On the Offbeat Path : Leaders of pfmentum bring new sounds and experimental combinations to the area.


New music of the sometimes wild, sometimes witty variety has been filtering through Ventura on a surprisingly regular basis of late, thanks largely to the efforts of Jeff Kaiser and Keith McMullen.

Together, their oddly monikered organization, pfmentum, ushers interesting, offbeat sounds into our little beach town. Last weekend, guitarist of note Nels Cline performed a solo set and in the duet Scarnella.

This Saturday, Kaiser himself takes the makeshift stage of Art City II (it’s advised that concert-goers bring blankets, pillows, beanbag chairs or other things to sit on) for a double-header.


Kaiser, on trumpet and electronics, will be joined by Woody Apalnap and bassist Steuart Liebig in what will no doubt be an experimental trio encounter of the close, noise-loving kind.

Next up will be Brad Dutz’s Obliteration Quartet, led by Dutz, a flexible and witty percussionist from Los Angeles. He will be joined by Joe Berardi, Richie West and Dan Morris doing Dutz material on “found metal objects.”

Sounds like a good way to ring out the old year.

There’s more experimental music to come in the new year / millennium: On Jan. 29 at the Ventura High School auditorium, pfmentum will host the first local appearance of the widely respected Vinny Golia Large Ensemble.

Perhaps the most ambitious of Golia’s many ensembles, which will be 30 musicians strong when it plays locally, the Large Ensemble has performed in various locales and recorded several albums over the years, giving West Coast big band culture a refreshing new perspective.

On Feb. 25, it will be jazz trio night at Ventura City Hall when trios led by keyboardist Wayne Peet and fine trombonist Michael Vlatkovich hold court.

In all, Ventura continues to be a stopping place for jazz musicians, improvisers and otherwise inspired margin-dwellers from the West Coast.



The Jeff Kaiser Trio and Brad Dutz’s Obliteration Quartet at 8 p.m. Saturday at Art City II, 31 Peking St., Ventura. Tickets are $5.

Seasonal Sonics: For a nicely balanced, spiritually inclined dose of seasonal music, proceed to Buenaventura Mission tonight or Sunday afternoon for the Ventura Master Chorale’s timely program “From Silence to Celebration.”

Judging from the program, the title is entirely fitting. Rather than offering just a lightweight dessert tray of Christmas confections, the chorale, led by Burns Taft, is making the program one of its serious efforts in its current five-concert season.

The chorale will perform the Brahms Mass and noted composer Morton Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium,” in addition to the lighter, hum-along stuff of “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” and “Silent Night.”

The setting, in the ancient (by Southern California standards) and acoustically rich splendor of the mission, should add to the sum effect.


The Ventura Master Chorale will perform “From Silence to Celebration” at 8 p.m. Friday and 4:30 p.m. Sunday at San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura. Tickets are $15 and $18; 653-7282.


Josef Woodard, who writes about art and music, can be reached by e-mail at