May 6 || An Evening of Improvisation

Wilson Shook + Jean-Paul Jenkins
It’s OK, Girl (Ben Kates + Danielle Ross)
Stephanie Lavon Trotter

An evening of improvisation at Performance Works NW reunites Oakland-based saxophonist Wilson Shook and Portland-based Jean-Paul Jenkins in a duo of free improvisation, in addition to It’s OK Girl, the project of choreographer and performer Danielle Ross with saxophonist Ben Kates, and electro-acoustic vocal improviser stephanie lavon trotter.

Saturday, May 6th, 2023
Doors at 7pm, Show at 7:30pm.
Sliding scale $5-10 at the door


Jean-Paul Jenkins (b. Chicago Illinois, 1973) has been performing since 1991. He’s played in bands such as FJE Trio, Hagit, Super Unity, Cexfucx, Ghosting, Baby Rambutan, Portland Bike Ensemble, performing improvisation, conceptual performances, music for dance, music for bikes, music for films, sound baths, music videos, installations, pop songs, field recordings, DJing, building synthesizers, leading and writing graphic scores, organizing shows, directing music venues, recording bands, recording himself, serenading romantic partners, chanting om, and humming to himself. Jenkins currently resides in Portland Oregon.

Ben Kates plays alto saxophone and has done since the 4th grade. He’s played with folks like Han Bennink, Ana Mendoza, Mary Oliver, Maxx Katz, William Hooker, Thollem McDonas, John Gruntfest, Linda Austin, Gino Robair, Tere Mathern, Tatsuya Nakatani, John C. Savage, Wally Shoup, Jonathan Sielaff, Arrington de Dionyso, Urs Leimgruber, U Sco, Reed Wallsmith, Smegma and John Wiese. His ongoing collaborations include Thicket (a trio with John Niekrasz and Brian Mumford), Halfbird (a trio with Grant Pierce and Brandon Conway), Academy Award Nominated Actress Minne Driver (a trio with Holland Andrews and John Niekrasz) as well as It’s OK, Girl with Danielle Ross. He’s performed at the CMG’s Improvisation Summit of Portland, The No-West Fest, FanFare at Performance Works Northwest, A Portland Circus for John Cage’s Silence at PNCA, The Quiet Music Fest, as a member of Niekrasz’s Orchestra Becomes Radicalized and toured around the country in various bands. He was the artistic director of the Creative Music Guild for several years and is now a middle school principal. He occasionally plays the baritone saxophone these days.

Danielle Ross is a choreographer, performer, curator, and scholar originally from Portland, Oregon. She is on the board of the Creative Music Guild and co-founded Pure Surface, a monthly series combining video, poetry, and performance artists to create short length, collaborative works. In 2011, she co-founded the international dance newspaper FRONT, which has spanned five editions and included contributions from choreographers and curators, including Keith Hennessy, keyon gaskin, Dana Michel, SF MOMA’s Frank Smiegel, and Sarah Shelton Mann. Her work has been supported by the Oregon Arts Commission, numerous Regional Arts and Culture Council project grants, residencies at Studio 2 and Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts’ Resource Room, and PICA/Andy Warhol Foundation’s Precipice Fund. Ross has choreographed and independently produced full length productions since 2010: Make the Air Thick (2010), To Remember is to Jump Around There (2012), Togetherness (2014), and Apparatus (2017). Apparatus looked at feedback looping in social and cultural identity and was performed at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center in July, 2017. Prior, Ross toured her short solo It’s Like This Out There, It’s Like This in Here to Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Her most recent work, You Are Not Alone, is in progress and has been performed in Chicago and Detroit. She has worked with choreographers Linda Austin, Bouchra Ouizguen, Zoe|Juniper, and Dawn Stoppiello. Currently, she is a graduate student in Northwestern’s Performance Studies PhD program. Her dissertation research looks at how artists turn to embodied performance to counter the erasure of gendered violence in Morocco, Nigeria, and Guatemala.

Wilson Shook is an improvising saxophonist and manual therapist living in Oakland, CA since 2022. His approach to music has been shaped by collaborative relationships with Gust Burns, Paul Hoskin, Ben Bennett, Greg Kelley, Carol Genetti, Ted Byrnes, and others, as well as an ongoing sonic exploration of the resonant void spaces of American hydrologic and transportation infrastructure. For 10 years Wilson helped to organize the performance space Gallery 1412 in Seattle, and worked closely with the Seattle Improvised Music Festival.
A self-taught musician, Wilson approaches improvisation, study, collaboration, and performance as sites of radical experimentation with modes of being, relating, and perceiving. Wilson’s practice cultivates an awareness of human vulnerability and technological fallibility; embraces excess, fragmentation, and incompleteness; and pursues the chaotic, queer, and interdependent imperatives of an aleatory existence amidst a crumbling, toxic culture.
Attentiveness, transformation, commitment to the materiality of the musical act and its consequences; radical presence as the only avenue of escape. Always mindful of the axiom, via Éluard—There is another world, but it is in this

stephanie lavon trotter makes some noises. calls them vocal soundings. moves by sound locationing. collects people. composes open scores. is a performanceing artist. has a mfa in interdisciplinary arts. is a bodyworker.

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