Thu, Jun 22|
Javier Red’s Imagery Converter
Javier Red’s Imagery Converter unconventional jazz quartet is releasing its second album “Life & Umbrella” on May 12th. The album is about autistic kids' life, emotions, and challenges. With this album Javier Red wants to contribute to creating empathy and love for kids with autism.
Time & Location
Jun 22, 2023, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Merrimans' Playhouse, 401 E Colfax Ave, South Bend, IN 46617, USA
About the Event
TICKETS are $10 General/$5 Student.
Concerts and events made possible, in part, with support from the Wells Philanthropic Services provided by grants from the John, Anna, and Martha Jane Fields Memorial Trust Foundation, Stanley A. and Flora P. Clark Memorial Community Trust Foundation, and the Florence V. Carroll Charitable Trust, The Esther and George Jaruga Charitable Foundation, the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County's ArtsEverywhere initiative, and the Arts Project Support Grant and Arts Recovery Grant through the Indiana Arts Commission. Concert support provided by the Arts Midwest Grow, Invest, Gather (GIG) Fund grant (2022-2023 season).
Javier Red’s Imagery Converter unconventional jazz quartet is releasing its second album “Life & Umbrella” on May 12th. The album is about autistic kids' life, emotions, and challenges. With this album Javier Red wants to contribute to creating empathy and love for kids with autism. The quartet will take Life and Umbrella on tour with appearances at numerous venues within the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois.
“Red excels once more as a composer, bandleader, and improviser. Life & Umbrella is a thoughtfully crafted work which is alive with emotion and inventive ideas” - All about Jazz
Life & Umbrella finds four seasoned musicians assenting entirely to their leader’s concept and invites us to do the same. Each song title is symbolic and encompasses a relationship with the canopy of traits associated with autism. Creating a bridge of understanding for the listener, Red invites all to ponder his narrative abstractly and organically like its origins. Refraining from sentimentality, Javier Red’s writing is a means of expressing feeling, and the poignant output it delivers is sanctified by a quiet intensity.
Javier Red - piano
Jake Wark - saxophone
Ben Dillinger - bass
Gustavo Cortiñas - drums
Life & Umbrella is the latest release from Chicago-based pianist and composer Javier Red. Across twelve ambitious and complex compositions, Red divulges the profound reception of his son’s autism diagnosis alongside his daring four-piece ensemble Imagery Converter.
The potent working unit returns on its sophomore project here with drummer Gustavo Cortinas, bassist Ben Dillinger, saxophonist Jake Wark and Red at the helm. In 2019, Imagery Converter gained notoriety after its eponymous debut release, which was lauded by critics and named to NPR Jazz Critics’ Best Debut Albums of 2019. Leaning thoroughly on a contemporary aesthetic, the band is bounded by a collective approach to blurring the lines of composition and improvisation. Now, with the release of Life & Umbrella, Red maneuvers that familiar territory with meaningful introspection.
“There is little being done to teach neurotypicals to understand autistic persons,” Red shared in a statement. Even through its title, which addresses the autism range as an umbrella rather than a spectrum, Life & Umbrella challenges us to explore how we are conditioned to empathize with neurodivergent individuals. “Through music’s unique ability to create emotional connections with others, I hope to contribute to filling that empathy gap.”
Red extrapolates these ideas into musical concepts elevated by each member of Imagery Converter and achieved through several years of dedicated collective work. Drummer and composer Gustavo Cortiñas lends a grounded feel to the date, often providing a gravitas to the complex structures of this music. Most evident on compositions such as “This Is What They Found”, the drummer leads the ensemble through an ever-shifting rhythmic landscape, deeply grooving all the way through.
With a sumptuous crooning tone on the tenor sax, Jake Wark seamlessly partakes in the overall texture of the ensemble, often playing melodic and rhythmic fragments in unison with the group while creating thrilling moments of invention through improvisation. On “Resilience Cycle”, Wark manages to navigate the many angular edges of the composition effortlessly, continually prioritizing a sense of lyricism and finding compelling melodies to fit over Red’s tricky arrangement.
Bassist Ben Dillinger makes his role as the backbone of the group a heroic one, playing with astounding aplomb and assisting his bandmates with taking chances. Zooming in on his playing on “Brain Checking” for example, one can almost grasp some of the inner workings of Red’s writing thanks to Dillinger’s earnest clarity.
Red’s piano playing has an orchestral quality. He shifts between lush harmonies to playing intricate counterpoints, melodies and basslines often all within the same tune. This quality is maintained in his virtuosic solos as he continues to address these structural elements while simultaneously improvising. “We’ve had to explore an organic rhythmic approach not tied to conventional meters or recognizable jazz grooves. The result is music that is intuitive but also, seductively puzzling.”
Imagery Converter NPR Jazz Critics Best Of 2019 Debut Albums "...Red has named his quartet Imagery Converter, and the group does create sublime sonic abstractions. Ephemeral Certainties is absorbing and attractive thanks to its cohesive nature and sophisticated grace. Red’s creative vision and his synergy with his sidemen gives the record its superlative attributes"; Chicago Jazz Magazine "...the group plays with disciplined energy and a respect for the unexpected, always leaving room for new directions...points to a promising future to these four Chicagoans.."; All About Jazz Band Bio This music invited a different set of assumptions and insights to be discovered, manifested, and woven into my band’s sound. We’ve had to explore an organic rhythmic approach not tied to conventional meters or recognizable jazz grooves. Achieved through several years of dedicated collective studying, the result is music that is intuitive but also, seductively puzzling. It is like re-discovering musical intuition, that is what makes listening to this band so exciting. We have performed within Chicago and several other venues in the Midwest, having a very positive reception from the audience. Our first album “Ephemeral Certainties” was selected in NPR Jazz Critics Best of 2019, within the debut category. We had our first tours scheduled for this past 2020 to the Midwest area as well as to Mexico, however, both were postponed due to COVID. Nowadays we are working on our next Album titled “Life & Umbrella”. 2 Personnel Javier Red; Piano Jake Wark; Tenor Sax Gustavo Cortiñas; Drums Ben Dillinger; Bass.
Javier Red was born and raised in Mexico City, and in 2015 he moved to Chicago. Although he has had key musical mentors in his career, Javier is mainly self-taught. He believes that music inspires, connects people with themselves or with each other, and is a never-ending journey of self-discovery, exploration, challenges, creativity, and growth. In 2001 he founds -together with Jose Gurria (L.A. Gurrisonic Orchestra)- Ethos Trio, with whom they were enrolled in several international performances, such as the International Festival Meet in Beijing in China, and the Washington Kennedy Center Celebrating Mexico among others. They also frequently had Michael Caldwell (California State University senior faculty fellow) as a special guest with whom they performed in Mexico and USA. He was part of Papabetos; Mexican Big Band, with featured invited artists such as Kiyoshi Kitagawa in the bass. In 2006 he met Matt Davis (NY based Guitar player & Manhattan School of Music guitar faculty member). They started creating and presenting their music in New York, Philadelphia and Mexico City, recording a Duo Album En Nuestros Viajes, which was ranked as one of the best 2011 Albums by Tome to the Weather Machine. He has played in some of the most important venues in Mexico, such as Palacio de Bellas Artes and CENART, as well as important venues around the world such as Beijing Haidan Centre, Washington Kennedy Center, and Notre Dame University DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. He has been invited for multiple festivals such as Eurojazz, Festival Cervantino, Havana-Cuba Jazz Festival, and Lima Jazz Festival among others. His Chicago-based band Imagery Converter has performed in several Chicago and Midwest Jazz venues, been very well received. In 2019 they released their first album Ephemeral Certainties with the iconic Chicago label Delmark. Javier was recognised as newcomer of the year by El Intruso 2019 International Poll, as well as the new album was selected by NPR 2019 Jazz Writers as the third Debut album of the year. Cerebral and stimulating music..lyrical and wistful (Chicago Jazz Magazine) Outstanding Musician… (La Jornada Mexico) Awesome soloing skills… (Tome to the Weather Machine, US) Deep sensitivity ... (All About Jazz)
Jake Wark is a saxophonist, composer, and improviser based in Chicago. Jake was born and raised in Rochester, New York, where he resided until completing his undergraduate studies at Nazareth College. Upon moving to Chicago in 2014 to pursue a graduate degree in music at DePaul University, he quickly became immersed in the city's vibrant improvised music scene. Jake can be regularly heard with his own quartet and as a collaborator in Four Letter Words, Bowlcut, and Javier Red’s Imagery Converter. Jake has appeared as a bandleader and collaborator at many prominent venues and festivals across the northeast and midwest, including the Chicago Jazz Festival, Constellation, The Green Mill, Elastic Arts, The Hungry Brain, The Bop Stop, The Jazz Showcase, and the Rochester Fringe Festival. “Fullness and projection...” (All about Jazz) “sinewy and passionate...” (Chicago Jazz Magazine) Ben Dillinger: Ben Dillinger is a bass player born and based in Chicago. He completed his undergraduate studies at Roosevelt University and pursued a graduate degree in music at DePaul University. Ben can be regularly heard with Jake Wark’s quartet, Kyle Madsen’s trio, Astro Samurai band, and Javier Red's Imagery Converter. Ben has performed at many prominent Chicago venues, including the Constellation, The Green Mill, Elastic Arts, Tonic Room, and The Hungry Brain, among others. “lithe and eloquent... “ - (Chicago Jazz Magazine)
Ben Dillinger is a bass player born and based in Chicago. He completed his undergraduate studies at Roosevelt University and pursued a graduate degree in music at DePaul University. Ben can be regularly heard with Jake Wark’s quartet, Kyle Madsen’s trio, Astro Samurai band, and Javier Red's Imagery Converter. Ben has performed at many prominent Chicago venues, including the Constellation, The Green Mill, Elastic Arts, Tonic Room, and The Hungry Brain, among others. “lithe and eloquent... “ - (Chicago Jazz Magazine)
A graduate of Loyola University New Orleans (BM Jazz, Minor in Philosophy, Magna Cum Laude, 2011), and Northwestern University (MM Jazz, 2013), Gustavo Cortiñas has developed a successful career in the US for over a decade, leading and accompanying ensembles in renowned stages and festivals in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. “Cortiñas' music is uplifting, robust, melodic, and gets your body moving; it's an exciting blend of the artist's musical influences from jazz and Latin American, including his native Mexico"(DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE). This can be heard on his records as a leader, "Snapshot" (2013), "a Smörgåsbord of the moods and nuances that make up the human experience... an idiosyncratic album that intrinsically fuses the personal to the universal" (Lissette Corsa, Jazziz Magazine); and "ESSE" (Origin Arts 2017): "With the cohesive and captivating Esse, Cortiñas has created superb work that balances refreshingly inventive ideas with high-caliber musicianship. This exquisite and continuously gripping record is a testament to Cortiñas’ triple threat of skills as dynamic performer, agile bandleader and brilliant composer." (Hrayr Attarian, Chicago Jazz Magazine). During his time in Chicago, Gustavo has become one of the most sought out drummers, performing and recording with Kitt Lyles' Real Talk, Erik Skov's Liminality, Imagery Converter, Emily Kuhn's Helios, Roy McGrath Quartet, and the Carla Campopiano Trio, among other ensembles. Cortiñas is a member of the Chicago Jazz Composer's Collective, performing regularly for their monthly residency at Chicago's very own Green Mill. Currently, with a grant from the Mexican National Endowment of the Arts (FONCA), Gustavo is working on his third and most ambitious project as a leader: a musical journey which traces through thirteen compositions, the poetic and tragic history set by Eduardo Galeano in his book: "The Open Veins of Latin America". ..uplifting, robust, melodic.. (Jeff Potter, Downbeat) An emerging drummer to watch.. (Greg David, Modern Drummer) ..dynamic performer, agile bandleader and brilliant composer.. (Hrayr Attarian, Chicago jazz Magazine)
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