Empty Cage Quartet and Weasel Walter Trio

Date(s) - Saturday 09/20/2008
8:00 pm - 11:59 pm

Join us at 8 PM on Saturday (9/20) for two of the most powerful and original jazz groups from the West Coast! Empty Cage Quartet explores imaginative new ways to integrate a diverse mix of musical influences ranging from shuffle swing to free jazz blowouts, minimalist percussion loops to complex modernist gestures, robotic grooves, odd-meter marches, heavy rock, and nearly everything in between. At 10 PM, Weasel Walter, a drummer whose current material straddles the many lines between punk, free jazz, no wave, improv, and much more, performs with Mary Halvorson on guitar and Peter Evans on trumpet. $10

Hear Empty Cage Quartet on MySpace.

See Empty Cage Quartet on YouTube.

Our press release:

Empty Cage Quartet/Weasel Walter Trio
Double Feature Launches Free Jazz from the Sanctuary

TROY–The Fall 2008 "Free Jazz from the Sanctuary" series kicks off at The Sanctuary for Independent Media on Saturday, September 20, 2008 with a double feature showcasing the Empty Cage Quartet and the Weasel Walter Trio. The Empty Cage Quartet will perform at 8 PM; the Weasel Walter Trio begins at 10 PM. Admission for the all-ages show is $10. The Sanctuary for Independent Media is located at 3361 6th Avenue in north Troy (at 101st Street). Call (518) 272-2390, email [email protected], or visit www.MediaSanctuary.org for directions and more information.


The Empty Cage Quartet has consistently been praised as one of the most powerful and original new jazz groups to emerge from the American West Coast. For nearly six years the group has explored imaginative new ways to integrate a diverse mix of musical influences ranging from shuffle swing to free jazz blowouts, minimalist percussion loops to complex modernist gestures, robotic grooves, odd-meter marches, heavy rock, and nearly everything in between. Performances of this music involve an elaborate system of on-stage cues to navigate the flow of improvisation in, around, and out of modular compositional structures designed to cycle, overlap, combine and recombine. The result is a continually evolving, multidimensional approach to jazz and new music performance, improvisational acuity, and compositional craft that Amazing Sounds Magazine has likened to an "urban folk music of the future."

The Empty Cage Quartet has toured extensively in the Western United States and in Canada and Europe, and they have received support from the American Composers Forum, the International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM), and Chamber Music America’s French-American Jazz Exchange. To date they have released six CD recordings that have been featured on jazz radio stations around the world and reviewed favorably in publications including Signal to Noise, The Wire, All About Jazz, Cadence Magazine, Jazz Hot, Paris Transatlantic Magazine, LA Weekly, Tucson Weekly, and Stride Magazine. Stratostrophic, their most recent album, is out now on the Clean Feed label, and in September they will make their New York City debut with a concert at the Living Theatre co-sponsored by Clean Feed Festival III and the Sixth Annual Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT).

Jason Mears – alto saxophone, clarinet, flutes
Kris Tiner – trumpet, flugelhorn
Ivan Johnson – double bass
Paul Kikuchi – drums, percussion, electronics

Stratostrophic (Clean Feed) 2008
Hello the Damage! (pfMENTUM 2CD) 2006
Day of the Race (Nine Winds) 2005
Making Room for Spaces (Nine Winds) 2004
Music from the 2003 West Coast Tour (little green records) 2003
Who Knows the Wicker Man? (little green records) 2003


A drummer whose current material straddles the many lines between punk, free jazz, no wave, improv, and much more, Weasel Walter will be playing with Mary Halvorson on guitar and Peter Evans on trumpet.

Weasel Walter (born Christopher Todd Walter in Rockford, Illinois) is a composer and instrumentalist who founded the band The Flying Luttenbachers in Chicago in 1991 with late jazz cult figure Hal Russell. Over the years, the band has included noted Chicago musicians such as Ken Vandermark, Jeb Bishop, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Dylan Posa, while creating an uncompromising and mercurial body of abstract music drawing equally from no wave, death metal, free jazz, gamelan, noise music, hardcore punk and modern classical. Walter relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2003, where he formed the latest of many Luttenbachers lineups, remaining on percussion with the addition of bassist Mike Green (Burmese), and virtuoso guitarist Ed Rodriguez (ex-Colossamite, Gorge Trio). Singular guitar phenomenon Mick Barr (Octis, Orthrelm) joined the group in 2005. The Flying Luttenbachers ceased to operate in late 2007. In addition to leading various free jazz ensembles under his own name, currently he is a member of XBXRX and Burmese.

Before relocating to the West Coast, Walter was a major contributor to the Chicago no-wave/noise/improvised music underground during the ’90s and early 2000s. During this period, he performed as a founding member of bands such as The Flying Luttenbachers, Miss High Heel (with Jim O’Rourke and Azita of The Scissor Girls), Lake of Dracula (with Marlon Magas and Heather M. of the Scissor Girls), To Live and Shave in L.A. 2, and Hatewave (replacing founder Nandor Nevai) among others. Walter has collaborated with artists like Marlon Magas and Jim O’Rourke, Tom Smith in To Live and Shave in L.A., Henry Kaiser, Damon Smith, Vinny Golia, Joe Morris, Frank Gratkowski, William Winant and Ken Vandermark as well as many influential underground rock bands including Bobby Conn, U.S. Maple, Cock E.S.P., Curse of the Birthmark, the Scissor Girls, Erase Errata, The Chicago Sound, Harry Pussy, Quintron, Sharon Cheslow, and Cheer-Accident, in addition to producing albums by the Coachwhips, Burmese, Total Shutdown, Arab on Radar and Glenn Branca.

Mary Halvorson is a guitarist, composer and improviser living in Brooklyn. She grew up in Boston and studied jazz at Wesleyan University and the New School. Since 2000 she has been performing regularly in New York with various groups and has toured Europe and the U.S. with the Anthony Braxton Quintet (Live at the Royal Festival Hall, Leo Records) and Trevor Dunn’s Trio-Convulsant (Sister Phantom Owl Fish, Ipecac Recordings). She has also performed alongside Joe Morris, Nels Cline, John Tchicai, Elliott Sharp, Andrea Parkins, Marc Ribot, Tony Malaby, Oscar Noriega and Jason Moran. Current projects which Mary composes for and performs with include a chamber-music duo with violist Jessica Pavone (On and Off, Skirl Records, 2007); The Mary Halvorson Trio with John Hebert and Ches Smith; and the avant-rock band People (Misbegotten Man, I & Ear Records, 2007). She also performs regularly in ensembles led by Taylor Ho Bynum, Ted Reichman, Tatsuya Nakatani, Jason Cady, Matthew Welch, Brian Chase and Curtis Hasselbring.

Peter Evans is an American trumpet player based in New York, who specializes in improvisation and avant-garde music. Evans has been a member of the New York City musical community since 2003, when he moved to the city after graduating from The Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Peter currently works in a wide variety of areas, including solo performance, chamber orchestras, performance art, free improvised settings, electro-acoustic music and composition. In addition, he performs regularly as part of the Festival of New Trumpet Music, which is held annually in New York City.
Local presentation of the Empty Cage Quartet and the Weasel Walter Trio is co-sponsored by the Arts Department at RPI and Albany Sonic Arts Collective, made possible by volunteer labor, small financial contributions from hundreds of patrons of The Sanctuary For Independent Media and support from the New York State Music Fund.

The Albany Sonic Arts Collective is a grassroots organization dedicated to building a thriving community of listeners and performers of music that exists outside of traditional boundaries. The Collective strives to support a wide variety of music and sonic art forms, with a special emphasis on those that stress freedom and exploration of new ideas including free improvisation, drone, noise, electroacoustic improvisation, electronic music, avant jazz, and many others.

The Sanctuary for Independent Media is a community media arts center located in an historic former church in Troy, NY. The venue is an intimate and acoustically excellent space which seats about 150. The Sanctuary hosts screening, production and performance facilities, training in media production and a meeting space for artists, activists and independent media makers of all kinds.

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Empty Cage Quartet website:

Empty Cage Quartet music samples:

Empty Cage Quartet hi-res stills:

Empty Cage Quartet press reviews:

Weasel Walter website:

Mary Halvorson website:

Peter Evans website: