People at Squirrel's Tavern Sunday night won't just see a reunion concert by instrumental band Ponga, they will also hear 100 percent improvised music.
That means they can expect the unexpected, says Portland-based guitarist Mike Gamble, who is replacing keyboardist Dave Palmer.
"We are all playing completely groove-based improvised music, so we're just going to hit the bandstand and go for it," Gamble said.
Ponga will conclude its short four-city tour with Sunday's show in Corvallis.
Gamble, who has been an audio production instructor at Oregon State University since 2013, said Ponga was formed in the mid-1990s by a group of band leaders. Its original members are Palmer, Bobby Previte, drums, Wayne Horvitz, keyboards, and Skerik, saxophone.
The quartet toured in North America, Europe and Japan, and released three albums with the Seattle-based label Loosegroove Records, which was formed by Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard.
"They recorded at the place called the OK Hotel in Seattle, which is where all those grunge guys got their start," Gamble said.
"They were influenced by the fusion bands led by Miles Davis in the '60 and '70s," he said.
Gamble started his music career in New York playing and touring with different ensembles for 15 years, which is where he met Previte. He currently plays in two of the drummer's bands, an improvisational trio called Gamble, Previte and Rucker, and a quartet, Bobby Previte and the Visitors.
The guitarist shares a connection with all of the musicians, but has worked the most with Previte.
Previte has led many of his own ensembles including Bump the Renaissance, Latin for Travelers, and Weather Clear, Track Fast. He has performed with Tom Waits, Terry Adams of NRBQ, Jane Ira Bloom and minimalist composer John Adams. He was also commissioned to create music for The Moscow Circus on Broadway and played a drummer in Robert Altman's film "Short Cuts."
Gamble knows keyboardist Wayne Horvitz as the owner of The Royal Room, a performance venue in Seattle, where he played guitar. Horvitz, a composer, pianist and electronic musician, is the leader of the Gravitas Quartet, Sweeter Than the Day, Zony Mash and The Four plus One Ensemble. He has recorded and performed with many musicians, including Bill Frisell, Butch Morris, John Zorn and DJ Spooky, as well as done music for Gus Van Sant and been commissioned by the Kronos Quartet and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Gamble performed before with Skerik in New Orleans. The saxophonist is co-leader of the bands Critters Buggin and Crack Sabbath. He has recorded and performed with Les Claypool, Charlie Hunter, Mike Clark, Fred Wesley and others.
Gamble has recorded more than 20 solo and collaborative albums and toured the U.S., Canada and Europe with his guitar trio, The Inbetweens, and other acts during his career. He has recently collaborated with Previte, bassist Todd Sickafoose, guitarist Nels Cline and cellist Lori Goldston.
Gamble said is excited to play with these musicians, especially because they have a long history of performing with each other.
Gamble said the show is a great chance for fans of the improvised genre to see the band members reconnect with each other.
Ponga's performance at Squirrel's comes after shows the previous nights in Seattle, Olympia and Portland.
Gamble said people at Sunday's show will likely see members of Ponga at their peak.
"It will be exciting to catch us at the end of our tour, after we've played three straight nights and have all the juices flowing," he said.