Welcome to The TANK

Sherry Finzer Concert

Sherry Finzer is on the TANK’s Board of Directors



SUSIE IBARRA RESIDENCY, Sept 11-17

Susie Ibarra   Photo: Tessa Fuqua

 

In September percussionist and sound artist Susie Ibarra is in residency at The TANK. In addition to exploring the sonic dimensions of The TANK itself, she’s been doing field work, playing and recording in some extraordinary locations in the area. In the video below she experiments with her entire jazz kit in Sand Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument.

Susie Ibarra Photo by Tessa Fuqua


Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument, near The TANK


Ron Miles, Too Soon Gone

Ron Miles played his cornet in the Tank on many occasions, most recently headlining the Solstice Festival in 2018, when he brought the Tank to resonant life, spontaneously creating a beautiful, wide-awake composition.  Bruce Odland recalls, “Ron’s expressive tools were vast.   He once told me that he remembered every sound he made on the cornet, from the time he first picked up the horn.  All these sounds were always available to him, and among them, he could make the most beautiful cloud of diffuse, fluid, undifferentiated sound the way other people could slip into a vibrato.   In his 2018 performance, he inserted that foggy cloud of non-notes, filling the Tank like vapor.  Just when it got almost thick enough to see, he pierced it like an arrow with a note so pure and geometric you could feel the vapors vanish and the light pouring in.  All totally honest to his playing in the moment.”

Here is some of the music from that concert.

Photo by Conrado Quezada

Ron was one of the pioneering musicians who squeezed through the Tank’s 19-inch porthole when it was the only entrance to the place.  In 1993, Ron Miles recorded a soundtrack in the Tank with Mark McCoin and Bruce Odland, and in the process the three also recorded an album of deeply meditative music, which was released in 2013 as Bardo Tank.

Photo by Conrado Quezada

Playing in the Tank requires a musician to move beyond oneself, to engage the profound resonance in the space as the extension of one’s instrument.  Ron was in a league of his own in this capacity, inhabiting every note and its long effect in that reverb.  He played with great feeling and great dignity.  At the Tank, he also dressed to the nines for his 2018 concert, arriving to play in that rugged desert location, inside that vast industrial structure, in a resplendent silver-gray suit, looking so beautiful.  It was as if he were going to church, and he was.

A pillar of the local jazz scene, Ron spent most of his life in Denver, only briefly going to New York to study at the Manhattan School of Music, then returning to his hometown, where he would perform and teach, ultimately heading the Jazz Studies program at Metropolitan State.  He was personally quiet and focused, and brought a calm intensity to his own work and to the ensembles whose records he often played with.  “He has such an effect on everybody in the band,” said Bill Frisell in a 2014 interview. “I’ve played with the same people, the same song when he’s there and when he’s not there, and there’s an incredible power, like a rhythmic clarity power, in everything that he plays. It sort of just brings everything into focus. … I’m talking about one of those things that gets almost beyond. You can’t really analyze it. He puts a spell on things.”

Ron Miles, Brian Blade, Bill Frisell (photo by John Spiral, courtesy Hans Wendl Produktion)

Ron made twelve of his own albums and contributed to many others as a sideman, including six records by Bill Frisell, five by Fred Hess, and albums by Ginger Baker, Ben Horvitz, Jason Moran, Joshua Redman and others.  Only in recent years, though, did Ron gain recognition beyond a select community, including many in Colorado and the nation’s most esteemed musicians, with I Am a Man (2017) and Rainbow Sign (2020), which was released on the country’s most distinguished jazz label, Blue Note Records.

Lois LaFond recalls, “Every moment, every band, every opportunity to play with Ron was a treasure.  When I was making my recording for my husband Dick — favorite songs from our long life together — Ron and Terry Sines blessed the beautiful Kirsty MacColl song, Head, with their massive skill.  When I went to pay Ron, he refused. ‘No way,’ I said.  ‘You made this song exactly what I had hoped for.’  He put his arms out and said, ‘We are Family.’  That’s who Ron was.”

“This man embodied all that we humans hope for,” Lois notes.  “He was a model for Being Good.  He wore his kindness on his sleeve, and he never posted his religion.  I truly never met anyone like him: humble, kind, smart, fun, light-hearted, buddha-like, and of course, brilliant — a colossal talent.”

Surrounded by family, including his wife Kari and his children Justice and Honor, Ron died at his home in Denver, on March 8, 2022, from complications of a rare blood disorder.  He was 58 years old.  If one of the prime requirements of entry to heaven is evidence of having paid close and reverent attention to the vibrations of life on earth, Ron went right in.  We will continue to wonder at this kind, generous genius who touched us with the great love in his music. 



The Tank and the West

Bill Frisell and Bill Morrison

On Saturday, August 28, 2021, at 8pm, in the high desert of Colorado, the guitarist and composer Bill Frisell and the filmmaker Bill Morrison charged the Tank’s extraordinary structure with a live sound and image performance. Exploring its history as an embodiment of the American West, Frisell created an original score and Morrison projected film images on the stark landscape and the sides of the seven-story tower.

The event was also filmed for a future documentary. Here are a few pics.

This much-anticipated concert featured digitally-mapped projections by Future Lighting of Los Angeles. Highlighting the town of Rangely, Colorado, this event was supported by major grants from the Neil D. Karbank Foundation, the William H. Donner Family Foundation, and the ArtWorks program of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Bill Frisell and Bill Morrison in the TANK



Coming in 2022

The TANK Center for Sonic Arts will return to a normal schedule for its 2022 season, starting May 1.

Open Saturdays

Free public visiting hours from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays until Oct. 31.

Put Your Head in the Tank

Put Your Head in the Tank is a new program, using binaural head microphones, that allows a listener anywhere to be immersed in the Tank. If you’d like to experience the Tank intimately, in the comfort of your own home, and even record via this program, write us at friendsofthetank@gmail.com.

The Tank Masters Series

The Tank Masters Series, concerts by artists who have proven most skilled at playing the instrument that is the seven-story water tank, present new music here on the Tank’s website, tanksounds.org. 

Book the Tank

The Tank’s program of recording sessions returns, as do the regular booking of non-recording visits. For more on reserving the Tank for your session or group, click here.