When it comes to abstract art, it can be a challenge to escape figurative norms, storytelling, and programmatic signposts. After all, the purity of material, whether visual, sonic, or textual, is a heavy thing to take on its own. Navigating abstraction, or “going to the center” as the late trumpeter Bill Dixon said, requires a massive amount of commitment. But sometimes a guide into these realms is necessary, and tubaist Ben Stapp is not afraid to give equal heft to narrative association and complex free interplay. An international presence since 2007, Stapp’s work thus far has culminated in a dystopian psychological opera, Myrrha’s Red Book. Stapp has also written a science fiction novel, and often draws imagery from the worlds that occupy his imagination: spiritual, transcendent, yet regularly beset by unnerving and unseating forces.
In this improvised setting, thematics were provided to guitarist Joe Morris and cornetist Stephen Haynes, and the....... more