“inspired by all of our historical performance experience, but also by our modern sensibilities,” including bluegrass and jazz. We used the essence of Bach’s character. So, his humor. Bach the man, rather than Bach the figure that so often we associate him with. And we ran with that."
"The three intimate concerts I heard on Saturday were blindingly impressive. One fun hour had Emi Ferguson playing Bach’s flute sonatas with a six-part continuo band, Ruckus, improvising on the figured bass, a fizzing, daring display of personality and imagination. "
"Wit, panache, and the jubilant, virtuosic verve of a bebop-Baroque jam session electrified and illuminated previously candle-lit edifices as Ruckus and friends raised the roof, and my mind’s eye will never see those structures in quite the same light again."
July 8th, 2019
You can hear that sound on her new CD, too, where she not only spins out Bach’s most profoundly melancholy phrases, but jams with sheer dazzle in arrangements featuring her band Ruckus...The result unleashes the kind of unexpected music-making that must have delighted and tickled audiences in Bach’s day.
The CD opens with an arrangement of Bach’s G major prelude from Book II of his Well-Tempered Clavier. Ferguson and baroque bassoonist Clay Zeller-Townson play in counterpoint with the spirit of two jazz musicians trading fours. They’re buoyed by the vivid and joyous bass player Evan Premo, while the gambist and guitarist slap and strum the piece into a high-octane dance number that will leave you smiling.
And check out track 9! The Siciliano from Bach’s gorgeous Flute Sonata in E gets a whole new feel thanks to Emi Ferguson’s recent obsession with Rosemary Clooney. The classic recording of “Mambo Italiano” famously features a grooving harpsichord, and as it turns out, that harpsichord was borrowed from Juilliard. When Emi Ferguson brought the song to the attention of Ruckus harpsichordist Elliott Figg, he found a way to incorporate the irresistible qualities of that gritty number into Bach’s sonata.
July 1st, 2019
The performances are beautiful and exciting; Ferguson is an amazing Baroque flutist and the members of Ruckus are equally impressive, creative, precise, and rhythmic. Her Baroque style is perfect, and her sound and intonation excellent, as is her understanding of the musical intentions of the composer. Ms. Ferguson is one of the most innovative artists of our time and her performances make one pay attention and feel excited about all the possibilities still available for classical performers today.
June 13th, 2019
Radio interview: Global Village with John Schneider on Los Angeles' KPFK 90.7 FM
Album of the week at...
WCRB/WGBH 99.5, Boston MA
KUSC, 91.5 LA; 88.5 Palm Springs; 91.1 Thousand Oaks; 93.7 Santa Barbara; 99.7 San Luis Obispo
KDFC, 90.3 in SF/Marin/Oakland, 89.9 in Wine Country, 104.9 in South Bay/Peninsula, and 103.9 in Monterey/Carmel, plus 92.5 in Ukiah.