David Fiuczynski Planet Microjam (USA):
David Fiuczynski - fretted and fretless guitars
Planet MicroJam is guitar maestro and master composer David Fiuczynski’s most complete statement in creating a true music to unite Eastern and Western music traditions.
Originally known as the funanbolic guitarist and founder of funk-jam band Screaming Headless Torsos, Fiuczynski has since investigated and developed the integration of microtonal canons and techniques with Western grooves. He has found inspiration in the work of classical composers and microtonal pioneers like Julian Carrillo, Alois Haba and Ivan Wyschnagradsky, as well as microtonal Turkish, Arabic and Chinese folk melodies.
Combining his ongoing interests in microtonality, ethnic folk melodies and Western groove, he mastered a vocabulary of notes that fall between the cracks, he’s also melding those elements in a Western improv/groove context. “I’m trying to be the Gauguin of fusion, to create a raw, powerful, and extremely colourful mix of Eastern and Western elements” says the artist.
While microtonal music is nothing new for non-tempered instruments like violin or various reed instruments, it is a fairly new phenomenon for guitar. And what Fiuczynski is pioneering with the use of his custom-made double-neck (fretless and fretted) axe, his quarter-tone guitar and his trusty whammy bar is nothing short of astonishing.
Fiuczynski shares his experiments in Berklee College of Music where he is a Professor and director of the Planet MicroJam Institute. Maestro aims to introduce students to Western classical and non-Western microtonal sources, mix these in a new jazz/groove chord-scale context with new beats, and create new musical language.
Fiuczynski is without a doubt one of the greatest guitarists in the world of jazz and rock today, both from a technical and a creative/compositional standpoint. Though born in the United States, his family moved to Germany when he was a child. He returned to the US to study at Hampshire College and later the prestigious New England Conservatory.
The guitarist is best known as the leader of Screaming Headless Torsos, David Fiuczynski’s KiF and Hasidic New Wave. His instruments can be heard on more than 95 albums recorded with the world’s most ingenious musicians such as John Medeski, John Zorn, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Jack Walrath, Don Pullen, Billy Hart, Meshell Ndegeocello and Rudresh Mahanthappa.
Many of Fiuczynski’s albums have thematic material that ties them to several genres. Thus he describes himself as “a jazz-musician who doesn’t want to play just jazz”.
The musician has collaborated with Cuong Vu, Hiromi Uehara, Dennis Chambers, Jack DeJohnette, Marcus Miller, Bernie Worrell and other innovators. “I genuinely enjoy all styles of music myself and use them in my own music”, says the guitarist.
Percussionist, keyboardist and composer Utar Artun, a native of Turkey, has studied classical percussion at Hacettepe University and Ankara State Conservatory (Turkey). He is a winner of a number of young composers’ competitions.
Artun composed and arranged compositions for symphony orchestra, close to 50 compositions for wind orchestras and big bands, arranged many movie soundtracks. The Bursa Regional Symphony Orchestra performed his arrangements in several live concerts.
He performed with Kevin Eubanks; was a pianist, arranger and composer for Betone Quartet, took part in various festivals and studio recordings.
Bassist Justin Schornstein is also a composer and producer. He graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, writes music for films and videogames.
Drummer Amber Baker studies at Berklee College of Music. She started playing at different churches and concerts with her mother, a pianist.