"…Krakauer joined with the adventurous South African pianist Kathleen Tagg in an exciting new duo project known as Breath + Hammer. At the peak of their conversation, Krakauer sailed through virtuosic passages before taking off on a passionate, soul-stirring improvisation…Throughout their compelling duo set, Tagg joined prepared piano to electronics in increasingly brilliant applications."
– Bill Milkowski, Downbeat Magazine
– Bill Milkowski, Downbeat Magazine
Breath + Hammer began with the simple meeting of a clarinetist and a pianist who share a constant quest to redefine the sounds and roles of their instruments. This electro-acoustic project includes immersive video projection designed by Jesse Gilbert.
The traditional clarinet and piano in combinations to reinvent their roles and expand into a multi-dimensional, multi-media environment that moves towards a new future for music as a Grammy-nominated classical, world music artist from New York comes together with a “mad-scientist” South African sound explorer to create lush orchestrations, pulsating percussive beats with samples & loops, and every extended technique imaginable that makes these two acoustic instruments whisper and roar.
The sound could only emerge from the cultural hotbed of New York City, with music deeply connected to the community of these two unique artists that encompass elements of jazz, world music, and electronica into a personal journey with video projection that immerses all into the soundworld's creation.
...The result is Breath + Hammer
Influences of world music, jazz, classical, experimental techniques, and electronics blend together in this unique collaboration. Krakauer’s use of extended techniques, improvisation, and circular breathing on the clarinet, and Tagg’s prowess inside the piano to remake it as a harp, a zither, a drum, and a cello augment the traditional sounds of their instruments. In addition to utilizing the full range of timbres that can be imagined from both instruments, they expand the scope of sonic possibilities by incorporating electronic effects and layers.
Widely considered one of the greatest clarinetists on the planet, Grammy-nominated artist David Krakauer has been praised internationally as a key innovator in modern klezmer, as well as a major voice in classical music. South African-born pianist, composer, and producer Kathleen Tagg has performed on four continents in leading venues such as Carnegie Hall, had her original music performed in venues such as New York’s Lincoln Center, appeared on a host of classical, world music, and multi-genre recordings and produced numerous CDs and inter-disciplinary programs from South Africa to Los Angeles.
Their impressive individual track records have include creating innovative programs that stretch the boundaries of traditional concert presentations. In Breath + Hammer they bring together their disparate backgrounds to make something new and uniquely their own.
Breath + Hammer is made up of Krakauer & Tagg’s arrangements of “simple songs” by composers as diverse as New York-based visionary John Zorn, Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodriguez, as well as original compositions by Krakauer and Tagg, with influences ranging from interlocking African drumming patterns, Romantic symphonic music , to minimalism and klezmer. These diverse and seemingly disparate musical influences intermingle and transform into an entirely new hybrid art form that bridges the cultures of the past and the new work that looks towards the future.
WATCH BREATH + HAMMER
Live from National Sawdust, New York. FERUS Festival, 2016.
Breath + Hammer Program
November 22 by Kinan Azmeh (arr. Tagg)
Ebuhuel by John Zorn (arr. Krakauer, Tagg)
Parzial by John Zorn (arr. Krakauer, Tagg)
Shron by Roberto Rodriguez (arr. Tagg)
Berimbau by Kathleen Tagg
Rattlin’ Down the Road by David Krakauer
Demon Chopper by Rob Curto (arr. Tagg)
Moldavian Voyage by Emil Kroitor (arr. Tagg, Krakauer)
Synagogue Wail by David Krakauer
Der Heyser Bulgar Traditional (arr. Krakauer, Tagg)
(One set without intermission: ~75 min)
DOWNBEAT MAG on PREMIER at NATIONAL SAWDUST
READ MORE ABOUT DUO PROJECTS