Colin Stetson

Colin Stetson

Three instrumentalists from different but related musical communities step out of the band atmosphere to present their solo compositions for this very special "Alone Together" tour. Each artist will perform solo on their respective instrument, exploring a variety of different compositional approaches. Colin Stetson (Bon Iver/Tom Waits/Laurie Anderson) will perform his spellbinding bass saxophone solo work, Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire/Bell Orchestre) will present her unique and vibrant solo violin pieces, and Gregory Rogove (Devendra Banhart/Megapuss/Priestbird) will play his minimalist, solo piano pieces, from his recently released PIANA album (Knitting Factory Records).

Stetson was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI, and earned a degree in music from his hometown school, the University of Michigan, in 1997. Six years in San Francisco followed, then another four in Brooklyn, NY. Over this time, he developed his unique solo voice on saxophones and clarinets, culminating in the release of the record "New History Warfare, Vol.1", in 2008. Stetson now resides in Montreal, QC, and performs regularly on assorted saxohones, clarinets, cornet, french horn and flute.

Aside from his work as a soloist, Stetson has brought his talents to the stage and studio with dozens of artists, including Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Fiest, Bon Iver, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, David Byrne, Jolie Holland, Sinead O'Connor, LCD Soundsystem, The National, Angelique Kidjo, and Anthony Braxton. He is also a regular member of the bands, Sway Machinery and Bell Orchestre.

Justin Walter of NOMO

Walter (who performed with NOMO, the notable Ann Arbor-based Afrobeat / funk / jazz / almost-anything outfit), had a very musical upbringing, attending Community High School where, at a young age, he was introduced to jazz and live performance. Entering his 20’s, his main focus was jazz. “Fairly straight ahead jazz, at that. All day. All night. Seems like I grew up in the Del Rio and Bird of Paradise. Lots of great jazz!”

Then he met up with this band… An elastic, eclectic, ebullient band, called NOMO. (Watch: NOMO – Ann Arbor Summer Festival 2012–

NOMO was his collaborative gateway band – moving on to work with Saturday Looks Good To Me, Iron & Wine, and His Name Is Alive, weird and wonderful indie-punk-and-folk acts that would otherwise have never panged on the radar of just a “fairly straight ahead jazz” musician.

Walters work in NOMO was the beginning of his learning about “music that wasn’t jazz,” to put it mildly.

But back to that EVI. In Walter’s words its “an analog synthesizer that sort of plays like a trumpet.” You might have seen aliens playing it in the Tatooine Cantina band. “It’s unique in many ways and I found that it was fairly unheard of…”

As Walter continued playing with all these interesting groups, he honed his own craft, working on lots of experimental/improvisational music on his own, eventually culling a fair number of bedroom recordings and releasing a proper EP (recorded in Chicago with NOMO’s Erik Hall).

Walter worked with SLGTM’s Fred Thomas to release the WALTER double cassette on his LifeLike tape-centric label. It was a great collaboration, a fine collection of music and a motivating experience overall for Walter. It was time, then, that he get out a proper full length “studio” recording. Hall came back into the picture, along with drummer Quin Kirchner, the result was Lullabies & Nightmares.

“It’s what happened when I set out to make the most beautiful music I could make.”

The current Brooklyn-resident is eager to return to his old stamping grounds. “(Stetson) was one of the people who inspired me to make a solo record,” says Walter. “So, this is possibly the best pairing I could have hoped for. It’s an honor.”

Lullabies & Nightmares comes out May 27th via Kranky Records. In the meantime, though, you can hear Walter’s works live, Friday, at the Blind Pig.


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