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C.I.A. TRIO In the Absence of... Elvis Presley!

WEDNESDAY, FEB 25 2015, 07:30 PM

"Elvis Never Left the Building" is the most recent recording of Peter Madsen’s Vorarlberg-based trio. In the latest installment of the ACFNY’s ‘In the Absence of…’ series, American pianist Peter Madsen, with bassist Andy McKee and the versatile and highly productive Austrian drummer Alfred Vogel, tackle the unlikely music of Elvis Presley in an evening of surprising improvisations and collaborative music-making.

C.I.A. (Collective of Improvising Artists) Trio
Peter Madsen, piano
Andy McKee, double bass
Alfred Vogel, drums


Peter Madsen was born in Racine, Wisconsin where he began his classical piano studies at the age of eight and double bass at the age of ten. At thirteen he became interested in jazz on both instruments and started to play professionally three years later. In 1978 he graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a degree in Music Education, after which he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota to concentrate on developing his jazz piano skills through intensive practice and a bursting schedule of gigs, composing and teaching.  In 1980 Peter moved to New York City. He got one of his many breaks when Stan Getz hired him to tour Europe and the U.S. in 1987. Since then Madsen has played with an array of great jazz musicians, performing extensively in Europe and Japan and recording over 70 CD'S with traditionalists like Benny Golson and Stanley Turrentine, modernists such as Joe Lovano and Kenny Garrett as well as funk masters like Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker. Peter has written over 250 compositions of which more than 60 have been recorded.

In 1993 Peter released his fist CD as a leader for Minor Music, an independent label from Germany. Entitled Snuggling Snake's it features ten of his compositions, played by Anthony Cox, Lewis Nash, Chris Potter, Toninho Horta and Rudi Berger. He is also a member of the cooperative trio Three of a Kind that has toured extensively with the great Fred Wesley. With Dwayne Dolphin on bass, and Bruce Cox on drums they released their first CD in 1994 entitled Three of a Kind, their second in 1995 with special guest Stanley Turrentine entitled Three of a Kind Meets Mr. T and their third with special guest Benny Golson in 1997 entitled Drip Some Grease, all released on Minor Music. For the past ten years Peter has had a duo with Austrian bass virtuoso Peter Herbert performing entirely original compositions and teaching workshops around Europe and Japan. Known as Peter and Peter they have two CDs available on the Austrian POA label. The first is called Darkness Pursues the Butterfly and the second Puppets Dance. A CD Peter recorded with bassist Mario Pavone and drummer Matt Wilson called Nu Trio - Remembering Thomas was chosen as the best traditional jazz CD in 2000 by the Association of Independent Recording Artists. Peter has just released his first solo piano CD entitled Sphere Essence - Another Side of Monk and is available on the Playscape Recordings label. Since 1999 Peter has been writing articles for his own monthly column entitled Wide Open Jazz and Beyond at the award winning web site allaboutjazz.com. Peter is now living part-time in New York and part-time in Vorarlberg, Austria. He continues to perform worldwide as well as teaching master classes, workshops and private students.

The drummer and percussionist Alfred Vogel (born in Vorarlberg, 1972) is often referred to as one of the most productive figures in the Austrian jazz scene. However, his sound is far too complex and diverse to be limited to only one genre.  Alfred Vogel takes a distanced view of jazz in general as well as of his own history of playing the drums for over thirty years to create a new, universal approach to jazz sounds. Vogel also runs his very own label Boomslang, is an organizer of the international "Bezau Beatz" Festival, which takes place annually in Austria's westernmost province, Vorarlberg, and was nominated for the 2013 BMW World Jazz Award.

Whether you are talking about Andy McKee’s bass playing or his way of moving through life, three words say it – strength, passion and artistry. Having performed for twenty-five years with many jazz greats, his reputation stretches from his home base of New York, across the United States, to Europe and Japan. The deep resonance of Andy’s sound adds unmistakable dimension to every band he plays in. His impeccable time, musicianship and capacity for rhythmic invention were forged over years of in-the-trenches experience with many legendary jazz masters.

Challenges Andy has taken on outside jazz include playing for film scores, performance art pieces, neo-classical European composers and Broadway orchestras. His teaching takes him to Europe each summer where he puts his French and Italian to work with students in master classes and workshops. At the New School in New York City the rest of the year, Andy teaches the Mingus repertory as well as ensembles and individual bass students. He also teaches privately from his home in Montclair, NJ. Andy brings almost as much subtlety, drive and inventiveness to the kitchen as he does to the bandstand — his “chops”in the kitchen have earned him a reputation as the best bass-playing cook on the road.

ABOUT THE SERIES —curated by Christopher Zimmerman

The series In the Absence of… creates a framework in which creative musicians conceptualize and perform a program exploring a particular composer’s sound world.  The series presents composer portraits with a twist—the twist being that none of the actual music by that composer is heard, or at least not in the way that the composer intended.  This is the challenge:  how to evoke presence within absence?  How can we explore a past sound world from today’s perspective?  What does it mean to enter and explore creatively a previous period in the history of music (and re-arrange the furniture, so to speak)?  Approaching this situation differently (through re-imagination, suggestion, reference, improvisation, arranging, quotation, influence, deconstruction / reconstruction…), each musician on the series opens the possibility of probing the past from today’s perspective, of tinkering with tradition, of listening with contemporary ears.


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