Dec 8: Nathan Clevenger Group, James Fei, Giacomo Fiore & Larry Polansky

The Nathan Clevenger Group has been playing sideways-but-melodic jazz-adjacent music in the Bay Area since 2003. Recently expanded to a septet, the band is exploring a new series of pieces constructed on a base of duel drummers, featuring dense rhythmic and melodic counterpoint. The ensemble features Cory Wright, Rachel Condry, Ian Carey, Sam Bevan, Jon Arkin, and Jason Levis. The Group’s most recent album, Observatory, was released in 2013 and critic Andrew Gilbert — appearing on KQED — recently named the Group a Top Local Band to Watch, opining that “(Clevenger) makes brilliant use of the many colors at his disposal.”
James Fei (b. Taipei, Taiwan) moved to the US in 1992 to study electrical engineering. He has since been active as a composer and performer on saxophones and live electronics. Works by Fei have been performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, MATA Micro Orchestra and Noord-Hollands Philharmonisch Orkest. Recordings can be found on Leo Records, Improvised Music from Japan, CRI, Krabbesholm and Organized Sound. Compositions for Fei’s own ensemble of four alto saxophones focus on physical processes of saliva, fatigue, reeds crippled by cuts and the threshold of audible sound production, while his sound installations and performance on live electronics often focus on feedback. He was a recipient of the 2014 award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Fei has taught at Mills College in Oakland since 2006, where he is Associate Professor of Electronic Arts.

Sine of Merit is a series of works for analog electronics where the system is driven by multiple feedback loops. In addition to audio feedback—through reverb springs, transducer coupled objects and acoustically exciting the space, signals are also converted to control voltages and back, resulting in more oblique translations between signal types. The complex interplay between these loops result in an instrument that has a behavior of its own, oscillating between stable and chaotic states. The title is taken from a slogan of the Daven Company, which made precision attenuators and measurement equipment from the 1930’s to the 1970’s. I always liked the dry engineering humor found in early advertisements of decidedly unexciting products, and the idea of a commendable sine wave seems appropriately absurd for my work.


Larry Polansky and Giacomo Fiore present electric guitar readings of music from the U.S. experimental tradition, including pieces by Ruth Crawford Seeger, Carl Ruggles, James Tenney, Nick Didkovsky, and Polansky.


Active Music Series

Doors at 7pm

Music promptly at 7:30pm

$5-15 sliding scale.


Omni Commons


4799 Shattuck Ave, Oakland

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