Sketches of Sound in Woodstock

(Photo by Jack Baron)

“Sketches of Sound from the Gallery,”a biweekly series curated by renowned drummer and percussionist Harvey Sorgen and supported by the Creative Music Studio, officially kicks off this Friday, June 29 with an improvisational musical performance geared toward interpretation by artists of all media at Photosensualis in Woodstock.

Sorgen credits his wife Donna with the idea that the music that he performs has a visual feel to it, resulting in a show last March. “Instead of just doing a regular concert, I thought let’s have it open and available to people who like to sketch in a live sound environment,” Sorgen recalled. “It was tremendous. I would say 90 percent of the audience came with their sketchpads.”

Sorgen, who has played all over the world with a diverse range of artists such as Hot Tuna, Ahmad Jamal, Paul Simon, Dewey Redman, Dave Douglas, Zakir Hussain, Honi Coles, Derek Trucks, Roswell Rudd and Bob Weir, sees this series as an informal way for the international touring musicians based in Woodstock to perform with other players from around the country and abroad in their own hometown.

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At this first performance in the series, Sorgen will be joined by Finnish saxophonist Esa Pietila, pianist and vibraphonist Karl Berger, bassist Mark Helias and vocalist and poet Ingrid Sertso.

The gallery will provide space for “sketchers,” but will also include an area for those who want to experience the music in a more traditional way. “Nobody is on the spot to do anything,” said Sorgen. “You won’t have to come there and hold up your artwork and we’ll play to it. Whatever happens happens. It’s open to concertgoers who just want to come in and listen to the music.”

Still, he added, there’s something appealing about breaking boundaries. “Most times when I’m traveling with different ensembles, I like to break that line in front of the stage,” Sorgen said. “We’re all there to create, and this is really taking it to another level. People can come, bring their pads or their cameras or whatever they’re into. You’re not an observer; you’re a participant in what’s going on that evening.”

The first performance in the biweekly “Sketches of Sound from the Gallery” will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 29 at Photosensualis, located at 15 Rock City Road in Woodstock. There is a suggested admission of $20. For more information or reservations, call (845) 679-5695 or e-mail creativemusicstudio@gmail.com.

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