Nate Wooley, trumpet – Ava Mendoza, guitar – Susan Alcorn, pedal steel – Ryan Sawyer, drums
Brooklyn-based trumpeter and composer Nate Wooley is no stranger to concert stages in Slovenia, but this will be the first time here with his Columbia Icefield project, which many are saying is one of his very best.
Columbia Icefield is a mighty giant, the Rocky Mountains’ largest glacial field, an enclosed mass of ice that empties into the Columbia River and ultimately into the Pacific Ocean. It is an alien and inaccessible force, but one that serves as a striking metaphor for humankind’s relationship to nature.
As a youngster growing up in Oregon, Nate encountered the Columbia River on a daily basis; in this project he explores his own relationship to the glacier and humanity’s confrontation with the unapproachable.
This alien entity is intertwined with contradictions and seeps magnificently into the music. ‘This record really came down to trying to build structures that have a feeling of being really large and slightly disturbing, but also natural,’ Wooley explains. ‘It’s earthbound, it comes from a natural place; it’s not an attack on our senses. We understand it.’ This became the main task for Wooley and his band: how to express what is most natural and most foreign to us simultaneously.
The result is a stirring and staggering practice in being alive and the way our lives are reflected and shaped by our surroundings. For Wooley, that’s a small seafaring town shadowed by the Icefield. This project is about Nate Wooley and his collaborators, making the truest form of self-music imaginable.
‘There’s always been this drive for me in all the work I’ve done to figure out the way to best express my own humanity,’ he says. With Columbia Icefield, Wooley stares down a piece of nature almost impossible to see oneself in. That he was able to carve a piece of his world into this glacier is a shock, until you hear the opening notes of ‘Lionel Trilling’. With Columbia Icefield, Nate Wooley makes it possible to see the humanity in everything.
‘The prettiest, most progressive campfire music ever’ (New York Times)