Crosstown Arts presents Deepstaria Enigmatica: Memphibians Rising from the Mud, Making Musical Moods in the Green Room.
The Green Room at Crosstown Arts
Saturday, March 11, 2023
Doors at 7 pm | Show at 7:30 pm
Tickets: $15 advance | $20 at the door
Deepstaria Enigmatica is a quintet of improvisers from Memphis, Tennessee, dedicated to creating otherworldly soundscapes. Named for a rarely seen, bell-shaped jellyfish discovered by Jacques Cousteau, the group’s every note is inspired by that famous ocean explorer’s sense of discovery. But don’t assume the five veteran musicians create only chaos: they are as attuned to melodies and harmonies as they are to fine gradations of noise. What emerges with each extemporaneous performance can range from dark swirls of frenetic fury, to interplanetary hard bop, to sunlit, ambient dreamscapes punctuated with snatches of folk song.
The diverse experience of the players sets the tone for their deep dives:
David Collins is the composer and guitarist behind Frog Squad, a Memphis group who have blended jazz improvisation with visionary music as disparate as that of Horace Silver and Erik Satie; he’s equally at home playing simple, unfettered guitar lines or rocking, effects-drenched rave ups.
Chad Fowler played alto saxophone with both Frank Lowe and George Cartwright in the 1990s, and now teams up with the likes of William Parker, Kidd Jordan, Ivo Perelman, Zoh Amba, Matthew Shipp, or Brian Blade for music released on the Mahakala Music label; in Deepstaria Enigmatica, he also plays bass flute and an Otamatone portable synthesizer.
Keyboardist Alex Greene first studied musique concrète and computer synthesis with composer Judy Klein in the 1980s, before playing in a variety of Memphis groups ranging from Alex Chilton to Big Ass Truck to Reigning Sound, not to mention over twenty years of work with New York composer Dave Soldier; now he improvises with multiple keyboards simultaneously, including a vintage Roland Juno-106.
Since completing his jazz studies at the University of Memphis in 2016, drummer Jon Harrison has cast a wide stylistic net with the groups he’s joined, which include the Southern Comfort Jazz Orchestra, Frog Squad, Hope Calyburn’s Soul Scrimmage, Joe Austin, Roderick Duran, PXLS, and the Church Brothers.
Bassist Khari Wynn, best known as the guitarist for hip hop sensations Public Enemy, regularly tests more unorthodox waters with groups such as Energy Disciples, often under the name Mysterioso Africano.
Together, these five musos cohere with a surprising unity of purpose, as their listening and playing gel into what often sound like prepared compositions. Sharing an uncanny telepathy, they transport listeners to new worlds of musical possibility.