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Sat, Jul 06


Headlong Dance Theatre

* The Great Blue Heron w. Yulsman/Wenc Duo

Mike Watsun, student of Maestro Marshall Allen, is presenting his big band Great Blue Heron, replete with winds, drums, and the rumblings of the earth. Openings is Sam Wenc and Sam Yulsman duo Curated by Jack Braunstein

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* The Great Blue Heron w. Yulsman/Wenc Duo
* The Great Blue Heron w. Yulsman/Wenc Duo

Time & Location

Jul 06, 2024, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Headlong Dance Theatre , 1170 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19146, USA

About the event

$10-20 at the door, venmo and cash accepted. 7:30 doors. 8pm Show. 

No one turned away for lack of funds. 

Join us for a very special performance from The Great Blue Heron, a collective within Philadelphia's improvised music scene led by Watson (bass clarinet), student of Marshall Allen. Fresh off his epic performance on stage with the Sun Ra Arkestra at Marshall’s 100th birthday celebration at Union Transfer a few weeks ago, Watson joins the People’s Music Supply for a blow-out birthday celebration of his own featuring an outrageously stacked 15-piece ensemble of killer improvisors from Philly and beyond! This big band will improvise collectively and work with Wat’s arrangements that will be make their North American debut at this show in South Philly! “As with the heron itself, the music strives for patience, timing, and grace. Yet searches for detail, and knows when to fly away.”

The Great Blue Heron’s one-night-only ensemble includes an unforgettable combination of players, including a 6-piece brass section including the legendary Shanyse Strickland and rising stars like Gabe Meyer and Deborah Smith, a double-drummer percussion section, and a special appearance from Elliot Levin on tenor sax. Sam Wenc and Sam Yulsman open the show with a pedal steel / piano set at 8pm sharp.

Bass Clarinet - Mike Watson

Clarinet - Jack Braunstein

Tenor Sax - Elliot Levin

Baritone Sax- Kyle Press

French Horn - Shanyse Strickland, Jessica Brown, Aaron Pond

Trombone - Connor Przybyszewski, Gabriel Meyer, Deborah Smith

Guitar -Diego Bedoya

Contrabass- Matt Engle

Drums - Julius Masri, Drew Subits

… 4 reeds, 3 french horns, 3 trombones, 2 drummers, 2 “Sam”s and a string section ! You can’t miss this, come on out !!

watson (b. 1985 in lenapehoking, turtle island) is a bass clarinetist and band-leader of the improvised music collective “the great blue heron”. trained by marshall allen (director of the sun ra arkestra) from 2014-2019, and a proud member of philadelphia’s improvised music scene since 2010, watson helped premier william parker’s “flowers in a stained glass window” in philadelphia in 2014. he is a member of heru shabaka ra's punk-avant-garde band “sirius juju” which played jamaaladeen tacuma’s “outsiders festival” in 2016 and 2018, and was selected to participate in the international sound art residency “residencia sao joao” in brazil in 2019. watson is featured on the brahja album “watermeloncholia” (2022), along with james brandon lewis, which was presented at the 2023 vision festival. in 2023, watson played with moor mother, luke stewart’s silt trio and the ben lamar gay ensemble at amsterdam’s bimhuis. On May 31 2024, the great blue heron played the conservatory of amsterdam."

Sam Yulsman (b. 1990) is a composer and pianist whose music spans a wide array of idioms. Yulsman’s music includes acoustic and electroacoustic works for soloists, chamber ensembles, jazz ensembles and improvisers, as well as fixed media pieces, installations, and collaborations with artists working across disciplines.

Sam Wenc is a composer, improviser, and interdisciplinary artist working with sound, text, performance and installation.

The Great Blue Heron is a collective within Philadelphia's improvised music scene led by Watson (bass clarinet), student of Marshall Alen. 

Event curation by Jack Braunstein

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