From September 2005 to May 2006, Ars Nova Workshop and International House Philadelphia present Ancient to the Future, a jazz series celebrating the remarkable contributions of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Inc. (AACM). Formerly based in Chicago’s racially segregated, all-black South Side, this dynamic collective of black musicians and visionaries has been dedicated to nurturing, performing and recording original jazz and creative music for 40 years. Now the oldest and most venerable organization of its kind in the US, the AACM has developed a repository of original “Great Black Music” that has heightened the environmental and cultural cohesion of our world communities. AACM musicians/ensembles include the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Fred Anderson, Anthony Braxton, George E. Lewis, Amina Claudine Myers, and Tortoise’s Jeff Parker.
Performances in the Ancient to the Future series include AACM founder Muhal Richard Abrams, the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s Roscoe Mitchell, the US debut of the Anthony Braxton Sextet (also celebrating his 60th birthday), the Revolutionary Ensemble’s Leroy Jenkins, and the critically-acclaimed Henry Threadgill, among many others. In addition to the five performances at the International House, 3701 Chestnut Street, ANW will be presenting satellite concerts throughout the city including the Art Ensemble’s Joseph Jarman and the Malachi Thompson Freebop Band, including others to be determined. Information on these events can be found at http://www.arsnovaworkshop.com.
“For an astonishing collective of visionaries – representing some of the most rigorous and unique work in the last forty years of jazz – it’s surprising that many of these musicians haven’t visited Philadelphia in decades,” added Mark Christman, curator of the series and Executive Director of Ars Nova Workshop, a Philadelphia-based jazz and experimental music presenting organization that has been presenting progressive music since 2000.
Ancient to the Future is made possible by a grant from the Philadelphia Music Project, an Artistic Initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, administered by The University of the Arts. International House Philadelphia and Ars Nova Workshop also acknowledges the generous support of Delmark Records, ECM Records, Mutable Music, Philadelphia City Paper, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and Pi Recordings, WRTI Philadelphia, and WPRB Princeton
Saturday, October 8, 2005
Roscoe Mitchell Quartet featuring special guest Muhal Richard Abrams with Roscoe Mitchell, reeds; Muhal Richard Abrams, piano; Jaribu Shahid, bass; and Tani Tabbal, drums
Roscoe Mitchell and Muhal Richard Abrams have been at the forefront of contemporary music for over thirty years. In 1966, Mitchell’s sextet became the first AACM group to record. The resulting album, Sound (Delmark Records), signaled a new, post-Ornette era in jazz and improvised music. Mitchell is also a founding member (along with Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman and Malachi Favors Maghostut) of the critcally-acclaimed Art Ensemble of Chicago. Richard Abrams is a co-founder of the AACM and current President of the New York City Chapter. In 1961, he formed the Experimental Band, effectively the AACM’s birthplace. An enormous influence in jazz and improvised music, he has collaborated with greats such as Max Roach, Dexter
Gordon, Clifford Jordan and the Kronos Quartet, among many others.
Friday, November 4, 2005
Anthony Braxton Sextet with Anthony Braxton, reeds; Taylor Ho Bynum, trumpet; Jay Rozen, tuba; Jessica Pavone, violin; Carl Testa, bass; and Aaron Siegel, drums
Composer and saxophonist Anthony Braxton formed the Creative Construction Company (with violinist Leroy Jenkins and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith) in the mid-60s before recording the seminal For Alto (Delmark Records), the first-ever recording for solo saxophone. Subsequent collaborations included
‘Circle’ with Chick Corea and Dave Holland, Italian free improvisation group Musica Elettronica Viva, and in duo with guitarist Derek Bailey, drummer Max Roach, and pianist Hank Jones. His quartet with pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist Mark Dresser, and drummer Gerry Hemingway during the 80s and 90s is often considered Braxton’s most remarkable ensemble. His three decades of recordings is kaleidoscopic and prolific, and has been met with critical praise including prestigious awards. Braxton is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and a tenured professor at Wesleyan University.
Saturday, December 3, 2005
Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet with Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet; Vijay Iyer, piano/Fender Rhodes; John Lindberg, bass; and Ronald Shannon Jackson, drums
With his dry tone, extended use of silence, and abrupt smears of color, Wadada Leo Smith has been a relentless musical innovator since his early days with the AACM. His compositions, which are derived from a personal notation system he calls “Ankhrasmation,” are as distinct as his trumpet sound. While Smith’s personal and inimitable world of sound stands in firm contrast to the instrument’s history, his writing embraces and expands on the roots, philosophies, and histories of many of jazz’s forebearers (such as Don Cherry) and the improvisational traditions of the Delta blues. His new quartet features one of “today’s most important pianists” (The New Yorker), Vijay Iyer, as well as drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson, best known
for his work with Albert Ayler, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman. Smith currently holds the Dizzy Gillespie Chair at the California Institute of the Arts.
Friday, February 3, 2006
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
with Kahil El’Zabar, percussion; Joseph Bowie, trombone/percussion; and Ernest Dawkins, alto/tenor saxopone/percussion
Performing together for over 25 years, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble was founded by El’Zabar and tenor saxophonist Edward Wilkerson, Jr., who sought to fuse contemporary Afro-American musics with more traditional African instrumentation and rhythms. Now featuring Joseph Bowie, who was the leader of the jazz-funk group Defunkt, and Ernest Dawkins, founder of the New Horizons Ensemble, the trio’s “harmonically provocative and rhythmically seductive” (Chicago Tribune) compositions impart an ancestral wisdom that conjure an energy rarely encountered in contemporary music.
Leroy Jenkins/Myra Melford Duo
with Leroy Jenkins, violin and Myra Melford, piano
Leroy Jenkins founded one of the first of many AACM ensembles, Creative Construction Company, in the late 60′s (with Braxton, Smith and Steve McCall). In 1970, this group provided New York City with its first
performance of any AACM ensemble, taking what had previously been confined to Chicago into the national circuit. Jenkins has performed with Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, and Alice Coltrane, but it was his work with the Revolutionary Ensemble (co-founded with bassist Sirone and drummer Jerome Cooper) that gained Jenkins’ prominence as the most significant violinist of the modern era. For this performance he is joined by the innovative and thoughtful pianist Myra Melford, who has collaborated with Han Bennink, Dave Douglas and Joseph Jarman.
Saturday, March 17, 2006
Henry Threadgill’s Zooid
with Henry Threadgill, alto saxophone/flute/bass flute; Liberty Ellman, acoustic guitar; Tarik Benbrahim, oud; Dana Leong, cello; Jose Davila, tuba; and Elliot Humberto Kavee, drums
Henry Threadgill’s Zooid (a “zooid” is an organic cell capable of independent movement or several cells forming a colony) creates some of today’s most peculiar and adventurous music. With bizarre instrumentation and voicings, Threadgill’s compositions are visceral and compelling, and incorporate his experiences with gospel, blues, world and marching band music. Residing at the forefront of creative music for the past quarter of a century, Threadgill received the ‘Best Composer’ honors in Downbeat Magazine’s International Jazz Critic’s Poll in 1991, 1990, 1989 and 1988, when he placed in 11 categories and had two albums nominated as ‘Record of the Year’. His late-70s ensemble “Air” (with Fred Hopkins and Steve McCall) is one of the AACMs most legendary collectives.