NEWS:

Jill Burton and Wade Matthews, Mark Making, Dec 16

Battle Trance, Barking Legs, Jan 31

Shaking Ray Levis on cover of Signal to Noise



Founded in 1986, the Shaking Ray Levi Society is a volunteer-run, 501(c)(3) non-profit arts education organization.

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The mission of the Shaking Ray Levi Society is to nurture and support music, film, and performance art that is challenging, non-traditional, and falls outside the mainstream, in order to help nourish the cultural growth of Chattanooga.

This is done by sponsoring shows by artists recognized on a national and international level, supporting original work by area musicians and filmmakers, and engaging the community through workshops and educational outreach programs.

"Only in our country are our children not receiving the benefits of the dynamic energies taking place in our culture and in the heritage of our culture and so, the work of the Shaking Ray Levi Society in my opinion is very important because they are seeking to provide an alternative to the marketplace dynamics." - composer, saxophonist and MacArthur fellowship recipient Anthony Braxton (video)

"SRLS is a very sound organization that has made a strong contribution to Chattanooga over the years" - Dr. Thomas Wolf, WolfBrown



The SRLS is a funded agency of ArtsBuild

 

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS:

Jill Burton
Wade Matthews
Evan Lipson

Tuesday
, December 16, 2014, 7:30 PM
Mark Making
2510 North Chamberlain Ave.
Chattanooga, TN 37406
$7-10 door (sliding scale)

Jill Burton, Wade Matthews

I never heard anything like it. It was emotional...passionate.
- Miami New Times, on Jill Burton

“[It] shows Matthews’ commitment to spontaneity, excitement, genuine
experimentation, risk-taking
.”
- The Sound Projector, on Matthews’ Early Summer

JILL BURTON is an American improviser, extended vocalist, dancer, performance artist and energy worker. Noted as one of the great foundation improvisers of America, she is also known for incorporating spiritual healing with improvised performance. Active in the American improv scene since the early 1970s, she has lived and worked all over the country, including a ten-year stint in the 1980s as part of the downtown East Village experimental arts community, and six years in Sitka, Alaska, where she worked with Tlingit storytellers providing musical accompaniment for their healing stories. Burton is unusual for a musician in that her work is ephemeral, in-the-moment, and therefore recordings of her work are rare. She has collaborated with many notable experimental musicians and dancers, including LaDonna Smith, Davey Williams, Jane Scarpantoni, Judy Dunaway, David First, Rain Worthington, Gino Robair, Jack Wright and Scott Walton.

WADE MATTHEWS is a French-born American musician currently living in Madrid, Spain who has astounded audiences on five continents on the international improv scene with his unique combination of field recordings with electronic synthesis. Matthews completed a doctoral dissertation at Columbia University on improvisation guided by electronic sounds, and after rethinking the sonic possibilities of the bass clarinet and alto flute, he innovatively tweaked a virtual synthesizer to allow very rapid control of sound parameters for solo playing and dialog with others. Matthews has performed and given lectures at venues and universities around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), The National Center for the Arts (Mexico City), The Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), The American University of Beirut, The Paris Conservatory and many others.

EVAN LIPSON has operated as a musician since adolescence—intuitively seeking the liminal and aberrant zones in which intellect and instinct, history and myth and creative and destructive force intersect. His formative experiences were primarily rooted in extreme rock, modernist composition, outsider pop, soundtracks, noise and improvised music. Lipson is currently a bassist with Normal Love and WREST. Recently, he has composed music for several films as well as a new collaboration with David Greenberger, Amanda Cagle and Bob Stagner of the Shaking Ray Levis. Past units include Satanized, Dynamite Club, Psychotic Quartet, Femme Tops and the Weasel Walter Trio.


Flying Fingers Productions and the Shaking Ray Levi Society present:

Battle Trance

Saturday
, January 31, 2015
Barking Legs Theater
1307 Dodds Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37404

BATTLE TRANCE had an auspicious inception. One morning, Travis Laplante (Little Women and a trio with bassist Trevor Dunn and drummer Ches Smith) literally awoke with the crystal clear vision that he needed to start an ensemble with three specific individuals: Matthew Nelson, Jeremy Viner, and Patrick Breiner. Laplante was actually unfamiliar with their work as musicians and had only a minimal relationship with them as individuals. He was also aware that a band of four tenor saxophones could be the worst idea ever. In spite of this, Laplante followed through and contacted Nelson, Viner, and Breiner. He gave them very little information beyond his morning experience But no one hesitated - the ensemble formed that evening.

Since many of the techniques used in Battle Trance's piece "Palace of Wind" are nearly impossible to notate in traditional form, it was transmitted via the oral tradition. The rehearsals were much like martial arts training: intricate sounds were rigorously copied and repeated by the ensemble members until they perfected the techniques. Many hours were spent building the sheer strength required to sustain continuous circular breathing for extended periods. Likewise, a steady focus on physicality was required to repeat rapid note patterns for long periods without sacrificing speed. "Palace of Wind" is such a demanding composition that there is a high risk of physically burning out before the piece concludes, as once it begins there is no opportunity for rest or even a quick drink of water. There was also extensive training in dissolving the distinct individual identities of the players into the greater collective sound: The band did various long-tone exercises, similar to group meditation, the purpose being to blend together into one sound, so that the origin of the collective sound's components is completely impossible to discern - even by the members of the ensemble.

"Palace of Wind" does embrace both the cerebral nature of composition and the visceral act of performance, but immediately locates itself, the musicians and the audience in a purely spiritual space. It is a new kind of music and therefore modern, and yet it's absolutely primordial, the transformative act of human beings blowing air through tubes and producing something timeless.

Members of Battle Trance have also performed with: Tune-Yards, Little Women, Tim Berne, Gerald Cleaver, Michael Formanek, Trevor Dunn, Ingrid Laubrock, Rafiq Bhatia, Ches Smith, Steve Lehman,Weasel Walter, Mat Maneri, John Hollenbeck, Tyshawn Sorey, Peter Evans, and many others.

"[Battle Trance] uses hocketing patterns, furry multiphonics, and drones fueled by circular breathing to create a constantly changing piece that wends from the parade-ground precision of Philip Glass’s small-group music to the emotionally extravagant expressionism of storefront gospel."
- Chicago Reader



The Shaking Ray Levi Society is greatly saddened by the loss of Julian Ray Norwood on February 16, 2014, who was a co-founder and the first president of The Shaking Ray Levi Society.

Julian will be remembered for his remarkable energy and passion for the arts, generosity, and persistence to challenge the SRLS and others in meaningful, illuminating ways.

Times Free Press obit
Shawn Chapman Funeral Home obit

Funeral Service for Julian Norwood
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Visitation: 12 PM
Service: 1 PM
Shawn Chapman Funeral Home
2362 Highway 76
Chatsworth, GA 30705


VSA

The work of the Shaking Ray Levi Society was praised in the latest VSA TN (Very Special Arts) newsletter:

"VSA Tennessee teaching artist, Bob Stagner, recently completed an artist residency at the Dawn School in Chattanooga involving studying the relationship between music and architecture. In this residency, the students first had to comprehend two art forms, then begin to understand advanced concepts for sound formation and structures, and build a vocabulary with a variety of percussion instruments. The students worked in groups with electronic devises and building models as well as with a variety of percussion instruments. The stories below are shared by the teaching artist with the permission of the students and their families:

Adeline is a 6th grader at Dawn School with severe depression and learning disabilities. She’s a delicate, soft spoken young lady who rarely talks above a whisper and remains part of the woodwork in most classes. Our workshop included architectural city shapes and their sound wave counterparts. Adeline created wave forms using two Moog devices, one for constant sound, the other for tone manipulation: vibrato, tempo, rate, pitch, and frequency.  The result was a dynamic shift in her mood as she turned each dial to a new setting to match our cityscape of over 15 models. Her smile showed pure joy as she retained the concept and gained control of understanding wave/sound shape and an architectural shape.

Victor is 6th grader at Dawn School with Autism. His speech therapist felt our project would be ideal to encourage speech. After our 1st week, it was clear he would retain the exercises and gain confidence. Victor’s mother has remarked how excited her son was to be a valued group member. He has also shown more focus with tasks/lessons at home. Victor seemed very proud of new skills and has proved to be a strong class leader.

Funding provided by a grant through the VSA offices of the John F Kennedy Center for the Arts and the Tennessee Department of Education."

We at the Shaking Ray Levi Society are deeply saddened by the passing of Dennis Palmer, SRLS co-founder and artistic director for over 26 years, on February 15, 2013.

Dennis Palmer

Chattanooga native Dennis Palmer, 55, was a beloved musician, visual artist, storyteller, educator, mentor, and devoted friend of many.

A singular vocalist and nontraditional musician, called "the world's most colorfully inventive synthesizer player" by Creative Loafing, he co-founded the acclaimed free improvisation group The Shaking Ray Levis with drummer Bob Stagner in 1986, which was the first American band to record an album for the legendary British label Incus Records. Palmer has performed internationally with collaborators including Derek Bailey, Steve Beresford, Reverend Howard Finster, David Greenberger, Col. Bruce Hampton, Shelley Hirsch, Frank Pahl, Roger Turner, and Davey Williams.

As a visual artist, Palmer has exhibited his paintings, silk-screened prints, and other unconventional artwork both locally and internationally in cities including London and Los Angeles, and he has designed many CD and record covers.

A leader in the arts community, Palmer promoted the ideas of improvisation and creativity in thought, performance, and visual art to students of all ages through his work with the Shaking Ray Levi Society and developed outreach programs for under-served populations including students with developmental, emotional, or physical disabilities. Palmer served as President of The Association for Visual Arts (AVA) and on the board of directors for Mark Making, and he taught art in Hamilton County schools.

When teaching children, Dennis would ask them about the last time they had a good feeling.  In his own words: "Clap your hands once and put your hands over your heart and give that good feeling to yourself. Next is to clap your hands again and sound off and give that feeling to everybody within the room. The third thing is to clap your hands, sound off and give that feeling out off to the whole universe."

Dennis was an inspiration for many and a strong advocate of "living in the moment" and "doing the highest good for all" in the community and beyond.



Body tribute 
Chattanooga Pulse tributes: one, two
Chattanoogan obit.
Creative Loafing tribute
Times Free Press tribute

Memorial Service for Dennis Palmer
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Visitation: 2 to 4 PM
Service: 4 PM

Chattanooga Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel
8214 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421
423-698-2541



The Shaking Ray Levis are featured in the latest issue of Signal to Noise magazine (issue #64, Fall 2012), gracing the cover (photography by Bob Wright) and interviewed by Chad Radford in a fascinating and provocative article.




PAST EVENTS ARCHIVES
The Shaking Ray Levi Society celebrates its 25th anniversary
25th anniv SRLS cartoon

p.o. box 21534 chattanooga, tn 37424 - phone: 423.910.9729
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