Jazz and dance intersect in States of Matter

jazz performance "states of matter"
Jazz music and dance intertwine in the new performance piece, “States of Matter.”

For Jon Katz, the 2008 dance recital at Temple University was just another gig. In his senior year, the saxophonist was simply there to play his part for a dance student’s performance. But then things went wrong, and as often happens in jazz, a mistake opened the door to inspiration.

Another dancer was performing a choreographed number set to a piece of recorded music. “During her recital the CD started skipping,” Katz recalls. “The curtains were about to close and this girl was in the corner about to cry. But as a jazz musician I was able to just go onstage and wing it, so I went out there and improvised with the dancers.”

For Katz, that experience spotlighted the fact that while both jazz musicians and dancers are comfortable with improvisation within their own fields, they don’t often cross paths with one another. On Sept. 27, Little Berlin will host the first performance by States of Matter, Katz’ new group dedicated to the intersection of jazz and dance. He’s working with choreographer Emma MacDonald on the project, which will feature two dancers along with a six-piece band. At the end of the performance, musicians and dancers will be invited to join in for an open improv session.

“I wanted to put together a group of very reactive and emotionally charged musicians,” Katz says. “I was less focused on the instrumentation than I was on their ability to react visually. Some musicians struggle with it; it can be hard to concentrate on the music and the visuals at the same time.”

States of Matter’s repertoire will draw from renowned jazz composers as well as more contemporary music including Bjork and St. Vincent, and reach back to classical repertoire by Bach and Debussy. The group will begin with compositions and choreography before venturing into improvisation.

The group’s name was inspired by the varied forms that matter can take in the science world, Katz says. “Water can be liquid, solid or gas, but in the end it’s still made up from the same materials. I think with this project there’s an emotional aspect that I find common in all the different fields of art. I’m just trying to break down the barriers and see the connections between all of them.”

States of Matter
Sept. 27, 8 p.m.
Little Berlin
2430 Coral St.
$5 suggested donation
www.littleberlin.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Philadelphia principal has President Obama's ear

The West Philadelphia head is gathering ideas to present to the White House.

Local

Neighbors testify at Overbrook roommate slaying trial

Neighbors and roommates were called to testify Wednesday in the trial of Renaldo Robichaw, 56, charged with murder for the death of roommate Albert Smith, 48.

Local

Attorney at heart of alleged insurance fraud took…

A Center City personal injury lawyer took his own life last week, days before D.A. Seth Williams released an indictment putting the lawyer at the heart of an alleged insurance…

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

Movies

Latin culture highlighted at Filadelphia film fest

Get ready to have a “Bad Hair” day at the upcoming Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival. We mean that in the best possible way. The…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

NFL

NFL releases Eagles 2014 schedule

The Eagles have four primetime games, face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and host the Seahawks in a dynamic, challenging and impressive schedule. Here's a look…

NHL

All signs suggest Steve Mason will start in…

Flyers head coach Craig Berube elected to put Steve Mason in net for the final minutes of Game 3.

NHL

Gary Bettman praises Philly prior to NHL draft

Gary Bettman will bring the NHL draft to Philadelphia this summer.

NHL

Flyers can’t solve Rangers shot blockers

The Rangers blocked a remarkable 28 Flyers' shots Tuesday night.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."