The Westerlies

The Westerlies will be peforming 7 to 9 p.m., Monday at the Dark Moon Craft Beer Shop and the Loft Art Gallery on the corner of Pearl Street and Fifth Avenue in downtown Ellensburg.

Buddha once said, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

It seems even more pertinent in this day and age, especially with Monday’s gig at the at Dark Moon Beer Shop and Loft Art Gallery. As teenagers in Seattle, The Westerlies studied under the mentorship of composer and pianist Wayne Horvitz, the Royal Room’s co-founder and music programmer.

Now they’re going to pass along some of that musical knowledge that was so freely given to them with a show featuring Central Washington University music student Shaina Ellis as the opener on Monday, capping the Memorial Day weekend.

On Tuesday, Riley Mulherkar (trumpet) Chloe Rowlands (trumpet), Andy Clausen (trombone) and Willem de Koch (trombone) will teach a Brass Master Class at CWU. Jazz in the Valley and Laughing Horse Arts Foundation are sponsoring financially, so admission will be free.

Sometimes it’s not the notes, but the reaching for the note that makes the music what it is. With their unusual instrumentation, The Westerlies compose or arrange almost everything they do since so little repertoire exists for an ensemble of two trumpets and two trombones.

They explore jazz, roots and chamber music influences to create the rarest of hybrids: music that is both “folk-like and intellectually rigorous. Equally at home in concert halls and living rooms, they navigate a wide array of venues and projects.

Mulherkar, Rowlands, Clausen and de Koch grew up as friends in Seattle playing in high school jazz bands at Garfield and Roosevelt, two of the best programs in the country. They formed an “accidental brass quartet” when they all relocated to New York City for college, taking their name from the westerly trade winds that blow from West to East.

The ensemble has produced two critically acclaimed albums of genre-defying chamber music: its 2014 debut “Wish the Children Would Come Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz,” and the self entitled 2016 production, “The Westerlies.”

The group is currently developing an evening-length program in collaboration with Grammy-nominated vocalist and composer Theo Bleckmann, entitled “Song of Refuge & Resistance.”

The ensemble was featured with Fleet Foxes at Coachella, the Hollywood Bowl, the Greek Theatre Berkeley, Red Rocks, the Newport Folk Festival, Merriweather Post Pavilion, the Santa Fe Opera, Outside Lands in San Francisco, Panorama New York City, and the Pitchfork Music Festival.


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