There are some textures, timbres and harmonies that can only be conveyed in a group of this size; the myriad voices build upon each other to create something that’s both monumental and fleeting. Formanek uses the vast ensemble to dramatize his compositions’ remarkable dissonances, angular harmonies and passages of collective meditation. His writing draws from across the map of American music — from Ellingtonia to David Murray’s swinging, skronking big bands, to Carla Bley’s ensembles.
On Saturday, April 22, Formanek brings the full 19-piece Ensemble Kolossus to the Abraham Family Auditorium, on NYU’s D.C. campus, for the spring edition of CapitalBop’s Traveling Loft. Opening for this titanic outfit is fellow Baltimore bassist and bandleader Jeron White. With his combo Polarity, White’s compositions — like Formanek’s — suggest a search for new sonic and spiritual horizons, while also hinting at the tightness and groove of the DMV’s funk and soul tradition.
This engagement of Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus is made possible through the DC Special Presenters Initiative program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
CapitalBop’s Traveling Loft series is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.