Steph Richards’ Supersense and Sounds for Butch & Dino
Steph Richards is no stranger to challenging listeners’ expectations, helping them hear things they might not have previously imagined with experiments that range from playing underwater to incorporating a carousel into one of her compositions. But the trumpeter, composer and bandleader is pushing in a still more unusual direction with Supersense. Along with a trio of fellow all-star improvisers — Joshua White, Stomu Takeishi and Kenny Wollesen — Richards taps acclaimed multimedia artist Sean Raspet to create singular, abstract scents embedded into the concert programs, using scent in a way to prompt musicians and the audience that avoids language and representation completely. “What if I could create an experience where listeners felt even closer to the music by acknowledging other senses?” says Richards, alluding to the extra-musical elements of live performance that have been missing since the pandemic hit. She hopes that by playing to more than one sense, listeners will be drawn into the music more fully. “It’s meant to live in abstract wordless space,” she concludes. “One where we’re not exactly able to define where we’re traveling and what we’re feeling, but where we can be swept away by sensation.” This multi-sensory show begins with a film created by filmmaker Vipal Monga.
The second part of the evening shares music dedicated to the late J.A. “Dino” Deane and Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, both purveyors of the pioneering Conduction approach that Butch coined and created. A longtime collaborator with Dino (they released a duo record in 2018) and a years-long performer under Butch, Steph picks up the baton in their honor to conduct an ensemble of deeply creative and beautiful Conduction collaborators including Brandon Ross, Doug Weiselman, Sarah Shoenbeck and other special guests.