Music & Events

Friday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Blasco Library


SoMarJazzErie and the Erie County Blasco Library is proud to present Improvisation in Jazz & Dance featuring The Allen Zurcher Quartet and SoMar Dance Works.  This concert is a unique cooperative project that explores the relationshipAllen Zurcher between improvisation in both the dance and jazz worlds.  Sponsored by Erie Arts & Culture.

The Blasco Library and JazzErie wish to celebrate and bring attention, through this concert, to the extensive collection of jazz recordings that were generously donated to the Blasco Library by jazz journalist Bob Protzman. 

You will see a great performance put on by Erie’s top artists that you don’t want to miss!  

Improvisation in Music.

Spontaneous, in-the-moment improvisation is an integral aspect of jazz music.  While found in many other musical genres, improvisation is a core characteristic in the art of jazz. From the earliest days of Dixieland group improvisation to the breathtaking flights of individual solo performances in the ensuing years, as well as the sometimes under appreciated improvised supporting performances by rhythm section and other accompanists, the skill of finding ways to make meaningful, expressive music on the spot is a crucial element that makes jazz what it is.

Members of the Allen Zurcher Quartet are:Sheldon PetersonDavid Blaetz

•       Zurcher – saxophones
•       Sheldon Peterson -- guitar
•       David Blaetz -- bass
•       Matt Ferguson -- drums

Top artists
Matt Ferguson
All have built their reputations as top artists in the by performances with this ensemble at the Erie Art Museum Blues & Jazz Fest, Mercyhurst and Gannon Universities among many other venues.  

All are also members of other top ensembles:

Zurcher as music director of the Misery Bay Big Band, the  Presque Isle Saxophone Quartet, and many other groups.  Zurcher holds a D.A. degree in music performance and composition;
Peterson and Blaetz as members of the Heliotropes, Charles Ventrello's Sack O' Bones, Potato Battery, and many earlier groups; Ferguson with a host of area small groups, including trios with pianists Jim Madden and Basil Ronzitti, and guitarist/singer Marty O'Conner, Potato Battery, and others.

Improvisation in Dance.

SoMar 2According to Wikipedia, "Dance improvisation is not only about creating new movement but is also defined as freeing the body from habitual movement patterns.  Improvised dance has a considerable history in America, including postmodern dance with its incorporation of everyday movements, the "contact improvisation" of the Judson Dance Theater, and other creative streams.

International reputations

SoMarMark holds an MFA from Wesleyan University, has toured the world with various troupes, including Pilobus Dance, with whom he danced at the Olympics, appeared on TV and won an Emmy.  SoMar is currently in residence at Marcyhurst.  Mark is also president of the Erie Dance Consortium.

Solveig Santillano hails from South Dakota, also holds an MFA from Wesleyan, toured for six years with MOMIX dance company, performing in New York, throughout the U.S., in Italy and Korea, appearing on TV in both countries.  She headed the Dance Department at Salem State College in Massachusetts before coming to Mercyhurst.  Solveig and Mark have a sixteen year old daughter, Ella.

With such talent located right here in Erie please be sure to make time to come out and support our local artists!  See you there!

Donations encouraged at the door.

June 10, 2015