Matt Mitchell is a pianist, composer, and electronic musician interested in the intersections of various strains of acoustic, electric, composed, and improvised new music. He has released several forward-thinking, critically acclaimed, and influential albums as a leader on Pi Recordings and Screwgun Records. He leads the ensembles Phalanx Ambassadors, Fiction, and the Vista Quartet, and co-leads Snark Horse with Kate Gentile. These ensembles feature many of the current foremost musicians and improvisers, including Kim Cass, Kate Gentile, Ben Gerstein, Jon Irabagon, Ava Mendoza, Miles Okazaki, Ches Smith, Chris Speed, Chris Tordini, Anna Webber, and Dan Weiss. He is an anchor member of several significant and acclaimed creative music ensembles which integrate composed and improvised music, including Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, Dan Weiss’s Starebaby, Miles Okazaki’s Trickster, Ches Smith’s We All Break, Kate Gentile’s Find Letter X, Anna Webber’s Simple Trio, John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Linda Oh’s Aventurine, Caroline Davis’s Alula, Mario Pavone’s Blue Dialect Trio, the Dave King Trio, and Quinsin Nachoff’s Flux.
Matt Mitchell has performed regularly with many of the foremost musicians and bandleaders in improvised music, including Steve Coleman and Five Elements, Steve Coleman’s Natal Eclipse, the Dave Douglas Quintet, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls, John Zorn’s Bagatelles, John Hollenbeck’s Claudia Quintet + 1 Jonathan Finlayson’s Sicilian Defense, the Darius Jones Quartet, Jon Irabagon, Michael Attias’ Spun Tree, Chris Lightcap’s Bigmouth, Donny McCaslin, Ohad Talmor’s Grand Ensemble, JD Allen, Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green’s Apex, Rez Abbasi’s Invocation, Lee Konitz, and Kenny Wheeler.
He has taught extensively with the Brooklyn-based School for Improvisational Music, as well as at the New School, NYU, and the Siena Jazz Workshop. He is also a 2015 receipient of a Doris Duke Impact Award and a 2012 recipient of a Pew Fellowship from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.
Wendy Eisenberg is an improvising guitarist, banjo player, songwriter and poet who uses the languages of free jazz, metal and art song to push forward what is possible on the fretted string instrument. Their work has led them to collaborations with Matt Mitchell, Ches Smith, Trevor Dunn, John Zorn, Anna Webber, and many others on the vanguard of modern improvised music today. They are also an active writer on music, with pieces in Sound American and the Contemporary Music Review.
Kim Cass, originally from Bar Harbor, Maine, developed his musical language precociously as a virtuoso jazz bassist. An utterly unique improvisational thinker, his early years were spent producing solo recordings of upright bass in electronic composed settings. After receiving his Bachelor’s in Music from the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, Kim relocated to San Francisco and then New York City. He has recorded and performed with pianist/ composer Matt Mitchell, saxophonists John Zorn and Noah Preminger, and multi-instrumentalist/ composer Tyshawn Sorey, among others. Kim is on the teaching faculty for lessons at the New School and has many visiting students. His current focus us on composing music for the bass and other instruments in new and inventive ways, showcasing a unique style of detailed handwritten notation.
Dustin Carlson is a Brooklyn based guitarist composer and improvisor. His work spans across the realms of jazz, chamber music, rock, noise, and performance art. He has performed throughout the USA, Europe, Mexico and Canada. His band, Air Ceremony, featuring Matt Mitchel, Kate Gentile, Nathaniel Morgan, Eric Trudel, Danny Gouker and Adam Hopkins. released their debut record on Out of Your Head Records in November 2018. In October 2019 his piece for string duo, Tensegrities, was debuted at Antenna Cloud Farm as part of the Gabriela Lena Frank Academy for Creative Music.
His collaboration with Isabel Umali, a recording and dance piece entitled Shakes/the Noise of Wings was performed at the FICDMX dance festival in Mexico City in August 2018 and Abrons Art Center in NYC in 2017. F$F, his is long standing collaboration with trumpet player Brad Henkel released Forgotten Cities in June 2018, the music for that record was created while he was artist in residence at the Opekta Ateliers in Cologne Germany 2015. He has a solo record entitled Shakes/The Noise of Wings (VSR007 2016).
His collaborative projects include F$F (duo with Brad Henkel) and Secret People (trio with Kate Gentile and Nathaniel Morgan). He is the guitarist in the Webber/Morris Big Band which released their debut on Greenleaf Records in April. He also plays guitar in Horse Torso, and accompanies Flamenco singer Julia Patinella playing music from Spain and Latin America.
In addition to leading his own trio (with Craig Taborn and Mat Maneri), his ensemble conjoining Haitian Vodou drums with creative music We All Break, and his electronics-laden solo percussion project Congs for Brums, Ches Smith also works as a side musician, playing drums and percussion with Marc Ribot, Tim Berne, Mary Halvorson, Dave Douglas, Darius Jones, Matt Mitchell, Jandek, John Zorn, Secret Chiefs 3, Terry Riley, Erik Friedlander, Dave Holland and many others. He collaborates in the doom-improv trio Tanks with Brandon Seabrook and Toby Driver, and the free jazz duo Good for Cows with Devin Hoff. He is a long-time student of Haitian Vodou drums and performs in religious and folkloric contexts in New York, San Francisco and Haiti. He has published an article relating his experience entitled “We All Break: a Crossroads of Haitian Vodou and Creative music,” featured in John Zorn’s Arcana VII.