Necessary and worthwhile, to be sure, but unfortunately not immune to the pervasive economic hardships that are the current scourge of art (and everything else) in America. Venues are closing or opting to keep their programming as safe as possible. Hegarty recently visited the Blue Note in New York City and was disappointed to find that at one of the greatest jazz clubs of all time, where Stan Getz and Dizzy Gillespie have sat, the offerings are increasingly mainstream.

"The venues that have been able to stay open are having to be more and more cautious with their programming so that they keep selling a lot of tickets. That means that the programming is getting more and more conservative and middle of the road," says Hegarty. "There was a time in jazz when everything was new, every night. The number of places where experimental music can be heard is diminishing."

The shrinking audience is a challenge facing the NMC as well. There were fewer than 50 people at last year's performance by trumpeter and Guggenheim fellow Wadada Leo Smith and his Golden Quartet — Vijay Iyer, Pheeroan akLaff and John Lindberg. It was the first time Smith performed his original material in St. Louis.

For more information on the 53rd season, head to www.newmusiccircle.org.
Henk Kahle
For more information on the 53rd season, head to www.newmusiccircle.org.

Location Info

Map

Kranzberg Arts Center

501 N Grand Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63103

Category: Art Galleries

Region: St. Louis - Grand Center

Kranzberg Arts Center

501 N Grand Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63103

Category: Art Galleries

Region: St. Louis - Grand Center

Details

Joe McPhee's Survival Unit III
7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 17.
Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 North Grand Boulevard.
$7 to $15.
888-662-7851.

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"The music he writes is totally beyond description. I thought the level of compositional execution he was able to achieve was masterful," says Hegarty.

"Last year many of the artists came from very studied musical backgrounds, so there was an emphasis on modern composition — even Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quartet — all jazz scene players, but Wadada's pieces for the concert were so detailed and rich that if even you're looking at it from just a compositional standpoint, his music would interest you, and you'd rank it up there with the best modern compositions around," says Kannapell, whose own electronic improvisations have earned him a reputation as one of the most talented underground noise artists in the country.

This year's programming alone features several big names who have never before played St. Louis: avant-garde pianist Matthew Shipp, drone trailblazer Tony Conrad and Chris Corsano. Conrad, an experimental filmmaker and leader of the New York minimalist scene, is credited with helping the Velvet Underground find its name and has collaborated with the likes of John Cale, Rhys Chatham and krautrock innovator Faust.

"He's one of those legends like [Morton] Subotnick and Alvin Lucier that are the real deal, people who were in the scene when a lot of stuff was starting," says Hegarty.

Percussionist Corsano was prominently featured on Björk's 2007 record Volta and has recorded with experimental heavies such as Thurston Moore and Jim O'Rourke as well as being an integral part of new folk group Six Organs of Admittance.

"Chris Corsano has a total firebrand approach to his playing, I think anyone who digs high-energy stuff will love it," says Kannapell. "He's doing a collaboration set with Darin Gray and Dave Stone; something I can already hear in my head — how awesome those three together would sound."

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