7/27/19 at 8:00pm
Kuumbwa Jazz: 320-2 Cedar St, Santa Cruz
Tickets: $21 Adv / $25 Door
Indexical presents Elder Ones, a quartet led by vocalist, harmonium player, and composer Amirtha Kidambi. Kidambi fuses the ecstatic and revolutionary free jazz spirituality of John and Alice Coltrane’s later work with her own background in Carnatic and Western classical vocal techniques. Her quartet includes Max Jaffe on drums and his custom Sensory Percussion electronics, Matt Nelson on soprano sax and synthesizer, and Nick Dunston on bass, and is anchored in free jazz even as it pushes into new futurist realms.
The second release by Amirtha Kidambi’s ensemble Elder Ones, From Untruth is comprised of four pieces grappling with issues of power, oppression, capitalism, colonialism, white supremacy, violence and the shifting nature of truth. This music means to give the listener momentary relief from the anxiety and pain caused by living in our current reality.
From Untruth builds upon the bedrock foundation of Kidambi’s previous compositional and conceptual work with Elder Ones, while forging uncharted territory. After a journey into wordless abstraction on Holy Science (Northern Spy, November 2016), Kidambi felt the urgency of the political moment required a direct and verbal call to action.
The instrumentation adds a layer of technology as a metaphor for modernity, with Kidambi on analog synthesizer and Max Jaffe’s drumming talents extended to electronic Sensory Percussion. The frenzied improvising of Matt Nelson on soprano sax and gravity of Nick Dunston on bass, anchor the music in the tradition of free jazz, while it pushes into new futurist realms. The aesthetic seamlessly reels from modal meditation, atonal expressionism, free improvisation and melodic invention, to unabashed bursts of punk rock energy.
This is Elder Ones at an unadulterated breaking point; on the edge of a knife that cuts.
“Sometimes the eye of a storm can draw upon the chaos around it, taking on its energy and consolidating it for use. Something like that is going on in Elder Ones, the quartet led by the vocalist and harmonium player Amirtha Kidambi. She creates drones on the harmonium — an old, air-powered keyboard — and coaxes her bandmates into ripping them apart. Then her voice funnels that energy out in a scorching beam. In its best moments, it’s like a mix of a Cuban sonero’s citrusy cry and a riot grrrl yowl.” - New York Times, Giovanni Russonello
This event is supported in part with funds from the Hasan Endowment for Indian Classical Music at UCSC.