FAMILY TREE – STREET SCENES
The Latest Update
Artwork by Miho Morita (Photo by Pamela Wong/BKLYNER)
The second collaborative workshop was held summer 2017 at Mirror Tea House in Brooklyn, a cafe and art space run by our visual artist Miho Morita and musician/artist Fumio Tashiro. Josie, Miho and I met to explore further the themes Earth, Axis, Swing and Disperse as related to the performance of the commissions. Also it has been important to meet and finalize scheduling. We will be filming some of the art and movement sections at Mirror Tree House, as Union Street in Brooklyn has proven to be a convenient meeting place and the space offers introspective ambience with a creative aesthetic.
Commissions, first workshop
Thank you to the New Music Community for your support! Our first workshop with Visual Artist Miho, Choreographer Josie and composers Laura and Jeff was held at Sanctuary Studios, working with light and gravity projecting visuals onto Josie exploring aerial movement. Our rhythmic and visual collaboration aesthetics are based on the four properties:
The project Family Tree premieres an extended new work by composers Jeff “Tain” Watts and Laura Watts for the ensemble Watts Family Reunion, to be recorded during a live studio session, open to the local Easton PA community. The premiere with visual art and dance collaboration will be filmed and live streamed. In recognition that audience and artist are equally a part of the equation and elevation of live art, the vibrant atmosphere and unique performance will be captured in the moment of creation during the open session with a studio audience.
The program Street Scenes will depict an evolutionary tale of human movement through dance, art and music. Early creative compositional focus is on a shift in human directions from early nomadic cultures following nature to city dwellers walking paved streets to asylum seekers escaping human destruction. This context will aim to be visually depicted through dance portraits inspired by Africa, America, Brazil and Asia. With all forms strongly utilizing improvisation, the artistic vision has a moral compass for sonic euphony, not in a commercial sense, but for the performers own realization and grounding, as related to the relevant artistic dispositions.
Ensemble: Watts Family Reunion Band
Live visual artist – Video Art – projection – film portraits: Visual artist Miho Morita will perform video art projected and created live during the recording session, incorporating the musicians, fine art, electronic art and dancer.
Dancer and choreographer Josie Say will choreograph the portrayal of dance evolution and inversion through time. Styles will include adaptations of traditional African elements, aerial dance, swing/lindy hop, hip hop/breakdance and improvisational movement.
Watts Family Reunion is dedicated to creating and delivering performances worthy of the collaborative tradition of the African American musical art form. The diversity of personnel in this large ensemble of improvising musicians is a reflection of the career and journey of Jeff Watts. Each musician has a direct link to Watts throughout his 30 year career. Operating primarily without a conductor, the ensemble cues are played by various musicians or sections, often coming from the drums. Listening and interpreting a rhythmic/melodic cue are key components to the compositional flow. This also makes each performance unique, allowing for variations and adaptation, cultivating spontaneity in the musical moment.
This project is dedicated to the memory of our friend and band mate Lew Soloff (1944-2015)
Music composed by Jeff “Tain” Watts. Video directed by Mike Wilson (for Sulphur Bath Productions/Resobox). Claymation and artwork by Miho Morita. Produced by Laura Watts, Mike Wilson and Fumio Tashiro. From the CD “WATTS” by Jeff “Tain” Watts Feb 2009. Return of the Jitney Man was awarded Best Music Video in the Best Short Film (USA) Genre at the 2010 Summer New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. Feat. Terence Blanchard (trumpet), Branford Marsalis (tenor sax), Christian McBride (bass) and Jeff “Tain” Watts (drums).
Start and End Dates
03/04/2016 — 03/04/2018