January 9, 2015

Friday night live at Transistor: free improvisation trio Julian Kirshner/Keefe Jackson/Aaron Zarzutzki and electric chamber duo SUN SPEAK. Sound by Jon Monteverde.

Julian Kirshner - drums 
Aaron Zarzutzki - modular synthsizer
Keefe Jackson - reeds 

Julian Kirshner (b. 9/6/90) is a Chicago-based percussionist primarily working in the context of jazz and improvised music. Percussion studies began at age ten when Julian was selected to be a member of the CSO's Percussion Scholarship Group. Over the past ten years, he has studied with Sarah Allen, David Bloom, Dylan Ryan and Frank Rosaly. In addition to performing, Julian organizes the Improvised Music Series at Myopic Books, a weekly showcase of a variety of musicians playing uncharted music.

Aaron Zarzutzki is an improviser of various sorts. He works primarily with misuse and perversion of objects and systems. Virtuosity, volatility, futility, and capability are thought of. Zarzutzki currently lives, works, and plays in Chicago.

Keefe Jackson, saxophonist/clarinetist/improvisor/composer, arrived in Chicago in 2001 from his native Fayettevile, Arkansas. He performs regularly in the U.S. and in Europe with many musicians including Tim Daisy, Dave Rempis, Jeb Bishop, Jason Roebke, Guillermo Gregorio, Jason Adasiewicz, Mike Reed, Jason Stein, Josh Berman, Aram Shelton, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Frank Rosaly, Jason Roebke, Anton Hatwich, and Marc Unternaehrer in groups such as the Fast Citizens, Chicago Luzern Exchange, and Keefe Jackson's Project Project (big band) and Likely So (reed septet). He has also appeared with Michael Moore, Ab Baars, Michiel Braam, Satoko Fujii, and Anthony Coleman. Bill Meyer, writing in the Chicago Reader, commended: "...the impeccable logic of his lines and the richness of his tone leave you wanting more... Jackson's high-register squiggles and coarsely voiced, rippling runs push the limits of the tenor's tonal envelope." Frank van Herk, writing in de Volkskrant (Amsterdam), asserted that "...[Jackson] has an old-fashioned, warm-woolly sound, and a feeling for melodic lines that take their time in unfolding." He has been mentioned in theDownBeat Critics Poll in the Rising Star Tenor Saxophone category. Recordings are available on Delmark and Clean Feed Records.

This performance was the musicians' first time meeting as a trio, and the music was completely improvised.

The Chicago-based duo SUN SPEAK comprises longtime collaborators Matt Gold (guitars) and Nate Friedman (drums, percussion). Since the 2014 release of their debut recording "Light Blue Light" (Genghis Records), Sun Speak has continued to solidify a compositional voice encompassing folk, jazz, and experimental music.

SUN SPEAK is quickly growing a dedicated following throughout the Midwest and East Coast, with performances at The Green Mill (Chicago), Spectrum (New York), The Bop Stop (Cleveland), Pyramid Atlantic (Washington, D.C.) and more. The band has twice served as artists-in-residence at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, and has given masterclasses at universities, high schools, and community centers.

About this Transistor performance: Fresh from an East Coast tour, the guitar/drums duo SUN SPEAK brought a set of original instrumental music to Transistor. Their songs draw from jazz, folk, and experimental music.

Find SUN SPEAK on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Find more live performance recordings on our archive page.