Creative Music Ensembles

Chris Jonas’ remarkable composed suites [are] subtle breakthroughs and fantastic journeys.

-Ann Powers, The New York Times

Ensemble Projects
Drawing from my experiences working in ensembles led by my long term collaborators of the Goggle Sax Quartet, Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, Butch Morris, and William Parker, I became fascinated with how composition can be the halfway point between an idea and a performance, cuing up a diverse body of musicians to have enough stability and fresh materials to create new things on stage while freeing them to be fully themselves in the moment.

For each of these bandleaders, there became the necessity for developing unique ways of communicating with an ensemble in performance: for Braxton it was structured by his Language Music, and for Butch Morris, the complex array of hand symbols codified in what he called “Conduction.” My own activity as a composer/performer/conductor has come to be central to my work.

Current Ensemble Work
Somehow, there’s an entirely new spirit of music and creative work in my life today. This is very much a carryover from the work I did in the Bay Area in the weeks before Covid. There, I worked on a series of projects in collaboration with long-time comrades in duo B. Experimental Band, co-led by Lisa Mezzacappa and Jason Levis; Goggle Saxophone Quartet with lifelong collaborators Cory Wright, Dan Plonsey, and Randy McKean; and my collaborations with the Del Sol String Quartet, which has been ongoing since 2008.