Thomas Buckner: Contexts

Thomas Buckner

For more than 30 years, baritone Thomas Buckner has dedicated himself to the world of new and improvised music. As a performer, producer, and promoter, Buckner has enabled the creation of an extensive body of new works by some of the world's leading, most exciting and most challenging composers. Currently, Buckner works regularly with composers Robert Ashley, Roscoe Mitchell, Alvin Lucier, Annea Lockwood, Bun-Ching Lam, Jerome Cooper, David Wessel, Tom Hamilton, Leroy Jenkins, Phill Niblock, Wadada Leo Smith, among others. More than 70 composers have written works exclusively for him over the last 20 years. Buckner has been featured on over 40 recordings, including 5 of his own solo albums as well as recordings by Annea Lockwood, Sorrel Hays, Alvin Lucier, the Deep Listening Band, Jin Hi Kim, Roscoe Mitchell, Muhal Richard Abrams and many others.

"I first played with Borah Bergman as a guest on his album with Roscoe Mitchell…. Borah is a true original, with a formidable technique and a fierce dedication to improvised music." -TB

Borah Bergman is one of the most underrated yet important stylists of modern jazz piano. He phrases on his instrument like a brass or reed player and has produced much of his best work in duos with saxophonists. Completely ambidextrous, he improvises horn-like lines with both hands, sometimes crossed, in a contrapuntal and polyphonic, multi-layered dialogue that allows pieces to be turned upside down without loss of rhythmic intensity or aesthetic shape. Although it is rigorous and in places rhythmically intense, his largely free, spontaneously improvised playing can be highly lyrical and delicate, with long periods of quiet precision; elements of the blues and of stride piano may be heard throughout his work.

"I've long admired the work of David Darling, whom I first heard in the 70s with Paul Winter's ensemble. I have always been struck by the deep humanity of David's work, conveyed with a beautiful tone and flawless technique on cello and electronics." - TB

"Maverick cellist" is the phrase most often assigned to David Darling, but it hardly captures the richness, diversity, breadth and sense of humor of a man who literally redefines the way the cello is played and the way music is taught. His prolific collection of recordings and innovative performance style represent an eclectic variety of musical genres. His playful and unconventional teaching methods have helped open the world of music and improvisation to thousands of individuals.

"My music merges textures with melodies, permutations of small structures and cadence to create a shifting mesh of sound images. Improvisation adds an element of spontaneity to my music, which is important to me, because it creates a magical empathy between the performers." -EH

Earl Howard has been performing his compositions in the United States and Europe for the past 30 years. His recent compositions include music for live electronics, electronic tape music, and music for electronics and instruments. His challenging densely layered compositions, combining orchestrated sounds with electronics and live, improvisational performance, have been played at Merkin Concert Hall, the Whitney Museum, The Kitchen, the Knitting Factory, Roulette, and Carnegie Recital Hall.