The Jazz Arts Group’s Inside Track series welcomes two-time Grammy-nominated jazz musician Dave Douglas and his electric sextet Keystone to the Lincoln Theatre stage Saturday, February 5 to present their latest multimedia project, Spark of Being.
Dave Douglas is arguably the most prolific and original trumpeter-composer of his generation. From his New York base, where he has lived since the mid-1980s, Mr. Douglas has continued to earn lavish national and international acclaim including prizes from such organizations as the New York Jazz Awards, Down Beat, JazzTimes, Jazziz, and the Italian Jazz Critics Society. His solo recording career began in 1993 with Parallel Worlds on Soul Note Records, and he has since released more than 30 recordings. This year brings a new collection of work by Keystone titled, Spark of Being, a retelling of the Frankenstein myth in collaboration with award-winning experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison.
On the 100th anniversary of the first Frankenstein film, Dave Douglas and Bill Morrison unveiled their multimedia collaboration Spark of Being at Stanford University. On film, it stands as a reinterpretation of that Frankenstein myth using new, archival, and distressed footage. The themes, penned by Douglas for his Grammy-nominated band Keystone, integrate electronics seamlessly into the improvised music, piecing sounds and movement together to make three strikingly different “creatures.”
“Spark of Being is a metaphor for the way that we’re working both with archived image and sound being blended into the piece,” says Douglas. “On some levels, thinking about the sciences, both natural philosophy as it was understood in the 19th century and also the way that it works in the arts today led me to some of the themes that I used in writing this music.”
Stanford University, which commissioned the soundtrack, gave Douglas the key to the computer-music department’s mammoth library of samples—a morgue of “dead” sounds, as it were. As JazzTimes describes “DJ Olive, the turntablist in Douglas’ longstanding Keystone sextet, grabbed those sounds, chopped them up, stitched them together, wrapped them in echo and zapped them with lightning to make them move with the tentative motion and eerie otherworldliness of Shelley’s monster.”
In conjunction with Dave Douglas’ concert at the Lincoln, Jazz Arts Group is partnering with the Gateway Film Center to present the Columbus premiere of the Bill Morrison film Spark of Being on Thursday, February 3 at 7:30 PM.
Morrison re-imagines Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein using pieces from other films to create a new living, breathing film. Spark of Being begins just as Shelley’s novel does – with footage of a voyage to remote glaciered waters – but Morrison goes one step further, beyond simply reiterating the story. Blending sound synthesis, visual media, and live performances from Dave Douglas & Keystone, this new multimedia project explores the intersecting relationships between art and technology within the context of the classic tale.
“It’s been an age-old dream of mine to do something like this,” says filmmaker Morrison. “Just like Frankenstein is a creature made of humans, the work is a film made up of a lot of films and I always had it in the back of my mind to take a stab at doing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in that manner.”
Single tickets for the Dave Douglas concert and all Inside Track performances are on sale now for $25 (orchestra) and $30 (loge) and are available by phone at 614-469-0939 and through all Ticketmaster outlets. Student tickets are also available for $15 with student ID at the door only. Visit Gatewayfilmcenter.com to purchase tickets for the film screening of Spark of Being, or visit Jazzartsgroup.org for more information.
Columbus Alive will also host a post-concert happy hour event at Black Creek Bistro in Olde Towne East featuring dinner and drink specials, including a special concoction created especially for the Spark of Being concert.
Before the Spark of Being concert at the Lincoln Theatre, bring your instrument and your notepad and don’t miss the opportunity to learn with Dave Douglas at the Jazz Academy. On February 5, Douglas will lead a participatory lecture titled “Compositional Concepts” beginning at 2:00 PM. Mr. Douglas will discuss his own path in composition including his current approach to writing new music. The lecture will be illustrated with recordings and reading through music with participants. Topics to be discussed will include finding a personal language, dealing with tradition and history and finding musical themes. Admission for this workshop is free, however advance registration is required. Register via phone at 614-294-5200 x 107 or online.
GCAC Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting art and advancing culture in Columbus – in partnership with the Columbus Arts Marketing Association, a professional development and networking association of arts marketers. Each column will be written by a different local arts organization to give you an insiders look at the arts in Columbus.