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Saturday, November 3rd – 7:30 pm
Lisa Mezzacappa Six: COSMICOMICS 2018 Premiere!

Photo (band) by Eric Vogler, (moon) by Palle Dahlstedt.

$20 cover charge; $10 for students/musicians/low income.  

San Francisco Bay Area bassist, composer and bandleader Lisa Mezzacappa and her band, the Lisa Mezzacappa Six, premiere a new suite for jazz sextet, “Cosmicomics 2018,” inspired by Italian novelist Italo Calvino’s beloved “Cosmicomics” stories, which humanize various scientific, astronomical and biological phenomena into poignant and playful fables.

The Lisa Mezzacappa Six, featuring tenor saxophonist Aaron Bennett, guitarist John Finkbeiner, vibraphonist Mark Clifford, electronic musician Tim Perkis, bassist Lisa Mezzacappa and drummer Jordan Glenn, developed Cosmicomics 2018 during a four-concert residency at Bird & Beckett Books throughout 2018, where Mezzacappa and her musicians performed works-in-progress, discussed aspects of the stories motivating the musical composition, read from Calvino’s work, and experimented with new musical ideas and structures before an intimate and engaged literary audience.

The Lisa Mezzacappa Six was formed in 2014 as an expanded version of Mezzacappa’s longtime quartet, Bait & Switch. The ensemble has played several West Coast and two East Coast tours, with performances at SFJAZZ Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, Angel City Jazz Festival and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, among others. They have released three recordings along the way: as a quartet, “What is Known” on Clean Feed Records (named “Best Debut of 2010” in the Village Voice Critics’ Poll) and “Comeuppance” on NotTwo Records (2013); and, as a sextet, “avantNOIR” on Clean Feed Records (2017), which earned 4½ stars in Downbeat Magazine, where it was said to be “as captivating as it is challenging.”

[arve url=”https://vimeo.com/293875869″ align=”left” /]

The band’s unique musical chemistry comes from the individual members’ long musical relationships, some spanning several decades. These musicians, all composers and leaders in their own right, play in each other’s ensembles, and have played alongside each other as sidepeople in many different groups. As improvisers, they share a common musical language and sense of possibility. Mezzacappa’s process for working with this ensemble has arisen through many years of collaboration. She prefers to develop her music for this group over many months, and many rehearsals, before it is finally premiered, and so the Bird & Beckett residency was a welcome format to create this new body of work.

[arve url=”https://vimeo.com/290169755″ align=”right” /]

Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics – originally published as a set of 12 stories in 1965, which the author gradually added to over his career to total 31 – are like fairy tales for philosophically-minded adults. Each story takes a single scientific theory or principle about the origins of the universe—the movement of planets, the distance between galaxies, the evolution of organisms—and humanizes that scientific phenomenon with a charming, often hilarious, first-person narrative.

Salman Rushdie wrote, “It is possibly the most enjoyable story collection ever written, a book that will frequently make you laugh out loud at its mischievous mastery, capricious ingenuity and nerve…perhaps only Calvino could have created a work that combines scientific erudition, wild fantasy and a humane wit.”

Lisa Mezzacappa has been called “one of the most imaginative figures on the Bay Area creative jazz scene” by The Mercury News and “a Bay Area treasure” by KQED. She has been an active part of California’s vibrant music community for more than 15 years.

$20 cover charge. Beginning Monday, October 22nd, a very limited number of reservations (2 seats per patron) will be accepted by phone in advance. Reservations will only be held until 15 minutes before show time. Thanks for your understanding.


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The Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project

Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.

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