Petite Feet - epk

Travis Bliss / Shane Simpson / Jonathan Starks

 
 
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bio

Boston based trio Petite Feet is Shane Simpson, Jonathan Starks, and Travis Bliss. Though describing themselves as a “Neighborhood Ragtime Band,” Petite Feet draws heavily from genres diverse as dance music, glitch art, minimalism, free improvisation, and memes. Their debut album Nude Piano: Iconic Rags of Scott Joplin was released on July 4th, 2019. In his liner notes, Ted Reichman calls the record "a blast of musical hope," and Ethan Iverson compared hearing the record to listening to John Zorn's Naked City for the first time, "a moment when so many impossibilities became possible." Petite Feet is the ensemble-in-residence at New England Conservatory’s summer program Jazz Lab.

individual bios   

Travis Bliss is a multi-reed instrumentalist and recent graduate of New England Conservatory (NEC), where he received a Masters of Music in Jazz Performance: Saxophone.  Throughout his time at NEC, Travis studied with many saxophone greats such as Jerry Bergonzi, Donny McCaslin, Miguel Zenon, George Garzone, and Bill Mchenry.  In addition to his studies on the saxophone, Travis studied composition studio with Efstratios Minakakis, Anthony Coleman, and Ken Schaphorst.  Travis was and remains a very active contributor in the Boston Music scene as well across the country, having performed at Scullers Jazz Club, The Berklee Performance Center, Wally’s Jazz Cafe, The Stone NYC, Roulette NYC, and Twin’s Jazz Club in Washington D.C. to name a few.  He was also lucky to participate in music festivals across the continent, such as the BANFF International Jazz Festival in Canada, The Next Generation Jazz Festival in California, and The New Bedford Jazz Festival.  Travis now leads and participates in a variety of bands on the east coast, such as Silver Arrow Band, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, as well as his own projects.

Shane Simpson is a pianist, composer and professor of Music Theory based in Boston, Massachusetts. He is currently an Affiliated Artist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as well as faculty at the New England Conservatory (NEC). He is also a faculty member at NEC's Jazz Lab, a week long jazz intensive summer program for high school students. Originating from the North Shore of Chicago, Simpson has performed in cities throughout the US including Chicago, New York, Boston, and Phoenix, and he appeared at the Panama Jazz Festival in 2017. He has mentored with some of the best pianists and improvisers in the world including Fred Hersch, Anthony Coleman, Bruce Brubaker, and Ran Blake who premiered Simpson's original composition Bright at the Kitano (NYC) with vocalist Sara Serpa in 2016. In 2015, Simpson received the Tourjée Alumni Scholarship Award from NEC where he received both his bachelor's and master's degrees in music.

Jonathan Starks is a drummer and electronic music producer hailing from the deserts of Phoenix, Arizona.  He is currently in his final year of graduate study in Jazz Performance at New England Conservatory and has worked closely with renowned drummers Billy Hart, Rakalam Bob Moses, Jerry Leake as well as composers Ted Reichman, Davide Ianni, and Anthony Coleman. He has performed in a multitude of venues across the country, notably the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower stage in April of 2016. Jonathan was named the recipient of the Presser Foundation award in 2017, representing New England Conservatory.

 

recordings: 

2019 Nude Piano: Iconic Rags of Scott Joplin
2019 Live on the Radio

video: 

Heliotrope Bouquet - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zwwzWGVqzo
Magnetic Rag - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRkJfTHDCEo
Wall Street Rag - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NW9jVgU_1M

notable performances: 

The Nash - Phoenix, AZ - January 2018
Ensemble in Residence, New England Conservatory Jazz Lab - Boston, MA - 2017-2019
Les Zygomates - Boston, MA - June 2019
Jordan Hall - Boston, MA 2017
Helenhay Whitney Foundation at MIT’s Endicott House - Dedham, MA - November 2017

press: 

“Here is a collection of rags, played by three musicians who are roughly one hundred years younger than the pieces they are playing, and it feels like a blast of musical hope. It’s not a reassuring message from the past that player pianos and cakewalks are cool again, but a confirmation that the current generation of young musicians is poised to make confident musical statements that embrace the beauty of the past and the possibilities of the present and future.”

Ted Reichman - 2019

“The music of Scott Joplin is still fresh when played entirely straight. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t need wild new arrangements. Of course we do! Nude Piano by Petite Feet is an engaging surprise. Ted Reichman’s liner notes (from the Bandcamp page) are helpful.

Shane Simpson, Travis Bliss and Jonathan Starks have used their instruments, their laptops, and their ears to guide this musical contraption into a constantly changing, clangorous, kaleidoscopic mishmosh of time and space.

It’s goofy as hell but you can tell that the performers also simply love the music. Listening to Nude Piano took me back to the first time I heard John Zorn’s Naked City 30 years ago, a moment when so many impossibilities became possible.”

Ethan Iverson on Do The M@th

touring: 

Fall 2019 - Nude Piano release tour
Winter 2018 - Arizona Tour

photos: 

 
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