Wayne Horvitz took piano lessons briefly as a child. At 13, he received a few classical guitar lessons; he found the style unsuitable and quit. A year later, influenced by the records of blues pianist Otis Spann, he took up the piano again. From that point, he was largely self-taught. Horvitz made a name for himself in the '80s by playing with some of the leading lights on the downtown New York-based experimental/improv scene, including Bobby Previte, Butch Morris, Fred Frith, Elliott Sharp, and others. His most famous association was with saxophonist/composer John Zorn as a member of the latter's band, Naked City. Horvitz-led ensembles included the President, the Horvitz/Morris/Previte Trio, and Pigpen. By the mid-'90s, Horvitz had moved from New York to the Pacific Northwest; his primary band became the Seattle-based Zony Mash (Horvitz; Timothy Young, guitar; Keith Lowe, bass; Andy Roth, drums). Their organ-based, groove-oriented music incorporates some "outside" elements, but largely avoids the avant-garde tendencies characteristic of Horvitz's New York work. Besides Zony Mash, Horvitz continues to perform in other contexts, leading the Four Plus One Ensemble (Horvitz; Eyvind Kang, violin; Julian Priester, trombone; Reggie Watts, keyboards; Tucker Martine, electronics and live processing) and Ponga (Horvitz; Bobby Previte, drums; Skerik, saxes; Dave Palmer, keyboards). Horvitz has also recorded for the Songlines, Knitting Factory, Elektra/Nonesuch, Sound Aspects, and Black Saint labels. In May of 2016 he was presented with a Doris Duke Artist Award.
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