From National Sawdust: “John Zorn’s Stone Commissioning Series presents: Sara Serpa”

From National Sawdust

National Sawdust

John Zorn

John Zorn by Scott Irvine – Courtesy of the artist

John Zorn at the Newport Jazz Festival, 2014 digboston (

[caption id="attachment_13855" align="alignnone" width="300"] Sara Serpa Photo by Carlos Ramos

Wed, Nov 28, 2018, 7:00 PM

Sara Serpa is a singer, composer, and improviser who implements a unique instrumental approach to her vocal style. Recognized for her distinctive wordless singing, Serpa has been immersed in the field of jazz, improvised, and experimental music since first arriving in New York in 2008. Described by JazzTimes as “a master of wordless landscapes” and by The New York Times as “a singer of silvery poise and cosmopolitan outlook”, Serpa started her recording and performing career with jazz luminaries such as Grammy–nominated pianist Danilo Pérez, Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow pianist Ran Blake, and Greg Osby.

Her ethereal music draws from a broad variety of inspirations, including literature, film, visual arts, history, and nature. As a leader, she has produced and released nine albums (with labels Sunnyside Records, Clean Feed Records, Tzadik, and Inner Circle Music), the latest being All The Dreams in collaboration with guitarist André Matos. Serpa has collaborated with an extensive array of musicians, including John Zorn, Guillermo Klein, Zeena Parkins, Mark Turner, Tyshawn Sorey, and Nicole Mitchell, among many others.

She has performed her own music in Europe, Australia, and North and South America, singing at international festivals such as Festa do Jazz, the Panama Jazz Festival, the Festival de Jazz de Montevideo, the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues, the Adelaide Festival, and the Sopot Jazz Festival, as well as in venues like Bimhuis, Casa da Música, the Village Vanguard, Jazz Standard, The Stone, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, among others.

Currently, Serpa leads a trio with Erik Friedlander (cello) and Ingrid Laubrock (tenor sax) — with a debut album released in March 2018 (Close Up on Clean Feed) — and a trio featuring Zeena Parkins (harp) and Mark Turner (tenor sax) in an interdisciplinary performance combining film with live music entitled Recognition.

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National Sawdust is an unparalleled, artist-led, nonprofit venue, is a place for exploration and discovery. A place where emerging and established artists can share their music with serious music fans and casual listeners alike.

In a city teeming with venues, National Sawdust is a singular space founded with an expansive vision: to provide composers and musicians across genres a home in which they can flourish, a setting where they are given unprecedented support and critical resources essential to create, and then share, their work.

As a composer, I believe the role of an artist in the 21st century should be that of creator, educator, activist, and entrepreneur. I believe that 21st-century composers/artists need to be thinking about what impact they can have on their existing community, both locally and globally. At NS we believe in remaining flexible and true to the needs of artists. Our core mission is centered on the support of emerging artists, and on commissioning and supporting the seeds of ideas. Each year, we explore one large theme and construct programming and questions around that theme. This year, that theme is Origins. With this season, we are channeling the National Sawdust mission—empowering high-level artistry, regardless of training, genre, or fame—through multicultural artists who tell their stories through their music. Ultimately, Origins is a radical sharing of culture. We hope this cultural storytelling of the highest caliber will help bring our divided country closer together.

We also believe the future of new art lives in education. To us, education is about giving young people and community members opportunities and tools to explore their potential for artistic and creative expression. But it is also about ensuring that artists themselves never stop learning – about their craft, about the work of their peers, about the business of the arts, about their own capacities to be educators and advocates. NS facilitates this kind of learning by bringing together artists from around the world in exciting composition- based projects, teaching opportunities, cultural exchanges, and hands-on management experience. Through this cultural synthesis artists leave lasting impressions on one another, become more versatile and resilient professionals, and create works that reflect a plural understanding of American society.

–Paola Prestini, co-founder & Artist Director

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Please visit The Jazz Loft Project based on the work of Sam Stephenson
Please visit The Jazz Loft Radio project from New York Public Radio