Racer Sessions

Sundays, 8-10pm at Cafe Racer in Seattle, WA

Mason Lynass Brings Focus to the Drumset This Weekend

Opening Set

Mason Lynass (drum set, snare drums) presented three pieces:

1. “Monobot” by Andrea Mazzariello

2. “Tchik” by Nicolas Martynciow

3. “Composed Improvisation (for snare drum alone)” by John Cage

Jam Session

Improv 1: Mason Lynass (drums), Claudio Vacalebre (trumpet), Wilson Shook (alto sax), Haley Freedlund (trombone)

Improv 2: Michelle Hutchinson (drums), Chris Cole (trumpet), Jeremy Gonzalez (alto sax), Becs Richards (voice)

Improv 3: Ammon Swinbank (flute), Michael Conklin (tenor sax), Noah Colbeck (drums), Andrew Forbes (trumpet), Griffin Boyd (keyboard/effects)

Improv 4: David Nicholson (clarinet and alto sax), Geoff Traeger (drums), Chris Cole (trumpet), Ryan Kotler (bass), Claudio Vacalebre (trumpet)

Improv 5: Andrew Forbes (trumpet), Jeff Ferguson (drums), Jeremy Gonzalez (alto sax), Ryan Kotler (bass)

Improv 6: Haley Freedlund (drums), Mason Lynass (piano)

Improv 7: Lots of people (chairs), Mason Lynass (snare), Noah Colbeck (drums), David Nicholson (alto sax), Andrew Forbes (trumpet), Claudio Vacalebre (trumpet)

Improv 8: Ronan Delisle (piano), Mason Lynass (drum set), Noah Colbeck (snare drum), Michael Conklin (tenor sax)

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Greetings, fellow Racers!

This week has been a strange one for our community. And in strange and uncertain times, there is a comfort in huddling close to and with the things we love, remembering what we love about the things that make our lives better than if they weren't in our lives at all.


I found a comfort like that when I received this week's blog post from drummer and percussionist, Mason Lynass. Lynass, who relocated to Seattle a few years ago with bandmates Señor Fin, is a human with a deep appreciation for all of music's aspects. He holds a profound respect for the various gateways of his own instrument, the work that musicians around him accomplish, and all the listening that there is to do in the world (you should peep his podcast for new music to check out). Below, you will find an account of Lynass' first Racer experience, and its impact on how he will present:


"I remember my first time I played at the Racer Sessions, I timidly walked up to the drums, tried to get comfortable behind the instrument. I didn’t introduce myself or try to speak to anyone, really, because I wasn’t sure I was going to be proud of what I was about to do. I have played drums for a dozen years, but always within some sort of defined style or musical context. I was intimidated, just like I was when I performed my very first time, by the idea of the undefined. I don’t remember how it went, but I do remember feeling really welcome after I played. Everyone who shared the stage introduced themselves, and a couple people came up to me later and started talking about what we had explored. Cafe Racer and the Racer Sessions have always been a supportive and welcoming place for anyone looking to try something new, push their musical boundaries, explore improvisation, and collaborate with great artists.

"Going to the Racer Sessions gave me some ideas about approaching the drums as a dynamic, musical, and diverse instrument. Improvisation have guided me to question everything: what implements I’m using, balance, tone, time feel… This questioning has been a welcome boost of musical enthusiasm, and I’ve used that energy to improvise more often, and to work on music that utilizes unique ways to make a drum a beautiful instrument.

"I’ll be performing three different pieces of music on Sunday. Monobot (Mazziariello) is a through-composed drumset solo, based on developing two or three main grooves. These grooves are built up and broken down piece by piece, and they challenge the performer to make music while maintaining coordination and covering a broad range of dynamics. Tchik (Martynciow) is a snare drum solo that features a few different implements, vocalisation, and opportunities for improvisation. I’ll also be performing John Cage’s Composed Improvisation (for snare drum alone), a piece of music in three sections with chance-based improvisation rules. I started working on this solo around the time I discovered that setting some very simple rules can inspire untapped sources of creativity; this solo’s rules encourage the same inspiration.

"I’d like to encourage everyone to do something totally out of their comfort zone, whether that means playing your instrument backwards, or playing so many notes!, or one note the whole time, or trying the piano for a change, or especially playing for the first time. I have learned so much about myself as a person and a musician from stepping out of some sort of shell and my only wish is that I had started stepping out sooner."