John Schott’s Actual Trio Gets Bigger


The Actual Trio includes John Hanes, John Schott, and Dan Seamans.

Photo by Myles Boisen

In the hands of John Schott, iconoclasm and reverence are often indistinguishable. An essential creative catalyst on the Bay Area music scene over the past 25 years, the Berkeley guitarist has deconstructed bebop anthems in the quartet Junk Genius (with clarinetist Ben Goldberg, bassist Trevor Dunn, and drummer Kenny Wollesen) and mashed up rootsy post bop and sinewy funk in the Grammy-nominated band T.J. Kirk (with drummer Scott Amendola and fellow guitarslingers Charlie Hunter and Will Bernard).

Possessing a tart, stinging tone and a sly, often puckish sense of humor, Schott is the best kind of musical ironist. He kids because he loves. In recent years, the Actual Trio has served as his primary vehicle, and the band celebrates the release of its second album, ACT II, in Berkeley’s cozy Back Room on Friday, Feb. 23, with a wild menagerie of special guests. Featuring bassist Dan Seamans, who anchored Ben Goldberg’s seminal New Klezmer Trio, and the capaciously resourceful drummer John Hanes, the group honed its tough, tensile rhythmic approach at a long-running monthly gig in North Oakland’s Actual Café. The band released an eponymous 2015 debut album on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, and the follow-up was produced by Hans Wendl and recorded at Berkeley’s legendary Fantasy Studios.

They will be joined by Jayn Pettingil (alto), Myles Boisen (guitar), Alan Williams (trombone), and a special guest on sax, to form a once-only powerhouse septet that will tear the roof off. For the evening’s second set, the group will be joined by David Boyce (tenor) and Alan Williams (trombone).

John Schott’s Actual Trio, Friday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m.  $15 in advance, $20 at the door (cash only), The Back Room, 1984 Bolinas Ave., Berkeley, 510-654-3808; doors open half hour before show time;

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