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Ed Sarath

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Both as a performer and as an educator at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, flügelhornist Ed Sarath has brought a distinctively open-minded sensibility to jazz and creative music as taught and practiced in the Midwestern United States. Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Program in Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the U of M School of Music, Sarath is director of the Creative Arts Orchestra, a student ensemble which employs a variety of approaches to composition and collective improvisation, as well as co-director of the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, another U of M group with a somewhat more straight-ahead but nonetheless progressive approach. The CAO (with one CD, Strata, released on the Schoolkids label) have performed at New York City's Knitting Factory club and, while back home in Ann Arbor, have collaborated with internationally recognized artists such as percussionist Gregg Bendian and the duo of saxophonist Tim Berne and bassist Michael Formanek, and saxophonist Oliver Lake. Students in Sarath's program have performed regularly in their own ensembles in Ann Arbor clubs and, upon graduation, have also gone on to enliven the music scenes of larger cities, particularly Chicago. As for his own work, Sarath maintains an active schedule as a performer, recording artist, composer, and author. Leading a nine-piece ensemble for 2000s Timescape, the disc featured a guest appearance by Karl Berger on vibraphone and piano. The compositions on the Timescape CD, all by Sarath, draw from jazz, contemporary classical, Hindustani, Middle Eastern, and free improvisational influences. Earlier Sarath recordings include Last Day in May on Konnex, featuring Dave Liebman Mick Goodrick, Harvie Swartz, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith, and Voice of the Wind on Owl Records, again with Liebman as well as Joanne Brackeen, Cecil McBee, and Billy Hart. Sarath also plays regularly with the French ensemble Cache Cache, appearing on that group's Tandems CD on the Petit Faucheux label. In 2004, he released New Beginnings on his own Timescape label. Sarath has performed in the U.S., Europe, and Brazil; his compositions include "Rites of Passage," commissioned by the WDR Jazz Orchestra and premiered in Cologne, Germany, in April 1998, with soloists Liebman on soprano saxophone and Michael Brecker on tenor saxophone. During the fall of that year, his composition "Brahma, Vishnu, Siva," for choir, string orchestra, and improvisers, was premiered in the U.S. before being performed and recorded in Brazil during 1999. As an author, Sarath has explored aesthetic and cognitive issues related to improvised music; his articles have been published in various music theory and education journals. ~ Dave Lynch