Every improviser loves to solo on his favorite compositions. For free-jazz winds player and vocalist Andy Laties, it’s been Kurt Schwitters’s “Sonata In Primeval Sounds” also called “Ursonate.” Between 1984 and 1995 he presented the piece twenty times, and he tried to make every show different, though always performing the entire text.
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In January 2009, Rebecca Migdal and Andy Laties launched a monthly series of “Ursonate” performances as part of an Open Mike program in Rebecca's Gonzo Comix art studio in the canal district of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Their plan was to intersperse readings by poets, acts by stand-up comics, and slideshows by cartoonists between movements of “Ursonate.” They hoped some of the visiting artists would ask to perform “Ursonate” with them: they planned to accumulate an Urchestra. By July, the group was nine members strong.