Damon Smith studied double bass with Lisle Ellis and has had lessons with Bertram Turezky, Joëlle Leandré, John Lindberg, Mark Dresser and others. Damon’s explorations into the sonic palette of the double bass have resulted in a personal, flexible improvisational language based in the American jazz avant-garde movement and European non-idiomatic free improvisation. Visual art, film and dance heavily influence his music, as evidenced by his CAMH performance of Ben Patterson’s Variations for Double Bass, collaborations with director Werner Herzog on soundtracks for Grizzly Man and Encounters at the End of the World, and an early performance with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Damon has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including: Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra’s Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Roscoe Mitchell, Michael Pisaro, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald. After many years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and six great years in Houston, Texas working regularly with Alvin Fielder, Sandy Ewen, David Dove & Chris Cogburn. Damon moved to the Boston area in the fall of 2016 and began working with Jeb Bishop, Joe McPhee and Ra-Kalam Bob Moses and many others. Damon has run Balance Point Acoustics record label since 2001, releasing music focusing on transatlantic collaborations between US and European musicians.
Bhob Rainey is an award-winning composer / performer, saxophonist, and sound designer. In the 1990s and early 2000s, he was instrumental in defining the “lowercase” or “EAI” movement in non-idiomatic improvisation, exemplified by his work with trumpeter Greg Kelley in Nmperign. In 2000 he founded The BSC, an improvising large ensemble, in which he developed techniques for an improvisational discipline that were eventually outlined in his 2011 publication, Manual. He has performed globally and collaborated with numerous improvisers of both the (then) current and previous generations, including Axel Dörner, Andrea Neumann, Günter Müller, Michel Doneda, Lê Quan Ninh, and many others.
Since the mid-2000s, Rainey has been creating electroacoustic and algorithmic works, often in cross-disciplinary collaborations. He has been a regular collaborator with theater company New Paradise Laboratories, composing the music and sound design for The Adults (2014) and O Monsters (2016). Recently, he composed, designed, installed, and performed the music in JungWoong Kim’s site specific dance piece, SaltSoul (2016).
Rainey was awarded the Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2013, and in 2014 he received a Subito grant from the American Composers Forum to complete a multimedia project with filmmaker Catherine Pancake. Among other things, he is currently working on a third project with New Paradise Laboratories and is creating a series of generative, sometimes interactive, music apps. To date, Rainey has over 30 releases as a leader or co-leader.
Ben Bennett is an improvising percussionist who plays drums, membranes, and self-made instruments, which are combined with each other in various mutable arrangements, and played by striking, friction, breath, and other techniques. Although his instrument and music could both be described as unorthodox, they retain the essence of the modern drumset, and are a distillation of diverse musical traditions. He has toured North America and Europe, playing with different groups, ad-hoc collaborations, and solo.
June Bender is a violinist from Philadelphia. June performs many styles of music including Irish fiddle, tango, swing jazz, and freely improvised music. She founded the group Unseen Rain, for which she writes original music. June performs regularly in Philadelphia with Arcana New Music Ensemble, Prometheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Belleville Quartet.
Erica Corbo is a professional musician and performance artist native to the Philadelphia area. Implementing her talents mainly on the piano, she also performs as a flutist, vocalist, and dancer. Her work spans the disciplines of jazz, free improv, and original music. Believing in music as a universal language, Erica approaches her playing from a strong melodic standpoint, while leaving room for experimentation with dissonance and atonality. Extensive knowledge of the Alexander Technique empowers her playing with a physical balance and grace.