Guest artist Joel Harrison and his septet, Singularity, will perform on Thursday, Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Hope College Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.
New York - based jazz guitarist and composer Harrison leads his seven-piece band in "Singularity," a special program showcasing how the techniques of his favorite modernist composers (among them John Adams, Charles Ives, and Olivier Messiaen) underscore his own writing.
The "New Orleans Times-Picayune" has said, "Add Joel Harrison to Metheny and Frisell as guitarist/composers who have created a new blueprint for jazz." The German publication "Jazzthing" has noted, "Definitions blur, and suddenly it no longer matters whether Harrison improvises or composes.... It all comes down to this: imagination without limits."
Harrison's septet features Christian Howes on violin, Seamus Blake on sax, cellist Dana Leong, Jacob Sacks on piano, Drew Gress on bass and drummer Dan Weiss.
Growing up in Washington, D.C., in the 1960s, Harrison became enamored with the inventive guitarists who were blazing the era's new trails, such as Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman and Pete Townshend, all composers as well as players. In his 20s, after graduating from BardCollege, Harrison undertook what he calls "the classic Jack Kerouac search for America," hitchhiking cross-country and exploring the rich diversity contained between its coasts. "I wanted to figure this country out," he says now. "When you're older, you wouldn't dream of something so naive, yet that search still resonates in my music."
Harrison's most important mentors have encouraged his inclusive approach. He has studied western classical music with JoanTower, Hindustani classical music with Ali Akbar Khan, jazz with Charlie Banacos, and the fusion of approaches with W.A. Mathieu and Ran Blake.
Harrison was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2010, is a two-time winner of the Jazz Composer's Alliance Composition Competition, and has received four grants from Chamber Music America and other commissions and grants from Meet the Composer, the Flagler Cary Trust, NYSCA, and the Jerome Foundation.
Individual tickets for the performance are free to Hope College Faculty, Staff and Students with ID; general admission is $10 for regular admission, $7 for senior citizens, and $5 for children 18 and under, and are available at the ticket office in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and may be called at (616) 395-7890. Public tickets are also available for purchase online at https://tickets.hope.edu/ticketing.
The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets. The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St.