Photo on left: Marcos Fernandes
Woodwind multi-instrumentalist Ellen Weller is woodshedding in preparation for an upcoming tour of Japan in collaboration with former San Diego drummer / percussionist / phonographer Marcos Fernandes.
Weller and Fernandes worked together previously as member's of the Trummerfora Collective, beginning in 2000.
Weller is Assistant Professor of World Music at Palomar College, where she also conducts the orchestra. She is well versed in many styles of music, from Mariachi to Klezmer, classical to mainstream jazz.
Her Japan tour, however, will showcase her special abilities as a free improviser.
Fernandes plays an intriguing combination of "found-sound" and ethnic instruments like bowls / pots, a Yoruba talking-drum as well as sampling and processing sounds in real time. He also has a library of pre-recorded sounds like children at a playground and turkey gobbling which he layers into the improvisational landscape.
At each stop in the eight city tour, Weller and Fernandes will be joined by a variety of Japanese improvisers performing on everything from electric guitar to laptop computers.
The tour begins auspiciously on September 2, at Airegin, in Yokohama, with Satoko Fujii on piano and vocalist Maki Hachiya.
Fujii is well known in the jazz community throughout the world as a composer and fierce instrumentalist in the tradition of Cecil Taylor.
Each performance will begin as a blank slate and will develop as the collaborators listen and adjust to each other in the moment.
Some gigs may involve as few as one or two additional musicians--others have entire groups lined up.
Following Yokohama, the duo will play dates in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya.
Weller will primarily focus on saxophone, clarinet and flutes, and says, "I'm choosing which of my 'toys' to bring--the ocarinas, bamboo flutes, shofar, pennywhistles, fife? Suitcase space is limited !"
photo courtesy Ellen Weller.