I wasn't previously familiar with Porter Records, but clearly this eclectic label based out of Orlando, FL (founded in 2005) has its finger on the pulse of NYC's experimental/improv scene, as evidenced by their two-night showcase at Issue Project Room this past week. There were three performances on Tuesday night, each with its own powerfully distinct vibe. Jeremiah Cymerman wrote a swirling piece for laptop and live string quartet (violin, viola, cello, bass) that seemed to push the players to the limits of their playing ability. Katherine Young's piece for violin, electric guitar, drums and her own bassoon bounced between rock, jazz and noise.
But, stealing the show was the extraordinary trumpeter Nate Wooley, who opted to play an improvised solo after losing the rest of his band for the night. With his flannel shirt and full beard, Wooley looked more like a lumberjack than a musician, but he held the room spellbound for nearly 20 minutes, using all sorts of unusual techniques - circular breathing, double plungers, toneless playing - to draw an astonishing array of colors from his instrument. It was violent, extreme and, in its way, as virtuosic as anything Miles every played. Assuming you knew how to listen. (More pics at the Fan Page.)