FEATURED ARTISTS IN THIS PUBLICATION
A key voice in redefining jazz and improvisation, the Art Ensemble of Chicago formed out of a desire to create music outside of the purview of a white-dominated, segregated jazz industry. The ensemble first performed at the Walker in 1980 and many individual members, including Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, and Roscoe Mitchell, repeatedly returned for solo or their own various group performances.
A poet, critic, playwright, and social activist, Amiri Baraka was also deeply invested in jazz criticism. Three previously unpublished recordings feature Baraka reading his jazz-related poems as part of the Walker’s 1980 literature series.
Drawing on references to African, Asian, and European musical traditions, Anthony Braxton rejects strict musical boundaries. His approach is traced in this online catalogue through access to recordings of a solo from the New Music America Festival in 1980, trio performances, and a concert with Richard Teitelbaum (who sadly passed away on April 9, 2020) on keyboard/electronics.
Known for her complex and imaginative vocal explorations, Betty Carter was a jazz pioneer. Presented here is a rare recording and ephemera from her 1983 performance at the Walker with her trio.
A legendary innovator, composer, and saxophonist, Ornette Coleman forever expanded the boundaries of free jazz with radical inventiveness. The publication considers his legacy through two artists of the next generation: Twin Cities–based drummer and composer Dave King and musician, producer, and writer Greg Tate.
Julius Eastman’s minimalist compositions embodied a radical politics and an expanded sonic palette. Surfaced here are two rare, previously unpublished and recently digitized video recordings of the piano quartet pieces the artist performed at the Walker in 1980, which today are among his most celebrated works. Musician and interdisciplinary artist Jace Clayton offers a personal contemplation on the posthumous appreciation of the vanguard composer.
Trumpeter, composer, and improviser Wadada Leo Smith is revered as one of the form’s most innovative and influential practitioners. An interview between the artist and Taja Cheek, a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and assistant curator at MoMA PS1, New York, focuses on Smith’s musical trajectory, philosophy, and inspirations.
Consciously blending techniques from European composers with African American musical traditions, poet and pianist Cecil Taylor first performed at the Walker in 1979. The video recording of Taylor’s trio at the Ted Mann Concert Hall in 1990 is accompanied by a reprint of Fred Moten’s “Sound in Florescence: Cecil Taylor Floating Garden” (1997).By challenging the prescriptive limits of the term “jazz,” composer, saxophonist, and flautist Henry Threadgill embarked on a lifelong series of sonic explorations and radical redefinition of the form in the early 1970s. A response by Twin Cities–based cellist and curator Michelle Kinney, as well as an interview between Philip Bither and pianist, artist, and composer Jason Moran, reflect on Threadgill’s enduring influence.
Danielle A. Jackson, Interdisciplinary Fellow, Performing Arts, 2016–2018
Simone Austin, Interdisciplinary Fellow, Visual Arts, 2018–2020
Walker Curatorial Advisors:
Doug Benidt, Philip Bither, Adrienne Edwards, Siri Engberg, and Pavel Pyś