An all-star lineup of master jazz innovators spanning three cities (Minneapolis, New York, and Chicago) and two generations creates a new sextet for an exclusive Walker engagement. The ensemble includes visionary trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith, a transformative figure in jazz; powerhouse saxophonist/composer Roscoe Mitchell, a founding member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago; Hamid Drake, one of the great drummers working in jazz and global music today; Oliver Lake, longtime member of the World Saxophone Quartet; bassist Anthony Cox, one of Minnesota’s most in-demand musicians for years; and composer/flutist/saxophonist Douglas Ewart, who helped bring these master musicians together.
The show takes place in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater at 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 3. World Premiere. Tickets for the show will be $30 ($24 for Walker Members).
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Born in Jamaica, Ewart is a multi-instrumentalist, sculptor, composer and educator. He has performed solo and in ensembles playing the flute, bassoon, didgeridoo, and more around the world. He has taught at the Art Institute of Chicago since 1990 and uses his experience as past chairman of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) to build on the history and progress of the organization.
WADADA LEO SMITH
Composer and jazz trumpeter Smith has been a leading figure in contemporary jazz for over 40 years and continues to perform around the world. An early member of AACM, he formed his own label, Kabell, in 1971. Smith is a professor of Music at the California Institute of Arts and is the director of the MFA program in African American Improvisation.
Chicago-born saxophonist Mitchell began his music career after serving in the military. In 1965, he became one of the founders of AACM. Mitchell also founded the popular jazz avant-garde group The Art Ensemble of Chicago in 1967 with Joseph Jarman and Philip Wilson. Mitchell plays a variety of instruments, including the flute, clarinet and baritone and has several recordings of performances ranging from solo concerts to large ensembles.
Saxophonist, composer, poet and painter Lake’s works include collaborations with Flux String Quartest, Bjork, A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def, Vijay Iyer, Me’shell Ndegeocello, and more. In 2014, Lake was honored with the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award, a multi-year grant awarded to American artists in jazz, dance and theater.
Growing up in Minneapolis, jazz bassist Cox plays in the avant-garde and traditional styles, although described as versatile and able to accompany any genre while adding his creative ideas. His list of collaborations includes Gary Thomas, Dewey Redman, Geri Allen, and Joe Lovano.
Born in Louisiana, Jazz percussionist Drake has incorporated Afro-Cuban, Indian, and African percussion instruments and influence in his works. He has collaborated with jazz improvisers Peter Brotzmann, Fred Anderson and Ken Vandermark. Currently in Chicago, Drake is a member of the Latin jazz band Night on Earth, the Georg Graewe Quartet, the DKV Trio, Peter Brotzmann’s Chicago Octet/Tentet, and Liof Munimula.