Chris Black's Musical History and Press

My name is Chris Black. I am a multi-instrumental musician, composer, and performer. I play mostly double bass, but I'll get involved with anything that makes a sound. I am the founder of the alt-classical chamber music concert series ChamberLab. I have been a member of such groups as Shoulders (Austin, TX), Les Wampas (Paris, FR), Golden Arm Trio (Austin, TX), The Wedding's Off (L.A., CA), and the Taraf de Tucson (Tucson, AZ).


Chris Black (solo)
Singer, guitarist.


2010 – 2017
Founder, artistic director, composer, performer.

Gabriel Sullivan / Gabriel Sullivan and the Taraf de Tucson
2008 – 2012
Contrabassist, violinist.

The Wedding's Off
Los Angeles, CA, 2002 – 2003.

Chris Black & the Holy Ghost / Gadjo Bango
Austin, TX, 1999 – 2006.
Bandleader, singer, pianist, guitarist.

Golden Arm Trio
Austin, TX, 1999 – 2001, 2006.

Les Wampas
Paris, France, 1993, 1996.

Austin, TX, 1989 – 1994.


Speak Easy
Artifact Dance Project, Tucson, AZ, 2014

The General (Buster Keaton)
ChamberLab, Fox Theatre, Tucson, AZ, 2014

Happening to Your Body
(Short Film) directed by Jon Ecklund, 2014

Beowulf Theatre, Tucson, AZ, 2012

(Short Film) directed by Rory O'Rear, 2010

Fugitive Pieces
Salvage Vanguard Theater, Austin, TX, 2002

Tilt Angel
Salvage Vanguard Theater, Austin, TX, 2001


Buffalo Exchange Arts Award

Golden Hornet Project String Quartet Smackdown
Sweet Sixteen Finalist, 2014
Winner, 2012

Best Alternative Packaging for a Compact Disc
Tucson Weekly Staff, 2012 (for Drunk at the Funeral)


Featured on KXCI Radio
30 Minutes spoke with Tucson composer Chris Black and ACLU Attorney Billy Peard about the upcoming Vexations marathon to raise money and awareness for ACLU of Arizona.
KXCI Radio , November 26th, 2017
Featured on the November 24th, 2017 edition of ARIZONA SPOTLIGHT with host Mark McLemore
Find out why Tucson's "alt-classical" ensemble ChamberLab will perform a century-old piece of music by Erik Satie 840 times in a row in December during an event called "The Vexathon".
AZPM Radio , November 24th, 2017
16 hours of 1-minute music: Sounds like a marathon
How hard can it be to play a one-minute piece of music on the piano - or violin, guitar, tuba, oboe, basically your instrument of choice? Wait, what? Play it 840 times? Well that's a different story.
Arizona Daily Star , November 20th, 2017
Marathon for a minute song multiplied by 840
You know the neighborhood kid who comes to your door and asks you to sponsor him/her in a marathon. You pledge a quarter a lap - a buck if you're especially generous or confident the kid won't get far - and you pay up based on how many laps/miles they finished.
Arizona Daily Star , October 23rd, 2017
Restless Soul
Chris Black's new release,{' '} Lullabies and Nightmares, is such stuff as bad dreams are made of.
Tucson Weekly , September 28th, 2017
Classical music will expand soundscape at rock 'n' roll venue
And he and his band of classically trained musicians will do it in a place that’s used to loud, crunchy guitars and deafening percussion.
Arizona Daily Star , September 5th, 2017
Sonic Storytelling
Lullabies & Nightmares is a 15-song soundtrack to the script in your brain. Some tunes are filled with suspense and tension, conveying treachery and darkness; other are upbeat, playful and heartening.
Zocalo , September 2nd, 2017
Legends & Shadows
There were no boundaries to begin with when ChamberLab set out to present classical music with a punk ethos. So about a year ago when ChamberLab visionary Chris Black got the idea to draw mariachi musicians into the fold … the challenge was set.
Tucson Weekly , March 2nd, 2017
Chris Black's "alt-classical DIY concert series" ChamberLab is consistently one of the coolest things happening in Tucson music, with his talented friends taking on contemporary compositions in settings often accustomed to rock shows.
Tucson Weekly , September 11th, 2014
Chris Black and Chamberlab: One Year Down and a Wide-Open Future for Chamber Music in Popular Culture
Chris Black revealed a handful of his many dimensions—first whimsy, with a composition for ten players titled, "Around the Neighborhood in Socks"; then wizardry, with a lighthearted set of short pieces for three bassoons; and, finally, emotive, dark free verse, melding music and spoken word into a harrowing first-person account of a paranoid-schizophrenic episode.
Tucson Weekly , May 29th, 2013
Mommy, Why is Chris Black Gonna be Drunk at the Funeral?
The title track, "Drunk at the Funeral," it's like a soundtrack for when some grieving rummy's gonna topple into the casket with the deceased unless his friends keep him upright until the paternoster's over and the worms are reaching for their bibs.
Austin Chronicle , November 1st, 2012
Chris Black: Jericho
This is no ordinary musician. Reaching beyond the boundaries of genre, delving into theatrical representations of hot and cold, Chris Black debuts his solo album, a collection of more throb than beat, instruments churning and bleeding all over this canvas.
Austin Chronicle , July 21st, 2006
Unusual Inspiration
Putting together a new CD doesn't usually involve trips to the lumberyard. But for Chris Black's{' '} Drunk at the Funeral, the lumberyard was just the beginning. … The unusual album—with its startling, forceful piano and orchestral percussion—also stems from an unusual combination of inspirations.{' '}
Tucson Weekly , February 9th, 2012
Best of Tucson
Multi-instrumentalist Black—a player and composer of great note and the chargé d'affaires for the acclaimed ChamberLab project—has wearied of releasing CDs in tacky, easily broken jewel cases.
Modern Adaptation
{' '} [Orpheus's] reputation as a musician is preserved through composer Chris Black's sublime incidental music …{' '}
Tucson Weekly , January 27th, 2011
Good Juju
Now audiences will be able to hear another side of Chris Black with the debut of the project ChamberLab, for which he and other nonclassical composers have written pieces for a string chamber ensemble.
Tucson Weekly , May 6th, 2010
That Thinking Feeling
… and the musician Chris Black steps up to unleash a tight series of gypsy improvisations on his excellent violin, the audience is right there. The audience, as Black whacks the devil into his fiddlestick, is just about grooving.
Austin Chronicle , August 27th, 2004
Fugitive Pieces
Chris Black provides a gorgeous live soundtrack to the show and its bursts of song, hammering his drums, pounding and tapping and brushing his hanging collection of hubcaps, trash can lids, and buckets, rubbing his array of wine glasses to precise effect.
Austin Chronicle , March 1st, 2002