High Zero 2010
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Karen Borca

Bassoonist/composer Karen Borca is one of the best-kept secrets in creative improvised music. She is virtually alone in many fields—for starters as a double-reed player, and specifically as a bassoonist. Karen is neither a saxophonist who branches out to double on bassoon, nor a concert instrumentalist dabbling in Jazz. To say that she is the foremost practitioner of her kind conveys only part of the story: She is a player of choice as an improvising artist. She introduced her persona as a composer and leader in the early Seventies with an eleven piece ensemble which performed at The Newport Festival Salute to Women in Jazz and quartets and quintets appearing at Soundscape, The Berlin Jazz Fest, The Tampere Jazz Happening, (both 1998), The Taktlos Festival in Switzerland, the Vision Festival (since its inception) and many other venues. She has performed and/or recorded with Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons, Bill Dixon, William Parker, Andrew Cyrille, Alan Silva, Denis Charles, Frank Wright, Rob Brown, Newman Taylor-Baker to name a few. She engaged in important concert studies with John Barrows, Arthur Weisberg and the New York Woodwind Quintet. Through her awareness of the Jazz tradition among her varied roots, Karen Borca has dignified the bassoon as an impressive front-line instrument. Her playing and compositions and improvisations continue to maintain the vital freshness forever at the core of this music. Remarking on a retrospective of Lyons’s activities, Bill Shoemaker found hers to be "...the crucial catalytic voice… the most dazzling double-reed player in jazz history."

photo: Peter Gannushkin (downtownmusic.net)

Musicians from Afar »

Karen Borca (NYC): bassoon

Shayna Dunkelman (NYC): percussion

Ju Suk Reet Meate (Portland): trumpet

Hans Koch (Switzerland): bass clarinet

Andrea Neumann (Germany): inner piano

Tuna Pase (Istanbul): voice, flute, laptop

Juanjosè Rivas (Mexico City): circuit bending

Tomoko Sauvage (Paris): porcelain bowls, water

Gary Smith (United Kingdom): guitar

Keith Fullerton Whitman (Boston): electronics

Wobbly (California): electronics

Musicians from Baltimore »

Shelly Blake-Plock: stringed instruments

Ami Dang: sitar, voice, electronics

Drew Daniel: electronics

Dan Deacon: electronics, tuba

Tiffany Defoe: saxophone

Owen Gardner: strings

Ayako Kataoka: electronics

Liz Meredith: viola

Marc Miller: guitar

Stewart Mostofsky: electronics

Michael Muniak: feedback

M.C. Schmidt: electronics

Special Projects »

Dan Deacon (Baltimore)

Ayako Kataoka (Baltimore)

Dr. Johannes Rosenberg (Australia)

Dragos Tara (Switzerland)

Sound Installations »

Tristan Perich (NYC)

Karl Ekdahl (Baltimore)

Julie Benoit (Baltimore)

» more details

Workshops »

Dragos Tara @ Goucher College (9/22)

Wobbly @ Peabody Conservatory (9/22)

Juanjosè Rivas @ MICA (9/22)

Hans Koch @ UMBC (9/24)

» more details