"earPlay Jazzquintet" is a groundbreaking electro-acoustic
ensemble with a
They take stylistic variety to new heights, cross-fertilizing
and Middle Eastern influences
jazz and 20th-century classical idioms.
The ensemble deftly weaves together compelling textures, uniting
the realms of
composition and improvisation,
spoken word and stage magic.
Add to that a veritable banquet of instruments from around the
including the subtle usage of electronic sounds
and youve got an
unforgettable musical adventure!
of the ensemble walk a wide-embracing variety of musical paths,
from Brazilian choro, Afro-Cuban, country-western, jump swing,
vintage funk, to classical, musical theatre, contemporary jazz,
ritual music and digital sound design. Their debut CD Rasa
and her Moods will be released in late 2014.
Venues the band has performed at include:
Yoshis Jazz House
West Coast Orff-Schulwerk Jazz Conference
Old First Church Chamber Series
• Freight and Salvage & Anna's Jazz Island
Ernie Shelton & Backyard Jazz House Concerts
Point Reyes Dance Palace
These musicians have been heard performing or recording with
many jazz luminaries, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock,
Stefon Harris, Paul McCandless, Zakir Hussain, Poncho Sanchez,
Donald Byrd, Bob Mintzer, Diana Krall, Mel Torme, and Natalie
Quotes from Presenters
"We had a wonderful time last weekend with
the Michael Smolens’ "earPlay Jazzquintet"
which wowed us with their multi-instrumental
display of dazzling musicianship and
world music compositions"
—Gerry Sanders (host of the Backyard Jazz Concert Series,
following their September 26th, 2010 performance)
"Really incredible, wonderful music!"
—Anna DeLeon (owner of "Anna's Jazz Island")
(following the group's May 15th, 2009 performance)
Musicians are Saying
"I thought the musicianship was on
extremely high level, really wonderful to see.
I also enjoyed the compositions very much.
Congratulations on a great show!"
—Sam Bass (recording artist, touring cellist with Les Claypool
following their November 6th 2009 performance at the Hillside Concert Series)
what really intrigued (and astonished) me about
"earPlayJazzquintet" was how do you guys
create such careful and sophisticated music
without having everything feel 'canned',
and without having the whole thing
dissolving into chaos?"
Alex Cory (composer/band leader/recording artist)
(following their November 3rd 2006 performance at the Piedmont
Piano Concert Series in San Francisco)
"I almost didn’t make it, but Gerry and Alastair Ingram,
one of the deans of sax in Sonoma County said I just had to.
Oh, so glad am I because I LOVED the group,
the most innovative, creative bunch of folks…
and when I learned that Smolens studied with Art Lande,
it fell into place...They did Brazilian samba,
some West-African material, and best of all,
an Indian raga with tablas. Gerry did a
really good thing by going out a bit on a limb.
If he books them, they’re going to be good!"
—Jim Sorrells (saxophonist)
Quotes about the Band
seriously talented Quintet is lead by Michael Smolens, his ensemble
including Alex Murzyn, Michael Hatfield, Fred Randolph, Brian
Rice. These names may mean little to you, but after you have
the oppurtunity to listen, you will be enlightened, as I was."
"...the band was terrific, really glad I was there.
I also loved Heather’s magic and the pairing of
her performance with the Hafiz poem.
It was extremely original and effective.
The whole day
was terrific! I hope Earplay will be playing again."
—Rachel Jacobs (concertgoer)
Quotes about the Band Leader
pieces are notable for their originality and beautifully spacious
Tony Brooke, Critics Choice SF Weekly
One of the premiere Bay Area composers.
Doug Edwards, KPFA Airtime and BAJABA Showcase
creative figure on the Bay Area scene for the past two decades,
Smolens music is marked by spaciousness and
carefully calibrated instrumental voicings.
Andrew Gilbert, Contra Costa Times Critics Choice
Smolens gives a broad palette from which to paint luminous ECM-like
Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express Critics Choice
"A treasure-trove of musical riches."
Bud Spangler, Producer and host of Sees Sunday