I was accepted into the 2nd cohort of the Mutual Mentorship for Musicians (a platform created by Jen Shyu and Sara Serpa). In January 2021, I began attending regular meetings with an inspiring group of women from around the world where we talked, listened and created music together. I was paired with the incredible Fay Victor (vocalist/composer in Brooklyn) to collaborate with. Fay and I chose to each write a piece for us to play, that would be presented together. I had a lot of firsts creating this new work – it was the first time collaborating with someone that I didn’t see in-person, my first time writing lyrics and my first time recording at my new home studio set-up. Mariana Merez created a stunning video for the music. I am thrilled to show this work to you all, I really hope you enjoy it!
Alchemy is defined as “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination” (Oxford English Dictionary). It’s hard to imagine a word that more aptly suits Alchemy Sound Project, a collective in which five esteemed composers and bandleaders — pianist Sumi Tonooka, woodwind players Salim Washington and Erica Lindsay, trumpeter Samantha Boshnack, and bassist David Arend — form a potent ensemble greater than the sum of its parts. A synergy that seems almost supernatural, especially given the far- flung home bases from which these artists converge, is evident throughout Afrika Love, the band’s third album, out May 14, 2021 via Artists Recording Collective.
Alchemy Sound Project formed in 2014, two years after the group’s members met in Los Angeles at the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute, where, over the course of a week, they learned to utilize Western classical music concepts and orchestration techniques. “We were five friends and colleagues who had all these similar connections,” Tonooka recalls, “and I wanted us to be able to extend what we do together musically, instead of leaning on other projects or other commissions — to set up our own small chamber group to play and record.” What resulted is a diverse, eclectic group that makes powerful, original music meant to blur the boundaries between notated composition and improvisation.
Sessions for Afrika Love took place in January 2018 in Conshohocken, PA. But the album’s title, borrowed from the composition that Washington contributed to the album, reflects the band’s keen awareness that this recording arrives in the wake of one of the most tumultuous years in recent U.S. history — a pivotal period in which race relations and social justice protests have taken center stage.
According to Tonooka, the band found the title “appropriate in terms of what’s happened with the Black Lives Matter movement, and with what the country still has to deal with in terms of conversations about racism and the aftermath of slavery, and the fact that we still haven’t gotten it together to really heal, because no one seems to talk about it in a way that is healing.” Seen in that light, the multi-gendered, multi-racial makeup of Alchemy Sound Project in itself offers an understated, buoyantly positive example of cooperation and mutual regard.
Given that each Alchemy member is so distinguished individually, it’s no surprise that their collective effort shines. Tonooka, who presently makes her home in Philadelphia, was a 2020 Painted Bride Composer Grant recipient, a 2019 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Grant winner, and a 2018 Philadelphia Jazz Legacy awardee, among other accolades. Seattle resident Boshnack issued a debut album with her band, Seismic Belt, in 2019, and led the group in appearances at Winter Jazzfest, the Festival of New Trumpet Music, and Seattle’s Earshot Jazz Festival.
Arend settled in Los Angeles in 2018, just in time to see local screenings of Changyou’s Journey, a short film for which he served as composer and co-producer. After making his debut as acting principal bassist of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, he completed his first major orchestral score. Lindsay, based in upstate New York, is an artist-in-residence at Bard College, teaching jazz composition and arranging as well as leading a contemporary-music ensemble, and in 2019 she was an artist-in-residence at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center. Washington, based in Durban, South Africa, leads a busy performance career with several respected groups — the newest, a quartet he leads jointly with piano prodigy Afrika Mkhize, in whose honor Washington penned the album’s title track.
Completing the lineup on Afrika Love are two versatile colleagues, trombonist Michael Ventoso a student of Lindsay’s who plays in both classical and jazz settings, and drummer Chad Taylor, a dynamic solo artist and bandleader, and cofounder of the renowned Chicago Underground Duo.
Experience six world premieres born from the new initiative Mutual Mentorship for Musicians (M³), a revolutionary model of mentorship created in March and launched in June 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Hosted by M³ Editor-in-Chief Jordannah Elizabeth, each premiere will be followed by a Q&A with the audience about its creative process.
- Michele Rosewoman – piano/voice + Malika Zarra – voice
- Camila Nebbia – sax/electronics/film + Monnette Sudler – guitar/voice, secondary bass/drums
- Ganavya Doraiswamy– voice/bass + Shanta Nurullah – sitar/mbira/voice
- Cleo Reed – music producer/artist + Richie Seivwright – voice/trombone
- Miriam Elhajli – voice/guitar + Chloe Kim – drums/percussion
- Samantha Boshnack – trumpet + Fay Victor – voice
Samantha Boshnack (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Chris Credit (tenor & baritone saxophones) have worked together for 13 years. They played together for five years in the modern jazz sextet Reptet, which featured all-original compositions from each member of the band, released two albums and a single, and toured extensively. In 2011, Boshnack started creating her own ensembles featuring her compositions exclusively. Credit is a member of Boshnack’s 14-piece alternative chamber orchestra, B’shnorkestra, which has released two albums and played many NW performances including Earshot Jazz Festival; he also plays in Boshnack’s group Seismic Belt, whose performances include Festival of New Trumpet Music and Winter Jazzfest in NYC.
This duo project draws on their rich musical relationship, exploring compositions and improvisations in an intimate, agile, and unconfined setting. This performance, recorded at the Chapel by Steve Peters, features three previously un-released Boshnack compositions and concludes with a free improvisation.
(00:00) Small Beast
(08:55) Little Ball of Energy
(17:10) Song for the People’s
Click for more information on Wayward in Limbo
(photo: Chris Davis)
I wrote this piece for Eli Maliwan as part of #GLFCAMGigThruCOVID created by Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music. It’s called Talking with Myself – something perhaps we all have done more since the world shut down. While initially it felt hard to push through all the creative blocks I have felt during this time, I was ultimately really grateful for this challenge – to write a short piece in just two weeks. For more information on this project check out – https://www.glfcam.com/glfcamgigthrucovid19.
Boshnack is included in series “20 Seattle Jazz Musicians You Should Know” by Paul Rauch. Read full profile!
Sam Boshnack Quintet will also be performing on Wednesday March 4 at 7 pm at the Whatcom Jazz Music Arts Center located at the The Sylvia Center for the Arts, 205-207 Prospect St, Bellingham – More Information
Composer/trumpeter Samantha Boshnack‘s small ensemble as a leader, the Sam Boshnack Quintet, thrashes and bounds through tightly-woven twists, tunnels and cliffs with the deftness and precision of a chamber ensemble and the weight of a rock band. Boshnack synthesizes a dazzling array of musical influences in her sophisticated yet fun, highly original compositions—from intricate chamber writing to lush jazz panoramas and funky brass band-inspired grooves.
The band features some of Seattle’s most accomplished improvisers and has been hailed as “delightful, surprising….explorative and intriguing… phenomenally innovative musicians with a unique signature sound that owes as much to their, on the spot, ingenuity as to Boshnack’s original writing” (All About Jazz). The Sam Boshnack Quintet is: Samantha Boshnack (trumpets, voice & compositions), Rex Gregory (clarinets), Alex Chadsey (piano, keyboards & voice), Marina Christopher (bass) and Greg Campbell (drums).
Giordano and Albero started playing music together around 2015. Their connection continued beyond the stage and their friendship opened an artistic space where their life stories could turn into songs. Brazil and Spain meet at a rhythmic crossroads with dance and song celebrating and empowering the Latin sisterhood.
Adriana Giordano: vocals and songwriting
Marina Albero: piano, hammered dulcimer and composition.
The Royal Room is All Ages until 10pm. To guarantee a good seat, please make your dinner reservation through our reservations page on our website.
JOHN RAYMOND’S REAL FEELS/SAMANTHA BOSHNACK’S SEISMIC BELT
Monday, Sep 9
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm
The Jazz Gallery
New York, NY 10001United States
The Festival of New Trumpet Music — a grassroots nonprofit project run by and for a community of trumpeters — supports new trumpet music in all forms.
FONT Music aims to provide a platform for emerging artists and creative pioneers, with the goal of celebrating the diversity and excellence of contemporary brass music.
Directed since 2003 by trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas, FONT Music is overseen by an all-volunteer board that includes some of the finest brass players on the scene.
SAMANTHA BOSHNACK’S SEISMIC BELT
Samantha Boshnack (tp), Chris Credit (ts/bs), Jessica Pavone (vn/va), Sarah Bernstein (vn), Kai Ono (p), Lisa Hoppe (b), Jacob Shandling (dr)
Samantha Boshnack’s Seismic Belt performs music about the Ring of Fire, which is located on the rim of the Pacific Ocean. The area is home to many of the world’s volcanoes and earthquakes. Boshnack’s compositions experiment with the friction of geographic shifts to create a new harmonic topography. This music examines our relationship with the Earth, including the elements of risk and faith in that uneasy cohabitation. Movements of the work draw on influences from some of the cultures and people living on the Ring, including Chile, Japan, Alaska, Western Samoa, and Russia.
In 2018, Boshnack was awarded the annual Make Jazz Fellowship. This award is sponsored by the Herb Alpert Foundation to honor and support promising, emerging jazz composers. For the fellowship, Boshnack was in residence at 18th Street Arts Center in LA for three months. While there, she composed this 8-movement work for trumpet/flugelhorn, baritone/tenor saxophones, violin, violin/viola, piano, upright bass, drums. The culminating performance was released as Live in Santa Monica, on Orenda Records in March 2019.