Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog Investigates Our Fragile “Connection”

[Cover photo credit to Ebru Yildiz]

Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog is a post-fusion Rock trio comprising guitarist/songwriter/activist Marc Ribot, bassist Shahzad Ismaily, and drummer/percussionist Ches Smith, and they have announced the upcoming release of their fifth album. Connection arrives via Knockwurst Records on Friday, July 14, 2023.

With Connection, Ceramic Dog approaches various strains of Rock ‘n’ Roll while remaining entrenched in improvised music, augmented by contributions by such special guests as singer-songwriter Syd Straw, keyboardist Anthony Coleman, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, organist Greg Lewis, clarinetist Oscar Noriega, and cellist Peter Sachon.

The group have revealed the title track, “Connection,” an instrumental informed by the history of Lower East Side Noise Rock from the Velvet Underground to White Hassle.  

Ribot comments:

This song’s (and the album’s) title began with a sculpture by our friend (and Ceramic Dog bassist Shahzad Ismaily’s daughter) Anika (age 6). A kind of house made by sticking toothpicks into Halloween candies. It’s an odd-shaped house, kind of like the frame of a geodesic dome…if it wasn’t a dome. The little structure is home to a drawing of a smiling gingerbread man. Very homey. But, as we all know, it was the gingerbread man’s problematic home that caused him to ‘run as fast as he can.’ And what struck us about this home, apart from its odd beauty, was the fragility of its toothpick design, in which Anika perfectly captured the fragility of our contemporary attempts at human connection, the shadow hanging over our post-everything ‘homes.’ Everything else, the words, and the beat — which, music nerds take note, lays a 4/4 drum beat on top of a 3/4 melody — came later. Thanks, Anika.  

Ceramic Dog recently performed a custom composition to soundtrack the Gucci Men’s Fall/Winter 2023 Fashion Show in Milan, Italy and will celebrate Connection with a wide-ranging international live schedule, the trio’s first full tour in more than five years.

The upcoming itinerary includes North American and EU headline shows as well as a US run alongside The Bad Plus, getting underway June 9, 2023 at Chicago, IL’s Thalia Hall. The co-headline tour is highlighted by a one-night-only triple-bill featuring special guest Alan Sparhawk (of Low), set for Minneapolis, MN’s First Avenue on June 10.



7 – Toronto, ON – The Great Hall *

8 – Detroit, MI – Marble Bar

9 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall †

10 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue † ^

11 – Madison, WI – Madison Jazz Festival @ High Noon Saloon †

13 – Indianapolis, IN – Toby Theater †

14 – Nashville, TN – 3rd & Lindsley †

15 – Atlanta, GA – Center Stage †

16 – Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle †

17 – Winston-Salem, NC – The Ramkat †

18 – Brooklyn, NY – Union Pool Summer Thunder (Free Show)

30 – Gexto, Spain – Gexto Jazz


1 – Rotterdam, Netherlands – Lantaren Venster

4 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Musik Loppen

6 – Braga, Portugal – TBA

7 – Lisbon, Portugal – TBA

8 – Warsaw, Poland – Pardon, To Tu

10 – München, Germany – Muffatwerk

11 – Forli, Italy – Lupo 340

12 – Rome, Italy – Casa del Jazz

* w/ Andy Moor (of The Ex), Adversarial Networks

† w/ The Bad Plus

^ w/Special Guest Alan Sparhawk (of Low)