Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center to celebrate 20th anniversary with concerts by Chicago Underground Duo, Peter Brötzmann Trio

The Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center is 20 years old this year, and to celebrate, they've booked a couple of concerts this spring that will be of special interest to StLJN readers.

* First up, the Chicago Underground Duo (pictured) will perform at LNAC at 8:00 p.m., Friday, April 25. Comprised of cornetist Rob Mazurek and percussionist Chad Taylor, the group has roots dating back to 1996, when Mazurek started an experimental jazz workshop at the Chicago club The Green Mill.

The "Chicago Underground" sessions subsequently spawned a number of ensembles, starting with the Chicago Underground Orchestra, which has released several albums on Delmark. Mazurek and Taylor have continued to form groups under the Chicago Underground umbrella, performing as the Chicago Underground Duo, Trio and Quartet, and putting out several recordings on the Thrill Jockey label.

Their seventh, Locus, is out this month on the Northern Spy imprint, and features "experiments with new forms, washes of electronic ambiance, beats and free playing." Their St. Louis performance will be part of 17-date tour supporting the new album.

* Next, saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and his trio will return to LNAC to perform at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 4. Brötzmann, who just turned 73, is a German who's been a major force on the free jazz and creative music scene in Europe and here in the US since the late 1960s, recording dozens of albums as a leader and appearing on many more as a sideman or collaborator.

Influenced by Albert Ayler and other "New Thing" players of the 1960s, Brötzmann is known for a high energy approach to improvisation; a forceful sound that can be sandpaper-toned at select times; and for being a prolific collaborator with musicians from all over the globe. He also has a Chicago connection, as from 1997 to 2012 he led a ten-piece group that was based there. He last played in St. Louis in a 2010 duo gig at LNAC with drummer Hamid Drake.

Tickets for both concerts will be $5 at the door.

There's more about LNAC's 20th anniversary after the jump...

Here's the statement issued by Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center about the venue's 20th anniversary:
"Founded in 1994 by a small group of young adults as an alternative to art’s being added as a trivial addition to an existing business, the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center has grown to international status as one of the most welcoming destinations for experimental, innovative, and sometimes radical musicians who consciously separate themselves from the corrupting influences of the music industry.

The Lemp Center was founded on the idea that a community of artists dedicated to interdependent, unhindered innovation might generate both new art and a dynamic which could inform a positive social change. It was and is the Center’s hope that people introduced to this dynamic create their own artistic language to more clearly articulate their own personal and social desires.

In 2004, an article in the Riverfront Times pointed to the fact that most DIY venues last no more than two years. On the date of our 20th anniversary, we can say that no other small music venue has been in continuous operation as long as the Lemp Center, even seemingly successful commercial venues.

The word "Lemp" has become a term used nationally to describe both a venue and a community of young people focused completely on the music of touring artists and the social dynamic this creates. It has come to symbolize an approach to managing a venue that charges itself with providing home-cooked meals, lodging, and support for all those who travel to perform with us. It has also come to mean an inclusive environment for spiritual, intellectual, and social growth.

We will host a series of special events all year to mark this achievement. Each of these concerts will point to the music which Lemp has been responsible for bringing to St. Louis, and characterize the principles which we uphold to this day."

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