Return to Homewood Studios

Thanks to the gracious generosity of George Roberts, I was able to mount 70 or so concerts at Homewood Studios over a period of 10 years (2003-2013). (The back story of our alliance can be found here. As an aside, for reasons ranging from people moving out-of-town, to changing personal dynamics, to folks opting out of playing music in public, to death, it is worth noting that, of the musicians pictured, my only ongoing collaborators are Davu [Seru] and Charles [Gillett]. And, a footnote concerning the West Bank School of Music. After abandoning Minneapolis’ west bank for St. Paul in 2015, its doors were shuttered in 2019.)

Had Studio Toile d’Angles not been established, the series at Homewood would almost assuredly have continued.

Now in its 20th year, George invited me to return to Homewood for a concert as part of the month’s memorializing; the personnel being of my choosing. I immediately thought to book a group which includes George and has done a number of concerts at Studio Toile d’Angles. He and Michael Mann provide poetry/spoken word as equal participants with improvising musicians. The concept underscores words as sounds, so, periodically if not often, overt narrative threads are lost, either by the speakers themselves, or when they’re subsumed by the other sounds. Additionally, they will opt to speak simultaneously; with one speaking “under” the other at times. (To be clear, this isn’t your mom’s poetry-with-musical-accompaniment event.)  Everyone in the group has found this interface to be invigorating; everyone save for Davu, as this will be his first appearance with this grouping. (I suggested his inclusion as he and George have a deep connection from their time at North High School where George was a teacher and, for Davu, one of his students, a lifeline.)

Additionally & unintentionally, fitting in with the theme (Passing It On) of the month-long exhibition, several generations will be represented by the musicians. Charles and Davu are a couple decades younger than myself, while Emerson (Aagaard) is another decade + removed.

The January 12, 2020 concert was, for me, and, given the reaction of the other participants and the few friends that were there to actively listen (never mind the tourists!), extremely satisfying. A slight variation of this grouping will, barring life’s vagaries, reconvene at Studio Toile d’Angles in the spring.

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