Biography:This international jazz – improvised music group was formed in the spring of 2003 by long time collaborators saxophonist Gianni Gebbia (Palermo, Sicily), pianist Matthew Goodheart (Berkeley, CA), and drummer - percussionist Garth Powell (Santa Rosa, CA). While the members have been playing together in various combinations for over 13 years, their similarity of approach drew them together to create this long-term project.
They share a quest for seamless interaction, built upon a broad base of style and genre such as post-bop, modal, and free jazz, world music, and modern classical / spectral music. These musical touchstones inform, but do not determine the directions of their compositions and improvisations.
In three short years Zen Widow has already headlined the 2004 San Francisco Alternative Jazz – Improvised Music Festival, Seattles’ Polestar Improvised Music Festival, the 2005 Blaue Fabrik Jazz Series in Dresden Germany, and the 2005 Improvised Jazz Musik Series in Wuppertal Germany as well as performing throughout United States and Western Europe. Zen Widow’s first (self titled) CD is available on Evander Music – 022 www.evandermusic.com
"The Zen Widow Trio of Gianni Gebbia (saxophones), Matthew Goodheart (piano), and Garth Powell (percussion) is a marvelous construct. Blessed with real character and always just the next moment away from creating more delicious riddles. They marshal an incredible diversity of sounds, both real and implied, into tightly focused gems which are never less than fascinating and strangely perfect. Possessed of a natural fire and remarkable sense of intuition they are a testament to the virtues of deep listening and the practice of instant composition when in the able care of three master improvising musicians.
zen widow. all into one. no dichotomy. no division.
truly of the moment".
Portland Creative Music Guild - February 2003
“Zen Widow, the phenomenal trio featuring Sicilian sax-wonder Gianni Gebbia with long-time SF Bay cohorts Matthew Goodheart (p/ perc) and Garth Powell (d/ perc). This band has grown immensely in the awesome breadth of their collective power. Though separated by great distances, the efforts of these three to continue to work together on a regular basis has really paid off and is reflected in music which is real, rich, and meaningful. Their possibilities as a unit appear boundless.
Cadence Magazine – Vol. 30 No. 7 July 2004
Alto, C-Melody, Sopranino Saxophones - Flutes
Born in Palermo, Italy, where he still resides, Gebbia is perhaps best known for his circular-breathing technique developed through his studies of the Sardinian bagpipe. An extremely versatile musician with a prominent international reputation, he frequently finds himself in a great variety of collaborations including traditional jazz players, free improvisers, DJ’s, and Butoh dancers. In addition to touring extensively in Europe, North America, and Asia, he also has an extensive list of CDs to his credit.
A small sampling of the international music festivals that have prominently featured Gianni Gebbia are:
Festival Le Mans-France, Jazz e interferenze Schio, Link Bologna, Druga Godba Lubjana-Slovenia, Ring Ring Beograd 98, Butoh Festial London 96, Theater X Tokyo, Contemporary Sicily-The New School New York, The Red RoomBaltimore,TimeFlies-Vancouver-Canada, Brooklyn College N.Y. Beanbender’s Berkeley-California, Fimav 97 Victoriaville Quebéc- Canada, Les Inaccottoumés Paris- Menagerie de verre, International Jazz festival Saalfelden 1999, Controindicazioni 99 Rome, Icebreaker festival Wien 99. Japan tour March 2000, Usa West Coast April 2000 Portland, Munchen 2000, Noci fest. 2000, Womad in Palermo, Rive De Gier October 2000,Groningen Zomer Jazz festival, Butoh festival Palermo 2000, Curva Minore
2000 pa, Akut Mainz 2000, Rive De Gier 2001, Dansem Marseille 2001. Northsea Jazz Festival 2003. Le trois Jours Groningen. Jazz Nomades Paris.
Further information can be had with a visit to his web-site - www giannigebbia.com
Piano - Prepared Piano – Percussion
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Goodheart explores a variety of forms and processes as solo performer, collaborative artist, and composer. He has toured extensively in North America and Europe, and was a featured artist at the 2003 International Conference/Festival of Spectral Music in Istanbul.
In addition, the last seven years have seen a great variety of projects from Goodheart. He’s performed at a variety of festivals, including Fire in the Valley, Garden of Memory Festival of New Music, Illuminations New Music & Arts Festival, and the Glenn Spearman Festival. He has toured the US and Canada, recorded several CDs, including projects with Wadada Leo Smith and Dominic Duval, all of which have received high critical praise, including critic's picks among "the year's 10 best" in Cadence, Coda, JazzIz, and JazzTimes magazines.
He has also continued performing contemporary piano works, including Maggi Payne's Minutia, José Maceda's Music for Four Winds and Two Pianos, Morton Feldman's Atlantis and For Bunita Marcus, and Glenn Spearman's Untitled Work for Solo Piano, a massive four movement piece written specifically for Goodheart.
One recent group, the Goodheart-Allen-Powell Trio, has toured the US, played several festivals including the Glenn Spearman Festival, Berkeley Arts Festival and the Olympia Experimental Music Festival, and released their first disc I Can Climb a Tree, I Can Tie a Knot, I Can Have a Conversation.
“Sonorous. . .clusters of notes, from counterpoint to meticulous detail; strange, complex, enigmatic.” —Nuno Marins, Clube de Jazz, Portugal
Drums – Percussion – Musical Saws
For a Percussionist/Composer, time, rhythm, and pulse are undeniable, non-negotiable components of the craft. Yet, the sonic domain remains for many, a peripheral concern. Timbre is not only of equal importance; it is an integral part of the harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic construct. All four exist in the parallel sub-division of frequencies and waves. This relationship demands understanding, discipline, and mastery. In Powell’s music, these elements are meticulously combined, creating a transcendent force enveloping the listener. Ultimately, we are drawn into the ecstatic, and the inexplicable.
Garth Powell has performed and recorded throughout North America and Europe with preeminent Jazz and improvised music masters such as Wadada Leo Smith, Nels Cline, Peter Van Bergen, and Mats Gusstafsson, Vinny Golia, Peter Kowald, and Glenn Spearman , and was a featured artist at the Copenhagen Jazz festival, Curva Minore Improvised Music Festival, San Francisco Alternative Jazz Festival, Olympia Improvised Music festival among others, and is currently a Rastascan, Roadcone, Leo, Evander, K Records, and 9 Winds recording artist.
“Powell plays in a deceptively serene manner, establishing an illusion of tranquility that is often shattered by his breakaway tactics. He is a mercurial performer who turns the direction of the performance around with his dynamic execution and just as easily reverts to pensive, pastoral expression. Segments filled with tenderness and compassion often follows his most robust playing.”
Frank Rubolino – One Final Note - issue #9 Winter 2002