Nate Wooley premieres Coyote—a reassessment in form and format, for artist, audience and Lampo.
The new work builds on his radical [Syllables] project, where he replaced standard trumpet technique with the mechanics of producing speech. Now the relationship of body to instrument and how the tradition of “correct” trumpet sound could be side-stepped has grown into a new language of performative pieces.
Coyote takes its initial impulse from Joseph Beuys’s I Like America and America Likes Me performance, in which the artist is locked in a gallery space with a live coyote. Wooley was intrigued by the idea of two coexisting bodies in a confined space: one body performing ritual actions toward the other, which is an ambivalent presence.
In Coyote, Wooley acts as the ritual performer through a series of slow, subtle and deliberate movements involving the entire body, with the trumpet being the mechanistic other. These movements are enacted over a four-hour span split into 15-minute increments, which create physically untenable situations for the performance of musical tones on the trumpet as Wooley exhausts the body—a macro view of his micro-mapping [Syllables] pieces. The resulting muscle tremors and quickness of breath affect the timbre of the trumpet and release the performer and audience member from any expectation of perfection.
Coyote also shows Wooley moving away from musical concerns altogether, following landscape painter Frank Auerbach’s immersive practice and deep engagement with his subject. For Auerbach, immersion incites a violent explosion of material into a fragmented and more personally honest form.
When developing the composition, Wooley wrote out a series of movement parameters for his body as well as short texts from an upcoming project imagining an alternate world in which music has no cultural agency. He immersed himself in these core materials—copying them by hand over and again—to the point that they appeared in dreams, unbidden in his subconscious. The performance becomes 12 moments of explosion, as the material passes through the subconscious, with the trumpet acting only as the filter and amplifier of its presentation to the audience.
Nate Wooley (b.1974, Clatskanie, Ore.) is one of the most in-demand trumpet players in the burgeoning Brooklyn jazz, improv, noise and new music scenes. He has performed regularly with such icons as John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, Eliane Radigue, Ken Vandermark, Fred Frith, Evan Parker and Yoshi Wada, as well as being a collaborator with some of the brightest lights of his generation like Chris Corsano, C. Spencer Yeh, Peter Evans and Mary Halvorson.
His work has been featured at the SWR JazzNow stage at Donaueschingen, the WRO Media Arts Biennial in Poland, Kongsberg, North Sea, Music Unlimited and Copenhagen Jazz Festivals, as well as FIMAV and A L’arme Festival with his 19-person ecstatic band Seven Storey Mountain. He has performed at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and has also been a featured artist at MoMA PS1 and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
In 2016 Wooley received a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, which supported the recording and production of [Syllables]. That same year he also initiated the “For/With” commissioning project, which seeks to expand the compositional literature for trumpet by including work with an emphasis on timbre, silence, collaboration and improvisation. He premiered the first two pieces by Christian Wolff and Michael Pisaro in 2017 and is currently working on new pieces by Annea Lockwood, Ashley Fure and Wadada Leo Smith.
Nate Wooley appeared in the Lampo series in May 2014, performing portions of his long piece, For Kenneth Gaburo, as well as solo amplified trumpet improvisations.
Nate Wooley’s Coyote is the first in what will be an occasional series of works, where artists offer short, person-to-person performances, constrained by the space of our 10 x 20 foot office. Attendance for Coyote is limited to four people in each 15-minute segment, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.