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Trio Plex: Michael T.A. Thompson Trio w/ Cooper-Moore & Ken Filiano

$18 Cover @ the Door ($15 Students/ Seniors) / Start 8pm / Doors 7:30pm

The Creative Music Series proudly welcomes from prime lower “downtown” three New York musicians.

Re-configuring the Jazz Trio…

They are world class, master improvisers together as Trio Plexmaybe the best improv-Jazz drummer, pianist/multi-instrumentalist & bassist together you may not have ever heard of (yet)—yet each a leader in their own right, now together for the first time in performance!

The NY-based and new Trio Plex have been listening, creating and deconstructing music separately for many decades—they continue to influence the direction of free music— have decided to combine forces to reach new dimensions for the drums, piano and bass. 

Michael T. A. Thompson

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“Completing the quartet is drummer Michael T.A. Thompson, who brings a loose and propulsive animation to every moment of these proceedings, matching the force of Filiano’s lines and ostinati with a sense of liberation” - Moments Notice

Michael T.A. Thompson is an anomaly. T.A.'s palate encompasses an abundance of sound colors. He hears everything and plays with it in a way that's ever inventive and perceptively responsive. Thompson plays as he breathes. You'll always find him in the moment, inspired as well as inspiring.

That's why you'll find him in the company of such a wide variety of musical artists, Jazz giants, including Charles Gayle, Nels Cline, Jason Hwang, Vinny Golia, Patricia Parker, Joe McPhee, Oliver Lake, Kidd Jordan, Fay Victor, Matthew Shipp, Uri Caine, Henry Grimes,  Christopher Dean Sullivan, Marc Ribot, William Parker; The Shadow, Becket, reggae artist Owen Gray, as well as artists from classical to rap and beyond.

Born (1955) in Miami Florida, at an early age he knew he wanted to play music after hearing Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. Years later in the summer of 1964 at the age of nine he moved to the US Virgin Islands, giving him his first real exposure to “Live Music.” There he started the process of learning how to play the drum and music. When he first played the music it was based on improvisation.  He studied, listen and played all kinds of music from Caribbean to Jazz and everything else in between. He admired great drummers that wrote music. Max Roach was at the top of the list at that time. When he became aware of John Coltrane he knew the journey of music would never end. He knew his heart was deeply attracted to improvisation.

After graduating from high school he decided he would attend Berklee—he took two years to do some intense studying of music theory/chord building, basic arranging and composition—stay for a few years and head to New York.  New York was his dream (and) he thought Berklee would be the place that would prepare him for New York.  He stayed at Berklee for about 2-3 years, then headed to New York.  He was fortunate to have connections in NYC. Eventually musicians started asking him to do gigs.

As he continued to establish himself, he longed for his first love, “Improvisation/Free Music.” He set out on a path and started to meet people like Roy Campbell Jr. who played a big role in helping him find other musicians in that area of music. He met and played/recorded/toured with musicians such as William Parker, Kidd Jorden, Joe Mcphee, Charles Gayle, Dennis Gonzales, Oliver Lake and the rest goes on and on.


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“What is this…? An absolutely new way in the approach of jazz! … This is free jazz with a high level of joy in the performance but also of fun in the music itself : rhythmic complexities, some hard blowing at times, and especially the incredible interplay on these short yet to-the-point pieces.” - The Free Jazz Collective

Cooper-Moore is a composer-improviser, instrumentalist, designer and builder of musical instruments, and music educator, living and working in New York City. He has composed music for theater, dance, film and has toured extensively in Europe as well as the U.S. While his attention is focused on piano performance in New York clubs and touring abroad, Cooper-Moore designs and builds musical instruments and has played them in collaboration with all kinds of artist at lofts, galleries, artist spaces, museums, and in the streets of New York City.  Among the many unique instruments he has built are the the twanger, ashimba and diddley-bow. 

At age 8, he was recruited by community leaders to be the piano player for the town, and soon thereafter performed at church services and community functions. When he was 12 years old, he heard musicians such as Ahmad Jamaland Charles Mingus, and was inspired to pursue jazz. He has cited pianist Jaki Byard's contributions to Mingus' band as a particular inspiration.

He moved to Boston in 1967 to briefly attend Berklee College of Music. In Boston he connected with many musicians, some of whom became longtime collaborators, notably David S. Ware, Marc Edwards, Cleve Pozar, and Juma Santos. In 1970, he formed a collective trio, Apogee, with saxophonist David S. Ware and drummer Marc Edwards.

Outside of the jazz world, he has composed music for theater, including Rita Dove's "The Darker Side of the Earth" at the Guthrie Theater, "Feathers at the Flame" by Laurie Carlos at The Kitchen, and "A Still Life" by Emily Mann. He has worked with dance troupes; he has scored and composed music for movies.

Ken Filiano


Critics have called him a ‘creative virtuoso,’ a ‘master of technique’ … “a paradigm of that type of artist. . . who can play anything in any context and make it work, simply because he puts the music first and leaves peripheral considerations behind” - New Music USA

Ken Filiano was born in Patchogue, New York. He began playing trumpet as a child and continued to play the instrument while attending Syracuse University. Nearing the end of his undergraduate work, Filiano decided to switch to bass receiving a Bachelor of Music in Double Bass from Syracuse University in 1978.

Composer as well and improviser and teacher, Ken Filiano performs around the world collaborating with leading artists in multiple genres. Ken leads two quartets, Quantum Entanglements and Baudolino's Dilemma, and is co-leader of The Steve Adams/Ken Filiano Duo.

Filiano began his professional career in 1974, working across the Northeastern United States from his home base in Syracuse, New York. From 1975-76 he was the principal bassist in the Syracuse University Orchestra.

As the decade began, Filiano lived in Boston. From 1980-83 he was a member of the Search quartet, performing and giving master classes sponsored by the Performing Artist Association of New England. In 1983, Filiano relocated to Los Angeles, California. He began to work as a freelance bassist in classical recording studios and on the jazz scene. He formed a relationship with multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia, with whom he toured North America and Europe throughout the 1980s.

His extensive discography includes a solo bass CD, “subvenire” (NineWinds), and his quartet's “Dreams From a Clown Car" (Clean Feed). For these and numerous other recordings and performances.  Ken has performed and/or recorded with Karl Berger, Bobby Bradford, Anthony Braxton, Connie Crothers, Bill Dixon, Roswell Rudd, and many others, present on more than 70 recordings.

Ken teaches master classes in bass and improvisation; has a private bass studio; and is a Guiding Artist and Advisor at Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY.


The Creative Music Series (CMS) was established in January, 2015, to showcase the work of adventurous jazz musicians from out-of-state, presenting them in intimate venues in the Cambridge/Somerville area.  My endeavor was a reaction to the apparent lack of invitations being extended to accomplished, new talent and even unknown musicians to the Boston area.  CMS has now begun to zero in on Boston based musicians who are creating their own projects with these out-of-town guests, and taking these musical risks to find an expression and gain a wider appreciation.

Earlier Event: September 5
Outer Core
Later Event: September 6
Berklee Alumni Composers Recital