Piotr Michalowski, soprano saxophone and bass clarinet Abby Alwin, cello Mike Khoury, violin and viola Ken Kozora, cornet Kenn Thomas, piano Joel Peterson, bass David Hurley, drums
Piotr Michalowski plays multiple woodwinds, focusing on bass clarinet as well as the other low clarinets, as well as soprano and sopranino saxophones. He has performed in Paris, Warsaw, Rome, Berkeley and other places with musicians such as Vinny Golia, Jon Raskin, Gino Robair, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jason Kao Hwang, Ken Filiano or Thollem McDonnas (recording in trio format), in addition to performances with many players on the southeastMichigan improvising scene. During the last two years he has played duets with Lonberg-Holm at Elastic in Chicago, two concerts in Poland with members of the Warsaw Improvisers Orchestra, made two recordings (one of contra clarinet duets with Jason Alder, another with bass clarinetist Jerzy Mazzoll), a set with Joe McPhee and Andrew Drury at Edgefest, two nights in Brooklyn, one as part of a project by trombonist and composer Steve Swell, another with Jason Kao Hwang (he also appeared on Hwang’s Voice on the Innova label), and a set in Brooklyn withSteve Swell, Ken Filiano and Michael T. A. Thompson.
Abby Alwin, cellist and improviser, weaves sound inspired from the moment, and generated from the heart. She serves the community in the capacity of a public school orchestra director, with a 15-year tenure with the Ann Arbor Public Schools. In addition to her classroom teaching, she co-directs the AAPS Comprehensive Outreach Music Program in collaboration with the Community Music School of Ann Arbor, which connects music tutors with disadvantaged students whom would otherwise not have private instruction. Alwin is recipient of the 2013 Yale University Distinguished Music Educator Award, recognizing innovative and exemplary pedagogy amongst the best in the United States. Most recent performance projects have included performing solo & in collaboration with Detroit composers, improvisors & choreographers, focusing on improvisatory and contemporary idioms as well as the folk traditions of Bulgaria & Greece. Ms. Alwin is currently the assistant conductor of the Dexter (MI) Community Orchestra.
Mike Khoury is an experimental composer, violinist/violist, and improviser deeply influenced by Detroit and Arab-diasporic musical traditions, and also works as a free improviser and as a member of the Redford Symphony. Trained as an economist, he applies quantitative approaches from Econometrics to his work as a musician, using strategies to analyze outcomes in compositional and performance settings. Working with Palestinian-American choreographer/organizer Leyya Tawil, he has presented work locally and internationally in conversation with traditional folk concerns, political identity, and the Arab avant garde.
As a Detroit organizer/curator, Khoury has presented the live or recorded music of Griot Galaxy, Black Merda, Wendell Harrison, Ben Miller and Cary Loren of Destroy All Monsters. His curation functions through the Entropy Stereo record label and the Entropy Studios performance space. This year, Khoury travelled to Beirut to present new compositions; his first presentation in the Middle East.
Multi-instrumentalist Ken Kozora grew up in an encouraging musical family environment and an excellent school music program earning scholarships to study trumpet under classical music greats Donald Green (principal-Detroit & Los Angeles Philharmonic), R.J. Kelley (world renowned natural horn soloist) and later with Irving Sarin (principal-Pittsburg & Israel Philharmonic). As a youth he was a member of the Dearborn Symphony, performed in chamber groups, big bands, rock bands, ethnic bands, etc., and began teaching privately as a teenager and composing contemporary music in his early twenties. Ken composes/performs on synthesizers, electro/acoustic percussion, bamboo flute, trumpet, bass and more in a fusion of styles from Classical to Electronic to World, Free Jazz and beyond and has performed/collaborated/recorded with a wide roster of local and international musicians, artists, dance companies and filmmakers.
Pianist and keyboardist Kenn Thomas is a versatile artist who plays in various contexts, from gospel to free improvisation. He is often heard in groups at Trinosophes in Detroit or at Trixie’s Bar in Hamtramck in collaborative groups that feature the area’s leading improvisers, but also playing solo sets or duets, most memorably with bassist William Parker. He has been featured on recordings with his brother, the reed man Oluyemi Thomas, most recently on Positive Knowledge - Edgefest Edition, from the 2009 festival.
Bassist/multi-instrumentalist Joel Peterson is well-known in Detroit and beyond, both as an accomplished bass player and as an award-winning new music and classical composer, but also as a tireless promoter of new music, most recently in his new venue Trinosophes, which has quickly become the premier venue for explorative jazz and other music styles in Detroit. He is widely recognized for his work with the Immigrant Suns, Frank Pahl’s Scavenger Quartet, BoxDeserter, Odu Afrobeat Orchestra, and, in the past, in various groups with Faruq Z. Bey. His most recent project is the genre bending quartet Chatoyant in which he plays both bass and fender Rhodes keyboard. Their initial albums Place of Destination and Psychic Hieroglyphs have received critical acclaim.
Drummer and percussionist David Hurley is a recent transplant to the Detroit area from San Diego, CA, where he left a legacy of celebrated groups with recordings in multiple genres of music from free jazz to progressive rock and dub music. His 2008 solo debut Outer Nebula Inner Nebula gets to the heart of Hurley’s intense percussion-based approach to the drum set. His presence on the Detroit scene has fast become familiar through hosting the biweekly Fire Music Mondays series and breakout appearances with the Oluyemi Thomas Quartet, New Olduvai Ensemble featuring Cecil Taylor alumni Elliott Levin and Tom Rollison, and the James Cornish Small Opera at the Strange Beautiful Music Festival. He has performed in groups with Kenn Thomas, Marcus Elliott, Will McEvoy, Ben Willis, Kirsten Karey, Molly Jones, David Shettler, Rafael Statin, Piotr Michalowski, Skeeter Shelton, Alex Harding, Andrew Bishop, Tim Haldeman and many others.