Minimalist musical tradition returns to Louisville – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville
It became known as the NovemberGroup; a gathering of musicians from Louisville who gathered the day before Thanksgiving to perform a seminal minimalist composition.
About 15 to 30 musicians participate in the event each year, performing “In C”, a work by the famous minimalist composer. Terry riley. He wrote it in 1964, and is considered to have paved the way for the minimalist musical movement.
Event organizers took a hiatus last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Corn they’re back Wednesday for the eighth edition of NovemberGroup at the Flamingo Lounge in downtown Louisville.
And, as its tradition has been, NovemberGroup is an open invite, which means anyone with an instrument and an appetite to steal it can participate, according to Louisville bassoonist Jackie Royce, who attended NovemberGroup.
â€œIf you can read music and feel comfortable reading in a live performance, then everyone is welcome to come and bring their instrument and booth and participate,â€ Royce said.
So why “In C”?
â€œBecause of its flexibility in terms of instrumentation, you know, it’s not necessarily written for a particular group of instruments,â€ Royce said. “But being really a painting or a piece of music, that everyone reads from the same thing.”
For the first year, NovemberGroup founder JC Denison has teamed up with fellow musician Oscar Parsons to put on a show on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving “the show since everyone we know is still in town,” Denison told WFPL in an email.
Parsons band Thomas A. Minor & the Picket Line performed, Denison organized an ensemble to perform “In C”.
â€œWe made it a potluck dinner in the spirit of Thanksgiving, and I gathered a keg of beer,â€ Denison said of that first year. “It was very fun!”
Denison, who also co-owns Louisville bars The Merryweather and Wiggle Room, said he has been fascinated with â€œIn Câ€ for some time and continues to be interested in the play.
â€œI’m a rejection of music school, and I’ve never really learned to play anything properly other than the drums,â€ Denison said. â€œDue to the democratic nature of this piece, you can bring together a truly eclectic group of non-performing musicians. And because I play the ‘pulse’ (constant double C’s on the xylophone), my work is strictly endurance and rhythm, and I have plenty of both.
This year’s NovemberGroup event also features world premieres of works by two Louisville-area composers.
Tyler Taylor and Cambron Little have created pieces based on a â€œmission to write something in the minimalist way,â€ Royce said.
And as in years past, Royce hopes to see musicians from all kinds of musical genres: rock, jazz, classical, experimental or avant-garde.
“It’s something that means a lot to me and it’s just something really funâ€¦ it’s just a really special time for me, seeing people that I maybe only see when I’m playing ‘In C ‘by Terry Riley, “she said. “So it’s kind of a family reunion in that regard.”
For Denison, who puts Royce in charge of organizing this year’s event, “that means the world” will get it going.
â€œThis will be the first time I play music in front of people in a few years, so I’m very nervous,â€ he said. “But the energy is always wacky and a little ‘voila is wrong’ anyway. It’s never the same thing twice.
Proof of vaccination is required and all ticket proceeds go to Girls Rock Louisville.