Gordon Grdina Quartet is a wild, eclectic project which combines intricate counterpoint with the ebb and flow of dynamic yet focused improvisation.
The quartet is coming to Cumberland on Dec. 7.
Grdina takes inspiration from the complexity of Bartok, the freedom of Ornette Coleman, the energy and logical construction of ideas in Soundgarden, and the delicacy of Webern.
Grdina’s debut recording, Think Like the Waves, was a trio with his mentor Gary Peacock and Paul Motian, and there is something of that group’s deep improvised jazz roots at work here, along with the compositional, classical music bent of his East Van Strings project (The Breathing of Statues).
It’s also a reaction to his rock playing in recent years in Dan Mangan’s band and his own instrumental duo Peregrine Falls.
“I felt a strong inner urge to write music that was more unexpected, that didn’t repeat itself so much and was more challenging than what I had been playing,” said Grdina. “Forms can sometimes feel like you’re being strangled and talked down to. I wanted the music to continually move, feeling free but clearly directed.”
“Compositionally this also came out of the work I’d done with Gary Peacock but in a very different way. We worked a lot on composition being a distilled idea that is the germ that sparks improvisation. I wanted to see what would happen if I composed the development of the ideas, keeping the same focused writing style, asking the same questions…”
“I hear so many connections to so many genres in this music and from these musicians that I feel it has an extremely broad appeal…I’ve gotten compliments from folk, jazz and classical music fans both young and old, as well as fans of Soundgarden…What it demands though is deep listening. There are moments where it is energetic and in your face, bringing the music to you, but it always goes back in, requiring the listener to come closer and bring their own experience to it.”
The Gord Grdina NYC Quartet is a performing at Studio Live at 2679 Beaufort Avenue in Cumberland on Friday, Dec 7 at 7:30 p.m. Doors at 7 p.m. Advance tickets, $20, are available at Bop City Records, Courtenay, Rider’s Pizza, Cumberland and by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org. At the door -$25.