MoTreetown Collective & Northwoods Improvisers Trio





MoTreetown Collective & Northwoods Improvisers Trio


  • $15 General Admission
  • $5 Student
  • Tony Holland, reeds
  • Piotr Michalowski, reeds
  • Skeeter Shelton, reeds
  • Kenn Thomas, piano
  • Joel Peterson, bass
  • Djallo Djakate, drums
  • ---------------------------
  • Mike Gilmore, vibraphones/marimba/ cheng/guitar/saz/percussion
  • Mike Johnston, bass/wood flutes/percussion
  • Nick Ashton, drums/percussion

Event Details

The MoTreetown Collective is comprised of six musicians from Ann Arbor and Detroit who have played together in different combinations over the years and now come together to explore differing as well as heterogeneous approaches to group improvisation. Each member of the sextet is a leader with a strong musical personality; here they come together to contrast and unite different energies and dispositions serving common artistic ends. 

For more than 20 years, tucked away in the wilds of rural Michigan, the Northwoods Improvisers Trio has been making wonderful music that resists all easy classification. Their music is a unique blend of avant-garde jazz, modern classical, late-60s Michigan rock, and World music.

This performance of the Northwoods Improvisers Trio is made possible through the generous support of Marc Andren & Christine Reardon.

The Edgefest schedule and line-up are subject to change. Please check back for continued updates.

Tickets to Edgefest are $10-$15 for individual ticketed events, with a limited number of student tickets ($5) available for most performances. An Edgepass ($160) is available, which allows for admission to all events, as well as a special dinner with our Edgefest artists.

Daily passes are available too:
Thursday only Edgepass for $45

Friday only Edgepass for $45

Saturday only Edgepass for $60

See our Edgefest page for more information about the festival.

Edgefest 20 is made possible through the generous sponsorship of The Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, in honor of Maurice and Linda Binkow on the occasion of her 80th birthday and their 60th wedding anniversary.
Edgefest 20 is honored to receive a matching grant on ticket sales from the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation, including double for every new attendee.
Additional support for Edgefest is made possible in part by an awards from New Music USA, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.
Additional support for the festival is also provided by The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, & Dance.

Tony Holland

Saxophonist Tony Holland is a member of the front line of Detroit's legendary Griot Galaxy. A fiery player on all the saxophones, Tony Holland has been featured on numerous recordings, including several with A. Spencer Barefield and fellow Griot percussionist Tani Tabbal, which have recently been re-issued as part of the Beneath Detroit series.

Piotr Michalowski

Piotr Michalowski has been collaborating with musicians in Ann Arbor and the Detroit area for over two decades. His first public performances involved mainstream modern jazz and big band music, but he soon moved on to more radical sounds. Early in his musical career he worked closely with violinist red player Len Bukowski and violinist Mike Khoury in the collective Close Embrace of the Earth in concerts and recordings. Since then he has collaborated with many other musicians at home and abroad. He has played in Warsaw, Paris and Rome, and in various places in the US, often in duets. On some of his recent travels he has performed with Fred Lonberg-Holm, Vinny Golia, Jon Raskin, Jason Kao Hwang, Andrew Drury, and Ken Filiano among others. His past Edgefest performances have included appearances as part of a group organized by Andrew Bishop and in trio with Michael Malis and Ken Filiano. His most recent appearance on CD in on Jason Kao Hwang's "Voice" on Innova.

Skeeter Shelton

Skeeter Shelton has played with the 70th Division Army Reserve Band for 27 years. He is currently a member of Speaking in Tongues and is one of the founding members of Griot Galaxy. His father Ajaramu Shelton was Gene Ammons drummer and an early Delmark recording artist with Kalaparusha.

Kenn Thomas

Kenn Thomas (piano, keyboards), is a versatile artist who plays in various contexts, from gospel to free improvisation. He is often heard in groups led by James Cornish and in collaborative groups that feature the area's leading improvisers. He has been featured on recordings with his brother, the reed man Oluyemi Thomas, most recently on Positive Knowledge - Edgefest Edition, from the 2009 festival.

Joel Peterson

Joel Peterson (bass) is well known in Detroit and beyond, both as an accomplished bass player and as an award-winning composer, but also as a tireless promoter of new music, most recently in his new venue Trinosophes. He is known for his work with the Immigrant Suns, Frank Pahl’s Scavenger Quartet, BoxDeserter, Odu Afrobeat Orchestra, and various groups with Faruq Z. Bey. 

Djallo Djakate

Born in Detroit, drummer/percussionist Djallo Keita Djakate is one of the most dynamic and sought after sidemen in the Detroit scene. His style ranges from traditional jazz, through avant garde, funk and African drumming. He has toured the U.S. and Europe in performance with such diverse artists as Martha Reeves, Spencer Barefield, Taslimah Bey, Charles Gabriel and Straight Ahead.

Mike Gilmore

Mike Gilmore is a founding member of Northwoods Collective. He began playing guitar at age 5 and began studying Jazz Improvisation and East Indian Music in 1976. Shortly thereafter, he bagan African, Middle Eastern and Far East Music. Formal Piano studies commensed in 1976 and classical guitar studies 1979.

Mike Johnston

Mike Johnston is a founding member of the Northwoods collective. He is a contributing writer for coda publications 1982-1999 and teaches college courses in jazz history and African and Asian music. He holds a MFA degree in Photography/Art from Central Michigan University and hosts a public radio show "Destination Out" on CMU Public radio featuring creative jazz and world music. 

Nick Ashton

Nick Ashton (son of James Ashton, professional drummer) began formal instruction at age 11 and continued band and orchestra in public school and college. played different genre of music through college and after until settling in NYC in 1978 for 6 1/2 yrs whereupon jazz and improvised music became the only musical focus. Returned to Indiana in 1985 and began playing on the Indianapolis scene in 1986. He began playing with Northwoods Improvisers in 1987 and has continued performing with them ever since.