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Miles Davis' ‘On the Corner’ Featured at UNH on May 12

Release Date:
4/30/2013 12:00 AM

WEST HAVEN, CONN. -- Miles Davis' controversial 1972 album "On the Corner" will come alive at a concert at the University of New Haven on May 12 at 6 p.m.

The concert, which will take place in University Theater in Dodds Hall on the university’s main campus, 300 Boston Post Road, will feature musicians from around the New England area. There will be a pre-concert talk with the performers at 5:15pm

On the Corner poster, web

Critics, and jazz fans alike, panned Davis’ “On The Corner” at the time of its release. Over the past 15 years, however, the album has enjoyed a rebirth and has garnered the attention and admiration of musicians and producers working in genres outside of jazz.  In fact, the album has gained so much popularity in the recent past that it was re-mastered and re-released as a 6-CD deluxe box set in 2007.

A fusion of funk, minimalism, jazz, rock and almost punk in its starkness and attitude, "On the Corner" is arguably the most controversial album of Miles Davis' career, says Christopher Reba, assistant professor of music and sound recording at UNH. Davis died in 1991.

This concert will be a live re-imagining of the album. Grooves, patterns and core musical material from the original recording will be used to create a basis for improvisation, and the five musicians on stage will rely heavily on the rhythm section as the driving force of the performance, Reba said.

The musicians, who used to play in a Buffalo, N.Y.-based experimental rock ensemble, "Bird With Strings," are being reunited for the performance. They are:

Otto Muller, musician 

Otto Muller, a composer, educator and performer from Vermont. His chamber works have been performed throughout the United States, Canada, Israel and Europe. As a pianist and accordionist, Muller has played in jazz combos, experimental rock bands, improvised theater ensembles, and vaudeville acts. He teaches music, aesthetics, and interdisciplinary art at Goddard College in Vermont.

Robert Phillips, musician 

Robert Phillips, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based American chamber and electroacoustic music composer/performer whose music integrates a diverse vocabulary of sound samples, multimedia tools and interrogative approaches to musical style.

Chris Reba, musician

Chris Reba, who plays bass. His research interests include human perception of sound and unconventional methods of communicating musical ideas. He has been a professional musician for over 15 years and has played with distinguished artists including Grammy Award- winning artists Sean and Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek and Larry Mitchell (solo artist and guitarist with Tracy Chapman). Reba was a founding member of the Open Music Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of artistic expression based on unconventional, experimental and graphical forms of communicating musical ideas. He has worked as a recording engineer, live sound technician, professional musician, composer, conductor and educator. He is a voting member of the Grammys’ Producers and Engineers wing.

Will Redman, musician

Will Redman is a composer, percussionist and educator from Baltimore. His music has been performed, broadcast and written about in the U.S. and abroad. His compositions employ confounding extensions and extrapolations of traditional music notation in order to elicit radical interpretation by the performers. Current ensembles include the avant rock/jazz group Microkingdom, the percussion quartet Umbilicus, and the chamber group The Compositions. He teaches privately and at Towson State University.

William Sack is a guitarist, sound sculpture artist, sound designer and engineer who teaches at Canisius College and is the technical director at the Hallwalls Media Arts Center in Buffalo, N.Y. HeBill has played with musicians such as Todd Whitman, Steve Backzkowski, Tatsuya Nakatani and others in the avant garde jazz and experimental music scenes. Bill was also a founding member of the early 1980's electronic band "Dark Day."

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 on the campus of Yale University in cooperation with Northeastern University, UNH moved to its current West Haven campus in 1960. The University operates a satellite campus in Tuscany, Italy, and offers programs at several locations throughout Connecticut and in New Mexico and California. UNH provides its students with a unique combination of a solid liberal arts education and real-world, hands-on career and research opportunities. The University enrolls approximately 6,400 students, including nearly 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates – the majority of whom reside in University housing. Through its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Tagliatela College of Engineering, and College of Lifelong & eLearning, UNH offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. UNH students have access to more than 50 study abroad programs worldwide and its student-athletes compete in 16 varsity sports in the NCAA Division II’s highly competitive Northeast-10 Conference.