Wadada Leo Smith in New Haven Reviewed

Source: New Haven Independent.

Acclaimed composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith stood in front of a whiteboard Sunday afternoon in a room above Firehouse 12’s studio. It was the middle of the first CREATE festival, a weekend-long celebration of Smith’s music that drew musicians to play with him from around the country and kept Firehouse 12’s performance space packed.

“I’m a minimalist,” Smith had said the night before, at the first of two weekend concerts. “I don’t do very much of nothing.”

Except, he said, make a little music. Ponder questions about the universe. Conduct scientific research. Attend imaginary meetings with foreign diplomats. The usual. He said it all with a healthy dose of humor, and the audience laughed. But there was seriousness behind those jokes. And on Sunday afternoon, Smith had only a marker in his hand, and he wasn’t playing; he was drawing shapes on the board, and talking. By doing so, he opened a door into his music, and music making, for everyone.