Conceived for twin pianos, live electronics, and voice, this exhilarating sonic exploration led by Jace Clayton, a.k.a. DJ /rupture, brings fresh insight to the artistic legacy of Julius Eastman – the mercurial gay African American composer who mixed canny minimalist innovation with head-on political provocation.
The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner is built around new arrangements of Evil Nigger (1979) and Gay Guerrilla (1980), two of Eastman's most important, if rarely performed, piano compositions. As Clayton uses his own custom-designed 'Sufi Plug Ins' software to live-process the pianos of David Friend and Emily Manzo, he also intersperses musical vignettes – performed by neo-Sufi vocalist Arooj Aftab – to lend context and nuance to the composer's saga, which was cut short in 1990 at age 49.
The Julius Eastman Memorial Dinner has been performed at Bang on a Can Marathon, MoMA PS1,
Liquid Music at St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Art Center, University of Texas Austin, REDCAT, and several other venues. In 2013 New Amsterdam Records released a critically acclaimed album version of the project.
Jace Clayton, concept, arrangement, electronics
Arooj Aftab, vocals
David Friend, piano
Emily Manzo, piano
Jace Clayton is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice has evolved out of his work as a DJ, built around core concerns for how sound, technology use, memory, and public space interact, with an emphasis on the global South. Performing as DJ /rupture, Clayton has toured internationally, DJed in a band with Norah Jones, and was turntable soloist with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra. Clayton has received a a 2012 Foundation for Contemporary Arts artist grant and a 2013 Creative Capital performing arts grant.
David Friend is dedicated to ensuring the continued relevance of the art of the piano in contemporary culture. As a champion of new and experimental music, he has performed at top venues including Carnegie Hall, Royal Festival Hall (London), and the Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid). Friend has worked with the preeminent composers of our time (Steve Reich, David Lang, Charles Wuorinen). As a soloist, he presents programs that seek to revitalize the experience of a piano recital for the 21st century.
Emily Manzo is a pianist, songwriter and vocalist that Time Out New York considers “a uniquely protean artist who makes several scenes move.” Emily has performed throughout the U.S and Europe in concerts and festivals of chamber music, experimental music and rock music. She has premiered the works of John Luther Adams, Kyle Gann, Susie Ibarra, and Jessica Pavone, among others. Manzo performs regularly as a classical solo and chamber musician, as well as with her group, Christy & Emily. C&E has releases on The Social Registry (US), Big Print (UK) and Klangbad Records.
Vocalist Arooj Aftab innovates off classical Pakistani, Sufi & pre-partition South Asian music, creating original compositions honoring ancestral roots,for a sound that is fresh, graceful, and musically complex. Paying homage to classical sufi legends such as Abida Parveen and Reshma; neo-soul and jazz icons such as Sade and Ella Fitzgerald; and contemporary world musicians such as Marisa Monte, Arooj presents an original sound embraced by young and old, South Asian and beyond. Originally from Pakistan, Arooj moved to the U.S. in 2005 and now lives and works in New York City.
“Jace Clayton is a thoughtful pipeline for music from countless distance and obscure outposts.” The New York Times
“You won't find another musician as agile and reckless as DJ /rupture.” – Mary Anne Hobbes, BBC Radio 1
“This is a difficult, self-annihilating temperament to pay proper tribute to. On The Julius Eastman Memory Depot, Jace Clayton—better and more-often known as DJ/rupture —goes about it exactly the right way. . . The result honors the intentions behind Eastman's trickster spirit to the point that Clayton and Eastman seem very much to be making this music together in real time” - Jayson Greene, Pitchfork
“Mr. Clayton's most elegant and restrained [album] to date." – Andy Beta, The Wall Street Journal
“This sleek new album will advance [Eastman's] cause with an eclectic young audience.” – Russell Platt, The New Yorker
“The way Clayton refracts, shatters, and smears the chiming, pounding piano complements the compositions and helps clarify the rigorous contrapuntal relationships among their elements." – Peter Margasak, The Chicago Reader
"A captivating project that constitutes a powerful homage by one bold figure to another." – Ron Schepper, Textura
“Throughout, Clayton’s laptop treatments are subtle, deft, and painterly. Sometimes assertive, never intrusive. He never takes the music away from the pianists, or from Eastman, the original composer. Instead of thinking, “Oh, this must be one of those electronic detours,” you realize you’ve simply gone somewhere else and returned.” - Pamela Espeland, St. Paul concert review, Bebopified
Territory: Europe → Remco Schuurbiers.
Now booking for 2018 tour and beyond.