When Kamasi Washington released his tour de force LP, the epic, in 2015, it instantly set him on a path as our generation’s torchbearer for progressive, improvisational music that would open the door for young audiences to experience music unlike anything they had heard before. The 172-minute odyssey featuring his 10-piece band, the next step, was littered with elements of hip-hop, classical and r&b music, all major influences on the young saxophonist and bandleader, who exceeds any notions of what “jazz” music is. Released to critical acclaim, the epic won numerous “best of” awards, including the inaugural american music prize and the gilles peterson worldwide album of the year. Washington followed that work with collaborations with other influential artists such as kendrick lamar, john legend, run the jewels, ibeyi and the creation of “harmony of difference,” a standalone multimedia installation during the prestigious 2017 biennial at the whitney museum of american art in new york city.
His mass appeal continues to grow drawing vibrant, multi-ethnic and multi-generational crowds with tour stops at the world’s most prominent festivals such as coachella, glastonbury, fuji rock, bonnaroo and primavera. Next up for washington is his highly anticipated sophmore album, due for release in the summer of 2018.
Jason Moran, piano,
Daryl Harper, clarinet
Immanuel Wilkins, alto saxophone
Brian Settles, tenor saxophone
David Adewumi, trumpet
Chris Bates, trombone
Reginald Cyntje, tuba and bass trombone
Jose Davila, tuba
Tarus Mateen, bass
Nasheet Waits, drums
Composer, pianist, and visual artist Jason Moran reflects on the legacy of a hero of black music in a multidisciplinary program entitled, James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters: The Absence of Ruin. An iconic figure in the evolution of African-American music, ragtime pioneer, and World War I hero, James Reese Europe led a crack military ensemble called the Harlem Hellfighters. In addition to their achievements in combat, Europe and his Hellfighters popularized the new spirit of jazz in a war-torn French nation fascinated with black culture. And that’s only the beginning of their story – their legacy has had an extraordinary impact on African-American music over the past century of cultural and political change.
Moran’s innovative program features his Bandwagon bandmates – bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits – plus a seven-piece horn section, contributions from artist/writer/film director/screenwriter John Akomfrah, and visual materials from acclaimed cinematographer Bradford Young. It’s Moran’s response to Orlando Patterson’s concept of the “absence of ruin” – a musical monument to a vanishing African-American history. Of the US premiere, The Washington Post exclaims, “We already know that Jason Moran is stunningly and profoundly original, even in his treatment of existing material…Knowing it doesn’t prepare one for the stark, sublime beauty of James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters: The Absence of Ruin.”
James Reese Europe and the Absence of Ruin is co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, Berliner Festspiele / Jazzfest Berlin, Serious and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, with support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and from the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Germany.
Ever since the 2003 release of her debut, Another Mind, Hiromi has electrified audiences with a creative energy that encompasses and eclipses the boundaries of jazz, classical and pop, taking improvisation and composition to new heights of complexity and sophistication. Her new project “Sonicwonder” is an electrified 4-piece band with heavy groove, featuring Adam O’Farrill on trumpet, Hadrien Feraud on bass, and Gene Coye on drums.
Born in Hamamatsu, Japan in 1979, Hiromi’s first piano teacher, Noriko Hikida, exposed Hiromi to jazz and introduced her to the great pianists Erroll Garner and Oscar Peterson. She enrolled in the Yamaha School of Music and started writing music.
Hiromi moved to the United States in 1999 and studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Among her mentors was jazz bassist/arranger Richard Evans, who took Hiromi’s demo to his friend, the legendary pianist Ahmad Jamal. Evans co-produced Another Mind with Jamal.
Mark Guiliana has become recognized as one of the world’s leading drummers, admired and in demand across the spectrum from jazz to rock to electronic music for his rhythmic sophistication, creative impulse and individual sound. He has been in the vanguard of drummers creating a new vernacular on the instrument, blending virtuosity on acoustic drums with artfully deployed electronic beats and processing. Guiliana was chosen as Best Jazz Drummer in the Modern Drummer Readers Poll 2017, while DownBeat dubbed him a Rising Star in its Critics Poll. JazzTimes aptly proclaimed: “Guiliana, a technical master with a rare sense of musicality, has over the past decade become one of the most influential drummers of his generation.” Along with leading his own groups – the acoustic Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet and electronica-minded Beat Music – the drummer has appeared on a string of acclaimed recordings with others. The verve and precision of Guiliana’s drumming was a primer mover of Blackstar, David Bowie’s multiple Grammy Award-winning final album. Guiliana teamed with keyboardist Brad Mehldau as the duo Mehliana for the Nonesuch release Taming the Dragon, and he has also collaborated with such artists as saxophonist Donny McCaslin, guitar hero John Scofield, Soundgarden/Pearl Jam drummer-songwriter Matt Cameron, neo-soul singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello, guitarist-vocalist Lionel Loueke, jazz bassist Avishai Cohen, reggae/hip-hop artist Matisyahu and jazz singer Gretchen Parlato.
Under the Direction of Gerald Chavis