Monday, June 1, 2015

The Firehouse Space Presents Guitarist Ayman Fanous In Premiers Of Five New Ensembles

The Firehouse Space Presents
Guitarist Ayman Fanous
In Premiers Of Five New Ensembles

The Firehouse Space
246 Frost Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Friday, May 29 7:00pm:
Ayman Fanous (Guitar and Bouzouki), Susan Alcorn (Pedal Steel Guitar),
Tatsuya Nakatani (Percussion/Gongs)

Ayman Fanous, Denman Maroney (Hyperpiano),
Tatsuya Nakatani (Percussion)

Ayman Fanous, Ned Rothenberg (Clarinet, Bass clarinet, Shakuhachi)
Tatsuya Nakatani

$10 General Admission

Saturday, May 30 7:00pm:
Ayman Fanous, Tomas Ulrich (Cello), Mark Feldman (Violin)

Ayman Fanous, Joe McPhee (Reeds) plus guests

Ayman Fanous/Jason Hwang Duo (Violin and Viola),
with special guests
James Ilgenfritz (Bass), and Tatsuya Nakatani (Percussion)

$10 General Admission
Over the last 25 years, Ayman Fanous has forged a singular synthesis of classical and flamenco guitar technique with contemporary free improvisation.  By yoking the expansive techniques of these demanding guitaristic approaches to a contemporary aesthetic, Fanous has developed a unique voice, full of both fiery virtuosity and harmolodic openness and complexity. It has been described as "a stylistic amalgam of Derek Bailey and Paco de Lucia” (Jay Collins, Signal to Noise). To this combustible mix, Fanous adds a number of extended techniques to create a rich tapestry of textures and colors.

While the guitar is Fanous's primary instrument, he also reaches back into his Egyptian ancestry in improvisations on the bouzouki, an instrument which intimates the musical spirit of cultures from Central and South Asia to the Middle East, Balkans, and North Africa.  Although he has only recently begun to release recordings, his duo partners have included a number of leading jazz and improvisational musicians including Bern Nix, Tomas Ulrich, Jason Hwang, William Parker, Frances-Marie Uitti, Ned Rothenberg, Andrea Parkins, Mark Feldman, Mat Maneri, Ikue Mori, Lori Freedman, Kinan Azmeh, and Tatsuya Nakatani.

Over two nights at the Firehouse Space, Fanous will bring together some of the most original and acclaimed improvising musicians in New York to debut several different ensembles, in multicultural explorations of free chamber improv.  These will include long-time collaborators as well as first meetings with Joe McPhee, Denman Maroney, and James Ilgenfritz.  In addition, this will feature a rare NYC appearance by Baltimore’s Susan Alcorn, a pioneer of pedal steel guitar.
*  From reviews of Ayman Fanous and Jason Hwang's CD Zilzal (Innova, 2013)

      "The duo release Zilzal further defines the evolution of two master musician/composers pursing the most imaginative alternatives to the status quo."
--Karl Ackerman,

      "This is music with ambition... for new forms of sounds, new ways to express things, full of emotional depth, with emotions that are too complex to be canvassed in old forms, too elusive to be captured in patterns, too deep to be expressed in shallow tunes." --Stef,*

    "If [this music] is beautiful, it is the beauty of awe. At times it is wistful, at times wildly screeching. At times the musicians complement each other, at times they seem to be at war. At times one steps front and center, at times the other. This music that is on the edge of the future. It is music that needs to be heard and explored." --Jack Goodstein, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

      "The flamenco and classical guitar roots of Fanous are paired perfectly with the evocative flights of fancy demonstrated by Hwang. Zilzal is built on passion both to the extreme and to the minimalist perspective; to venture into the cultural extremes as exhibited within Zilzal and and make the music accessible to a broad based audience is simply amazing." --Brent Black, *

    “From the opening moments of this disc, one can tell this is something special. The resonant tones of Fanous’ oud ring out and over it, Hwang etches a baleful melody on viola with a rich, burnished tone… [T]he way [Fanous and Hwang] draw on their respective cultures informs the music with a unique quality… Each track has something of merit and taken as a whole, this is one of the finest duet recordings I’ve heard in recent memory.” —Robert Iannapolo, Cadence

   Nilometer at Roda, from Zilzal, by Ayman Fanous and Jason Hwang: