Acclaimed saxophonist/composer John Ellis and playwright Andy Bragen present MOBRO, a narrative chamber piece for 14 musicians. MOBRO uses the historical journey of the Mobro 4000 as a thematic launching point, examining issues of what we consume, what we waste, and what we reject. But the environmental issues are primarily secondary; the historical journey of the MOBRO is used as metaphor: this is an epic quest told through the eyes of the garbage – a story of yearning, of escalating rejections, of self-knowledge, and ultimately of redemption.
After getting commissioned by The Jazz Gallery in NYC, Andy and John spent several months researching the historical journey and drafting a 12 part narrative super-structure that provided the framework for the piece. John selected musicians for their gifts at communicating the widest range of emotion, and then wrote with their individual temperaments in mind. Conceived of as one continuous 75-minute work, the transitions are of critical importance; events flow into each other in surprising ways and the widest palate of color and tension is used to pull the listener into another world. In order to appreciate the vision as intended, MOBRO should ideally be listened to in one uninterrupted sitting.
MOBRO was originally a commission by The Jazz Gallery as a part of its 2011 Residency Commissioning Series, which was made possible in part by a grant by the Jerome Foundation with additional support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. It was premiered at the Jazz Gallery in April 2011. The original concept was developed with additional support from The Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis, MN in partnership with the Network for Ensemble Theaters and Theater Grottesco.
Well, I’m finally back from an amazingly productive time as a resident at the 18th Street Arts Center. I had a blast, skipped the brutal NYC winter, got to know LA a little, and wrote as much as I could. Keep an eye out for lots of new music coming your way. In the meantime, I’m thrilled to be back and gearing up for the release of MOBRO. This has been a long time coming. We debuted this piece in April of 2011 at The Jazz Gallery and recorded that December. I’ve been anxious to share it with everyone ever since. We’re releasing it on my new label, Parade Light Records, on May 13th. Pre-order coming soon!