Featuring: Johnaye Kendrick (voice) • Joshua Kohl (conducting) • Alex Guy & Alina To (violin) • Heather Bentley (viola) • Gretchen Yanover (cello) • Carlos Snaider (guitar/percussion) • Chris Symer (bass) • Chris Credit (tenor saxophone/bass clarinet) • Leanna Keith (flute) • Bhavani Kotha (oboe) • Greg Campbell (percussion/french horn) • Samantha Boshnack (trumpet/compositions) • Natasha Marin & Jane Wong (poets) • Stephen Schildbach (illustrator) • Andrew Joslyn (copyist)
On May 14 at the Chapel Performance Space, Seattle trumpeter/composer/bandleader Samantha Boshnack will premiere a genre-busting song cycle for a new thirteen-member ensemble.
In Uncomfortable Subjects, Boshnack expands her trademark interlocking grooves and instrumental explorations into lyrical and conversational territories. The project was born in February 2020, when Boshnack brought together conceptual artist, writer and community builder Natasha Marin (curator of Black Imagination and the viral online Reparations project) and Pushcart Prize-winning poet Jane Wong (How Not to Be Afraid of Everything; Overpour) together to engage in two- and three-way correspondences about “Uncomfortable Subjects.”
The idea felt vague at first, but the subsequent two years provided many uncomfortable topics to cover – while the premiere date shifted into the future amid covid surges. During that extended time, Boshnack wove the interconnected struggles and upheavals occurring in her own life and all around her into eight new works.
In addition to compositional debuts, the performance will feature live remarks from the poets. Boshnack draws lyrics and written words from Marin and Wong’s excerpted dialogues and poetry, as well as from her own writing. Embracing challenging topics like race, family trauma, climate crisis, fascism, mental illness, covid isolation, and the tensions of making art, Uncomfortable Subjects charts the artists’ journeys to find peace, strength, and encouragement in a shifting landscape. The work conveys complex fluctuations of emotion and offers a vulnerable, compassionate, humorous, cathartic, even joyful look at the uneasy human processes of solitude, reemergence, uncertainty, healing, and change.
The lyrical elements will be performed by Grammy-nominated vocalist Johnaye Kendrick (säje). Conductor Joshua Kohl (cofounder of Degenerate Art Ensemble) will direct a veritable supergroup chamber orchestra composed of some of the most exciting players from Seattle’s jazz, alt-pop, new music and classical projects (including Jim Knapp’s Scrape, Tomo Nakayama, Kin of the Moon, Led To Sea, the Sound Ensemble, and Earthtone Skytone).
SAMANTHA BOSHNACK’s acclaimed previous projects and record releases have assembled a world-ranging cohort of musical collaborators (2016 B’shnorkestra Global Concertos); surfaced historic feminist journalism (2017 Sam Boshnack Quintet Nellie Bly Project); and explored geologic instability (2019 Seismic Belt Live in Santa Monica). Her other musical exploits include chamber orchestra B’shnorkestra (2013 Go To Orange); Sam Boshnack Quintet (2014 Exploding Syndrome); numerous releases with composers’ collective Alchemy Sound Project and postmodern outfit Reptet; and commissions from Northwest Symphony Orchestra, Karin Stevens Dance, Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, and Mutual Mentorship for Musicians.
Selections from this music will also be performed with a smaller band at This Is a Movement festival in New York presented by Winter Jazzfest, which has been rescheduled for June 18th, 2022. This night will feature: Samantha Boshnack (trumpet), Chris Credit (tenor saxophone/flute), David Leon (alto saxophone/flute), Sonya Belaya (piano), Florian Herzog (bass) and Stephen Boegehold (drums).