“We had to do things ourselves until something else kicked in,” bassist William Parker said at a panel earlier this month. He was explaining how he came to co-found the Vision Festival. “And nothing’s ever really kicked in.”
After five nights of scorched-earth improvising, poetry, dance and live painting, Vision Fest wrapped up its 19th annual incarnation on June 15. It continues to be New York’s most renowned avant-garde jazz happening — partly because it upholds tough convictions about the links between art and politics, music and other media, self-expression and self-determination. It is entirely artist-run.