A music series in the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern

Throughout 2022, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) will be hosting Underground Sounds, a series of musical performances that highlight the remarkable natural acoustics of the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern. Underground Sounds is organized in collaboration with several Houston-based music organizations.

Nameless Sound with special guest Joe McPhee – February 10-13
ROCO – May 7
Two Star Symphony – September 8-11
Loop 38 – October 27-30

The Cistern has become one of Houston’s most iconic sites. Both an industrial relic and a unique art space, the Cistern inspires awe in its visitors. This cavernous former drinking water reservoir, built in 1926, is known for several exceptional visual features including 87,500 square feet with 221 concrete columns, and a reflective surface of water throughout its floor that creates an optical illusion of seemingly infinite space. BBP has capitalized on these features with three successful temporary art installations over the past few years. However, the natural acoustic aspects of the space have not yet been fully revealed to the public through artistic programming.

Throughout this year, several music organizations will create site specific performances in the Cistern. The space’s 17-second reverberation will play the role of collaborator alongside composers and musicians. Underground Sounds will offer a whole new sensory experience for Houstonians to enjoy.

Underground Sounds is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance


February 10-13, 2022

Underground Sounds: Joe McPhee with the Nameless Sound Ensembles

The first event in the series is organized in partnership with Nameless Sound and will include four unique concerts featuring multi-instrumentalist/improviser/composer and creative music icon, Joe McPhee. Each event will feature McPhee playing a horn instrument in a different quartet with three Houston collaborators, displaying both the wide range of sonic expression in Houston’s creative music community and the range in McPhee’s own practice. The performances will feature a solo from each player, followed by an ensemble section. It will be site-specific, improvised in response to the Cistern’s remarkable acoustics and its 17-second reverberation.   

Joe McPhee has a long relationship with Houston, having played with Nameless Sound on numerous occasions. Known as a direct and emotionally expressive performer, he is most associated with the radical movements of jazz in the 1960’s and beyond. McPhee’s collaborators in this series comprise a wide range of sonic voices including many of Houston’s most vital experimental improvisers. Cost: $20/person (ages 9+ only)

Dates and times:

Thursday, February 10 at 7:30pm

Joe McPhee (Poughkeepsie, NY) – saxophones, trumpet

Ryan Edwards (Houston) – guitar

Jason Jackson (Houston) – saxophones

Regan Mckee (Houston) – violin

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Friday, February 11 at 7:30pm

Joe McPhee (Poughkeepsie, NY) – saxophones, trumpet

David Dove (Houston) – trombone

Laura Dykes (Houston) – double bass

Ivette Roman-Roberto (Houston) – voice

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Saturday, February 12 at 3pm

Joe McPhee (Poughkeepsie, NY) – saxophones, trumpet

Anthony Almendárez (Houston) – trumpet 

Sonia Flores (Houston) – double bass, voice

Gabriel Martinez (Houston) – drums, percussion

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Sunday, February 13 at 3pm

Joe McPhee (Poughkeepsie, NY) – saxophones, trumpet

Tom Carter (Houston) – guitar

John Alan Kennedy (Houston) – drums, percussion

Jawwaad Taylor (Jackson, MS) – trumpet


May 7, 2022

Underground Sounds: ROCO

George Chase, Trumpet

Gavin Reed, French Horn

Thomas Hulten, Trombone

Jared Lantzy, Bass Trombone