Wednesday, November 30, 2016

USA: PRESS RELEASE: Ancient Future Performs 38th Anniversary Concert at Trinity Chapel Feb. 11, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                        12/1/2016
Contact: Ancient-Future.Com Records

Ancient Future Performs at Trinity Chapel
On 38th Anniversary of the First Ancient Future Concert

View online with photos and video:

Featuring World Guitar Pioneer Matthew Montfort, Tabla Virtuoso Vishal Nagar, and Pianist/Santurist Mariah Parker

Blending ancient world music traditions from fiery flamenco to resonant raga with the contemporary colors of jazz and rock, this variation of the world fusion music group Ancient Future features world guitar pioneer Matthew Montfort, renowned Indian tabla virtuoso Vishal Nagar, and composer/pianist/santurist Mariah Parker performing new music and favorites from the band's eight ground breaking recordings.

Saturday, February 11, 2017, 8 PM
Trinity Chamber Concerts
Trinity Chapel
2320 Dana Street between Bancroft Way & Durant Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
Tix: $20 general, $15 senior/disabled/student. No one turned away for lack of funds.
Info and reservations: 510-778-1719 or email
Venue website:
Concert Poster:

Ancient Future is the first and longest running musical organization dedicated exclusively to the mission of creating world fusion music. The term was coined by bandleader Matthew Montfort in 1978 to describe Ancient Future’s unusual blend of musical traditions from around the world. BILLBOARD calls the group “trendsetters” for their early contributions to the movement, which seeks to show how people from different cultures can grow by learning from each other. Their first concert was February 11, 1979, at the original Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax, California.

Matthew Montfort's Custom Martin Scalloped Fretboard Guitar
Hi-Res Photo of Martin guitar by Alan Perlman (3.6 MB):

Matthew Montfort is a pioneer of the scalloped fretboard guitar, an instrument with a modified fretboard in which the wood between frets has been carved out in order to facilitate intricate note-bending ornaments. His new custom guitar is the result of a collaboration between Montfort, Dick Boak of the Artist Relations Department of C.F. Martin & Co., and San Francisco luthier Alan Perlman. Dick Boak has been involved in the conception of more than one hundred and forty signature guitar collaborations with the top musical talents of our time. Starting in 2014, he worked with Montfort to help design the instrument, which features a very large sound hole to add volume, an extra upper bout sound hole so that Montfort can hear the guitar better, a cutaway with extra frets protruding into the sound hole to accommodate his extended playing range, and a short scale yet wide neck to allow for greater string bending capability. Master luthier Alan Perlman scalloped the fretboard and added other finishing touches to complete this amazing instrument in 2016.

Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard and fretless guitars)

Hi-Res Photo of Matthew Montfort by Julie Marten (2 MB)

The leader of the world music group Ancient Future, Matthew Montfort, is recognized as one of the world's 100 Greatest Acoustic Guitarists by for his work expanding the boundaries of guitar playing through the study of the world's great music traditions. For example, in 1979 Montfort immersed himself in an intensive study with vina master K.S. Subramanian in order to fully apply the South Indian gamaka (note-bending) techniques to the scalloped fretboard guitar. In addition to his recordings as a bandleader, he has released two solo guitar recordings: Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar and Sympathetic Serenade. The December 2009 Les Paul issue of Guitar Player Magazine includes a full page feature on Montfort with a corresponding GuitarPlayer.Com video and lesson entitled "The Music of Jimi Hendrix Applied to Indian Raga." He has performed worldwide, from the Festival Internacional de la Guitarra on the golden coast of Spain to the Festival of India in Mumbai, and live on national radio and TV shows such as the Echoes Living Room Concerts on Public Radio International and the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. He has worked with many world music legends, including tabla phenomenon Zakir Hussain and Chinese zither master Zhao Hui. Montfort wrote the book Ancient Traditions – Future Possibilities: Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali, and India, which has been used by many musicians to improve their rhythm skills.

Vishal Nagar (tabla)

Hi-Res Photo of Vishal Nagar by Inni Singh (5 MB):

"He has magic in his hands" - Hindustan Times

Vishal Nagar is considered one of the most gifted tabla players of his generation. Born into a family of musicians, Vishal has been surrounded by music in an extremely musically creative and artistic environment. Since childhood, he has been fascinated by tabla and began to play at an early age. Vishal had his initial training for a with the late Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan of the Delhi Gharana and continued his training under the guidance of Ustad Shamim Ahmed Khan of the same Gharana (school). Along with the dense and rare tabla repertoire taleem which was he received from his Ustad, he also has had intense rhythmic (layakari) training from his mother, the renowned and highly respected Kathak dancer and vocalist, Urmila Nagar. Starting his performance career at the age of eight in Patna, Vishal has performed around the globe including performances in many cities in India, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Thailand and the United States. Vishal has been praised in the Indian press for his unique combination of melodic tabla sound production with masterful command of rhythm and has also been awarded with the Ministry of Culture Scholarship from the Department of Culture. Vishal has expanded his cultural boundaries and collaborated with musicians from around the world, including Ghanaian guitarist Koo Nimo at WOMAD USA (a leading world dance and music festival started by Peter Gabriel).

Mariah Parker (composer, santur)

Hi-Res Photo of Mariah Parker (1.7 MB):

Mariah Parker, while completing her degree in music at UC Santa Cruz, worked with ethnomusicologist Fred Lieberman and Mickey Hart on the “Planet Drum” project. She has performed in festivals in the US and Europe, and worked with many musicians including composer Pauline Oliveros, the late Dumisani Maraire (renowned composer from Zimbabwe) and others. She has studied with jazz great Art Lande and Latin jazz pianist extraordinaire Rebeca Mauléon, and performs regularly with the trend-setting world music group Ancient Future. She released her first solo recording of her compositions, Sangria (Ancient-Future.Com AF 2017), in February of 2009. Her CD release party and debut of her Indo Latin Jazz Ensemble drew a full house at the famous Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland. Since then, the band she leads featuring such veteran performers as Paul McCandless of the group Oregon has performed her compositions to rave reviews at notable festivals and concert venues, from which a live album has been recorded and is scheduled for release in 2016.

New Releases on Ancient-Future.Com Records

Yearning for the Wind by Ancient Future (Ancient-Future.Com AF-90352):

Yearning for the Wind is the first audio/video release in Ancient Future history. Within a week of its release, Yearning for the Wind rose to the top of the Ethnocloud World Music Charts, earning #1 spots in both the video and audio track categories, and propelling Ancient Future to the #1 rated artist spot.

Yearning for the Wind on YouTube
YouTube Video URL:

Composed by scalloped fretboard guitar innovator Matthew Montfort, Yearning for the Wind is a poignant piece based on Rag Kalyan, an evening raga that corresponds to the Lydian mode. The composition also incorporates harmony and other guitaristic elements. A duet with Indian tabla virtuoso Vishal Nagar, who is considered one of the most gifted tabla players of his generation, Yearning for the Wind is set in matta tal, a nine beat rhythmic cycle. As a bridge between the slow and fast sections of the piece, Vishal Nagar performs an elegant tabla solo over the soft nine beat groove that slowly builds up to a vibrant rela (a fast tabla composition characterized by rapid drum rolls).

The Archive of Future Ancient Recordings by Ancient Future (Ancient-Future.Com AF-2030):

The next Ancient Future record is fan funded. There is already over an hour of music in A.F.A.R available right now to supporters, with more tracks coming as money is raised for production.

Indo Latin Jazz Live In Concert by Mariah Parker (Ancient-Future.Com AF-20142):

To be released 1/20/2017, Indo Latin Jazz Live in Concert captures the magic of the concert debut of Mariah Parker's Indo Latin Jazz Ensemble in front of a full house at Yoshi’s in Oakland, as well as subsequent concerts at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage, the Throckmorton Theater in Mill Valley, and Bob Weir’s TRI Studios in San Rafael.

92 Word Radio Announcement

Celebrating the 38th anniversary of their first concert, the trailblazing world music group Ancient Future featuring scalloped fretboard guitar pioneer Matthew Montfort, tabla virtuoso Vishal Nagar, and pianist/santurist Mariah Parker will perform as part of the Trinity Chamber Concerts Series on Saturday, February 11, at 8 PM at Trinity Chapel, located at 2320 Dana Street between Bancroft Way and Durant Avenue, in Berkeley, California. For reservations, call 510-778-1719 or email Tickets are $20 general, and $15 for seniors, disabled, and students. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

CANADA: Will Paynter & The Hardbop Collective – Wise Guy (2016)

This one’s inspired by a character from Don Winslow’s “The Power of the Dog”, a crime grit novel about Mexican drug cartels. This shuffle blues jam brings it home with solos from Marty, Matt, and myself playing arco (with the bow).


NEW YORK, NY- The New York Hot Jazz Camp returns for its second year May 15th-21st, 2017 (18+). Building on last year’s success they have an announced an addition of a youth camp April 10th-14th, 2017 (13-17 yrs) during NYC public schools’ spring break.

This effort is spearheaded by Co-Directors Molly Ryan, noted as a millennial "Shaking Up The Jazz World" by Vanity Fair magazine, and trumpeter Bria Skonberg, called "the shining hope of hot jazz" by The New York Times critic Nate Chinen.  They credit jazz camps as their early inspiration for pursuing their musical careers.  “Studying the roots of jazz, the people and circumstances that brought this great American art form to be is essential to a complete education and interpretation of the music.”  The curriculum focuses on the sounds, stylings and music created by the likes of Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith and many other jazz greats.  They have assembled a star studded faculty for both:

ADULT CAMP  May 15-21                        YOUTH CAMP April 10-14
Queen Esther - Vocals                               Molly Ryan - Vocals
Randy Reinhart - Trumpet                          Bria Skonberg - Trumpet
Dan Levinson - Clarinet/Saxophone           Dan Levinson - Clarinet/Saxophone
Vincent Gardner - Trombone                      Jim Fryer - Trombone
Jesse Gelber - Piano                                  Jesse Gelber - Piano
Nick Russo - Guitar/Banjo                           Nick Russo - Guitar/Banjo
Jared Engel - Bass                                      Sean Cronin - Bass
Kevin Dorn - Drums                                     Rob Garcia - Drums 

Guest clinicians so far include Grammy award winning multi instrumentalist Vince Giordano, and popular banjoist bandleader/educator Cynthia Sayer.

Classes will be held daily at the historic Greenwich House Music School, a long time New York gem for community and education. Students will receive both group and private instruction on how to play hot New Orleans and New York style jazz and will be assembled into bands. Field trips include visits to historic sites such as the Harlem Jazz Museum and the Louis Armstrong House in Corona, Queens.

Both weeks will culminate in open performances. The 2016 final concerts were hosted at The Iridium and Birdland Jazz Club.

A separate jam schedule is being set up for students to experience playing in the local scene at NY clubs such as Fat Cat, The Rum House (featured in the movie Birdman), Mona’s and more. Extra curricular outings include trips to enjoy the stalwart residencies of such groups as Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks and David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band.

   The adult camp is open to players 18+
   The youth camp is for 13-17 year olds

Students may apply on trumpet, reeds, vocals, trombone, drums, bass/tuba, guitar/banjo, and piano.  Financial assistance is available thanks to a successful Kickstarter Campaign with 100+ backers. 

For more information and applications visit
Those interested in volunteering please email

Camper quotes:

"Everyone was very positive, supportive and encouraging, not to mention monster musicians!"

“...the camaraderie among the students and teachers and staff was great. We all have a lot of new friends!" 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

USA:South Florida JAZZ presents: The Benny Green Trio

SWITZERLAND:Affiche et premiers noms de l'édition 2017 du Festival

Les Amazones d'Afrique et la création Autour de Chet
au prochain Cully Jazz Festival
Les billets sont en vente dès aujourd’hui.
Découvrez l'affiche 2017 réalisée par Giulia D'Avenia « La Brutte »

Les Amazones d'Afrique
Les Amazones d'Afrique
Les plus puissantes voix féminines d’Afrique de l’Ouest, dont Mamani Keita, Mariam Doumbia (de Amadou et Mariam) et Inna Modja, se sont armées de leur musique, de percussions et de kora pour défendre la cause qui leur est chère. Un cri de guerre rythmé au chekéré de ce all star qui navigue entre tradition mandingue et énergies nouvelles.
L’artiste Alsarah et son irrésistible retropop nubienne ouvrira cette première soirée au Chapiteau.
Les Amazones d'Afrique
Alsarah & the Nubatones

ve. 31 mars / chapiteau / 20h30 / CHF 59.-

Autour de Chet
Orchestré par l'arrangeur Clément Ducol, le projet autour du grand trompettiste Chet Baker est un hommage tout en délicatesse, par des artistes venus tant de la planète jazz que pop, au trompettiste et crooner au timbre bleuté. Ainsi on retrouvera sur la scène de Cully le trompettiste Erik Truffaz aux cotés de Camélia Jordana, mais aussi Hugh Coltman et Airelle Besson épaulés par un quatuor de jazz.

Soutenez le Festival
La Soirée de soutien au Cully Jazz Festival comprend un cocktail dînatoire et un billet pour le concert Autour de Chet au Chapiteau. Plus d'informations.
Autour de Chet

Billetterie et bon cadeau

Les billets et bons cadeaux sont disponibles dès aujourd’hui dans nos différents points de vente et sur notre site Internet.

Affiche 2017
réalisée par Giulia D'Avenia
« La Brutte »
Les bijoux réalisés puis photographiés pour le Festival furent une occasion pour Giulia D’Avenia de travailler l’argent massif à une plus grande échelle. Jouant sur les volumes, elle a souhaité rendre au métal à la fois son côté solide et massif tout en essayant de lui donner une texture légère qui ferait penser à du tissu ou à de la peau. A ces pièces, viennent s’ajouter quelques ajourages abstraits qui font penser de loin à des dessins naïfs et spontanés.
Giulia D’Avenia est titulaire d’un CFC de Bijoutière Joaillière des Arts Appliqués de Genève et du Poinçon de maître, dont elle utilise le symbole comme nom de créatrice, « La Brutte ». Elle travaille comme bijoutière à Lausanne depuis 2009 et depuis 2013 à l'atelier L'entre 2.

Rendez-vous le 10 janvier 2017 pour découvrir
la programmation complète de la 35e édition du Cully Jazz Festival


ISRAEL/UK: Asaf Sirkis - Full Moon (MoonJune Records 2016)

"Listening to Asaf Sirkis" at work, two things are immediately obvious: passion and commitment. Blessed with technical skills that are disarmingly under-played, his middle-Eastern sensibility balances the potentially volcanic with the meditative and reflective. A master of creative surprise, it’s on the edge of your seat listening when Asaf’s in town." - Dr. Bill Bruford

MoonJune Music Recommends Series:
ASAF SIRKIS " Full Moon"
featuring One Of Today's Most Versatile And talented Drummers

Tracks selected by Leonardo Pavkovic.

Featuring Aris Daryono (track 8), Ben Waghorn (10), Bernard Gregor-Smith (6), Carl Orr (10), Chris Garric (10), Demi Garcia (6), Dwiki Dharmawan (8), Eyal Maoz (18), Frank Harrison (3, 7,11), Fred T. Baker (10), Gabi Fortuna (7), Gabi Mayer (13), Geoff Eales (10), Gilad Atzmon (7, 8,11, 14), Guillermo Rozenthuler (11), James Pearson (6), John Turville (1), Kevin Glasgow ( 3), Kobi Arad (13), Lizzie Ball (6), Mark Wingfield (8, 15, 16), Markus Reuter (15), Mike Outram (2, 9, 17), Pat Bettison (6), Reem Kelani (7), Robert Wyatt (11), Steve Lodder (2, 9, 17), Sylwia Bialas (3), Tassos Spiliotopoulos (1, 2, 4, 12), Tom Mason (14), Yaron Stavi (1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15, 16).

Monday, November 28, 2016

UK: Kenny Wellington - Free Spirit (2016):

1. Heading Home (03:31)
2. Free Spirit (06:52)
3. Dreaming of Futures Bright (03:34)
4. Kings for a Day, Masters of the Night (05:31)
5. Fat Cherry (04:55)
6. Manic Monday, Magic Sunday (05:44)
7. The Cat in the Hat (03:31)
8. E3 Symphony (04:58)
9. You Can Run (But You Sure Can't Hide) (04:57)
10. Rebop (03:31)
11. Heading Home (Reprise) [Reprise] (01:18)
12. Miles 2 Go (03:36)

USA: Bill O’ Connell – Heart Beat (2016)

Here is the latest offering by Latin Jazz great Bill O’Connell, making his fourth release for the Savant label. Always one to seek out new ways to express his music vision, the pianist has throughout his career embraced a broad stylistic swath of jazz, Latin and Brazilian idioms while experimenting with an equally diverse orchestral formats, from a duo to unconventional trio settings and ensembles of various sizes. His well-known resume includes long stints as keyboardist and arranger for the legendary Cuban conguero Mongo Santamaria and Puerto Rican flautist Dave Valentín as well as engagements with a diverse array of jazz and Latin artists, from saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Gato Barbieri to trumpeters Chet Baker and Jerry Gonzalez. Here Bll is joined by his acclaimed group The Latin Jazz All-Stars, featuring Conrad Herwig, Steve Slagle and Cuban percussion great Roman Diaz.

UK: David Arch - Coming Home (2016)

01. Hello ( 6:05)
02. More Air ( 5:53)
03. What I Was Trying To Say ( 5:10)
04. Roll The Dice ( 4:42)
05. Three Amigos ( 4:42)
06. Time To Remember ( 3:49)
07. Coming Home ( 5:38)
08. Migration ( 3:33)
09. Un Dia Duro ( 4:50)
10. Desire ( 3:09)
11. Pandora’s Box ( 3:02)
12. Naturally ( 5:39)
13. The Question ( 4:33)
14. Top Table ( 4:55)
15. Salmagundi (10:20)

Dave (or David) is a British pianist, conductor, arranger and composer. His work covers a broad spectrum of the music business, from albums, films and commercials, through to television and live work. He grew up near Henley on Thames and attended Chiltern Edge School and King James College before graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

He is probably best known as the Musical Director for BBC Television’sStrictly Come Dancing, a role he took over in 2006 after working on the spin offStrictly Dance Fever, and it’s vocal equivalent, Just the Two of Us. He is shortly to embark on his 11th series of the hit show and in 2014, he and the rest of the production team were recipients of a collective special BAFTA Craft award. This year (2016) the programme won the BAFTA award for the Best Entertainment Programme.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

USA: Freddie Bryant Monk Restrung Album Release Monday, November 28th Dizzy's Coca Cola 7:30 & 9:30pm

Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
Monday Nights with WBGO:
Freddie Bryant's Monk Restrung
Album Release

Freddie Bryant-guitar
Peter Bernstein-guitar
Howard Alden-guitar
Romero Lubambo-guitar
Gregory Ryan-bass
Willard Dyson-drums

Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
Broadway and 60th Street
5th Floor

Set Times
7:30 & 9:30pm nightly


Tickets & Info
Reserve by phone
In person after 6pm
daily at the club

With guitarists Freddie Bryant, Romero Lubambo, Howard Alden, and Peter Bernstein; bassist Gregory Ryan; and drummer Willard Dyson
Guitarist Freddie Bryant celebrates the legacy of Thelonious Monk with his album release show for Monk Restrung. The entire band is spectacular, and NEA Jazz Master guitarist Kenny Burrell can tell you more about their leader Freddie Bryant:

“Freddie Bryant is a brilliant young guitarist and composer. I find his music both refreshing and intriguing. He has many things going for him as a guitarist: good tone, good intonation, fine phrasing, and great technique. But perhaps the thing that impresses me the most about his playing is his unique and very broad harmonic sense, which, coupled with a very musical mind, gives his guitar playing and his compositions a personalized sound that is his own… It is very special.”

Freddie Bryant dedicates tonight’s performance and the Monk Restrungalbum to drummer Ben Riley, one of his most important mentors and a longtime member of Monk's historic quartet.

GERMANY: Rathaus Ramblers – Old Time Swing Music (2016)

Old Time Swing Music

01. Sweet Sue
02. I’m Crazy About My Baby
03. Tiger Rag
04. Avalon
05. Stardust
06. Diga Diga Doo
07. Dinah
08. Dream Man
09. Shine on Harvest Moon
10. China Boy
11. My Blue Heaven
12. Rosetta
13. Abercrombie
14. See You in My Dreams

"OLD TIME SWING MUSIC! A collection of fine classics performed by the RATHAUS RAMBLERS"

Jonathan Robinson Dima Bondarev Igor Osypov Jesus Vega and Florent Chaintiou have recorded a set of classic swing gems in high fidelity setting a standard while portraying the high-energy-old-time-love-jazz music for which the Rathaus Ramblers are known. Featuring the fat bass and silky voice of Jonathan Robinson, the masterful "Louis and beyond" trumpet performance of Dima Bondarev, the "Django in the 21st dimension" guitar work of Igor Osypov, and our wellness counselor in all things ting ting Jesus Vega in full trap-set regalia, this recording will please every fan of good honest music grounded in tradition.

JAPAN: Uyama Hiroto - Freeform Jazz (2016)


Saturday, November 26, 2016

GERMANY: Theo Bleckmann- Elegy (2016)

Theo Bleckmann: voice
Shai Maestro: piano
Ben Monder: guitar
Chris Tordini: double-bass
John Hollenbeck: drums

Beyond being a vocalist of rare purity and daring, Theo Bleckmann is a sound painter who creates what JazzTimes has described aptly as luminous webs in music.

The German-born New Yorker after appearing on two ECM albums by Meredith Monk and another by Julia Hülsmann makes his striking label debut as a leader with Elegy. This album showcases Bleckmann as a composer as much as a singer, with several instrumental pieces voiced by what he calls his ambient band of kindred-spirit guitarist Ben Monder, keyboardist Shai Maestro and the subtle rhythm team of Chris Tordini and John Hollenbeck.

Highlights include Bleckmanns sublime rendition of Stephen Sondheims Comedy Tonight (tragedy tomorrow... comedy tonight), as well as the mellifluous vocalise of Little Elegy and achingly poetic To Be Shown to Monks at a Certain Templ

UK:Tina May & The Steve Plews Trio - Telling Jokes (ASC 2016)

01 Telling Jokes 04:29
02 Spring Is Here 02:46
03 I'll Swing For You 04:33
04 Am I Blue 02:46
05 Endgame 06:55
06 Summertime 05:32
07 Love And Pain 02:51
08 Two Left Feet 04:45
09 Autumn Leaves 04:07
10 Like The Melting Snow 03:43

USA: Louis Pimentel - The Interstellar Group (2016)

01 Level One
02 Searching
03 Always (For You)
04 Stream Of Consciousness
05 Cosmic Undulation
06 Pandemonium (Bonus Track)

Friday, November 25, 2016

JazzWorldQuest Playlist Update: Raphaël Novarina- Distinction (Sequence 2015)

Raphaël Novarina - Distinction (Sequence 2015)

Composer: Raphaël Novarina
Year_of_release: 2015

ITALY: Giovanni Guidi - Rebel Band (2016)

01Il campione
02Furious seasons
03Ti stimo
05The impossible divorce
07We don't live here anymore
08Success/Ti stimo
“L’album precedente era un omaggio ai ribelli sconosciuti che hanno animato i moti rivoluzionari. Stavolta entriamo nell’ambito della ribellione personale, dei sentimenti, delle emozioni. Andiamo a esplorare l’altra faccia della rivoluzione”. Il live ripercorre varie fasi della carriera del gruppo, diventando una sorta di “best of”. “Ci sono nuovi brani scritti per l’occasione, miei e di Dan Kinzelman, alcuni classici del nostro repertorio e due pezzi sudafricani. È un disco d’amore per le persone, per la musica e per gli amici”. Ribelli dal cuore d’oro.

USA: NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston to Release New 2-CD Set, "The African Nubian Suite," Jan. 20

NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston
To Release New 2-CD Set,
"The African Nubian Suite,"
On His African Rhythms Label
January 20
 Recorded at a 2012 New York Concert
Featuring an International Cast of Performers
Cecil Bridgewater, T.K. Blue, Billy Harper, Alex Blake,
Lewis Nash, Ayodele Maakheru (Nefer),
Candido (Congas), Lhoussine Bouhamidy (Guimbry), &
Poet Jayne Cortez

November 21, 2016

Randy Weston The African Nubian Suite NEA Jazz Master, iconic pianist/composer, and still-vital jazz elder Randy Weston, at 90, remains a powerful force in jazz. Currently serving as artist-in-residence at Medgar Evers College at the City University of New York; celebrated earlier this month at Harvard University, which has acquired his archive; and named a United States Artists (USA) Fellow last week, Weston is now preparing to release a new recording on his African Rhythms label. The 2-CD set, The African Nubian Suite, captures a concert presented at New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts by the Institute of African American Affairs on Easter Sunday 2012 and will be released by African Rhythms on January 20, 2017.
The African Nubian Suite lays out the history of the human race in music and words. Weston and narrator Wayne Chandler trace it back to Ardi, a woman who walked upright 4.4 million years ago in Nubia, a region along the Nile River that straddles parts of what are today Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia.
"In one single work," Robin D.G. Kelley writes in the booklet notes, "Weston manages to pay tribute to the ancient tombs of Sidi Bilal in Aswan, the sufi tradition, the holy city of Touba in Senegal, China's great Shang Dynasty, African folk music, the timeless history of the blues, and the unity of humankind."
Weston was joined in a circle at the sold-out concert by a remarkably diverse, truly international cast of performers. A few played without accompaniment, others as duos, trios, and larger ensembles. They include trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater, trombonist Robert Trowers, tuba player Howard Johnson, saxophonist-flutist T.K. Blue, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper, bassist Alex Blake, drummer Lewis Nash, conguero Candido (who, at 94, is four years older than Weston), nefer player Ayodele Maakheru, guimbry player Lhoussine Bouhamidy from Morocco, kora player and vocalist Saliou Souso from Gambia, balafon player Martin Kwaku Obeng from Ghana, pipa player and vocalist Min Xiao-Fen from China, singer Tanpani Demda Cissoko from Mali, African-American percussionists Neil Clarke and Ayanda Clarke, and the late poet Jayne Cortez.
"The suite is saying, 'Let's start with our first mama,'" Weston explains. "The whole idea is that we're all so different on this planet, but in reality, we all look alike. If you look at the flowers and look at the insects, Mother Nature paints all the colors of her subjects. One is brown. This one is black. Whatever. We've got one nose, one mouth. The whole idea is we all come from the same place. We all come from Africa. It's scientifically true, culturally true."
Weston adds: "I feel that this is the kind of work that should be in the schools, in the churches, in the cultural centers, the kind of work for all people to listen to and read about, because it will give us a better understanding of Mother Africa."
Randy Weston
Today, the Brooklyn resident continues to tour throughout the United States and overseas. He holds honorary Doctor of Music degrees from Colby College, Brooklyn College, and the New England Conservatory of Music; was artist-in-residence at NYU, the New School earlier this year, and currently at Medgar Evers College at the City University of New York. In 2010 Duke University Press published African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston, composed by Randy Weston and arranged by Willard Jenkins. Weston is a Fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation and a Grant recipient of the Doris Duke Foundation; he was honored by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, and his decades of work -- including scores, correspondence, photographs, and recordings -- are now archived at Harvard University as the Randy Weston Collection. In 2016 Weston was voted into the Down Beat Hall of Fame.
Weston's African Rhythms Trio will perform at Aimé Césaire Performance Hall in Martinique on Friday 11/25. Weston conducts an African Rhythms Masterclass ("A Spiritual Awakening"), featuring Eddie Palmieri, at Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, NY, 11/29. The Randy Weston African Rhythms Quintet appears at Dizzy's, NYC, Friday through Sunday 12/2-4. A CD release show for The African Nubian Suite in New York City is in the works.

Photography: © Jimmy and Dena Katz
Randy Weston talks about
Randy Weston talks about "The African Nubian Suite."

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Terri Hinte (The African Nubian Suite)