I have the great pleasure of being a member of two quintets led by composer, trombone player, Scott Thomson.
The Disguises is a Montréal-based quintet formed in 2013 to play Scott’s songs, especially those that are settings of poems by P.K. Page that are the basis of The Muted Note:
Susanna Hood, voice and dance
Yves Charuest, alto saxophone
Nicolas Caloia, double bass
Pierre Tanguay, drums
Scott Thomson, trombone
Kyle Brenders (soprano saxophone), Susanna Hood (voice & dance), Nick Fraser (drums), Wes Neal (contrabass) & Scott Thomson (trombone, arrangement, composition)
News – 6 April, 2012 – There is an interview by Ted Harms with Scott Thomson and Susanna Hood about The Rent in the new issue of Eartrip Magazine.
In the autumn of 2008, I joined this quartet of Scott’s (with Brandon Valdivia originally on drums), dedicated to playing the music of the late American saxophonist and composer, Steve Lacy in a two-month residency at the old Somewhere There in Toronto. When Brandon left Canada during the winter of 2009-10, Nick Fraser replaced him on drums for The Rent’s second two-month residency at Somewhere There as well as the group’s first studio recording in January 2010. This recording, produced by Scott and Jean Martin, was released in May 2010 on Ambiences Magnétiques as The Rent: Musique de Steve Lacy (AM 197), featuring cover art by our friend, John Heward, who was also Steve Lacy’s friend.
The Ambiences Magnétiques site has disc information, audio samples, a compilation of reviews, and the means to buy the record online.
In 2010-11, the group began to incorporate into its repertoire a suite of songs written by Scott based on poems by P.K. Page, which have now become central to concerts by The Disguises and to a multi-faceted project called The Muted Note.
As a parallel project to The Rent, I play in a trio with Scott and Kyle that we call The Open, a more ‘chamber’ context in which to explore Lacy material, and one where my dance improvisations are given a more prominent role. In particular, The Open has focused on Lacy’s “Tips,” a suite of song fragments based on aphorisms from the notebooks of Georges Braque, and which is written for voice and two horns. As an outcropping of this group’s work, I led a separate project to investigate how choreography can mirror how fixed song material can be improvised on by musicians, using “Tips” as a case study. This research by The Open plus Christine Duncan (voice) and Alanna Kraaijeveld (dance) was presented (minus Christine) in a workshop at the 2011 Guelph Jazz Festival. A video of this workshop is available here.
“The Tips” was further developed and presented on a small tour in 2013 at La Poêle, in Montreal, Tedd Robinson’s Centre Q, in Quyon, and at the In the Soil Arts Festival in St. Catharines with a new cast: Jean Derome (alto saxophone), Susanna Hood (voice & dance), Alanna Kraaijeveld (dance), and Scott Thomson (trombone). (Link to the video of this version of the work available soon).
We continue to explore other opportunities to perform this very informal and adaptable piece. (Our most recent performance took place at Port de Tête bookstore in Montreal in April 2014!) If you are interested in helping to make this happen, please contact me.
The Disguises, The Rent and The Open would love to play in your city; please contact Scott Thomson if you would like to make this happen.