George E. Lewis Credit: Emily Peragine

Experimental Sound Studio has been assisting boundary-pushing artists since 1986. It provides studio services, opportunities to perform and show work, events that facilitate dialogues between artists and audiences, and archiving resources for avant-garde and exploratory music materials that might otherwise be lost. This year’s ESS gala fund-raiser has a twofold purpose: to help finance upgrades to the recording studio and to honor musician, composer, historian, and educator George E. Lewis. Currently a professor of American music at Columbia University, the 67-year-old Chicago native took classes at the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians’ neighborhood school as a teen. Decades later, he told the avant-garde jazz organization’s story in A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008). Lewis has been giving workshops and performing at ESS since 1989, and he will renew his association with the organization by playing a set here with electronic musician Sam Pluta and multi-instrumentalist and AACM member Mwata Bowden. Their performance will draw together elements of Lewis’s work as a scholar, composer, improvising trombonist, and pioneer in the development of interactive computer-music systems, and it won’t be the only set of the evening to cross generational and disciplinary boundaries. Fellow AACM multi-instrumentalist Douglas R. Ewart will appear with singer and multi-instrumentalist Angel Bat Dawid, who recently released her first album; genre-defying experimentalist Rob Mazurek will perform with video artist Kim Alpert; and veteran clarinet and saxophone player Ken Vandermark will improvise with keyboardist and violinist Macie Stewart and new-music percussionist Claire Rousay. Sound artists Katie Wood and Kotoka Suzuki will also perform new works.   v