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Celebrating Duke’s Birthday Part 1: Stray Horns play Ellington
April 22, 2017 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Named for Duke Ellington’s protege and intimate collaborator Billy Strayhorn, this little big band will explore corners of the ducal canon that still resonate in modern music. Trends like Exotica and the Bebop revolution will be shown to have clear precedent in the repertoire of the great Ellington Orchestra. Duke’s unique mastery of song form will be displayed in mash-ups, straight readings and updated approaches.
David Slusser – arranger, conductor, soprano and baritone saxophone
Annelise Zamula – alto saxophone
Sheldon Brown – clarinet, tenor saxophone
Mara Fox – trombone
Peter Anastos – trumpet
Joe McKinley – bass
Greg German – drums
David Slusser is a musician and sound artist active in the bay area since 1977. He was a founding member of the musical groups Jive Soup, Avant Gardeners, Pluto, Rubber City,Lost Planet and the Stray Horns. Through work with the ROVA saxophone quartet, he began an association with composer John Zorn in the mid eighties that led to touring and recording, and continues in the present. Through Zorn he met vocalist Mike Patton, who included him in a trio with drummer Han Bennink at the 1996 Saafelden Jazz Festival in Austria, and a large ensemble at the 2010 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Zorn also introduced him to trumpeter Dave Douglas, in whose group he performed at Stanford in 2014. Writing for big band since high school, Slusser received two prizes in the 1999 Julius Hemphill Composition Awards, including first prize for jazz orchestra. He has also composed for film documentaries and public radio.
David Slusser’s “day job” has been doing sound for film or broadcast, starting with PBS in Cleveland in 1975, to his current position at Skywalker Sound in Marin County. Along the way, he worked often as music editor for directors George Lucas, Francis Coppola, and David Lynch, with whom he has co-composed music for his films. He received an Emmy award for sound editing in 1993 for the Young Indiana Jones television series, and two commercials he sound designed and mixed won Clio awards for advertising in 1993 and 1994. He also contributed sound design to James Cameron’s Terminator 2. This aspect of his work parallels his interest in musique concrete and electronic music. Slusser’s sound design is in the collections of both the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. What was supposed to be a short job at Pixar Animation Studios in 1996 lasted through 2013, where he helped to develop scores and sound design for their projects.