Is This Jazz? Presents: Ken Aldcroft and Phil Mazza

November 6, 2015 @ 8:30 pm – November 7, 2015 @ 1:00 am
AS220 Main Stage
115 Empire Street

We interrupt your regularly scheduled bimonthly jazz concert series to bring you some more killer jazz in the heart of Providence on November 2nd!

With a rigorous and pan-idiomatic approach to both composition and improvisation, guitarist Ken Aldcroft ( is a key practitioner in Toronto’s dynamic creative music scene where he has developed as an improvising guitarist, bandleader, composer, producer, and organizer who has corresponded with the re-emergence of Toronto as an important centre for creative improvised music-making. As a guitarist, Ken extends the jazz tradition that lies at the core of his music education. Through his commitment to a wide-open field of musical influence and to forging new collaborative ties, Ken has systematically sought new and challenging contexts in which to improvise. As a result, his playing reflects the breadth of his interests, from the extended bebop of a jazz repertory project like Hat & Beard, performing the music of Thelonious Monk, to the language of free improvisation that he explores in collective improvisational settings such as ongoing collaborations with NY bassist William Parker and saxophonist Andy Haas or one off performances with artists such as Wilbert DeJoode, Joe McPhee, John Oswald and Lori Freedman to name just a few. This variety comes into its fullest view with Ken?s two solo recordings; “Home: Solo Guitar Compositions” (2011) and “Vocabulary: Solo Guitar Improvisations” (2009), both are passionate musical reflections on his ongoing development as an improvising guitarist. Performing alongside Ken will be saxophonist Jason Robinson ( who thrives in the fertile overlaps between improvisation and composition, acoustic music and electronics, tradition and experimentalism. Initially a devotee of post-1960s jazz and creative music, Robinson is celebrated for bringing together various historical directions in jazz–bebop, post-bop, the avant-garde–with an improvisatory and compositional sensibility drawn from and extending the languages of John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Lester Young. Robinson has released 14 albums as leader or co-leader and appeared on nearly 50 albums in total. He performs regularly as a soloist (acoustically and with electronics), with his group the Janus Ensemble, and in a variety of collaborative contexts, including the intriguing duo between he and Ken that we are all excited to witness.

Opening the night will be Phil Mazza who has been a part of the New England music scene for the past decade, composing for many unique ensembles and performing with some the area’s finest musicians, releasing a few albums along the way.  He has performed at ITJ in a variety of groups, but always manages to bring with him a complexity and dynamic that is seldom matched on our stage. Joining him to round of the trio will be Ben Dicke, and frequent collaborator Ryan Kowal. All three have performed with many of the top musicians in the area and have recently recorded an album with Charlie Kohlhase and Kit Demos.  By exploring advanced techniques, improvisational ideas, and listening skills, they bring a fresh and intriguing performance that will keep listeners on their toes.

Music kicks at 9pm with a small admission fee of $10 that is more than worth it with this insane lineup of sounds!