Violinist Alexa Torres & Her Quartet to Release New Album “In Situ” on June 14th, 2024 | LISTEN!

Violinist/ Composer Alexa Torres and her Quartet to release new recording “IN SITU”

In July 2022, Alexa Torres set out on a one-year trip to interview and collaborate with improvising violinists across Belgium, France, and Poland. Her hybrid research and performance sojourn was funded by two prestigious awards: The Presser Graduate Music Award and The Fulbright Grant. Torres recorded her debut album, In Situ, in preparation for this journey, to reflect internally on the sound cultures that shape her personal musical milieu before turning her gaze externally to new soundscapes.

“ In situ is an archaeological term which refers to the original position of an artifact found in place. When I was 21, I spent five weeks excavating Maya ruins in the Belizean jungle. We spent 8 or 9 hours a day digging in the wet dirt, often without finding much. But I remember the sense of awe I felt when I finally found a tool. It was a scraper, carved out of stone. As I held it, I thought about how I was likely the first person to touch the tool in over a thousand years, and I imagined stories about the people who had used it before me so long ago. I wanted to bring that very particular sense of awe to this album. The term in situ evokes a feeling of rediscovery and recontextualization which are things I really wanted to communicate. It also conveys a feeling of connection between past, present, and future. Artifacts found in situ represent material culture which we use to construct narratives of the past in order to better understand our present and our future.”

This sense of temporal connection is reflected musically through the textures, improvisational languages, and timbres of In Situ. With a blended acoustic-electric violin sound, Torres’s be-bop lines intertwined with modern diminished and altered vocabulary float over guitarist Wellman’s bright, distinctly contemporary voicings. Further mirroring Torres’s goal of bridging past, present, and future, In Situ brings together original compositions as well as contemporary arrangements of jazz standards. The result reflects an intimate engagement with jazz idioms and with Torres’s own Latinx heritage by synthesizing Latinx rhythms, modern jazz devices, and improvisation.

In addition to being a professional improvising violinist, Torres is a music researcher with a background in cultural anthropology. “I view my work as an ethnographic researcher and my performance practice as an improvising violinist as intrinsically connected,” she says. “They mutually inform each other.”

Torres was awarded the Austin Live Music Grant to support the release of In Situ and the album will be available on all streaming platforms on June 14th, 2024. Immediately following its virtual debut, In Situ is set for a live release concert on June 15th at the Dougherty Arts Center in Austin, Texas. Torres has teamed up with the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin, TX to offer a community-centered performance that is free to the public, which will be complemented by additional summer release performances in New York City and Austin, TX.

In December and January, 2023-2024, Alexa performed a pre-release tour of In Situ in her old home of Chile. During the tour, Alexa played in the cities of Valparaiso and Santiago, performing at some of the country’s top jazz clubs such as Thelonious Lugar de Jazz.

Torres’s violin is supported by a rhythm section of talented musicians: Mario Wellmann on guitar, Josh Newburry on bass, and Jordan Proffer on drums. Weaving an aural landscape that is both personally and historically grounded, In Situ sculps a sonic bridge between the past and the present, between tradition and innovation, and between musical idioms and cultures.

Alexa Torres, violin * Mario Wellmann, guitar *
Josh Newburry, bass * Jordan Proffer, drums

Release Date: June 14th, 2024

About Alexa Torres

Alexa Torres Skillicorn is a Latinx improvising violinist with a background in jazz. She is a performer, band leader, and ethnographic music researcher based in New York City and Austin, Texas. Musically, she seeks to cultivate improvisational and compositional styles which are both historically and personally rooted, embodying a dialogue between tradition and innovation in jazz. She recently recorded her forthcoming debut album entitled In Situ.

Throughout her musical career, Torres has performed in the US, Latin America, and Europe and has had the privilege of sharing the stage with renowned, Grammy-winning artists such as Kurt Elling and Mon Laferte. She has played in a diverse array of venues and festivals including Carnegie Hall (NYC), Teatro Caupolican (SCL), The Elephant Room Jazz Club (ATX), South by Southwest, and Festival Internacional Django Reinhardt Chile. In 2019, the album Mundo Zero on which she recorded as a core band member of Ensamble de Luz was nominated for the prestigious Chilean Premio Pulsar award.

Breaking new ground in the world of improvised strings, in 2022 Torres became the first woman and the first violinist to graduate from the University of North Texas (UNT) jazz strings program. At UNT, she obtained a Master of Music in Jazz Performance in the acclaimed Jazz Studies Department, completing coursework in jazz violin with Scott Tixier; improvisation with Dave Meder, Davy Mooney, and Philip Dizack; and jazz arranging with Rich Derosa. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Jazz Performance at New York University, fully funded by the competitive five-year Steinhardt Fellowship. There, she’s had the opportunity to work with jazz luminaries like Dave Liebman and Sara Caswell.

Torres views her ethnographic and performance practices as reciprocal; her playing is deeply informed by her research as she aims to construct a musical lexicon which temporally connects the past, present, and future. Torres’s research is published in peer-reviewed journals of music education and social sciences. In addition to her MM in jazz performance, Torres holds a BA in cultural anthropology and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas, Austin. Her work as a researcher and performer has been recognized by competitive awards such as the Fulbright Grant, the Presser Graduate Music Award, The Austin Live Music Grant, and the Steinhardt Fellowship

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