Ches Smith: Laugh Ash
“The nondescript term ‘drummer’ doesn’t get near the chemistry of earworm hooks, sharp-end jazz innovation and global-musical openness of New York percussionist/composer Ches Smith.” – The Guardian
California-born, New York-based drummer, percussionist and composer Ches Smith’s singular voice and adroit perspective have led to collaborations with many iconic performers,including Marc Ribot, Tim Berne, John Zorn, Mary Halvorson, Trevor Dunn,Secret Chiefs 3, and many others. Smith’s recent releases include Interpret It Well (2022), featuring legendary guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Craig Taborn and violist Mat Maneri; and Path of Seven Colors (2021) by We All Break, Smith’s project fusing boundary-stretching jazz and traditional Haitian Vodou music. He brings to Big Ears Festival his latest ensemble, Laugh Ash, in which the intricacies of chamber ensemble composition are morphed through a lens of low-fi hip hop, damaged electronics, and block structures. The group consists of a mix of players at the forefront of New York City’s new music and jazz scenes: vocalist Shara Lunon, flutist Anna Webber, clarinetist Oscar Noriega, tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, trumpeter Nate Wooley, violinist Jennifer Choi, violist Kyle Armbrust, cellist Michael Nicolas, and bassist/keyboardist Shahzad Ismaily – each one a singular voice, composer and/or bandleader in their own right. Their self-titled album is set to be released in February 2024.
Photography by: Bianca Claircidor