The trio of Connie Crothers (piano), Ken Filiano (bass), and Andrea Wolper (voice) subverts expectation on several counts. From the first moment, this seemingly traditional piano-bass-vocal formation leaves tradition behind: there are no assumed or assigned roles; no singer "in front," no instruments "in back," no leader, no sideplayers. Instead, three musical "voices" join to make music cooperatively as they weave in, out, and among one another, extending, bending, and experimenting with the sonic capabilities of their respective instruments. Everything--music and words--is entirely improvised. If free improvisation frequently has been thought of as a move away from traditions (linear melody, tempos, tonal harmony, etc.), this group embraces spontaneous playing so entirely that anything is allowed to emerge, and the music, as well as the music-making process, is truly free... Collectively, the three players, all of whom are known as leaders and as participants in a wide variety of musical projects, have extensive backgrounds in jazz improvisation, classical performance, blues, theater, the avant garde, experimental and other kinds of music. When they join together in this trio, none of these musical influences is rejected. The result is music that moves easily from densely layered, to soulful, to energetic, to delicate and reflective, even to funny - a music that moves in and out of time and genre... The group welcomes the inherent mystery of the music making process: the altered, trance-like state that is the source of free and uninhibited expression; deep listening; curiosity; the depth of trust -in the self, in one another, in the music- that allows them to be in the musical moment with ears and hearts wide open.
Connie Crothers, Ken Filiano, Andrea Wolper
Connie, Andrea, Ken
Photo by Michael Weintrob
Connie Crothers, improvising pianist, has been recognized by crtiics for her originality, virtuosity and range of musical expression. Jean Quist described her: "...a lioness on the keyboard." She has performed solo and with various groups in festivals, such as Berlin Jazztage, Jazz at Middleheim, Belgium, DuMaurier International Festival in Toronto, JVC New York Jazz Festival, New Music America Festival, Spoleto in Charleston, NC; concerts in Merkin Hall, NYC, Location One, NYC, De Singel, Belgium, BAM, NYC, Deep Listening Space, Kingston, NY, Carnegie Recital Hall, Bim House, Netherlands; jazz club performances include the Blue Note, the Village Vanguard, Birdland, Sweet Basil. Five of her CDs have been chosen by critics for their list of the best records of the year. She leads a quartet, featuring Richard Tabnik, Roger Mancuso, Ken Filiano. She has performed and recorded duo with Max Roach. She has performed with Lenny Popkin, Warne Marsh, Lee Konitz, Andy Fite, Carol Tristano, Jemeel Moondoc, Henry Grimes, Eddie Gomez, Ratzo Harris, Kevin Norton, Ben Manley, Jim Staley, Adam Lane, Bud Tristano, John McCutcheon, Ace Yamashita, poet Mark Weber. She was visiting jazz master at Harvard University; featured on Marian McPartland's "Piano Jazz." She is the founder and president of New Artists Records. She teaches improvisation.
Ken Filiano performs throughout the world, playing and recording with leading artists in jazz, spontaneous improvisation, classical, world/ethnic, and interdisciplinary performance, fusing the rich traditions of the double bass with his own seemingly limitless inventiveness. Critics have called him a "creative virtuoso," a "master of technique" . . . "a paradigm of that type of artist. . . who can play anything in any context and make it work, simply because he puts the music first and leaves peripheral considerations behind." An integral member of numerous ensembles, Ken also composes for his own trio with Michael Attias, Michael T.A. Thompson, and Tony Malaby. Performance credits include DuMaurier International Jazz Festival, Bergamo Jazz Festival, Tampere International Jazz Festival (Finland), JVC New York Jazz Festival, Jazz em Agosto (Lisbon), the Charles Ives Festival, and concert stages including Carnegie Hall. Ken has played and/or recorded with artists and orchestras including Steve Adams, Bobby Bradford, Nels Cline, Alex Cline, Connie Crothers, Ted Dunbar, Giora Feidman, Georgian Chamber Orchestra, Vinny Golia, Lou Grassi, Richard Grossman, Fred Hess, Joseph Jarman; Raul Jaurena, The Aardvark Orchestra with Sheila Jordan; Joe Labarbera, Joelle Leandre, Frank London, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Tina Marsh, Warne Marsh, Dom Minasi, Barre Phillips, Don Preston, Bob Rodriguez, Roswell Rudd, ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Paul Smoker, Andrea Wolper, Pablo Ziegler, and numerous others. Ken teaches bass and improvisation at his Brooklyn studio, and is on the faculty of Mansfield University (PA).
Andrea Wolper has been described as a singer with "an inventive, thrilling, appealing musical vision" (Blogcritics) who “brings songs to life, whatever their source, working in a milieu that begins with jazz and reaches out to embrace an expressive area that is uniquely her own" (International Review of Music). Mixing genres, crossing boundaries, Andrea approaches all her music with an adventurous, organic, improviser's spirit. Her 2005 release, "The Small Hours" (VarisOne.Jazz), earned high critical praise. Her quintent CD, "Parallel Lives" (Jazzed Media) received stellar reviews upon its release in autumn 2011. Appearances include Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (Jazz at Lincoln Center), New York JVC Jazz Festival, Sweet Rhythm (NYC), The Stone, Makor (NYC), Iridium (NYC), International Society for Improvised Music's Inaugural Conference, Jazz at the Cape (South Africa), Donne in Musica (Italy), Centro Belem (Portugal), annual tours in Germany, Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, Fairfax Jazz Festival, First Night NY, "A Singers Celebration" (Blue Note, NY); numerous other concert, club, and festival stages. Andrea tours with her own jazz group; leads Objects in Mirror, an improvising group with voice, electric guitar, violin, and percussion; is a member of an original music big band; and has appeared as a guest artist with numerous other jazz and improvising ensembles. Andrea teaches vocal technique, and leads workshops on jazz essentials for vocalists, and on improvisation as a tool for releasing music with spontaneity and freedom, for all genres/instruments. She is a former president of International Women in Jazz and was on the Advisory Board of the Jazz Vocal Coalition.