BLUE CRANES ~ contact / booking / promo

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Contact / Booking / Licensing:

Matt Merewitz
Fully Altered Media
(347) 527-2527

Record Label:
Cuneiform Records

Stage plot:

Press quotes


"Highly original power quintet."

"A truly unconventional approach to improvised music."

"Rich melodies and dynamic interplay."

"Hooky melodies and strong backbeats."

"Jarringly dissonant... poignant, soulful and reassuring."

"One of Portland's brightest lights... evoking post-rock icons Sigur Ros and Godspeed You! Black Emperor."

"A force of nature."

"Joyous interplay."

"Rocks harder than most rock albums and says more than most singer-songwriters--without any words at all."

Since their formation in 2007, Blue Cranes have become a key player in the Portland, Oregon creative music/DIY scene and one of the most exciting groups to keep tabs on in the Northwest. They've developed a singular musical voice grounded in melody and explosive improvisations--marking off their unique microcosmic territory in post-jazz circles.

The members of the quintet--Reed Wallsmith on alto saxophone, Joe Cunningham on tenor saxophone, Rebecca Sanborn on keyboards, Jon Shaw on bass, and Ji Tanzer on drums--bring a unique array of experiences to their group-centered aesthetic, including work with AU, The Decemberists, Laura Veirs, Golden Retriever, Wayne Horvitz, Like A Villain, Rebecca Gates, Laura Gibson, Ethan Rose, Dirty Revival, Loch Lomond, and Portland Cello Project.

Blue Cranes' latest full-length album, Swim (on the Washington, D.C.-based Cuneiform Records), is a departure from their previous, in some ways simpler, releases. Steered dutifully by producer Nate Query of The Decemberists, it is a window into the sometimes messy emotional space of a group struggling with and celebrating the ephemeralness of life. This work is the culmination of several between-album projects, including a 30-day crowd-sourced Amtrak train tour, and a seven day group composition retreat, supported in part by a grant from Portland's Regional Arts and Culture Council. However, the heart of Swim lies in indelibly profound life events--the passing away of two dear friends, a serious injury, two weddings, and the birth of a child--events at tragic and uplifting extremes, both cathartic and celebratory.

In 2020, Blue Cranes will release an album several years in the making of composition collaborations with Portland vocalists, including Edna Vazquez, Holland Andrews, Laura Gibson, Peter Broderick, Laura Veirs, Redray Frazier, Luz Elena Mendoza, Gavin Castleton, and Annalisa Tornfelt. The band will also be recording their sixth full-length album of new instrumental compositions for quintet.

Show poster:

web / print

Press photos:
(please credit photographers)

web / print
*photo credit: Mathieu Lewis-Rolland

web / print
*photo credit: Jason Quigley

Older press photos:

web / print
*photo credit: She Saw Things: Photography by Jen Downer

/ print
*photo credit: She Saw Things: Photography by Jen Downer

web / print
*photo credit: Jason Quigley

web / print
*photo credit: Jason Quigley

-Swim cover image-

web / print
*cover photo credit: Megan Kathleen McIsaac