Winter Music Games: Machine Project to Host Improv Classes, Play John Zorn's 'Cobra' Game

This month the great Machine Project space in Echo Park will host three workshops on improvisation, open to players of all levels, and learn a music game called Cobra created by genius New York saxophonist John Zorn.

The two hour sessions will be held each Sunday afternoon through January, and will be led by musicians Rory Cowal, Sara Roberts and Isaac Schankler. After an introductory class on the principles of improv on the opening Sunday, the team will teach the participants how to play Cobra.

Click through for more details on how to get involved.

Cobra, with Mike Patton on vocals

Details, from Machine Project:

1/10 - 1pm Principles of Improvisation with Rory Cowal

1/17 - 1pm Advanced Principles of Improvisation with Rory, 2pm Intro to Cobra with Isaac Schankler

1/24 - 1pm Advanced Cobra and Guerrillla Tactics with Isaac

For this series of workshops, musicians of all levels and musical backgrounds are invited to participate. Together, we will explore all of the ways we can interact through music and the extraordinary sonic worlds that arise as a result. As a full ensemble and in different small ensemble combinations, we will find strategies for successfully cooperating as a group while still asserting our individuality and expressing our personal voices. We will use improvisation as a tool to better understand structure and form in a performance. We will also hone our compositional skills; while improvising, we must ask ourselves, "what does this work need and how will my contribution add to the character and evolution of the piece?" The fruits of our efforts will be spontaneous and extraordinary works of art. Tapping into our collective imagination and creativity, we will invent fantastic textures of timbre, melody, harmony, and color.

We will explore these ideas further with John Zorn's Cobra, a popular and continually evolving improvisational game piece. In Cobra, players respond to a variety of gestures and cards that provide countless possibilities for musical interaction. However, players wishing to strike out on their own can become "guerrillas" and set their own agenda, making for an often unpredictable but always compelling spectacle. The workshops will culminate in a performance that incorporates all aspects of these improvisational strategies.

There's an opening night performance this Friday, January 8 at Machine Project.

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