Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus
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Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus
The Distance

Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus

APR 16–19 | Big Band Week

Apr 17, 2020
Miner Auditorium
FriApr 17
7:30 PM

$30 | $50 | $70 | $85

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After a mind blowing July run in the Joe Henderson Lab with the collective trio Thumbscrew and guitarist Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl quintet, bass virtuoso Michael Formanek returns for the Bay Area debut of his Ensemble Kolossus.

A San Francisco native who got his start in the Bay Area, Formanek established himself on New York’s experimental-minded Downtown scene in the early 1980s. Often hired by post-bop stars like Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson, he introduced his advanced compositional approach with his 1990 debut album Wide Open Spaces featuring saxophonist Greg Osby. He’s recorded a series of bracing albums for Europeans labels like Enja, Soul Note and ECM, which released his latest and most ambitious undertaking, Ensemble Kolossus’s 2016 debut The Distance. The project centers on his eight-part “Exoskeleton” suite, a work that maintains an exhilarating balance between structure and freedom while referencing a century of multifarious orchestral jazz idioms. The ensemble features longtime Formanek collaborators Tim Berne, Ralph Alessi, and fellow bass master Mark Helias conducting the proceedings.

More

More than a gathering of heavyweight New York improvisers, the orchestra bristles with extraordinary players who are bandleaders and composers in their own right, starting with his Thumbscrew bandmates Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara.

WITH GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM
Bill & Margie Holdnak

One of jazz's most commanding bassists.

San Francisco Classical Voice

One of jazz's most commanding bassists.

San Francisco Classical Voice

Personnel

Michael Formanek bass
Mark Helias conductor
Oscar Noriega alto saxophone, flute, & bass clarinet
Loren Stillman alto saxophone & flute
Tim Berne baritone saxophone
Chris Speed tenor saxophone & clarinet
Brian Settles tenor saxophone & flute
Kirk Knuffke cornet
Dave Ballou trumpet
Ralph Alessi trumpet
Shane Endsley trumpet
Alan Ferber trombone
Ben Gerstein trombone
Jacob Garchik trombone
Jeff Nelson bass trombone
Mary Halvorson guitar
Kris Davis piano
Tomas Fujiwara drums
Patricia Brennan marimba

With his 18-piece Ensemble Kolossus, [Formanek] joins the ranks of state-of-the-art orchestral experimenters.

Boston Globe

Personnel

Michael Formanek bass
Mark Helias conductor
Oscar Noriega alto saxophone, flute, & bass clarinet
Loren Stillman alto saxophone & flute
Tim Berne baritone saxophone
Chris Speed tenor saxophone & clarinet
Brian Settles tenor saxophone & flute
Kirk Knuffke cornet
Dave Ballou trumpet
Ralph Alessi trumpet
Shane Endsley trumpet
Alan Ferber trombone
Ben Gerstein trombone
Jacob Garchik trombone
Jeff Nelson bass trombone
Mary Halvorson guitar
Kris Davis piano
Tomas Fujiwara drums
Patricia Brennan marimba

With his 18-piece Ensemble Kolossus, [Formanek] joins the ranks of state-of-the-art orchestral experimenters.

Boston Globe

Watch & Listen

Michael Formanek

The Distance

Michael Formanek

Exoskeleton (Prelude)

Michael Formanek

The Distance

Michael Formanek

Exoskeleton (Prelude)