Mark Dresser meets Vancouver

Two Evenings of Musical Improvisation and Collaboration

Friday and Saturday, January 15-16, 2016, 8 pm

Saturday Afternoon Workshop, 2-4 pm

Western Front, 303 East 8th Avenue

$15 per evening for general admission; $10 per evening for students/ seniors/ musicians

$10 suggested donation at the door for Saturday afternoon workshop

Purchase concert tickets at the door or online:

Over the past 20 years Vancouver has become recognized internationally as a centre for creative music. On January 15 & 16, 2016, Barking Sphinx presents celebrated American bassist Mark Dresser performing with some of the stars of Vancouver’s hotbed of music improvisers: JP Carter, trumpet; Peggy Lee, cello; Dylan van der Schyff, drums; Chris Gestrin, piano; Ron Samworth, guitar; Aram Bajakian, guitar and John Paton, saxophones.

Dresser is a Grammy nominated, internationally renowned bass player, improviser, composer, and interdisciplinary collaborator. At the core of his music is an artistic obsession and commitment to expanding the sonic, musical, and expressive possibilities of the contrabass.  He has recorded over 130 CDs including three solo CDs and a DVD.  From 1985 to 1994, he was a member of Anthony Braxton’s Quartet, which recorded nine CDs and was the subject of Graham Locke’s book Forces in Motion (Da Capo). He has also performed and recorded music of Ray Anderson, Jane Ira Bloom, Tim Berne, Anthony Davis, Dave Douglas, Osvaldo Golijov, Gerry Hemingway, Bob Osertag, Joe Lovano, Roger Reynolds, Henry Threadgill, Dawn Upshaw, John Zorn. Dresser’s latest recording, the internationally acclaimed new music for jazz quintet, Nourishments (Clean Feed), released in 2013, marked his re-immersion as a bandleader. Since 2007 he has been deeply involved in telematic music performance and education. In 2015, Dresser was awarded both the Shifting Foundation Award and the Doris Duke Impact Award. He is Professor of Music at University of California, San Diego.

“Calling contrabassist Mark Dresser a virtuoso is like saying Albert Einstein was good at math.” San Diego City Times 

Mr. Dresser, a bassist who is one of the great instrumental forces in recent American jazz outside of the mainstream.” New York Times

Formed in 1998, Barking Sphinx is a collective of exceptional musicians; members of Vancouver’s improvised music scene who are well known locally, nationally and internationally – giving our city an international name as a significant centre of contemporary music and musique actuelle. The public concerts presented by Barking Sphinx provide Vancouver audiences with an opportunity to see some of the world’s finest improvising musicians perform both structured and unstructured work. This community of artists combine, often creating a cross pollination of styles and genres that result in enthralling and incomparable events for performers and audiences alike.

Mark Dresser meets Vancouver poster


Tony Wilson & A Day’s Life Band

Barbara Bourget, dance; Maggie Harkins, sign language interpreter; Chad MacQuarrie, narrator;Zoée Montpetit, projections; Tony Wilson, guitar; JP Carter, trumpet; Jesse Zubot, violin; Peggy Lee, cello; Russell Sholberg, bass; Skye Brooks, drums

Friday, February 13, 2015 at 8pm

Pyatt Hall, 843 Seymour Street, Vancouver

$15 (general) / $10 (students & seniors)  •  Box office opens at 7pm

Buy tickets online  or at the door (cash only)

Info call 604.683.8240  •

On Friday February 13 Tony Wilson, hailed as “unquestionably one of the most original guitar stylists on the Canadian scene”, brings to Pyatt Hall a multi-media performance of Tony Wilson & A Day’s Life BandThis presentation merges the music of the A Day’s Life Band, a collection of some of the finest musicians and improvisers in Canada; narration by musician/artist Chad MacQuarrie; dance by Kokoro artistic director Barbara Bourget; projected images by artist & photographer Zoée Montpetit; and sign language interpretation by Maggie Harkins.

Wilson’s 2012 novella, A Day’s Life, is a raw fictional account of a day in the life of a crack-addicted musician who lives and busks on the streets of the DTES. While writing the book, Wilson composed the music, inspired by the plight and lives of the homeless and drug addiction in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. This performance marks the official CD release of the novella’s companion music on the Drip Audio label.

From the project’s genesis Tony has envisioned this unique multi-discipline interpretation. He regards the opportunity to include sign language as a way to show sign language as an art form little known to the hearing public, and naturally the signing, along with the visual elements (projections and dance), mean the performance can be enjoyed by the hearing impaired. In addition, the subject matter of the text, dealing with various social issues that plague the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, will be presented in a unique way. There are no moral outcomes here; just the story itself which leaves the audience to make their own decisions on the lives lived by the homeless and drug addicted.

Wilson has toured across Canada and internationally with his own groups as well with other renowned artists such as cellist Lee, clarinetist François Houle and singer Elizabeth Fischer. He studied with many acclaimed jazz musicians including Oliver Gannon, Dave Holland, John Abercrombie, Kevin Eubanks and Steve Coleman. He won a West Coast Music Award with his band Video Barbeque and released the critically acclaimed ‘Lowest Note’ in 2001, which went on to become a pick of the year in the Globe and Mail. Wilson’s compositions have been played by artists as diverse as the NOW Orchestra, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, Myra Melford, Kokoro Dance, Marilyn Crispell and Zubot & Dawson. He has shared the stage with well known international artists such as Vinny Golia, William Parker, Wilbert de Joode, Gerry Hemingway, Han Bennink, Marilyn Lerner, Toby Delius, Benoit Delbecq & Eric Boeren in the US and Europe.

“…a talismanic West Coast figure.”  Downbeat Magazine

Tony Wilson & A Day's Life Band_poster


Barking Sphinx and Coastal Jazz and Blues present

Michael Blake’s Komagata Maru Blues

TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival

9 pm • Sunday June 22, 2014
Ironworks, 235 Alexander Street, Vancouver
Buy tickets online: • $25/36 + SC 3-pack
More Info:  604.683.8240
Michael Blake, saxophones; JP Carter, trumpet; Peggy Lee, cello; Ron Samworth, guitar;
Chris Gestrin, keyboards; André Lachance, bass; Dylan van der Schyff, drums;
plus guests Emma Postl, vocals and Neelamjit Dhillon, tabla
Saxophonist Michael Blake has spent his career crafting compelling music written specifically for
the unique artists who comprise the ensembles he leads. This latest project offers him the opportunity to develop new approaches to composition and to strengthen his ties to the Vancouver music scene. Using both composition and improvisation, Komagata Maru Blues is a profoundly personal expression of life in contemporary multicultural society—one that will inspire musicians and audience members to explore themes of difference, tolerance, and respect as considered from multiple perspectives.
Consistently making music that bristles with originality and vision, Canadian born Michael Blake has made New York City his home for over 25 years. During that time he has recorded with countless musicians, scored music for TV and film and performed in the worlds finest concert halls and jazz clubs. The influential tenor and soprano saxophonist also lends his talents to projects led by master musicians including Ben Allison, Henry Butler, Erik Friedlander, Enrico Rava, Sam Blaser and Steven Bernstein.
Formed in 1998, Barking Sphinx is a collective of exceptional musicians; members of Vancouver’s improvised music scene who are well known locally, nationally and internationally – giving our city an international name as a significant centre of contemporary music and musique actuelle. The
public concerts presented by Barking Sphinx provide Vancouver audiences with an opportunity to see some of the world’s finest improvising musicians perform both structured and unstructured work. This community of artists combine, often creating a cross pollination of styles and genres that result in enthralling and incomparable events for performers and audiences alike.

from the 2014 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival guide

Hailed for his “panoramic imagination” (New York Times), New York saxophonist Michael Blake returns to his Vancouver roots with a compelling project written specifically for a stellar band of creative West Coast talents, including JP Carter trumpet, Peggy Lee cello, André Lachancebass, Ron Samworth guitar, Chris Gestrin keyboards, Dylan van der Schyff­ drums. Using both composition and improvisation, The Komagata Maru Blues is a profoundly personal expression of life in contemporary multicultural society—one that will inspire musicians and audience members to explore themes of difference, tolerance, and respect as considered from multiple perspectives.

also…JUNE 24 Tom Lee Music Hall (Michael Blake Workshop) @ 1pm Free

MichaelBlake_photo by AndreaBoccalini_0543_for bsps site



Barking Sphinx presents two nights of the most exciting, beautiful, creative music you can find by some of the best music innovators in the Pacific Northwest.


Friday and Saturday, March 14-15, 2014

early show at Pyatt Hall 8 pm • late show at The China Cloud 11pm

Pyatt Hall, 843 Seymour Street • The China Cloud, 524 Main Street

Pyatt Hall Tickets: $15 per evening for general admission (or $20 for both nights); $10 per evening for students/seniors | Buy tickets at the door (cash only – box office opens at 7pm) or online:

China Cloud Tickets: $10 (or $5 with Pyatt Hall ticket stub) | Available at the door – cash only

Info:  604.683.8240


– FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2014 –


Wayne Horvitz, keyboards, piano, electronics | JP Carter, trumpet, electronics | Dylan van der Schyff, percussion

Peggy Lee, cello | Ziyian Kwan, dance | Lee Hutzulak, electronics

Wayne Horvitz Conduction Ensemble – Wayne Horvitz, conduction | Jesse Zubot, violin | Peggy Lee, cello | John Paton, tenor saxophone | Roderick Murray, trombone | JP Carter, trumpet, electronics | Cole Schmidt, guitar | Tyson Naylor, piano | James Meager, bass | Omar Jamal, drums


Ron Samworth, guitar, electronics | Tony Wilson, guitar

John Paton’s Soft Morning City – John Paton, tenor saxophone | Kevin Elaschuck, trumpet | Sam King, guitar | Cole Schmidt, guitar | Scott Wannop, drums

– SATURDAY, MARCH 15, 2014 –


Paul Plimley, solo piano

Torsten Muller’s Distant Relatives – Torsten Muller, bass | Peggy Lee, cello | Mei Han, zheng | Dylan van der Schyff, percussion

Torsten Muller, bass | Jay Hirabayashi, dance


Rubber Arms – Chris Kelly, saxophones | Chad McQuarrie, guitar | Bernie Arai, drums | SkyeBrooks, drums

Sun Ra’s Star System – John Paton, sax, flute | Chad Makela, sax, flute | JP Carter, trumpet | Tyson Naylor, keys | Colin Cowan, bass | Dan Gaucher, drums | Dave Sikula, real time mixing, effects

Over the past 20 years Vancouver has become recognized internationally as a centre for creative music. On March 14-15 2014, Barking Sphinx hosts a Meeting of these improvisers, featuring an impressive list of established and emerging members of the burgeoning Vancouver scene. There will be a mix of ensembles and combinations, from solo piano with Paul Plimley to a nine piece group, led by the Meeting’s special guest, Seattle’s Wayne Horvitz, who will introduce the ensemble to the ‘conduction’ techniques of his late mentor, Butch Morris.

While the event’s focus is on musical improvisation, each evening’s Pyatt Hall concert will include an element of dance. Dancer Ziyian Kwan will perform a set with cellist Peggy Lee and Lee Hutzulak on electronics, and Kokoro founder Jay Hirabayashi will perform with bassist Torsten Muller.

The late night sets at China Cloud will feature a set by Ron Samworth and Tony Wilson, and the groups, John Paton’s Soft Morning City, Rubber Arms, and Sun Ra’s Star System.









The China Cloud, 524 Main Street, Vancouver

Doors @ 9:30pm, Music @ 10:30pm



Ron Samworth, guitar
Bill Clark, trumpet
Dylan van der Schyff, drums
(no Peggy Lee this time…)

The jazz continuum from Armstrong to Zorn, the bold, abstract textures of new music and Jimi Hendrix, and the richly evocative spirit of Kurt Weill and Nino Rota all meet in a compelling sound world of near cinematic richness.


Ted Crosby, tenor saxophone & clarinets
James Meger, bass
Omar Amlani, drums

Braveheart says, “So we’re putting out our second album, it’s called Motions and it doesn’t take very long to listen to, but it took us quite a while to put it together.

The plan is to throw a little party here in Vancouver to help welcome it to the world. We’re very excited because this is going to happen at one of our favorite venues and we’ll be sharing the night with some very fine improvisers.

Come and beat seasonal depression with a few Rye & Gingers and some good friends, it’s a good idea.”

Rugged but uplifting, this is some seriously potent, next-generation modern jazz. Reflective acoustic jazz, exhilarating swing, and a remarkably psychic, playful sense of sonic structure and group interplay – Coastal Jazz




A concert featuring music inspired by drummer Claude Ranger, performed by

Buff Allen • Bernie Arai • Miles Black • Paul Blaney • Bill Clark • Phil Dwyer • Kevin Elaschuk

Bruce Freedman • Miles Foxx Hill • André Lachance • Bob Murphy • Clyde Reed • Ron Samworth

Dave Say • Stan Taylor • Brad Turner • Tony Wilson • Dylan van der Schyff • Rene Worst

TWO NIGHTS! 8 pm, Friday and Saturday, November 16-17, 2012

Ironworks Studios • 235 Alexander Street

Tickets: $20 per evening for general admission (or $30 for both nights);

$15 per evening for students/seniors

Buy tickets at the door or online:

Info: 604.683.8240

For these two concerts in tribute to Claude Ranger, we will re-unite the community of players who worked with the master drummer during his West coast tenure and present a regional celebration of Ranger’s music and the musicians he touched and inspired.

Ranger is a Canadian jazz legend whose intensity, virtuosity, and creativity rank him among the greats. He began his career in Montréal in the 1960’s and moved to Toronto in 1972 where he was a fixture on the scene for fifteen years – accompanying top Canadian and US musicians in the city’s jazz clubs. Claude moved to Vancouver, living here for a decade or more from about 1987 to early 2000 (at which time he disappeared). He worked as a sideman, collaborator, mentor and bandleader, inspiring the numerous musicians he played with and audiences who heard him during his Vancouver tenure.

This is a two-night tribute to this brilliant musician – seven sets of music – a different ensemble per set, by the alumni of his various projects – the small groups and the larger Jade Orchestra. The musicians who will be involved constitute the cream of the modern mainstream as well as the avant-garde, representing the full range of Ranger’s artistry. The programmed material will draw upon some of Claude’s original compositions, and will also feature original compositions, arrangements and improvisations by the featured musicians.

This event promises to be a heartfelt and thoughtful acknowledgement of Claude’s unique gift to the world of music.

Claude Ranger Tribute Nov 16+17













Featuring artist in residence Ron Samsworth, Noschmo presents live music in May every Wednesday and Thursday night at El Barrio!





Friday 8pm • April 29, 2011
Ironworks • 235 Alexander Street
Tickets $15 general, $12 students/seniors
•available at the door
Info: 604.683.8240

•  A concert of the best improvised music from New York to Vancouver • 

Talking Pictures presents its third Annual Invitational, featuring leading Canadian and International musical improvisers, at the intimate and atmospheric Ironworks Studios on Alexander Street on Friday, April 29, 2011 at 8 pm. Collaborating with artists from wide ranging musical and cultural backgrounds, Talking Pictures participates in an exchange of personal narratives – the lifeblood of improvised music. This year, leader and guitarist, Ron Samworth, cellist Peggy Lee and drummer Dylan van der Schyff are inviting Torsten Muller , Briggan Krauss, and JP Carter to perform together and create an evening of exceptional musical improvisation.

German born Torsten Muller is an exceptional improviser and bass player. Krauss who will be on saxophone is a founder of New Yorks’ Sex Mob and a member avant-electric group pig pen. And JP Carter who  is  a member of Vancouver`s stellar jazz ensembles, the Inhabitants and Fond of Tigers will be playing the trumpet for the evening. The transmission of human information inspires and transforms artists and audiences alike. It is vital to successful collaboration and strengthens the artistic community as a whole.



Chris Gestrin, Torsten Muller, Lan Tung, Jesse Zubot
Bill Clark, Ron Samworth and Dylan van der Schyff

Saturday, May 1, 2010, 8:00pm
Ironworks, 235 Alexander Street

Talking Pictures’ Invitational is an evening of musical exploration showcasing a selection of the regions finest improvisers.  Featured will be Chris Gestrin, synthesizer, sampler, electronics; Torsten Muller, bass; Lan Tung, erhu; Jesse Zubot, violin; and Talking Pictures’ own Bill Clark, trumpet; Ron Samworth, guitar and Dylan van der Schyff, drums.  Talking Pictures has a long history of collaboration with guest artists from wide ranging musical backgrounds.  It is this exchange of personal narratives that is the lifeblood of improvised music, inspiring and transforming artists and audiences alike.


Talking Pictures


with Robin Holcomb and Wayne Horvitz
Saturday November 7, 2009, 8:00pm
The Cultch ,1895 Venables St.
Tickets $20 (general) / $15 (students & seniors) + service charges
The Cultch box office • 604.251.1363 •
Info: 604 683 8240
On Saturday November 7 Talking Pictures performs with Seattle-based singer-pianist Robin Holcomb and keyboardist Wayne Horvitz at the newly renovated Historic Theatre at The Cultch. Composed music by Holcomb, guitarist Ron Samworth and cellist Peggy Lee will be woven into a musical tapestry featuring these three musicians joined by Horvitz, trumpet player Bill Clark and drummer Dylan van der Schyff.  Don’t miss an opportunity to experience the latest offering from this rich creative collaboration.
Pianist, composer, singer and songwriter Robin Holcomb has performed extensively in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia as a solo artist and the leader of various ensembles. Living in the Lower East Side of New York in the 1980s, she was a founder of Studio Henry, a venue for maverick composers, and the New York Composers Orchestra. Living in Seattle since 1989, she continues to compose and record songs and music for solo piano, chamber ensembles, dance, theatre and film.
Wayne Horvitz made a name for himself in the ’80s by playing with some of the leading lights on the downtown New York-based experimental/improv scene.  His most famous association was with saxophonist/composer John Zorn as a member of the  band, Naked City.  By the mid-’90s, Horvitz had moved from New York to the Pacific Northwest; his primary band became the Seattle-based Zony Mash.  Their organ-based, groove-oriented music incorporates some “outside” elements, but largely avoids the avant-garde tendencies characteristic of Horvitz’s New York work.   He has produced CDs for Eddie Palmieri, Fontella Bass, Robin Holcomb and Bill Frisell among others. Ensembles include The President, Pigpen, Zony Mash, The HMP Trio, The New York Composers Orchestra, The 4 Plus 1 Ensemble, Sweeter Than the Day and The Gravitas Quartet.

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