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Free Jazz at the Sanctuary

Freedom through collective improvisation

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Michael Bisio’s Accortet Launches Free Jazz at the Sanctuary!

Posted on June 25, 2017 by mediasanctuary

We launched Free Jazz at the Sanctuary on May 20, 2017 with Michael Bisio’s Accortet.

Chronicling 30+ years of acclaimed Troy-native bassist Michael Bisio’s life as a composer in song form and otherwise, his Accortet balances freedom and swing in a euphorically compelling quartet.

Named after its unusual instrumentation, Accortet is the eponymous debut of a group led by renowned contrabassist Michael Bisio, featuring the unique frontline of accordion and sax, played by Art Bailey and Adam Seigel, respectively, with Michael Wimberly manning the drums.

We’ll be posting concert videos shortly!


This eight-part series of professionally audio and video recorded live jazz performances will feature some of the world’s most talented improvisers creating a wide spectrum of music in the genre broadly known as free jazz.  These uncompromising and inventive musicians build new languages and expressive forms, with an aesthetic and conceptual edge that challenges listeners to look at the world anew. Like freedom itself, free jazz as a term defies definition. This music celebrates the individual voice and collective action—and, like anyone exploring the limits of freedom, the musicians who play it sometimes find themselves on the edge of what is commercially, culturally and politically acceptable. But they endure… and their quest continues!

The concerts will be part of the ongoing presentations of creative music  at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY (about 2.5 hours upriver from NYC in the NY Capital Region).  We program spring and fall seasons at our indoor venue, an historic church refurbished into a media center equipped with multi-camera HD video and 24 track digital audio production facilities, a Baldwin concert grand piano (that started life in NYC at Carnegie Hall), and a performance venue that holds an audience of about 200.  Our outdoor venue, Freedom Square (pictured above), holds thousands and is also wired for video and audio production.

The artists scheduled so far include Michael Bisio (who will be performing with his Accortet on May 20 as part of our Spring 2017 season), Fay Victor, Mary Halvorson, Jason Hwang, Taylor Ho Bynum and Ras Moshe.  Dates will be confirmed shortly before the Summer  2017, Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 seasons.

Our programming at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, which was founded in 2005, includes speakers, films and music (mostly jazz and world).  In 2007 we received a grant of $100,000 from the NY State Music Fund to produce a thirteen-part television series featuring artists prominent in the NYC jazz scene who are little-known outside.  The shows were taped before a live audience and post-produced into hour-long shows for DVD distribution and individual pieces for the Internet.  The most successful of these in terms of metrics is Amiri Baraka and Rob Brown performing “Somebody Blew Up America”which has accumulated 175,000 views on YouTube so far, in addition to cablecasts on television stations around the country and DVD sales from stage and via the Downtown Music Gallery in NYC and other specialty retailers.  We are modeling our New Music USA proposal on the success of this earlier one, albeit more focused on online distribution with less emphasis on a physical product given the evolution of the media ecosystem over the past decade.

We also operate a radio station, WOOC 105.3 FM, which will broadcast the concerts live and then package them into programs for distribution to public radio stations around the country.

The intended impact of this project, like the last, is to provide employment opportunities for talented artists working outside the mainstream while creating media products  to help promote them and their work more widely.  The listening public, of course, benefits most of all!

Project Media

Amiri Baraka and Rob Brown “Somebody Blew Up America”
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Features: mediasanctuary

The late poet icon and political activist Amiri Baraka performed with Rob Brown, an eloquent and versatile saxophonist with a deep knowledge of jazz, in a reading from his book “Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems.”

This production is part of a 13-part series of performance videos featuring some of the world’s most talented improvisers, supported by the NY State Music Fund. Executive producer was Steve Pierce. This program was recorded live on February 21, 2009 at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy NY.

Matthew Shipp, Michael Bisio, Whit Dickey “Root of Things”
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The title cut of the release “Root of Things” by the Matthew Shipp Trio, recorded live at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy NY on March 15, 2014.

The concert marked the CD release of “Root of Things” as well as the inauguration of a concert grand piano recently donated by Kathy Bodily of the Inter Media Arts Center in Long Island.

The production team on this recording will be responsible for implementing the project proposed for New Music USA funding..

Mary Halvorson Quintet: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
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Mary Halvorson has performed at The Sanctuary for Independent Media on two occasions, once with The Thirteenth Assembly and once with the Weasel Walter Trio. Her music continues to evolve –we’re looking forward to bringing her back!

All compositions by Mary Halvorson.

“Love In Eight Colors” (No. 21)
“Hemorrhaging Smiles” (No. 25)

Producer: Patrick Jarenwattananon; Editors: Denise DeBelius, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Christopher Parks, Lauren Rock; photo by Ryan Smith/NPR

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Troy, New York

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Last update on June 25, 2017

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Troy, New York
MediaSanctuary owns, operates, and has offices in The Sanctuary for Independent Media, a century-old former church that has been re-purposed into a telecommunications production facility dedicated to community media arts. The Sanctuary for Independent Media is a place where community-engaged interdisciplinary artists experiment with aesthetic form and challenging content, with the overarching goal of shedding…

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