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Press Releases Heroic Frenzies: The Music of Craig Taborn

Celebration Welcomes Home Jazz Keyboardist with Solot+Trio+Junk Music


“Mr. Taborn, an unusually matter-of-fact virtuoso, teases out structural affinities among free jazz, postimpressionist classical and electronic music, forging something uniquely his own.” —New York Times

Minneapolis, March 25, 2013—This joyous celebration welcomes home critically acclaimed jazz keyboardist/composer and former Golden Valley prodigy Craig Taborn, who showcases his omnivorous musical tastes and astonishing technical ability on Friday, April 26, at 8 pm in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater. The eclectic evening of new jazz, improv-electronics, and synth-funk is informed by Taborn’s early years in the ’80s music scene in Minneapolis and his later decades as sideman and bandleader on international jazz circuits.

Featuring Junk Magic (Dave King, drums; Erik Fratzke, bass; Chris Speed, tenor saxophone; and Mat Maneri, viola); Taborn’s Trio (Gerald Cleaver, drums; and Thomas Morgan, bass); and austerely beautiful solo piano works from his lauded 2011 ECM release Avenging Angel.

The 8 pm performance will be broadcast live by KFAI Radio Without Boundaries (90.3/106/7FM).

Craig Taborn
While still a university student, Taborn became known for his membership of saxophonist James Carter’s band, where he contributed to a series of albums, beginning with JC on the Set, recorded in 1993. His first recording as leader came in 1994. The following year, he graduated from the University of Michigan with a liberal arts degree. During the 1990s he also worked with Mat Maneri, Roscoe Mitchell, Nate Smith, Lotte Anker, Dave Binney, Wayne Krantz, Adam Rogers and others.

In 2001 he made his first recordings under the leadership of Tim Berne, and with the Susie Ibarra trio. In the same year, he made his second recording as leader, Light Made Lighter, with Chris Lightcap on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums. “On the strength of this recording,” wrote the Los Angeles Times reviewer, “Taborn emerges as one of the most exciting pianists to lead a band since the ascent of Matthew Shipp”.


Taborn has worked with many musicians, including Dave Douglas, Hugh Ragin, David Torn, Eivind Opsvik, Chris Potter, Marty Ehrlich, Drew Gress, Michael Formanek, and Tomasz Stanko, as well as with members of The Bad Plus, having grown up with that band’s drummer, Dave King and bassist, Reid Anderson. His first solo album, Avenging Angel, was released in 2011 and he toured internationally with Dave Holland’s quartet, Prism, in 2012.

Produced by Manfred Eicher, Chants is the first release by the Craig Taborn Trio. Just as the Avenging Angel album subverted expectations of solo improvised piano, so does Chants find its own response to the vast tradition of the piano trio. The pieces that Taborn has written for his trio are set up to generate new group music by channeling the particular skills of drummer Gerald Cleaver and bassist Thomas Morgan. For Taborn, the personnel are the all-defining factor. “I knew that if I created a context and then deferred, fully, to Gerald’s and Thomas’s sensibilities it would inherently be stimulating and would also challenge the context. I wanted to invite that challenge: I’d much rather engage with the group, always, than have the format as ‘piano adventures with supporting cast’”.

Tickets to Heroic Frenzies: The Music of Craig Taborn are $25 ($22 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600.

Postshow Reception
Friday, April 26
Meet the artists after the show at a reception in the McGuire Theater’s Balcony Bar.

Performing Arts Supporters
The Walker Art Center’s performing arts programs are made possible by generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through the Doris Duke Performing Arts Fund, the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Producers’ Council
Performing Arts programs and commissions at the Walker are generously supported by members of the Producers’ Council: Russell Cowles; Sage Cowles; Nor Hall and Roger Hale; King’s Fountain/Barbara Watson Pillsbury and Henry Pillsbury; Emily Maltz; Dr. William W. and Nadine M. McGuire; Leni and David Moore, Jr.; Josine Peters; Mike and Elizabeth Sweeney; and Frances and Frank Wilkinson.

Craig Taborn