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Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.

PONCHO Hall, 710 East Roy Street, Seattle, WA

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Kneebody, a “resolutely un-pindownable band” (Nate Chinen, New York Times), melds urban genres, from electro-pop to punk-rock to hip-hop, into its own signature sound: keyboardist Adam Benjamin, trumpeter Shane Endsley, tenor saxophonist Ben Wendel, bassist Kaveh Rastegar, and drummer Nate Wood.

Kneebody is an electric quintet widely recognized as one of the most unique ensembles in jazz. By combining sophisticated compositions and virtuosic improvising, the Grammy-nominated group has created a diverse, loyal fan base in the United States and Europe. Founded in 2001, Kneebody has built upon an impressive array of individual resumes and conservatory training to create a truly singular voice within the instrumental world. In 2005 Kneebody released their self-titled debut album on Dave Douglas’s Greenleaf Music label. In 2007 they followed up with Low Electrical Worker on the Colortone label. A collection of 13 original songs, Low Electrical Worker was hailed by saxophonist Joshua Redman as one of his “favorite albums of 2007.” In the spring of 2009, Kneebody and vocalist Theo Bleckmann released 12 Songs of Charles Ives on the Winter & Winter label and received a Grammy nomination in the classical crossover category. Kneebody is currently touring in support of their third studio album, You Can Have Your Moment, also on the Winter & Winter label.

Adam Benjamin, a founding member of Kneebody, is a Grammy-nominated and critically acclaimed pianist, keyboardist, composer, and writer based in Los Angeles, who was recognized as a Rising Star in Jazz in DownBeat magazine’s critics’ and readers’ polls for two years running. While his unmistakable sound crosses stylistic boundaries and challenges traditional notions of jazz, he maintains a humble and humorous approach that connects him with audiences worldwide. His latest solo piano album, Alphabets and Consequences (f.Boo Records, 2010), is a unique series of improvised miniatures that transform familiar jazz and folk melodies into quirky impressionist etudes bursting with both humor and gravity. This follows Long Gone (Kind of Blue, 2008) and his renowned 2007 self-release It’s a Standard, Standard, Standard, Standard World, which captures 37 jazz standards through the lens of Garageband 1.0 technology. He has also toured and recorded extensively with Dave Douglas’s electric band, Keystone, in addition to performing, collaborating, and touring with artists as varied as Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, So Percussion, Joshua Redman, and Beck; he has contributed to many film scores as well, including co-writing the score to John Krasinski’s 2009 adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. He has performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, and the North Sea Jazz Festival, and has been a guest lecturer and faculty member at Stanford University, the Banff International Jazz Workshop, CalArts, the University of Southern California, and the School for Improvisational Music.

Born in Vancouver and raised in Los Angeles, Ben Wendel was educated at the Eastman School of Music in New York. Since graduating he has enjoyed a varied career as a performer, composer, and producer. Recent highlights include multiple domestic and international tours with such artists as Cuban drumming legend Ignacio Berroa, Thelonius Monk Piano Competition winner Tigran Hamasyan, electronica artist Daedelus, and hip-hop artist Snoop Dogg; he has also played with Todd Sickafoose, Otmaro Ruiz, Taylor Eigsti, and Gerald Clayton. Wendel is a founding member of Kneebody. In addition to playing saxophone and bassoon, he also doubles on the piano. As a composer he has scored multiple films, received an ASCAP Jazz Composer Award, and recently received the Chamber Music America New Works Grant; he was also a winner in the 2007 International Songwriting Competition. In the summer of 2007, Wendel was honored to work with conductor Kent Nagano in producing a series of concerts for the Festspiele Plus in Munich, Germany. He currently produces a performing arts series at The Edye in Santa Monica, California. His first solo album, Simple Song, was released on Sunnyside Records in March 2009. Wendel is currently an Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies at University of Southern California.

Kaveh Rastegar plays bass and writes music. In the years since moving from Rochester, New York, by way of Denver, by way of Montreal, Rastegar has enjoyed success playing music in the greater Los Angeles area while living in Highland Park, California. In addition to being a founding member of Kneebody, he is also a member of the Seattle-based power trio THRUSTER! featuring Timothy Young and Matt Chamberlain, and a founding member of the 70-piece hip-hop orchestra Dakah. Rastegar has also been heard playing with Chewy Puma, Small Medium and Large, The Ditty Bops, Colin Hay, Luciano Ligabue, Cee Lo, Jesca Hoop, Nels Cline, Sam Sparro, Esthero, Antibalas Afro Beat Orchestra, Joshua Radin, Melissa Ferrick, guitarist Arik Marshall, Keaton Simons, Greg Kurstin’s Action Figure Party, The Calling, Dave Fiuczynski, Carla Bozulich, and Wayne Horvitz. He is endorsed by Aguilar Amplification. Rastegar’s artwork is featured on most of Kneebody’s posters, flyers, and t-shirts.

Nate Wood graduated from the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with jazz luminaries Charlie Haden and Joe Labarbara. After graduating he toured the world many times over with pop/rock band The Calling. When he came home he made his first solo album, Reliving. The record is truly self-made, featuring Wood’s compositions as well as his vocals, engineering/production, and performance of all the instruments. Lately Wood has been using his talents on guitar, drums, and bass with Maverick recording artist Keaton Simons.

Shane Endsley resides in Brooklyn, New York, where he is steadily building his reputation as one of the most unique voices on the trumpet today. DownBeat magazine named him one of the top 25 trumpeters of his generation in 2007. A truly modern and dynamic musician, he can be found on recordings by artists ranging from modern instrumentalists Steve Coleman, Dave Binney, and Donny McCaslin to folk and rock icons like Ani DiFranco, Erin McKeown, and Pearl Jam. Endsley is an accomplished drummer and composer who is constantly expanding his musical vocabulary with the rich experiences offered by New York. He dove into the intricate ornamental style of the Balkan brass bands with the powerhouse 10-piece group Slavic Soul Party and is now venturing into the lilting rhythms of Brazilian forro and maracatu with Scott Kettner of Nation Beat and Maracatu New York.

Co-presented by
Earshot Jazz Festival


PONCHO Hall, 710 East Roy Street, Seattle, WA

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