June 19: Thollem McDonas | André St. James | Tim DuRoche at Piano Fort

Thollem McDonas with André St. James and Tim DuRoche

Wednesday, June 19, 8 pm
Piano Fort
1715 SE Spokane Street (Sellwood)
$10 cover

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to hear my dear friend, improvisational pianist Thollem McDonas as he joins forces with myself on drums and the mighty Andre St. James (bass) for an evening of fiery and beautiful improvised music.


Thollem McDonas (b. 1967, US) is a pianist, composer, improviser and teacher. He was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of Irish and Cherokee descent. At the age of five, he began studying the keyboard repertoire from the medieval to the 20th century and studied with many notable teachers including Aiko Onishi and Lou Harrison. He is currently touring perpetually as a soloist, in collaboration with many other individuals and groups, as well as leading large ensemble free improvisation/collaboration workshops as well as master classes.Thollem has been commissioned by The Limón Dance Company for a large-scale piece in commemoration of their 50th year anniversary.  In 2008, he was invited to perform the late works of Claude Debussy on the piano on which they were written with master contrabassist Stefano Scodanibbio.He was invited by Pauline Oliveros to contribute an essay to An Anthology of Essays On Deep Listening (May, 2012).  “Deep Listening and the Peripatetic Life of an Improvising Musician” was written specifically for this collection.

As a pianist, Thollem has performed piano concertos with symphonies, played in West African drumming troupes, Javanese gamelan ensembles, punk bands, free improv ensembles, and regularly collaborates as a comproviser for film and modern dance.Musical collaborators include: William Parker, Susie Ibarra, Alex Cline, Amy Denio, Faruq Z. Bey, Jad Fair, John Butcher, Ernesto Martinez, Eduardo Gonzales, LaDonna Smith, Scott Looney, Gino Robair, Jon Raskin,  Marco Eneidi, Tim DuRoche, Jack Wright, Henry Kaiser, Liz Albee, Scott Amendola, Carlos Zingaro, Daniel Carter, Federico Ughi, George Cartwright, Davu Seru, Jacopo Andreini, Arrington De Dionyso,  Theresa Wong, Vinny Golia, Glenn Kotche, Rent Romus, Nels Cline,  and Hafez Modirzadeh, among many many others. Thollem’s also created music for films by Martha Colburn, Matthew Barney, and Peter Sparling, among others.

Bassist Andre St. James is a cornerstone of the rich, thriving Pacific Northwest jazz scene and works regularly with his own ensemble, Mel Brown, The Kin Trio, Gordon Lee, Renato Caranto, and many others. Over the last three decades, St. James has worked with an astonishing who’s who of modern jazz including giants like Sonny Rollins, the Harold Land-Blue Mitchell Quintet, Andrew Hill trio and large bands, Bobby Hutcherson, Charlie Rouse, Pharoah Sanders, James Moody, Alan Shorter, Nancy King, and George Cables. St. James’ strong sense of lyricism, buoyancy and surging momentum, as well as a deep respect for both tradition and innovation, have taken him to both ends of the jazz spectrum-from torch songs and two-beat to bop and beyond. He has enjoyed freewheeling, open-ended avant-garde combustion-with keepers of the flame like Judy Silvano/Cathi Walkup/Andrea Wolper, Ron Steen, Joe Pass, Kai Winding, Herb Ellis, Greta Matassa, and Houston Person as well as trailblazers like Julius Hemphill, Marty Ehrlich, Eugene Chadbourne, Michael White, India Cooke, Kash Killion, Mal Waldron, and Sun Ra, to name a handful.

Tim DuRoche (drums) works regularly with the collective ensemble Battle Hymns & Gardens and The Kin Trio, and has logged in extensive time with an array of US and European avant-garde jazz innovators, including Burton Greene, Dominic Duval, Matana Roberts, Paul Plimley-Lisle Ellis, Wally Shoup, Gust Burns, Bert Wilson, Urs Leimgruber, Jon Raskin,  Perry Robinson, Jack Wright, Doug Theriault,  Marco Eneidi, Didier Petit, and Frank Gratkowski, among others. Over the last decade he’s composed or performed sound/music for a number of dance artists, including Tere Mathern, Linda K. Johnson,  Cydney Wilkes, Mary Oslund, and BodyVox among others. Tim’s installation and public art work include The Hidden Life of Bridges, a temporary sound-video project that turned two of Portland’s iconic bridges into a radio and  a cinema, developed in collaboration with media artist Ed Purver,  as part of PICA’s 2011 TBA Festival. Tim is the host of “The New Thing,” a  weekly radio jazz radio show  on KMHD 89.1 FM and is the author of the book Occasional Jazz Conjectures (Durable Goods).