“Improvisation isn’t a matter of just making any ol’ thing up,” jazz great Wynton Marsalis once observed. “Jazz, like any language, has its own grammar and vocabulary.”
At 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, guitarist William Lenihan and poet Eileen G’Sell will put that analogy to the test with “The New Beat Generation,” an evening of improvised music and poetry, presented as part of the Jazz at Holmes Series.
“This will be a nearly completely spontaneous endeavor with perhaps a few thematic cues to improvise from,” says Lenihan, director of jazz studies in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences.
“Jazz, improvisation and poetry, as well as composed music and poetry, share an extensive historic connection across the world,” Lenihan adds. “We thought it would be interesting to explore our own work together, and to bring light to these complimentary worlds of communication.”
G’Sell earned a MFA from WUSTL’s Writing Program in Arts & Sciences in 2006. She is a lecturer in English as well as publications editor at the Kemper Art Museum. Her poetry has been published (or is forthcoming) in journals such as the Conduit, Boston Review and Harp & Altar.
Lenihan has performed and/or recorded with Ron Carter, Michael Brecker, Bob Brookmeyer, Chick Corea, Dave Weckl and other notable musicians throughout the United States and Europe. He records for Rearward Schema Records in Milano, Italy. His latest release is UKITUSA, just out this month. Previous recordings include Cyclo, released on Caligola Records, Venice, Italy.
Also performing will be drummer Steve Davis, teacher of applied music, and bassist Eric Stiller.
Jazz at Holmes
All Jazz at Holmes concerts are free and open to the public and take place from 8 to 10 p.m. in Holmes Lounge, located in Ridgley Hall, on the west side of Brookings Quadrangle.
The series will continue the following week, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, with trumpeter Bob Ceccarini performing “Tin Pan Alley and the Music of Jerome Kern.” Todd Decker, assistant professor of music, will introduce. Subsequent concerts will include:
Saxophonist Ron Goff and his quartet
Saxophonist Rob Nugent and vocalist Kim Fuller
“Music of Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson”
Lenihan and his group
“Electric Miles and Hendrix Confluence.” The concert will mark what would have been the 70th birthday of Jimi Hendrix.
Dancer Ashley Tate and the St. Louis Creative Artists Jazz Ensemble
“Freedom Jazz Dance”
Kim Fuller Quartet
“Songs of Love, Work and Protest Songs”
Introductory remarks by Patrick Burke, associate professor of music.
WUSTL Jazz Studies student groups
Jazz at Holmes is sponsored by Washington University’s College of Arts & Sciences, Student Union, Congress of the South 40, Department of Music, University College and Summer School, Campus Life, Danforth University Center and Event Management, Community Service Office, Office of Student Involvement and Leadership, Greek Life Office, and Office of Residential Life.