May 3, 2013

Friday night live at Transistor: Steven Lugerner and Jonah Parzen-Johnson. Sound by Jon Monteverde.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Steven Lugerner is the product of a multicultural, artistically nurturing family. In his previous work, Steven has used various selections of Biblical text as raw material for his musical compositions. "For We Have Heard" is Lugerner's sophomore release with his quartet and focuses on the biblical Book of Joshua. Instead of releasing a live jazz recording, Lugerner's compositional approach on this new record incorporates the usage of overdubs, splices and edits. This music is lodged in the dichotomy between acoustic material juxtaposed against music that is made virtually entirely in post-production. Lugerner strives to blend the sonic layers between what is improvised vs. what is pre-thought and composed.

In 2013, Lugerner will begin performing his Gematria-based music as solo act in addition to usual performances with his quartet. The solo act will consist largely of pre-recorded stems from the original "For We Have Heard" sessions plus other sessions Lugerner has been apart of over the past three years of living in New York City. New compositions will be both composed and improvised utilizing pre-existing recorded material, thus continuing the evolution of his compositional thought process.

"Knotty, patiently developing pieces that can sound reminiscent of classical music or moodily unsettled free improvisation."
- Los Angeles Times

"An impeccably trained multireedist, with an emphasis on multi" - The New York Times

Visit Steven online.

Jonah Parzen-Johnson is a baritone saxophonist living in Brooklyn, NY. From the moment he put a saxophone together, in his hometown of Chicago, he found himself surrounded by musicians like Matana Roberts and AACM mainstay Mwata Bowden, who were dedicated to finding an individual path to musical discovery.

Jonah's impressive use of extended techniques, including circular breathing, multi-phonics and almost impossibly nimble vocalization owes a debt to the Chicago saxophone legacy, but his devotion to a quirky almost vocal style places him in new territory for the solo saxophone. His unique approach to the baritone saxophone draws inspiration from the unadorned voices of Appalachian Music and lo-fi musicians like Bill Callahan. He has meticulously constructed a world of warm memories remembered in a cold present, as he melds the evocative nature of folk music with the chilling power of experimentalism.


His spring tour marks the one-year anniversary of the release of his debut solo saxophone recording, "Michiana," on Primary Records. Since the album's release in June 2012, it has received mentions in publications including The New York Times, San Jose Mercury News, Philadelphia City Paper, Timeout (NY & Chicago), The Chicago Examiner, and Washington City Paper, among others. "Michiana" is inspired by the region on the boarder of Michigan and Indiana and heavily influenced by Appalachian Folk Music, and exploring the textural possibilities created using a saxophone's extended techniques. Although it is often claimed that touring experimental music is no longer viable in the U.S., Jonah is passionate about taking this music on the road and has performed the album in 23 different cities across the United States in the last 12 months.

In addition to relentlessly touring as a solo saxophonist, Jonah is an essential member of the nationally touring Afrobeat ensemble Zongo Junction, and an active freelancer across all of New York's music communities.

Visit Jonah online.

Find more live performance recordings on our archive page.