The Westerlies, River Song Quintet

The Westerlies, River Song Quintet

Mon 8.18.14

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm


Tickets at the Door

This event is all ages

River Song Quintet
River Song Quintet
"River Song Quintet is a Los Angeles-based group devoted to the performance of original compositions and arrangements that seamlessly blend the traditions of jazz and improvised music with western classical chamber and American folk music.

Their performances have been described as "sparse and beautiful… mesmerizing and strewn with hauntingly gorgeous vocals." (Jhanne Jasmine, Camellia Lounge, Portland, OR) and "… a joyous blending of memorable compositions, artful orchestration, subtle improvisation, and fresh creative energy." (Art Lande, Grammy-nominated Pianist).

River Song Quintet originally formed at The California Institute of the Arts in the Spring of 2011 and has since performed extensively throughout Los Angeles, the Midwest, and on the West Coast. Their flexible and unique sound has lead to performances at a wide range of venues including concert halls, jazz clubs, coffee shops, as well as at schools and universities.

An ensemble comprised of composers, River Song Quintet includes Lauren Baba (Viola, Violin), Alina Roitstein (Voice), Andrew Rowan (Cornet), Harrison Kirk (Trombone), and Gregory Uhlmann (Guitar)."
The Westerlies
The Westerlies
The Westerlies are a New York-based brass quartet comprised of four childhood friends from Seattle, WA: Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler on trumpet, and Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch on trombone. Formed in 2011, the self-described “accidental brass quartet” take their name from the prevailing winds from the West to the East. “Skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers” (NPR’s Fresh Air), The Westerlies explore jazz, roots, and chamber music influences to create the rarest of hybrids: music that is both "folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). Equally at home in concert halls and living rooms, The Westerlies navigate a wide array of venues with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band, and the charm of a family sing-along.

The Westerlies’ four members were childhood friends and sometime musical rivals in their hometown of Seattle – they regularly competed against each other in regional competitions. Each member independently moved to New York City, which led to the old friends reconnecting and performing together. Since their inception, The Westerlies have shared the stage with such diverse acts as Bill Frisell, Vieux Farka Toure, and Juilliard Dance.

The Westerlies are currently performing in support of their self-titled sophomore album, which features original music by each member of the ensemble captured in vivid detail by GRAMMY-winning producer Jesse Lewis (Roomful of Teeth, Brooklyn Rider, Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma, LA Phil). The group discovered Jesse through his discography, but as luck would have it, he attended the same Seattle high school as three of The Westerlies’ members. The connection between the five of them was immediate and deep, and the collaborative recording process reflects the democratic nature of The Westerlies and pushes the sonic limits of the brass quartet instrumentation.

Much of the music was composed over the course of two residencies in the summer of 2015, then recorded at The Farm Studio (a painting of which is on the album’s cover) in West Chester, PA. Following their critically acclaimed debut album Wish the Children Would Come On Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz, this is a boldly personal set of music that is equally virtuosic and vulnerable.

Says trombonist Andy Clausen, “the best way for us to work is to get off the grid and get out of New York City, to just go live somewhere for a week or two and work around the clock, focusing only on the music.” He continues, “In writing this new body of music we really tried to expand the expressive palette of the music we make. Everybody has such a distinct voice as both a player and an improviser and we wrote music that features those strengths and tries to mine the expressive capabilities of each player.”

The Westerlies perform without sheet music, allowing a direct connection to the audience that is all too rare in the chamber music world. This is no homogenous chamber group, unified in its allegiance to the wishes of a composer. Every piece of music touched by The Westerlies reflects the unique sensibilities and personalities of these four individuals, in all their strengths and quirks. Their music exudes the warmth of their longstanding friendships and reflects the broad interests of the band members.

The People:

Riley Mulherkar has been recognized as a “smart young trumpet player” (The New York Times) and praised by The Wall Street Journal as a “youngster to keep an eye on.” Born and raised in Seattle, Riley moved to New York in 2010 to study at The Juilliard School, where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in 2014 and his Master’s in 2015, receiving the Knowles Prize for Jazz and the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding achievement and leadership in music. He is also an inaugural recipient of Juilliard’s Marks Fellowship. In 2011, Riley was named a “rising jazz artist” by Wynton Marsalis in JET Magazine, and in 2014 was the first recipient of the Laurie Frink Career Grant at the Festival of New Trumpet Music.

Riley has performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne, and Carnegie Hall, and has shared the stage with Marsalis, Leonard Slatkin, and Dave Douglas, among others. Riley is actively engaged in educational outreach. He has taught at Harlem School of the Arts, and founded the music program at stART Osceola, a summer arts intensive in Florida, where he has taught the past five years. He has also facilitated master classes in Brazil, Mexico, and across the United States.

Zubin Hensler was born in Seattle, now he lives in Brooklyn. He plays the trumpet, writes/records music, and produces albums. Sometimes, he sings.

As a trumpeter, Zubin plays regularly with The Westerlies, a new music brass quartet he co-founded in 2011. He toured/recorded with Vieux Farka Toure and Julia Easterlin as part of their critically acclaimed ‘Touristes’ project, with performances at Celebrate BK, POP Montreal, MASS MOCA, and elsewhere. His trumpeting can be heard in videos or albums by Daniel Rossen, Sylvan Esso, My Brightest Diamond, Half Waif, Relatives, and Alexander Turnquist. Additionally, he has shared the stage with Son Lux, Landlady, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, and many others.

As a composer, Zubin writes and records music for video, image, dance, and podcasts. He scored the feature length documentary Crossing Over, which premiered on Univision and Pivot. He wrote music for the acclaimed Camino project by photographer/writer Michael George, which was published by National Geographic both in print and online. Other films containing Zubin’s music have been released by The New Yorker, local PBS stations, and a number of independent film festivals. In collaboration with dance, Zubin wrote and performed the score for Flinch by Elisabeth Motley, which was presented by Jacob’s Pillow and Dance Space. He has also worked with Juilliard Dance and performs regularly with choreographer/performer Maggie Segale.

As a producer, Zubin has had the great joy of making recordings with some of his closest friends and favorite musicians. He has done production work on recordings for The Westerlies (“2014’s best debut album” - Francis Davis, NPR Music), Touristes (“Bravely Original” - The Guardian), Half Waif (“Knocks the wind out of me because it just sounds really cool” - Stereogum), Really Big Pinecone (one of “15 Best Albums You Didn’t Hear in 2015” - Rolling Stone), twig twig (“feels like perpetual sunshine in a world of no night and no morning dawn” - Impose), and many others.

Andy Clausen is a New York-based composer, trombonist, bandleader, and graduate of The Juilliard School. Hailing from Seattle, Clausen relocated to NYC in 2010 where he enjoys a diverse schedule collaborating with filmmakers, folk and blues artists, classical composers, as well as New York's jazz elite. He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Frank Wess, Gerald Wilson, Kurt Elling, The After Midnight Orchestra, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, Dave Douglas, Wayne Horvitz, Andrew D'angelo, The American Brass Quintet, Sylvan Esso, Feist, and My Brightest Diamond.

The New York Times has described his work as “sleek, dynamic large-group jazz, a whirl of dark-hued harmony and billowing rhythm...The intelligent sheen of Mr. Clausen’s writing was as striking as the composure of his peers...It was impressive, and not just by the yardstick of their age.”

An active educator, Clausen has taught workshops across the United States and currently serves as Artistic Director of The New York Youth Symphony Jazz Program. Clausen’s awards include the Gerald Wilson Prize for Composition from the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Emerging Artist of The Year, and Alternative Jazz Group of the Year Awards from the Earshot Jazz Festival, and the Lotos Foundation Prize. In addition, Clausen has been commissioned by The New York Times, Bloomberg, Dell, Freedom House, and Blue Chalk Media to compose music for film and television.

A native of Seattle, Washington, Willem de Koch enjoys a diverse career as a performer, composer, and educator. At home in a variety of musical styles, Willem has shared the stage with improvisational-music luminaries Wayne Horvitz and Bill Frisell, indie-rock phenomenon Feist, jazz legends Dave Douglas, Wycliffe Gordon, George Duke, and many others. He has played orchestral music under the batons of Leonard Slatkin, Kurt Masur, George Manahan, Philippe Entremont, and Gerard Schwarz. Willem has performed across the globe in a wide variety of settings, including the Vancouver Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz, and Carnegie Hall.

Willem places a high value on music education as a means for self-empowerment and a tool for social justice. He served as a teaching artist in Seattle Public Schools, and continues to teach masterclasses around the country and maintain a private teaching studio. Willem moved to New York in 2011, and received his Bachelor’s Degree from Manhattan School of Music in 2015. He lives in Brooklyn.
Venue Information:
SOhO Restaurant and Music Club
1221 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101