Samantha Boshnack – Seismic Belt
Seismic Belt is an exploration of seismic activity along the Ring of Fire through musical composition, experimenting with the friction of geographic shifts to create a new harmonic topography. The music examines our relationship with the earth we live on, and the element of risk and faith in that uneasy cohabitation. Movements of the work draw on influences and stories from some of the cultures and people living on the Ring in places such as Chile, Japan, Alaska, Western Samoa, and Russia.
Boshnack wrote Seismic Belt during a 3-month residency at 18th Street Arts Center earlier this year, through their annual Make Jazz Fellowship in Los Angeles. This award is sponsored by the Herb Alpert Foundation to support promising, emerging composers. Boshnack debuted the music in two concerts in LA with an all-star band she assembled. This Earshot Festival performance of “Seismic Belt” features an incredible line-up of Seattle musicians joined by one special guest from her Los Angeles band – Lauren Elizabeth Baba on violin & viola. Pianist Alex Chadsey has been a mainstay of Boshnack’s projects, as has drummer Max Wood and tenor and baritone saxophonist Chris Credit. Troy Shiefelbein joins on upright bass and violinist Begin Scarseth rounds out the string section with Baba. This unusual instrumentation brings together elements of her previous ensembles: she combines her love of string writing (as evidenced in B’shnorkestra) with a piano-driven rhythm section (from Sam Boshnack Quintet) and horn-heavy melodies (in Reptet).
Boshnack’s love of hiking the peaks of the Pacific Northwest, combined with travels to other areas located on the Ring sparked her fascination with volcanoes, and the cultures that surround them. As with her other recent projects, this work leads the listener into a storied landscape projected as musical narrative. In 2017, she released Nellie Bly Project which illustrated the 19th-century daredevil/feminist/journalist’s heroic life. In 2016, her desire to celebrate individual expression and virtuosity of musicians outside of Western classical music prompted her to compose Global Concertos – which explored the sounds of five continents, performed with a representative musical ambassador from each.
While prolific as a composer, and ever imaginative in conceiving her work, Boshnack doesn’t present concerts of her music all that often, or rather, as often as the jazz community at large would like. This exciting performance is an important unveiling to her hometown of this mighty work, which is the latest culmination of her work as an ever-evolving composer.
Tickets: $20 ($18 Earshot members and seniors, $10 students and military)