Clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer Ken Thomson is bringing his sextet to Mizzou for a performance with the university’s Concert Jazz Band at 7:00 p.m. Monday, November 4 at Stotler Lounge in the Memorial Union building on campus.
The concert will feature sets from both Thomson’s group and the Concert Jazz Band, and some students from the band also will sit in with the sextet. Admission is free and open to the public.
In addition to the performance, Thomson during his visit will give a presentation to jazz and composition students, and teach a composition master class, and members of the sextet will rehearse with and coach students in the Concert Jazz Band.
Based in New York City, Ken Thomson moves between jazz and new music as both leader and collaborator in a number of different ensembles. In addition to his sextet, he also leads the group Slow/Fast; is a member of the new music ensemble Bang On A Can All-Stars and the punk/jazz quartet Gutbucket; and is musical director for the Asphalt Orchestra, a 12-piece “next-generation avant-garde marching band.”
Along with Thomson as alto saxophonist and composer, the sextet (pictured) also includes tenor saxophonist Anna Webber, trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis, trombonist Kalia Vandever, bassist Adam Armstrong, and drummer Ron Wiltrout. Their self-titled debut recording was released in September 2018.
As a composer, Thomson has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Bang on a Can, the True/False Film Festival, Doug Perkins, Mariel Roberts, and others, and has received awards from New Music USA, ASCAP and Meet the Composer. “Thaw,” a CD of his compositions recorded by the JACK Quartet for Cantaloupe Music, was named the #1 Classical CD of 2013 by Rhapsody.com, and was featured in NPR’s “10 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing.”
As an instrumentalist, he has performed across the US and Europe at major jazz festivals including Jazz a Vienne, San Sebastian Jazz Festival, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days and the Saalfelden, London, Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Belgrade Jazz Festivals. Thomson’s credits also include performing and recording with Ensemble Signal (conducted by Brad Lubman), working directly with composers from Steve Reich to Helmut Lachenmann, and performing on CDs for Harmonia Mundi, Mode, Orange Mountain, and Cantaloupe Records.