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EAST ENDERS: A two-weekend Music Festival curated by former New York Times music critic Peter Watrous, featuring a thematic program rooted in the era of Abstract Expressionism, featuring some of the best jazz musicians working in New York.

Photo: Ola Baldych, Arts Center at Duck Creek, 7/14/19

(PLEASE NOTE: Indoor seating for this program is limited. Reservations will be accepted 2 weeks in advance of the program. Please email duckcreekarts@gmail.com for more information).

Each show will be two 45 minute sets. Reservations must be made in advance for limited indoor seating. Outdoor seating is FREE to the Public!

FRANK O'HARA & BILLIE HOLIDAY: Friday, July 12, 2019, 5-7pm 

Shenel Johns-voice, Peter Watrous-guitar, Noah Garabedian-bass

The searing pain of Billie Holiday’s death was captured by long time East End resident Frank O’ Hara in his poem The Day Lady Died. O’Hara, a fine pianist himself, was a fixture in the East Village in the 1950s, and a denizen of its clubs. The show will be an intimate evening of the songs in Holiday’s repertoire in the late ‘50s, with a vocalist, bass and guitar, interspersed with recitations of O’Hara’s poetry. 


de KOONING, RIVERS & THE 5 SPOT: Saturday July 13, 2019, 5-7pm

Josh Lawrence-trumpet, Caleb Curtis-saxophones, Marta Sanchez-piano, Jason Brown-drums, Noah Garabedian-bass

In 1956, Willem de Kooning and Larry River's approached the owner of their Bowery neighborhood bar to run a music program. From 1956 - 1964 Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Charles Mingus, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk played for the leading figures of the New York downtown intelligentsia, including David Smith, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell, Alfred Leslie, Larry Rivers, Grace Hartigan, Jack Tworkov, Michael Goldberg, Roy Newell, and Howard Kanovitz, as well as writers and poets Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, Ted Joans, Amiri Baraka and Gregory Corso who began to frequent the club. The program will delve into the music that was being developed and absorbed at the time, a time when various avant guards were mingling and cross-pollinating. 


POLLOCK’S RECORD COLLECTION: Sunday, July 14, 2019, 3-5pm

Josh Lawrence-trumpet, Caleb Curtis-saxophones, Marta Sanchez-piano, Jason Brown-drums, Noah Garabedian-bass

Springs resident Jackson Pollock regularly worked to the sound of early American jazz, and records found in his studio included work by New Orleans jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton, whose multi-voiced playing has a direct connection to Pollock’s expressionism. And Ornette Coleman, whose legendary and groundbreaking album Free Jazz, from 1960, featured Pollock’s White Light for its cover, was himself greatly influenced by the Abstract Expressionist movement for which Pollock was known. This program will explore the arc of the music that influenced Pollock, and that which Pollock himself influenced. 


FALL SESSIONS: Each show will be two 45 minute sets. Reservations must be made in advance for limited indoor seating. Outdoor seating is FREE to the Pubic!

BLUE NOTE in the 1960's, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE: Friday, September 6, 2019, 5-7pm

The David Ambrosio Blue Note Group
: Duane Eubanks-trumpet, Abraham Burton-saxophone, Bill O'Connell-piano, Eric McPherson-drums, and Dave Ambrosio-bass

This program will feature the progressive jazz composers of the late 60's Blue Note Era, including Bobby Hutcherson, Charles Tolliver, Jackie McLean and McCoy Tyner. Bassist, composer and band leader Dave Ambrosio convened Civil Disobedience as an artistic response to political events both domestic and global, performing some of the politically conscious jazz compositions of the 1960s originated by artists from the Blue Note record label, including Jackie McLean, Bobby Hutcherson and others. 


STANDARDS DECONSTRUCTED Saturday, September 7, 2019, 5-7pm

Peter Watrous Quintet, including Chet Doxas-saxophones, Jacob Sacks-piano, David Ambrosio-bass, and Allan Mednard-drums
Jazz has always mined the American Standard tradition for raw material, and it continues to do so by making the tunes more and more pliable, opening them up to different types of modern improvisation. Peter Watrous and his quintet will disassemble and reassemble familiar material-- songs like How Deep is the Ocean? or Long ago and Far Away, for example-- from the American songbook, and in the process make the old sound contemporary. There will be a question and answer session after the concert. 


RIFF TUNES: Sunday, September 8, 2019, 5-7pm

Peter Watrous' Bigger, Louder, Faster, including Chet Doxas-saxophones, Jacob Sacks-piano, David Ambrosio-bass, and Allan Mednard-drums
Jazz in the 30s and 40s worked in a type of American Minimalism, a gestural short hand that implied the larger worlds of Blues Culture and African American life. The condensation one hears in Count Basie’s piano playing, in the repeated and insistent fragments of a tenor saxophone solo, in the shout choruses of a big band’s improvised arranging all revel in the power of percussive repetition. This program will explore the composing of Count Basie, Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk, Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Harry “Sweets” Edison and others.