On December 6, the chamber jazz quartet Bristle, hailed by critics as “fun and thought-provoking” and “fresh, vibrant and unpredictable,” comes to the Maybeck Recital Hall.  Celebrating the release of their second CD Future(s) Now(s) on Queen Bee Records, the group has invited several of their colleagues from the Bay Area creative music scene to join them for this special show.  It’s a party you don’t want to miss.

Drawing upon a network of creative relationships that extends beyond the core group of Randy McKean, Cory Wright (reeds & compositions), Murray Campbell (violin & oboes), and Lisa Mezzacappa (bass), Bristle will begin the evening with a round robin of duos, trios, and quartets which will then culminate in the first appearance of Big Bristle, the combined assembly of musicians.  Guest percussionist Jason Levis and Mezzacappa will perform as duo B., their longstanding intuitive, improvisational partnership.  Wright will then join them to present his trio, the cerebrally swinging Green Mitchell.  Not to be outdone, McKean and Campbell, performing as Gargantius Effect, will play McKean’s kaleidoscopic march Dearthantaxis, then merge with Kinda Green, trumpeter Tom Djll and electronics whiz Tim Perkis, for a quartet improvisation.  Finally, guitarist John Finkbeiner and percussionist Jordan Glenn will bring their respective sparks to the forces at hand for performances by Big Bristle.

Bristle and friends at the Maybeck

Saturday, December 6, 2014, 7:00pm
Suggested donation: $15 at the door
Seating is strictly limited. Get your required online reservation here.

Bristle’s quartet set will focus on offerings from the new release, including the energetically riffing jigsaw Butts Up, the maddeningly-insistent, piccolo-driven jingle Whistle Tune, and the burbling melodic groove Conference Call.  Wright sets the unique sound of the half-clarinet against somber strings on his moody chamber offering Sei Sev Lah.  McKean celebrates his Midwestern roots with the buoyantly barn-stomping fiddle tune Hick and leads his companions through the genre-mixing maze of Escherish.  Other old and new favorites may make appearances, as well.

Bristle’s unique reeds and strings sound explores the boundaries and links between modern jazz and chamber music, between intricate compositional schemes and free improvisation spaces.  In addition to their CDs Future(s) Now(s) (Queen Bee) and Bulletproof (Edgetone), Bristle has performed at venues throughout Northern California, including San Francisco’s Center for New Music, the Berkeley Arts Festival, and Sacramento’s In the Flow Festival.  The group began in 2009 when McKean invited fellow reeds player and composer Wright to form a group with him that would play their original compositions; both share a love of traditional jazz and its experimental, creative offshoots.  Mezzacappa was drafted to anchor the group on bass, and brought her formidable talents as composer and bandleader to the mix.  The addition of Campbell, with his rare talent of doubling equally well on violin and oboes, gave the foursome an agile, elastic quality that influences the writing and performances of this drummer less quartet.  Equally at home in both hushed concert halls and raucous cafes, Bristle seeks to mix the high and the low, the serious and the playful in one powerful package.  Explore more at

Bristle (Randy McKean, Cory Wright, reeds & compositions; Murray Campbell, violin & oboes; Lisa Mezzacappa, bass) with special guests Tom Djll, trumpet; John Finkbeiner, guitar; Jordan Glenn & Jason Levis, percussion; Tim Perkis, electronics.