Tuba maestro Mark Weaver has long been one of Albuquerque's most prolific and unpredictable musicians. Over the years, Weaver has involved himself in such disparate projects as the Doo Rag-ish Selsun Blue (a.k.a. the Selsuns) to California-based trumpeter Jeff Kaiser's 18-piece improvisational ensemble, Ockodektet. Tonight, though, Weaver will perform with a Los Angeles-based quartet he leads called Brassum, that includes Dan Clucas (cornet, flute), Michael Vlatkovich (trombone) and percussionist Harris Eisenstadt.
Weaver penned all nine tracks on last year's Brassum recording, Warning Lights (Plutonium); compositions that run the gamut between (almost) traditional brass band tunes ("Minus," "Movie"), the nearly atonal clang of a steel mill ("Seven Enchiladas") and sparse loneliness ("Elements"). And while some of the music here, presumably the boundary crossing solos by Weaver and his brothers in brass, is admittedly improvised, there's a structural quality within Weaver's compositions—and fleshed out by Eisenstadt with frightening precision—that adds a sort of post-bop, avant-garde feel without straying too far out in left field.
The first part of tonight's performance features Brassum's Vlatkovich in a different context: poetry coupled with new music in a call-and-response format featuring acclaimed Los Angeles poet Dorothea "Dottie" Grossman. Grossman's short, often surreal poems (Allen Ginsburg called them "odd ... curious and lucid.") are answered by Vlatkovich on trombone. This unique exploration of how music and poetry interact was first heard two years ago when Vlatkovich and Grossman appeared together on Mark Weber's jazz program on KUNM, and exemplifies perfectly what the Outpost's "Wordspace" is all about.