Ars Nova Workshop, the leading jazz and new-music presenter in Philadelphia, launched a stylish new website today. It’s content-rich, as these things go: blog, archives, audio. And I’m struck by how effectively this design highlights the scope of the organization, an independent nonprofit now entering its 10th season.
I claim no objectivity here: Ars Nova founder Mark Christman was a groomsman in my wedding. (The brooding image above ran as part of a recent piece by David Adler, in the Philadelphia Weekly.) Mark’s obsessive seriousness about the music is what fuels the machine. In recent years I’ve heard about many more of his shows than I had the opportunity to attend. But I was there for the first one: Chris Speed’s yeahNO, at the Plays & Players Theater. When I heard last week’s sad news about Joe Maneri, my thoughts quickly turned to an Ars Nova show from a few years back, featuring Joe and his son Mat.
Ars Nova’s fall season kicks off next Friday with the Mary Halvorson Quintet, whom I’ve covered here. Scan the calendar and you’ll notice a good number of events worth traveling to see: a Don Cherry composer portrait, for starters, and a series called “Anti-Jazz: The New Thing Revisited” (with the Sun Ra Arkestra, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Bill Dixon with the Exploding Star Orchestra). In the interest of full disclosure and, yes, self-promotion: I’ll be taking part in a Q&A preceding this Tim Berne event in December.
Here are photos from this year’s Newport festival (that’s Jen Hope, Mark’s better half, in the middle) and last year’s NFL playoffs (we’re on my couch watching his Eagles steal victory from my Giants).