Arts Listings

No DQ Comes The Jazz House

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Friday August 03, 2007

Guitarist Ross Hammond, doubling on banjo and lap steel guitar, will lead a quartet dubbed “No DQ,” featuring Philip Greenlief (saxophone), Gino Robair (percussion) and J.P. Carter (trumpet) for tonight’s Free Jazz Friday, The Jazz House’s biweekly event, 8 p. m. at the Performance Space at 1510 8th St. (a block from West Oakland BART). Admission is $5-15, sliding scale.  

“No DQ means anything goes, all bets are off,” said Ross Hammond of the quartet’s monniker. Of their music, Hammond said, “Everyone’s pretty hip into musical textures, and you could expect lots of dynamics, highs and lows. It may not be swinging jazz—but it may go in that direction, too!” 

Hammond commented on the other players: “everybody’s got an electronic element, which should contribute to spacey textures. Philip Greenlief has a great sense of free improvisation and of different sounds; there aren’t that many players really doing that in the Bay Area. He gets some very cool sounds in his solo work. He and Gino Robair, both, have been forging their own direction in the local scene. They’re Bay Area trailblazers. Every timbre should be represented on this gig!” 

The next Free Jazz Friday, Aug. 17, will feature saxophonist Ike Levin, just back from NewYork, with Randy Hunt on contrabass and Tim Orr, drums and percussion.  

Of Levin, Jazz House founder Rob Woodworth said, “Ike’s one of the really rare players around, a free jazz pioneer. He hasn’t had a lot of press, so I want to single him out, give him some credit for all he’s done.” 

The Jazz House, originally on Adeline in Berkeley, was founded by Woodworth as a venue for musicians to play improvised music with fewer restrictions--and as an educational vehicle for that music and its players. After losing the lease on Adeline, The Jazz House has been homeless, but Woodworth continued to produce projects at other venues around the Bay—including The Zipper Festival, sponsored by the Berkeley Arts Festival, a weekend-long event downtown this spring. Woodworth continues to search for a regular venue, hopefully in Berkeley, and funding to get such an undertaking off the ground. 

Of Woodworth and The Jazz House, Ross Hammond commented, “The music always needs new players, but also needs enthusiasts like Rob just as much, those who do the groundwork. It’s often athankless job, promoting shows just for the love of it. It’s all work, with the cards pretty much dealt in advance. People should be thankful he’s around. He’sa champ. 

“That’s something Rob, Philip and Gino have in common--doing the best they can for improvised music. They’ll all be there under one roof, occupying three of the few seats in the place! I’m just glad to be involved in the scene in the small way I am.”