FFEAR (Forum for Electro-Acoustic Research) is an improvising quartet co-led by Chris Washburne and Ole Mathisen, and is Washburne’s most adventurous project to date.  FFEAR’s objective is to explore new sonic possibilities by adopting contemporary classical compositional techniques into an improvisational setting. Conventional uses of meter, tonality, and harmony are replaced with multiple meters, microtonality, and open templates of form to create a fresh approach to improvised music. FFEAR delights in blending and blurring the divide between jazz and contemporary classical music and producing a truly original voice and approach to improvised music.

FFEAR performed in New York on October 2010 on the stage at Miller Theater on the campus of Columbia University.  Two large works for the ensemble were premiered on that concert, Mirage, an adventurous new work by Ole Mathisen that plays with meter, tempo, and tonality in remarkably innovative ways (funded by a generous CMA new jazz works grant), and Chris Washburne arranged and interpreted the musical scores of artist Frederick Sommer for the first time in a jazz setting. You can view this engaging performance on YouTube.

The concert was recorded and later aired on NPR’s JazzSet, hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater. Check the live concert and interviews with the band members at the JazzSet website.


  • Ole Mathisen – saxophones and clarinet
  • Chris Washburne – trombone and tuba
  • Per Mathisen – bass
  • Tony Moreno – drums