Cuneifest, Cuneiform Records' two-day avant garde music festival label showcase in Baltimore
Cuneifest is a two-day avant-garde music festival and label showcase in Baltimore, MD, organized by Maryland-based Cuneiform Records, one of the most prominent labels on the international New Music scene. Cuneifest provides not only a glimpse of Cuneiform's broad roster, but more importantly, provides an excellent overview of some of the most exciting, boundary-shattering developments in both jazz and rock music today. Bringing together 11 cutting-edge bands from across the USA for a single, ear-expanding weekend in two intimate, sonically significant venues, CuneiFest is aimed for audiences from overseas as well as locally. Audiences can either buy two-day festival passes, or separate day-passes for Rock or Jazz Day.

On Rock Day, held Nov. 19th at Orion Sound Studios, Cuneifest presents 6 groups who represent some of the most notable and provocative currents in non-mainstream rock. Performers include Colorado’s legendary Thinking Plague, internationally acclaimed as one of America’s most important avant-progressive rock/Rock in Opposition-style groups, and Hamster Theatre, who entwine European folk music, rock and abstract soundscapes into a beyond-genre bouillabaisse. Alec K. Redfearn and the Eyesores from Providence, RI represent one of post-rock’s most intriguing branches, merging New Weird America, folk and singer/songwriter music with avant-garde. Young New York rockers Zevious work the borderline of rock, jazz and metal, while Afuche use lyrics to explore the post-rock/ avant-progressive edge. From LA, Upsilon Acrux harness post-punk’s/math-rock’s power to fuel psychedelic and progressive currents. For those tired of bland mainstream and college indie rock, Cuneifest’s Rock Day presents a dazzling galaxy of exciting alternatives.

Cuneifest’s Jazz Day, Nov. 20th, held at An Die Musik, is one of the most exciting jazz showcases assembled in the new millenium, presenting a full day of cutting-edge jazz in an intimate venue considered the best space for listening to acoustic jazz in the mid-Atlantic region. Jazz Day presents 5 of the best and most widely-acclaimed young jazz ensembles in America, including a number of jazz’s most prominent rising stars, several of whom frequently appear in DownBeat and other top musician polls. Chicago Musician of the Year[Chicago Reader] Jason Adaseiwicz – named the Rising Star Vibes Player in 2011’s DownBeat International Critics Poll– will perform with his Chicago jazz group, Rolldown. From New York, Carlo De Rosa’s Cross-Fade presents a stellar lineup, with De Rosa, Justin Brown, Mark Shim and Grammy-nominated pianist Vijay Iyer. John Hollenbeck’s acclaimed Claudia Quintet, who just released a CD featuring Kenneth Patchen’s poetry, will perform with guests Matt Mitchell and Theo Bleckmann. Ideal Bread, Josh Sinton’s group devoted to Steve Lacy’s repertoire, will also perform. The evening ends with Positive Catastrophe, a rousing alt-Latino big-band co-led by Taylor Ho Bynum and Abraham Gomez-Delgado. For anyone interested in the future of jazz, CuneiFest’s Jazz Day is not to be missed.

All of Cuneiform’s previous label showcases have been in New York, at the Knitting Factory (2001) and at The Stone (2011); CuneiFest 2011 is the 27-year old label’s first-ever showcase in its home state.

Running concurrently with CuneiFest, Cuneiform is presenting a two-week, 25-band label showcase in lower Manhattan at John Zorn’s venue, The Stone. Cuneiform at The Stone, like CuneiFest, is curated by Cuneiform’s leader, Steven Feigenbaum. Cuneiform at the Stone takes place Nov. 15-30, 2011; to read more, click here.


Festival Coordinator/Curator: Steven Feigenbaum
Promotion & Publicity Coordinator: Joyce Nalewajk
Promotion Team: Javier Diaz (team supervisor), Joyce Nalewajk, Andrew Park, Amelia Harrington
Art Director & Graphic Designer: Amelia Harrington
Website Design & Construction: Lindsey McCabe
Stage Manager: J. D. Mack
Sound Engineer: Mike Potter