SIMF #4 – 1989

The 4th Seattle Improvised Music Festival, held May 11-13, 1989, was the first to expand to more than one evening, with three nights of performances at Squid Row Tavern, AFLN Gallery, and O.K. Hotel. It was co-organized by Eric Amrine, Robert Hinrix, Charlie Rowan, and Wally Shoup under the moniker “Identity Productions.” The poster was designed by Jeff Speigner. Details of each set are not currently known, although the Seattle Times review below gives a partial account of the first night.

Participating artists:
A-2-Z (Griffen, Hawkley, Zucker); Eric Amrine, guitar (Catabatics, Yama the Pit); BASSBONE (?); Denny Boyd, guitar (Raging Maggots); Dennis Bulis, guitar (Raging Maggots); Elyra Campbell, voice/electronics; CATABATICS (Amrine, Galligan, Rowan, Shoup); CIRCULAR COWBOYS (Lilla, Ring); James Cobb III, ? (Shroud of Shards); Amy Denio, ?; Chip Doring, guitar (Doring/Goldston); EVERYTHING FROM Z TO A (Griffen, Hawkley, Zucker); Mike Galligan, drums (Catabatics); Lori Goldston, cello (Doring/Goldston); Scott Granlund, sax (Raging Maggots); Adam Griffen, misc. (A-2-Z); Mark Harding, bass (Raging Maggots); John Hawkley, misc. (A-2-Z) Robert Hinrix, guitar; IBID (?); Carl Juarez, electronics (Yama the Pit); Pete Leinonen, bass (Leinonen Band); Doug Lilla, bass (Circular Cowboys); KENNY MANDELL GROUP (Mandell, ?); Kenny Mandell, sax; Brad Matter aka Alfred Butler, bass (Yama the Pit); Jeff McGrath, trumpet (McGrath/Powers); NEW ART ORCHESTRA* (members ?); Don Pederson, drums (Raging Maggots); PETE LEINONEN BAND (Leinonen, ?); POP WEASELS (?); Greg Powers, trombone (McGrath/Powers); RAGING MAGGOTS (Boyd, Bulis, Granlund, Harding, Pederson); Eric Ring, accordion (Circular Cowboys); Charley Rowan, ? (Catabatics); RV CIRCUS (Valenza, ?); Wally Shoup, sax (Catabatics); THE SHROUD OF SHARDS (Cobb, ?); TIPPI AGOGO (?); YAMA THE PIT (Amrine, Juarez, Matter/Butler); Roberto Valenza, voice (RV Circus); Jon Zucker, homemades (A-2-Z)

* New Art Orchestra was a large ensemble project founded by saxophonist Jeffrey Morgan. According to Eric Amrine, the membership included Morgan and himself, plus “Stephen Jesse Bernstein (occasional), Amy Denio, Lori Goldston, Scott Granlund, Jeff Greinke, Robert Jenkins, Pete Leinonen, Jeff McGrath, Randy Neal, John Oswald (one gig), Greg Powers, Dennis Rea, Bev Setzer, Wally Shoup, Brad Stephens, Paul Susen, Harlan Mark Vale, and a rotating crop of about 10 other itinerants.” 

At midnight six hours after I arrived from the East Coast, I was brought to Red Square at UW under a full moon. What was basically the NAO met with their horns to blast away fearlessly in what turned out to be the very last of a periodic invasion. In DC, which I left two weeks prior, you’d have been renditioned for making that kind of sound in public. I brought my alto, but was so nervous I didn’t even open the case in the midst of these people having such a good time honking. Amidst this display of utter freedom, Paul [Hoskin] stood out as the main throat, the lungs with the most wind. He used to say his duel smoking habits conditioned his lungs for more power.  

They were called the New Age Orchestra before New Art Orchestra emerged as Morgan recoiled at the noxious new age movement taking hold at the time. I met Morgan soon after, and meekly asked him if I could join this group. He smirked in a Wenatchee drawl, “I guess so, uh, it’s not really like that…but sure.” (Eric Amrine, email exchange, Feb. 27, 2020)

Raging Maggots at the 4th Seattle Improvised Music Festival, May 12, 1989 at AFLN Gallery: Denny Boyd, guitar; Dennis Bulis, guitar; Scott Granlund, guitar; Mark Harding, bass; Donald Pederson, drums. Recording courtesy of Scott Granlund.

Review by Paul de Barros in Seattle Times, May 13, 1989: