Ken Field is a saxophonist, flautist, and composer. Since 1988 he has been a member of the internationally acclaimed electrified modern music ensemble Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, with whom he has recorded eight CDs.
Field leads the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, a New Orleans-inspired improvisational brass band. Year of the Snake, the group's 2003 debut, was included on best-of-year lists in NYC, New Orleans, and Milan. The 2008 release Forked Tongue spent 2 months on the CMJ North American jazz top 20 chart, and appeared on best-of-year lists in the Village Voice and in Georgia, Kansas, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, NYC, and Estonia. Live Snakes (2014) was an Editor's Pick in Downbeat Magazine. The group's latest release on Innova Recordings is I Want That Sound! (2016). RSE has performed at Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Berklee Performance Center, the Redentore Festival in Venice, Italy, and numerous other venues, and has been nominated for a New England Music Award, a Boston Music Award, and several Boston Phoenix/WFNX Best Music Poll awards.
Field has performed in the US, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, and has been awarded residency fellowship grants at the MacDowell Colony (New Hampshire), the Ucross Foundation (Wyoming), the Fundacion Valparaiso (Spain), the MacNamara Foundation (Maine), and the Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida). His musical projects have been featured in The New York Times, Saxophone Journal, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Tower Pulse, Billboard, Cadence, The Wire, The Orlando Sentinel, The New Yorker, and many other publications. Field has performed at the Roswell (NM) Jazz Festival, for President Bill Clinton, with Trombone Shorty, Charles Neville, Grammy-winning percussionist Glen Velez, former J. Geils frontman Peter Wolf, the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra, The Violent Femmes, and the Georgia Symphony Orchestra.
He has been commissioned by Guggenheim fellows Bridgman/Packer Dance to compose music for their works Under the Skin and Double Expose, which have been performed widely in the USA and Europe. A CD of Under the Skin was released in 2006 on Innova Recordings. Also on Innova, his 2012 release Sensorium: Music for Dance & Film includes his music for Double Expose and for three films by his late wife, internationally recognized animator Karen Aqua.
In 2000 Field released Tokyo in F, the live recording of an improvised concert he gave in Tokyo with three prominent Japanese musicians he met only just before the performance.
His 1999 release of layered saxophone music, Pictures of Motion, integrates elements of ambient, hiphop, minimalism, swing, acid, improv, and Balkan processional music. The CD includes two of Field's compositions for Sesame Street, and features a guest appearance by renowned multi-instrumentalist Amy Denio.
Field's 1996 debut solo release, Subterranea, documented his multitracked saxophone improvisations, recorded mostly in an underground chamber in Roswell, New Mexico. Subterranea received airplay on over 160 radio stations in the US, Canada, Switzerland, and Japan.
Field is also an award-winning composer of music for animation, film, and dance. His music is heard regularly on the popular internationally-broadcast children's television program Sesame Street, in collaboration with his late wife, animator Karen Aqua. His soundtrack work has been broadcast on HBO, the Movie Channel, the Sundance Channel, and PBS.
Presentation, residency, and workshop experience includes Grinnell College, Dartmouth College, Emory University, Wellesley College, Alfred University, Western New Mexico University, Sheridan College, the Artists' Association of Nantucket, Camden-Rockport High School/YouthArts (ME), Applewild School (MA), New Mexico Military Institute, the Carolina Film Festival (NC), the University of North Carolina, Hilo & Waiakea High Schools (HI), the Massachusetts College of Art, Lebanon Valley College (PA), the Boston Museum of Science, the Creative Music Orchestra (New Haven, CT), the Fitchburg (MA) Art Museum, and, with Delfeayo Marsalis, the Nunez Correctional Learning Center (Port Sulpher, LA).
In 2003 the Saxophone Journal featured a Masterclass CD by Field based on the layered saxophone improvisations from his first solo CD Subterranea. Ken Field is an Applied Microphone Technology Endorser and a Vandoren Performing Artist, and uses Vandoren reeds and mouthpieces for performance and recording. He hosts The New Edge, a weekly radio program on WMBR in Cambridge, is former Chair of the Cambridge Bicycle Committee, a member of the HONK! Organizing Committee, and is on the Boards of Tutoring Plus of Cambridge and JazzBoston.