‘Round Midnight Reconsidered
One of Jazz composer and pianist Thelonious Monk’s most revered ballads, ‘Round Midnight was interpreted in spectacular style by Bay Area guitarist and composer John Schott and an all-star group of musicians in a continuous eight-hour exegesis, June 4, 2022 from 9:00 p.m. – 5:30 a.m. PT. The concert was performed live in San Francisco at Light Rail Studios and streamed online as the centerpiece of DAWN, a bold reimagining of the Jewish holiday of Shavuot by Reboot. Watch the here or on Reboot’s YouTube page
On Shavuot, Jews are encouraged to stay up through the night studying holy texts, and in the concert, ‘Round Midnight Reconsidered, the musicians approached the composition as Jews celebrating Shavuot tradition would a Torah passage – as an overnight study session.
The ensemble of more than a dozen musicians used Jewish approaches to textual commentary as a framing principle for their improvisations. Each of the 48 measures of ‘Round Midnight, which typically take 90 seconds to perform, was stretched to 10 minutes length, resulting in a complete performance lasting eight hours. Each note, group of notes, and rest was treated as an object for contemplation and commentary. This extended experience is intended to transform the music into a powerful medium for spiritual realization.
Accompanying Schott were Aurora Josephson and Cecilia Englehart on vocals; Nikita Manin and Cory Wright, woodwinds; Crystal Pascucci, violoncello; Mark Clifford, vibraphone; Scott Larson, trombone; Jason Hoopes, acoustic bass; Kanoko Nishi, koto; Suki O’Kane, Jason Levis and John Hanes, drums and percussion.
DAWN Playlist and Toolkit
DAWN is Reboot’s all-night culture and arts festival celebrating the Jewish calendar’s best-kept secret – Shavuot. This year, we are offering highlights from past two online DAWN festivals in addition to our ‘Round Midnight performance. Reboot presented DAWN 2021 in partnership with the Jewish Emergent Network and LABA’s into the Night Tikkun Layle Shavuot and DAWN 2020 in partnership with the Jewish Emergent Network. To facilitate conversation and study, we have created this discussion guide to accompany our 2022 DAWN Playlist.
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John Schott (b. 1966) is a Bay Area guitarist and composer known for his diverse ensembles, including the Actual Trio, the Typical Orchestra, Dream Kitchen, and Ensemble Diglossia. He has long standing collaborations with Ben Goldberg, Cecilia Engelhart, the Rova Sax Quartet, and producers Lee Townsend and Hans Wendl. He has also recorded with John Zorn and Tom Waits, composed for dance and theatre productions, and taught at UC Berkeley. His music reflects eclectic influences: Arnold Schoenberg, Thelonious Monk, Muddy Waters, ragtime, and Ornette Coleman.