Karen Mantler's offbeat jazz-pop—her lyrics often dwell on her late cat Arnold—is about what you'd expect from the daughter of composers Michael Mantler and Carla Bley. The singer, pianist and harmonica player recently sprang back into action in a trio with bassist Kato Hideki and multi-instrumentalist Doug Wieselman, both of whom are on hand here to celebrate the release of her new CD entitled “Business Is Bad”.
Karen Mantler is the daughter of jazz musicians Carla Bley and Michael Mantler. As a songwriter and a bandleader, her style has attracted a world-class list of musicians to her band throughout the years, including Steven Bernstein, Eric Mingus, Hiram Bullock and Arturo O’Farrill. As an instrumentalist and vocalist, Mantler has shared the stage with the likes of Terry Adams, Jack Bruce and Elvis Costello to name a few. She has performed frequently in Europe with various musicians, most notably John Greaves, Chris Cutler and Peter Blegvad. Robert Wyatt included three of Karen’s compositions on his 2003 recording, “Cuckooland”, which also featured her on harmonica and vocals. As a Hammond organ player, Karen has been touring and recording with The Carla Bley Big Band since 1988. In December 2013 Anton Fier hired her to play keyboards and harmonica with his band The Golden Palominos. Her 5th CD as a leader (featuring Doug Wieselman and Kato Hideki) will be released in the spring of 2014 on the label XtraWATT (ECM).
Kato Hideki is a bassist, composer & producer. As a bassist, he has worked with Eyvind Kang, John King, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Christian Marclay, New York City Ballet, Billy Martin, Zeena Parkins, Marc Ribot, Nana Vasconcelos and John Zorn, among others. His own groups include: Death Ambient with Fred Frith & Ikue Mori; Tremolo of Joy with Charles Burnham, Briggan Krauss, Ed Tomney & Calvin Weston; Plastic Spoon with Karen Mantler, Douglas Wieselman & Shahzad Ismaily; and the solo works Hope & Despair and Turbulent Zone. His music has been released on Tzadik Records, Virgin UK; broadcast on BBC Radio 3, WNYC and NPR. He co-produced Karen Mantler's Business is Bad, and music for the Bessie Award-winning THEM with Chris Cochrane, Dennis Cooper and Ishmael Houston-Jones. Kato has collaborated with Karen Mantler since 1999.
Doug Wieselman is a composer, arranger and musician. He co-leads Kamikaze Ground Crew who have recorded 5 albums as well as leading his own ensemble – Trio S with Jane Scarpantoni and Kenny Wollesen. As a musician, he worked with Hal Willner, Bill Frisell, Eyvind Kang, Robin Holcomb, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Steven Bernstein, Martha Wainwright, Yuka Honda and John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards, among many others. In theater he has worked with director Robert Woodruff and the Flying Karamazov Brothers, in dance with Jerome Robbins and Paul Taylor. For 7 years he composed music for the hit Nick Jr. cartoon show “The Backyardigans” in association with Evan Lurie.