The Jazz Gallery Presents John Ellis & Andy Bragen's MOBRO
(Published: October 24, 2011)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
The Jazz Gallery Presents John Ellis & Andy Bragen's MOBRO
A New Work Commissioned by The Jazz Gallery in 2011
Wednesday through Saturday, December 7-10
One set ONLY at 9:00pm (2nd set may be added if the 1st sets sell out)
Admission is $20.00, $10.00 for Members
Featuring: John Ellis - reeds, Andy Bragen - lyrics
Mike Moreno - guitar, Ryan Scott - guitar, Joe Sanders - bass
Shane Endsley - trumpet, John Clark - French horn, Josh Roseman - trombone, Alan Ferber - trombone
Roberto Lange - sound design
Johnaye Kendrick, Becca Stevens, Miles Griffith, Sachal Vasandani, and Chris Turner - vocals
Please visit www.mobromusic.com for more info and to view the promotional video
The Jazz Gallery is proud to present saxophonist/composer John Ellis and librettist/playwright Andy Bragen's work Mobro. The 90-minute through-composed piece, for nine musicians and five singers, was created at the Gallery in April 2011. Mobro was inspired by the intriguing 1987 journey of a garbage barge of the same name that became a national news headline, sparking intense interest in, and action on, a multitude of environmental issues. Ellis and Bragen composed, workshopped, rehearsed and performed Mobro at the Jazz Gallery in April 2011 (to sold out audiences), making use of the space on a prolonged basis, not only for the performance, but also as an integral part of their creative process. The work was commissioned by The Jazz Gallery as part of its 2011 Residency Commissioning Series, which was supported by grants from the Jerome Foundation and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. It was developed with additional support from The Playwrights' Center, Minneapolis, MN in partnership with the Network for Ensemble Theaters.
This epic work will enjoy a second staging at The Jazz Gallery over four nights, Wednesday through Saturday, December 7-10. Mobro marks Ellis and Bragen's third collaboration (the others being Dreamscapes and The Ice Siren, commissioned by the Gallery in 2007 and 2008, respectively). The Jazz Gallery first presented Mobro in workshop format in April 2011. The concert premiere in December is the next step in this collaboration between the non-profit venue and the artists. The Jazz Gallery will continue working with Ellis and Bragen to develop the piece, and to support its future life, both at the Jazz Gallery, and in collaboration with other venues in New York City and elsewhere.
More on Mobro: The Mobro 4000 was carrying the trash no one wanted, refuse from an overflowing city that sailed the seas for five months and 6,000 miles. Denied port repeatedly, the barge's contents were viewed as hazardous and infectious. This "Flying Dutchman" of garbage barges returned home close to twenty five years ago, but the questions it raises about what we consume, what we waste, and what we reject are still urgent and relevant. The odyssey of our trash may also serve as a metaphorical microcosm for western society, with a particular focus on those that we expel or deny.
Ellis and Bragen use as a thematic launching point the journey of the infamous New York garbage barge which hauled over 3,000 tons of trash from Islip, New York to North Carolina in March 1987, then down to New Orleans, Mexico, Belize and ultimately back to Brooklyn where the trash was finally incinerated and hauled back, as ash, to where it started: Islip. This new work is a narrative chamber piece with song, jazz compositions and jazz improvisation. The musical ensemble consists of nine musicians and five singers. The piece also features sound design by Roberto Carlos Lange.
Bragen explains further: "There is a strong story behind this piece: the journey of the Mobro 4000. We've taken the real story, and re-imagined it as a kind of ODYSSEY type voyage, far out into the world, and ultimately back home, to be burned. We gave the trash a voice, and in a way, the trash stands in for all that we throw away and reject, all that we look past. The piece has a great emotional scope, and there's something about a long sea journey that allowed us to find the epic nature of it all."
Ellis adds: "I think it has the potential to resonate on a lot of different levels, including a global warming/consciousness of waste level. It's a pretty intense rejection story, but it also has some comic relief. It really does feel like an amazingly satisfying ride."
More on The Jazz Gallery: Winner of the 2010 ASCAP/CMA Award for Adventurous Programming, The Jazz Gallery is a nonprofit organization that nurtures the youngest generation of professional jazz musicians by giving them an audience for their performances and a stage upon which to assemble their bands. The Gallery is open 3 to 5 nights per week, 50 weeks per year and produces more than 150 events per year.
The Gallery is a hub of creativity, a home to jazz musicians/composers, many of them from all over the world but now permanently settled in the United States. The Jazz Gallery presented nine of the last 11 winners of the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition PRIOR to their winning this competition. In September 2011, drummer DafnisPrieto, who has frequented the Gallery's stage since his arrival in NYC and who has beencommissioned by the gallery twice, won a MacArthur Award; in 2010, Jason Moran, aformidable pianist who has frequented the stage of The Gallery for more than 10 years,also won a MacArthur Fellowship Award; and in 2008, 2010-11 Jazz Gallery Resident Artist Miguel Zenon, whose emergence began at The Jazz Gallery in 2001, was a MacArthur Fellowship recipient.
The Jazz Gallery's Residency Commissions offer artists a commissioning and residency fee (up to $7,000 in 2011-12) that allows them to take a hiatus from the road as they create their new works. In addition, the Gallery provides them with a creative and convivial space in which to develop, rehearse and workshop the new music before it is made public. During each artist's four to six week residency period, The Jazz Gallery space is made available to the selected artists during "off hours," when they can collaborate with their ensemble members and utilize the month to realize artistic goals. The program is made possible by a major grant from The Jerome Foundation, with additional support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.Support for this program has been renewed for 2011-12, and the second Residency Commissioning Series will focus on bassist/composers/bandleaders, with new works scheduled from Alexis Cuadrado, Joe Sanders, Linda Oh and Matt Brewer. In each case, The Jazz Gallery does not dictate the exact nature of each residency, but rather, allows each composer the freedom to create a residency that meets his/her individual needs. Through The Residency Commissions as well as other new projects such at "The Woodshed at The Jazz Gallery", which will provide free rehearsal space to jazz musicians beginning in January 2012, The Jazz Gallery seeks to provide a powerful creative environment for the musicians it supports and presents, and at the same time, to establish a replicable model for supportive relationships between jazz musicians and presenters in general.
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As the Second Place winner of the prestigious 2002 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, John Ellis is beginning to be recognized as one of New York's premiere young talents of the tenor saxophone. Featured with artists as diverse as R&B star Bilal Oliver, eight-string guitar virtuoso Charlie Hunter, and bass icon, John Patitucci, John has performed extensively from the Filmore to Lincoln Center. An accomplished writer and bandleader with six records out under his own name, he recently co-produced the music for the popular children's book series, "Baby Loves Jazz". His latest release, "Puppet Mischief", is out on the ObliqSound Label and features Jason Marsalis on drums, Brian Coogan on organ, Matt Perrine on sousaphone, Alan Ferber on trombone, and Gregoire Maret on harmonica. In May of 2009, John premiered "The Ice Siren" at the Jazz Gallery as a part of their Large Ensemble Composers Series. For more information: www.johnaxsonellis.com
Andy Bragen's honors include a Workspace Residency with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Clubbed Thumb Biennial Commission, a Tennessee Williams Fellowship from Sewanee: The University of The South, a Jerome Fellowship, a New Voices Fellowship from EST, a Dramatists Guild Fellowship, and residencies at Millay Colony and Blue Mountain Center. His plays and translations have been seen and heard at numerous theatres across the country, including The Guthrie, The Goodman, PS122, The Playwrights Center, Queens Theatre in the Park, Rattlestick, EST, Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep, Repertorio Español, Studio Roanoke, The University of Rochester, Soho Rep and the Lark. He has an MFA from Brown University. For more information: www.andybragen.com
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Press enquiries: Jason Paul Harman Byrne at Red Cat Publicity
Tel 347 578 7601, Email Redcatjazz@mac.com
For more information please visit: www.mobromusic.com , www.jazzgallery.org, www.redcatpublicity.com
More Information: http://www.mobromusic.com
Red Cat Publicity