Returning to Big Ears for the first time in more than a decade, Evan Ziporyn will perform both solo and multitracked clarinet and bass clarinet interpretations of works by Jimi Hendrix, Philip Glass, Maurice White, Joni Mitchell, Shuggie Otis, Jaco Pastorius, Walter Becker, Donald Fagen, and others.
The program centers on two monumental works from the late sixties: Philip Glass’s long-lost Best Out of Three for three clarinets—here in its first performance in more than half a century—and Ziporyn’s stunning solo bass clarinet version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Woodstock Improvisation.” Both pieces were battering rams that broke down the walls between genres. Glass’s 1968 work, recently found in his archives, is an essential missing link between his early period and Music in Twelve Parts, while Hendrix’s 1969 Woodstock performance was an explosive amalgamation of blues, R&B, rock, noise, and pure improvisation.
The concert will also highlight Pop Channel (2022, Islandia Music), Ziporyn’s first solo clarinet album since This Is Not a Clarinet in 2001. The album radically reimagines fifty years of American popular music, from The Association and Blues Image to Steely Dan and Earth Wind & Fire. Ziporyn combines his singular approach to the clarinet with the arranging acumen he brought to Bowie Cello Symphonic: Blackstar, his 2020 collaboration with Maya Beiser.