By Carolyn Darr, Daily Arts Writer
Published October 14, 2014
An internationally renowned festival will begin in Kerrytown this week on Wednesday. Celebrating its 18th year, Edgefest is a four-day event at the Kerrytown Concert House with other individual concerts held in venues around Ann Arbor.
October 15 to 18
Kerrytown Concert House and other venues around Ann Arbor and Detroit
Edgefest was originally the brainchild of jazz music lover Dave Lynch, who served as the fest’s first artistic director. Over the years, he brought some of his favorite musicians from the downtown New York music scene to the Concert House to showcase their cutting-edge pieces. In its first year, the festival was a just one day with only a few performers and almost no outside sponsorship. After ten years, it had expanded to an event that spanned four days, and this year boasts over sixteen different acts.
After a decade of featuring a variety of music, the curators of Edgefest decided to incorporate themes to better select the pieces to be showcased. After much deliberation, this year’s theme — Bass — was chosen. Deanna Relyea, founder of the Kerrytown Concert House, and Lynne Aspenes, Executive Director, hand picked some of the acts to go with the bass theme, but many artists volunteered to play at such a prestigious event.
“Well, it’s very organic in a way, because (the artists) know us,” Relyea said. “Edgefest quickly became a beacon for these musicians in the Midwest and they would use us on their tours.”
One of those artists, William Parker, is doing a workshop for kids at Scarlet Middle School. These young musicians, along with many of the artists playing Edgefest, will join together for a parade on Saturday at noon. They will march together through the streets of Kerrytown, showcasing their musical talent.
Along with a vast number of great bassists, including Mark Helias who will be playing solo as well as in a duo with Mark Dresser as the Marks Brothers, students from the University will be featured at Edgefest. On Saturday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, the UM Creative Arts Orchestra, directed by Mark Kirschenman, will join forces with all Edgefest artists to create a concert of works for multiple basses. This will be a take off of the “Deep Listening” routines recently undertaken by Dresser at bass conventions. These routines involve using the internet to hook up to bass players around the world and create a huge group collaborative piece. In the same vein, the “Body of Basses” at St. Andrew’s will incorporate the same innovative group dynamics to create improvised pieces.
“It’s truly a festival of music on the edge with artists who are continually striving to movie their disciplines into new territories,” Aspenes said. “Music, at the edge.”