Above: Trailer for Jon Armstrong’s album ‘Burnt Hibiscus.’
Saxophonist and composer Jon Armstrong‘s (Music MFA 08) CalArts connections run deep through his latest album Burnt Hibiscus.
The album of works for a 10-piece chamber jazz ensemble is not only being released by Orenda Records, founded by trumpeter and composer Daniel Rosenboom (Music MFA 08), but it’s also the result of a collaboration between Armstrong and fellow CalArtian, Indian-American vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sheela Bringi (Music MFA 09). “Each of the compositions were inspired by traditional Indian ragas,” Armstrong writes in an email, “and feature lyrics from surrealist poet Erin Armstrong (Music MFA 08).”
Burnt Hibiscus is a musical ode to the Southland, couched in textured, modern jazz and featuring nontraditional jazz instruments, including the bansuri, Celtic harp and harmonium. It premiered in 2015 at Art Share (Los Angeles) in July 2015 and received another performance last month in Santa Monica, Calif. as part of the Angel City Jazz Festival.
Above: ‘The Earth Slides Slowly’ off the new album ‘Burnt Hibiscus.’
Armstrong—who now serves as the director of jazz studies at Idaho State University—celebrates the album’s official release with a 10-piece ensemble concert at the Blue Whale in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo neighborhood on Sunday (Nov. 6) at 8:30 pm. Nine out of the ensemble’s 10 members are CalArts alumni. In addition to Armstrong, his wife Erin [Armstrong] on clarinet, bass clarinet and flute and Bringi, the remaining CalArts players are Clinton Patterson (Music MFA 07) on trumpet; Stefan Kac (Music MFA 10) on tuba; Gavin Templeton (MFA 08) on alto sax, bass clarinet, flute, baritone sax; Brian Walsh (Music MFA 08) on bass clarinet and clarinet; Tina Raymond (Music MFA 10) on drums and Chris Payne (Music MFA 08) on kanjira, krakebs, frame drum, pandero and bongos.
The release party features an opening set of new chamber arrangements of original songs by Bringi and Patterson, which will be followed by a full performance of the Burnt Hibiscus CD.
Burnt Hibiscus Record Release Party
Nov. 6 at 8:30 pm
The Blue Whale
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. #301, Los Angeles