Polyorchard / ORTET
Polyorchard is dedicated to exploring the grey area between free jazz and modern classical music, an area rich for exploration, with tunnels leading in virtually any direction one can imagine. Polyorchard fluctuates between very small ensembles, duos like the low end 1+1 iteration that existed deep in the American desert, to large ensembles spilling off stages in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
Since Polyorchard’s inception in late 2012, the ensemble has performed spontaneous compositions, works by members of the group, and works by composers such as Alan Courtis, Terry Riley, Alvin Curran, Eva-Maria Houben, Jacques Demierre, Magnus Granberg, Jackson Mac Low, John Zorn, and many more. Polyorchard has collaborated with a diverse array of artists including Japanese noise legend Merzbow and ensemBle baBel from Switzerland. Polyorchard has also implemented a program to commission new works specifically for improvising ensembles and has so far premiered works by Thomas Dempster, Andrew Weathers, D. Edward Davis, Will Redman, with more new pieces to come in the next few years. Polyorchard has performed on bills alongside Tashi Dorji, Dougie Bowne, Ken Vandermark, Nate Wooley, and many more.
For the April 2019 tour, Polyorchard will be in the 1+1 formation featuring the duo of Jeb Bishop on trombone and David Menestres on double bass. These two, along with other musicians, can be heard on the first three Polyorchard albums: Color Theory in Black & White (2015), Red October (2017), and sextet-quintet (2018), all available from Out & Gone Music.
“[Polyorchard’s] sole constant member is David Menestres, a bassist and composer of exceptional skill and vision, and its ranks ebb and swell as the music dictates. Whether large or small, Polyorchard deftly straddles contemporary classical’s pith and free jazz’s vinegar, using silence and tension to fuel momentum.” – Patrick Wall, Free Times (December 19, 2018)
“…the tension of silence fuels the momentum that seems to drive each set forward.” -Lee Rice Epstein, FreeJazzBlog(September 29, 2018)
“…[Polyorchard] displays a bold commitment to the practice, not the genre, of improvisation. The distinction is a subtle but crucial one. Where many free improvisation performances can fall into a predictable dynamic pattern of peaks and valleys, Polyorchard crafts intricate forms with clear but idiosyncratic arcs. Each extempore arrangement is packed with surprise… new aspects emerge on every listen, the band’s ability to create spontaneous structure consistently fascinating, and more than a little befuddling.” -Matt Wuethrich, Dusted(October 24, 2017)
“Combining elements of free jazz, classical music, and whatever the hell else they feel like, Polyorchard is a free-form experimental music collective that challenges—and often outright transcends—boundaries of genre and style.” -Allison Hussey, Indy Week (March 15, 2017)
“The revolving, motley assortment of classical, jazz and rock musicians have played practically every kind of music in every possible configuration in almost every Triangle venue, emerging as a vital and wonderfully vexing force of the area’s sonic fringes.” -Chris Vitiello, IndyWeek (May 20, 2015)
“…an ensemble of Justice League proportions…” -Will Robin, IndyWeek (December 30, 2013)