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1939 Ensemble w/ Blue Cranes

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Jack London Revue
529 SW 4th Ave.

Nov. 18, 2017, 9 p.m.

1939 ENSEMBLE are an instrumental quartet from Portland, Oregon with one leg in post rock, one in experimental and one in new jazz.

The quartet features Jose Medeles (The Breeders), David Coniglio, Josh Thomas, and Knate Carter.


Since their formation in 2007, Blue Cranes have become a key player in the Portland, Oregon creative music/DIY scene and one of the most exciting groups to keep tabs on in the Northwest. They’ve developed a singular musical voice grounded in melody and explosive improvisations—marking off their unique microcosmic territory in “post-jazz/jazz-not jazz” circles, ala comparable bands like The Bad Plus, The Claudia Quintet, Happy Apple, Wayne Horvitz, Janel & Anthony, etc.

The members of the quintet - Reed Wallsmith on alto saxophone, Joe Cunningham on tenor saxophone, Rebecca Sanborn on keyboards, Keith Brush on double bass, Ji Tanzer on drums - bring a wide array of various musical experiences to their group-centered aesthetic. The band take an evolutionary step forward on their fourth full-length release.

Swim is a departure from Blue Cranes' previous, and in some ways simpler, albums. More than half of the album incorporates arrangements for a string trio, and other tracks include other musical guests - cementing the group's love affair with a lush sonic palette.

Steered dutifully by producer Nate Query of The Decemberists, it is a window into the emotional space of a group struggling with and celebrating the ephemeralness of life. The sounds on Swim, both churning and calming, will please fans of adventurous jazz and avant-garde new music and mark the ripening moment of a band who have been working towards this moment for years.

"One of Portland's brightest lights." - Downbeat

"Says more than most singer-songwriters—without any words at all." - Willamette Week

"A truly unconventional approach to improvised music that puts other third-streamers to shame" - WNYC

"A strong focus on ensemble playing over individual virtusity" - Dave King (The Bad Plus)