Celebrating Cecil, Ornette and Sun Ra at Ars Nova Workshop

From Philly’s Ars Nova Workshop:

Sun Ra
Cover of Sun Ra

Saturday, March 8, 8pm
Still The New Thing: Cecil Taylor 85th Birthday Celebration
Bobby Zankel, alto saxophone; Dave Burrell, piano; Henry Grimes, double-bass; William Parker, double-bass; Andrew Cyrille, percussion

The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia
$20 advance / $25 day of show

Ars Nova Workshop, the Painted Bride Art Center, and the Warriors of the Wonderful Sound are pleased to present this very special quintet in celebration of Cecil Taylor’s 85th birthday and the 56th anniversary of his historic debut at the Newport Jazz Festival. In response to, “How do you pay respect to Cecil Taylor?” The New York Times in 2013 answered its own question: “You honor Cecil Taylor by being yourself.” Five of today’s most respected improvisers will take the stage and do just that. The ensemble includes Zankel, who performed in the 1971 debut of the Cecil Taylor Big Band; bassist William Parker, a member of Taylor’s Feel Trio with Tony Oxley; pianist Dave Burrell, whose approach often employs the high-speed lyricism of Taylor; and bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Andrew Cyrille, who both appeared on the seminal Blue Note recordings, Unit Structures and Conquistador!

Friday, March 21, 8pm
Still The New Thing: Ornette Coleman 84th Birthday Celebration

The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia
$20 advance / $25 day of show

Denardo Coleman Group: Tony Falanga, bass; Al MacDowell, bass; Denardo Coleman, drums; More, TBA
Led by the great saxophonist’s son, the Denardo Coleman Group makes its Philadelphia debut. Denardo first recorded on Ornette’s The Empty Foxhole (Blue Note, 1966) with Charlie Haden at the age of ten. The Coleman Group also includes bassists Tony Falanga and Al MacDowell, both members of Ornette’s current quartet. MacDowell, who has performed frequently with Ornette since 1976 and was a member of the Prime Time band, is a seasoned veteran of Ornette’s “harmolodic” approach.

Jamaaladeen Tacuma Band: Jamaaladeen Tacuma, electric bass; Wolfgang Puschnig, hojak + alto saxophone; Terry Adkins, tenor saxophone; Yoichi Uzeki, piano + keyboards; Charlie Ellerbee, electric guitar; Khary Abdul-Shaheed, drums; G. Calvin Weston, drums
In the mid 1970s, bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s creatively free and funky approach caught the eye and ear of Ornette. He quickly became part of Coleman’s electric band, Prime Time, and performed on the historic recordings Dancing in Your Head, Body Meta, and Of Human Feelings. Tacuma’s most recent release, For the Love of Ornette revisits his exceptional work with Ornette, who also performs on the recording.

Saturday, April 19, 8pm
Celebrating Cecil, Ornette and Sun Ra

The Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia
$20 advance / $25 day of show

Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen
After studying at the Paris Conservatory of Music, Allen became a pupil of Sun Ra, subsequently joining the Arkestra in 1958 and leading Sun Ra’s formidable reed section for the next 40 years. Marshall lived, rehearsed, toured and recorded with Sun Ra almost exclusively for much of Sun Ra’s musical career. As a member of the Arkestra, Allen pioneered the Free Jazz movement of the early sixties, having remarkable influence on the leading voices in the avant-garde. Marshall continues to be committed to the study, research, and development of Sun Ra’s musical precepts and has launched the Sun Ra Arkestra into a dimension beyond that of mere “ghost” band by writing fresh arrangements of Sun Ra’s music, as well as composing new music and arrangement for the Arkestra.

Bobby Zankel’s Warriors of the Wonderful Sound
Bobby Zankel, alto saxophone; Julian Pressley, alto saxophone; Mark Allen, baritone saxophone; Josh Lawrence, trumpet; Stan Slotter, trumpet; Steve Swell, trombone; John Swana, trombone; Diane Monroe, violin; Tom Lawton, piano; Anthony Tidd, bass; Craig McIver, drums; Francois Zayas, percussion
Originally from Brooklyn, Zankel studied with Cecil Taylor at the University of Wisconsin, after which he left school to continue those studies on the bandstand, following the iconoclastic pianist back to New York. Zankel became involved with the avant-garde jazz scene of the early 1970s, and has worked with many of the most significant jazz artists over the last 40 years, but his most influential work has been his over ten years of composing for his long-standing big band. The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound were first assembled in 2001 for a fledgling jazz festival and continued presenting Zankel’s heady, intricate compositions.