The music of cellist Stephen Katz fuses the kinetic energy of contemporary dance grooves with an unerring instinct for the listener's yearning to be transported beyond the concert hall. One of the new breed of solo performers who uses live looping electronics to generate full ensemble textures from a single instrument, Katz has distinguished himself as a composer of seamlessly integrated pieces that unfold layer-by-layer in concert.
All of the music on EARTHDANCE was improvised in response to dancers who attended movement jams at Earthdance Workshop and Retreat Center in Plainfield, Massachusetts. The first four tracks were recorded at the November 17, 2002 Monthly Movement Improv Jam in the Dance Barn. Tracks five to ten were recorded on the evening of December 31, 2002 at the New Years Jam in the Umbrella Dance Studio.
"The layered effect of cello, voice and hand percussion is achieved with the help of a Lexicon JamMan, which I control with foot pedals. The JamMan allows me to record short phrases while playing and then add or play along with them. The dancers and I can hear the results of this layering through speakers. On each occasion I also made a live, stereo recording of the complete improvisation.
Later I transferred the live recordings to a Pro Tools digital editing system where I made minimal changes to the order and cross-faded a few tracks. The only additions to the mix occur in track four, which I layered with surf sounds and used in the score for In Medias Res, a multi-media performance by Beth Fairservis."
With a bow and fingers as light as feathers Stephen Katz makes a cello punctuate spoken lines, arias and choruses to bring out meanings you might not have suspected were there.
-New York Times
Stephen Katz makes some remarkably innovative music with the cello. While revering its traditions, he is on the cutting edge of liberating the instrument from being locked into the printed page. His composition Eight Days of Eve (on Stephen's Looking Up CD) is the most beautiful piece of live, looped music I have ever heard.
-Paul Winter, Grammy Award winner (x5)
Stephen Katz is a cellist, guitarist, composer and teacher. He premiered his cello compositions at Carnegie Recital Hall in 2001 and frequently performs with the Paul Winter Consort. He has been a pioneer in the art of what he calls Counterpoint Strumming techniques for the cello and continues to develop a repertoire of deeply rhythmic compositions which incorporate melody and accompaniment into a single, idiomatic cello part. Stephen's solo recording First Person Singular features his songwriting, singing and guitar playing in addition to the cello, and was hailed by Connecticut Songsmith as "an incredible debut album by a new and important artist". His recent releases (Looking Up, Earthdance, and Works For Dance And Theater) feature his looped compositions and improvisations. He is composer and music director of Wire Monkey Dance, has collaborated and performed with members of Pilobolus Dance Company, and has been a Visiting Artist at Amherst College. As a co-founder of the cello/movement/theater company Seen & Heard with the late dancer/monologist BJ Goodwin, Stephen literally danced with the cello while accompanying the dramas they played out on stage. A native of San Francisco, Stephen received a Master of Music degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and lives in Haydenville, Massachusetts. Visit stephenkatzmusic.com!
Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin, JS Bach, Steve Reich, Todd Rundgren, Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, Eberhard Weber, Ghazal, Hamza El Din, Tuck Andres.