Meridian Music: Composers in Performance begins its 2015-2016 season with a special solo guitar performance by improvisor-guitarist Henry Kaiser.
Grammy winner Henry Kaiser is widely recognized as one of the most creative and innovative guitarists, improvisers, and producers in the fields of rock, jazz, world, and contemporary experimental musics. The California-based musician is one of the most extensively recorded as well, having appeared on more than 250 different albums and contributed to countless television and film soundtracks. A restless collaborator who constantly seeks the most diverse and personally challenging contexts for his music, Mr. Kaiser not only produces and contributes to a staggering number of recorded projects, he performs frequently throughout the USA, Canada, Europe and Japan, with several regular groupings as well as solo guitar concerts and concerts of freely improvised music with a host of diverse instrumentalists. Mr. Kaiser was, perhaps, the first recording artist to employ digital looping, on his 1978 albums ALOHA and OUTSIDE PLEASURE.
Evidence of his exceptional musical breadth and versatility can be found in a partial list of the extraordinary artists with whom he has recorded and/or performed: Herbie Hancock, Richard Thompson, David Lindley, Bob Weir, Lukas Ligeti, Michael Snow, The ROVA Sax Quartet, Elliot Sharp, John "Drumbo" French, Raymond Kane, Michael McClure, Bill Laswell, Steve Lacy, Fred Frith, Barbara Higbie, Terry Riley, Jody Stecher, John Abercrombie, Leo Smith, moe., Negativland, Michael Stipe, Terry Riley, Jim O'Rourke, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sergei Kuriokhin, Zero, Critters Buggin', Diamanda Galas, Sonny Sharrock, Hans Reichel, Chris Cutler, Henry Cow, John Zorn, Andy West, David Torn, Bill Frisell, Joey Baron, Davey Williams, Eugene Chadbourne, Evan Parker, Sang-Won Park, Material, The Golden Palominos, Victoria Williams, Jin-Hi Kim, John Oswald, Glenn Phillips, Toshinori Kondo, John Stevens, Tom Constanten, Kiyohiko Senba, Bruce Anderson, Sang-Won Park, Yuji Takahashi, Jaojoby, John Medeski, Zoogz Rift, Ngoc Lam, Dama Mahaleo, Merl Saunders, Freddie Roulette, Mari Kimura, Harvey Mandel, Danny Carnahan, Robin Petrie, Rakoto Frah, Rossy, Alan Senauke, John Tchicai, George Lewis, Kazumi Watanabe, Peter Brotzmann, Zero, Bob Bralove, Greg Allman, Billy Kreutzman, Jerry Garcia, Miya Masaoka, Miroslav Tadic, Cecil Taylor, Nels Cline, and Amos Garrett.
On the global roots front, Kaiser has made 4 albums of cross-cultural collaborations with Korean musicians Sang Won Park and Jin Hi Kim. He is also known for the 10 albums that he has made with musicians from Madagascar, his many albums of collaboration with musicians from Sweden and Norway, his album with Zimbabwe's Thomas Mapfumo and Wadada Leo Smith, several collaborations with Vietnamese musicians, and his production work on 6 albums of music from Burma, as well as his numerous productions with Hindustani musicians such as Ali Akbar Khan and Brij Bhushan Kabra. Most recently he recorded 2 albums of collaboration with Carnatic musicians from South India, playing together with a Chinese gu-qin player from Beijing and two other American Improvisors.
Kaiser has had a parallel career in the film and television industry for over 35 years, working as a producer, director and soundtrack composer. He directed and produced many hours of science television programming. He received an Academy Award nomination for his work as the producer for Werner Herzog's ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD, he was also the underwater camera and soundtrack composer for that film. Kaiser worked on 3 other Herzog films: THE WILD BLUE YONDER, GRIZZLY MAN, and LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY.
He is a scientific diver in the US ANTARCTIC PROGRAM. 2012 marked his tenth deployment beneath the twenty foot thick ice of the Ross Sea. Previously he taught underwater research at THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT BERKELEY for 17 years; where he was a an early pioneer in the use of underwater video for scientific research and diver training. Mr. Kaiser has more Antarctic under-the-ice footage in films and tv shows than any other underwater cameraman. With ten scientific diving deployments to Antarctica, he probably has more dives under fast ice than any other professional videographer.