Posted in Calendar on October 13, 2008 by icu6

Harbor City College (San Pedro)

December 6th, 8 p.m.

Guests:   John Lindberg and  Ulrich Krieger


Jon Armstrong

Posted in Member Biographies on October 13, 2008 by icu6


Jon Armstrong’s musical background is one of diverse academic training and live performance experience, including studies on tenor and alto saxophones, guitar, piano, clarinet and banjo.   He holds a B.M. in Music from the University of Washington and a M.F.A. in Jazz Reeds from the California Institute of the Arts, where he amongst others studied with John Rahn, Jonathan Bernhard, Larry Koonse, Vinny Golia, Charlie Haden and Wadada Leo Smith, as well as taking part in the studies of different world musics, such as the african anlo-ewe drum and dance tradition, indian sargam and balinese gong kebyar.   His passion for reaching out to the community and educating young minds has led him to design and teach jazz and improvisation courses for the California Arts Partnership, Heart of Los Angeles and After School All Stars.   Jon is involved in regular local performances, as well as active travel, receiving honors in national jazz competitions and promoting his recent CD release throughout the country.

Central Library Performance

Posted in Calendar on October 1, 2008 by icu6

Saturday October 4th, 2008, 2pm


Creative Music and Collaborative Arts with special guests:


Famoudou Don Moye (Art Ensemble of Chicago)

Susie Allen

William Roper


Taper Auditorium @

Los Angeles Central Library

630 W. 5th Street

Los Angeles, CA, 90071

Concert Series

Posted in Projects on September 27, 2008 by icu6

The ICU is concentrating on establishing a concert series of improvised music in collaboration with the other art forms at performance venues that are open to the general public.   In order to achieve this goal the ICU has started a series of performances at the Pasadena Library, the Central Public Library and Harbor City College in Los Angeles.   The ICU is planning on introducing these spaces to the arts community as well as reaching an audience that is not familiar or exposed to improvised creative music.

Casey Butler

Posted in Member Biographies on September 27, 2008 by icu6


Casey Butler (aka Stellar Rahim) is originally from San Diego, CA.  A multi-instrumentalist playing guitar, bass, drums, flute and gamelan, Casey’s primary instrument is the saxophone.  He began his training inspired by the spiritual potency of John Coltrane’s music and the avant-garde cabal, which led him to studies with John Tchicai, as well as Eddie Gale.   Casey holds a B.F.A. in Music from UC Berkeley and is currently attending the California Institute of the Arts, under the tutelage of Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith.  Casey’s music is aimed at cultivating inner peace and universal compassion.

Sarah Phillips

Posted in Member Biographies on September 27, 2008 by icu6


A composer/improviser and pianist, Sarah Phillips was born and raised in Dallas, TX.  Her musical quest was launched in New Orleans, where she studied composition with Dr. Jimbo P. Walsh and performed with, as well as composed for various jazz and improvisational ensembles throughout the crescent city, including the New Orleans New Music Ensemble (N.O.N.M.E.), which she cofounded.  “Sound for the Organization of Society”, a nine-piece ensemble, which she also composes and performs with, was formed during her time in New Orleans and is still active today, appearing in venues up and down the west coast. Sarah  has shared the stage with with Butch Morris, Vinny Golia, Wadada Leo Smith and Ulrich Krieger.  She had her original compositions performed by the California Ear Unit and the Cygnus Ensemble and is currently published by Golden Branch Music.   Her artistic approaches are influenced by ankhrasmation, improvisational thought and structures, experimentation and inter-disciplinary collaborations.

Daren Burns

Posted in Member Biographies on September 27, 2008 by icu6


Daren Howard Burns, fretted and fretless electric bass player, composer, and improviser has been playing music for twenty-two years and composing for ten years. Much of his musical interest lies in the area of improvisation and how to make new systems for developing improvisation in new ways.   He is working on notation systems that incorporate world music and jazz and open structures that give the musician freedom while also giving the composer his realized ideas.
He received his formal education from Fullerton junior College and the California Institute of the Arts. Daren also studied privately with Wadada Leo Smith, Ralph Rose, Baba Elephante, Gary Willis, Aloke Dutta, Aashish Khan, Vinny Golia, and Jeff Berlin.
As an Improviser/Composer Burns has studied, Western European music, the classical music of North and South India, Ghana music of Africa, Japanese, Eastern European/Arabic music, and American Blues, Rock, and Jazz. He is working on notation systems that incorporate world music and jazz and open structures that give the musician freedom while also giving the composer his realized ideas.
Daren has taught privately from his home and at Woodlowe Music in Woodland Hills, CA for over ten years. He is a member of the American Composers Forum and an ASCAP member. He was a winner of the Dan Radlauer composition competition in 1994.
As a composer he has written for soloists, various ensembles, and creative orchestras. As a performer he has shared the stage with Wadada Leo Smith, Neil Sadler, Butch Morris, Mike Keneally, Nels Cline, Vinny Golia, Jeff Kaiser, Motoko Honda, Ori Barel, Chris Opperman, Andre LaFosse, John Bergamo, Randy Gloss, Houman Pourmehdi, Miroslav Tadic, Adam Lane, Len ‘Boogsie’ Sharp, George McMullen, Brian Walsh, Kurt McGettrick, Bill Fowler, David Roitstein, Joe LaBarbera, Eleanor Academia, Frank Macchia, and many others.