Emergence is a genre-bending ensemble that combines the best of jazz, classical, electronic, and world-music styles. Formed by composer Patrick Zimmerli in 2002, the ensemble has nine members, including string quartet, piano, bass, two percussionists, laptop, and Zimmerli on soprano saxophone.
Emergence features some of the finest young virtuosi in the New York scene: Violinists Timothy Fain and Yoon Kwon, violist Beth Guterman, cellist Julia Bruskin, pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Scott Colley, percussionists Satoshi Takeishi and John Hadfield, and electronic artist Harold Bott, Jr. The ensemble's high-energy performances feature a program of originals mixed in with innovative arrangements of jazz standards.
Composer Patrick Zimmerli first formed Emergence in 2002 to bring together the various strands of his musical experience in one genre-transcending ensemble.
"I was composer-in-residence for a dynamic young chamber orchestra in Boston," the composer recalls. "and had been focusing solely on composition—chamber and orchestral music. I felt the desire to create my own performing ensemble once again, to produce music that was stylistically far-reaching and closer to the essence of what I wanted to say as an artist.
The result was Emergence—a true mixing of genres. Unlike some crossover projects, where classical musicians play in jazz styles or vice versa, this group brought together musicians from the respective genres. "True jazz and classical musicians are so different, so steeped in their traditions, that we had to learn to value each other's work. The resulting collaboration helped us produce a more multi-layered sound." To compliment the acoustic performers Zimmerli added digital sound artist Harold Bott Jr. "I've always been fascinated by the possibilities of electronic music, and there's an enormous creative fervor in that field."
In 2005, Emergence worked with Grammy-winning jazz producer Don Sickler to create their debut CD: Phoenix was released on Songlines Recordings to considerable critical acclaim. More performances that year took place at the Jazz Standard, Makor and Triad. Those concerts also served as workshops for Zimmerli's work on an opera about the life James Joyce's daughter Lucia.
In 2007 the ensemble began work on its second CD, produced by Seth Abramson and mixed by engineer Tom Lazarus. The resulting work, Emergence, will be released in Fall 2010 on the Big Round label.
In Summer 2008 the group was invited to record at world-famous Van Gelder Studios in Englewood New Jersey, the same studio where many of the great jazz albums of the 50s and 60s by artists like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Thelonious Monk were recorded. The producer was again Don Sickler, and the result, Van Gelder Sessions, is scheduled for release in 2012.