September 2018.