March 11, 2016

Friday night live at Transistor: experimental jazz from Atticus Lazenby/Ben Schmidt-Swartz Duo,  improvised melodic soundscapes from Dustin Laurenzi and Jeremy Cunningham, and free jazz from Open Forum Project. Sound by Jon Monteverde.   [view photos]

As the Atticus Lazenby/Ben Schmidt-Swartz Duo, Atticus and Ben combine their experiences and influences to create a lush and unique sound that draws from jazz, avant-garde and improvised music, indie rock, and experimental electronic music.

For this performance at Transistor, the Atticus Lazenby/Ben Schmidt-Swartz Duo performed a set of improvised electro-acoustic music and original compositions on saxophone and bass.

Atticus Lazenby is a Chicago bassist, keyboardist, and composer. His music combines funk and jazz with elements of rock, hip-hop, and world music. Originally from rural southern Maine, Atticus studied music at Bennington College and moved to Chicago in 2014. He is currently performing original jazz/funk with the Atticus Lazenby Group and creating electronic music as half of Chicago/Athens, GA looping duo Lazenby+DeMatteo.

Saxophonist Ben Schmidt-Swartz is a Chicago-area native. He studied music at Western Michigan University under saxophonist Trent Kynaston and trumpeter/arranger Dr. Scott Cowan. While at WMU, Ben also performed with Paquito D’Rivera, Kurt Elling, Fred Hersch, Billy Hart, Bob Mintzer, Stefon Harris, and Donny McCaslin. In 2014, Ben and Chilean drummer Nelson Oliva toured Chile in support of the Ben Schmidt-Swartz/Nelson Oliva Group’s 2012 release “Mastermind.” Ben currently performs in and around Chicago with the Rusty Jones Trio and Quintet, Andrew Lawrence’s MKUltra, the Atticus Lazenby Group, and others.


On this night longtime collaborators Dustin Laurenzi (saxophone) and Jeremy Cunningham (drums) performed an all-improvised duo set.

Chicago saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi has developed a distinctly personal approach to improvisation and composition that has garnered the attention of the city's creative music community. Known for his "offbeat approach to articulating harmonies and constructing melodies" (NextBop), Dustin's music is inspired and informed by jazz, folk, improvised music, and contemporary classical music. His wide range of influences has made him a sought-after musician in many circles of Chicago's rich music scene.
Jeremy Cunningham is a drummer, composer, and improviser living in Chicago, Illinois. Since moving to Chicago in 2009 - from his native home of Cincinnati, Ohio - he has become an integral part of the Chicago music scene. Jeremy has performed with such luminaries as Von Freeman, Chris Foreman, Jeff Parker, Mike Allemana, Marquis Hill, Matt Ulery, Caroline Davis, Greg Ward, Nick Mazzarella, and Dave Miller. He can be heard on Marquis Hill's albums, "New Gospel," and "Sounds of the City," and also on Caroline Davis's "Live, Work, Play."  In addition to performing in clubs and festivals throughout Chicago, Jeremy also appears throughout the United States with various projects and has toured internationally with IsWhat?!, Moshier/Lebrun Collective, and Paul Giallorenzo's GitGo. Current projects include a collaborative trio with Nick Mazzarella and Matt Ulery named the “Meridian Trio,” and his own quartet featuring Jeff Parker, Josh Johnson, and Matt Ulery.


Open Forum Project (O.F.P.) is an anything-goes, ready-to-age, ‘let's get weird’ Chicago-based free-improvising ensemble under the direction of saxophonist Chris Weller. O.F.P. is a vessel for artistic collaboration and has no set personnel. Past contributors include Jason Stein, Russ Johnson, Tim Daisy, Dave Rempis, Devin Drobka, Marcus Evans, Charlie Kirchen, Dave Miller, and Albert Wildeman.

For their set at Transistor, the band, featuring Marcus Evans on drums, Albert Wildeman on bass, Dave Miller on guitar, and C.W. on tenor saxophone, performed a set of improvised music.  Visit O.F.P.'s website.  

Listen to an original piece Chris Weller recorded for Transitor Radio in 2015: