Wadada Leo Smith tops 3 categories in DownBeat Magazine's 65th Annual Critics Poll
and is featured in DownBeats' August 2017 cover story
Boldly original trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist and composer Wadada Leo Smith has topped three categories in DownBeat Magazine's 65th Annual Critics Poll: Jazz Artist, Trumpet and Jazz Album (for America's National Parks on Cuneiform.) A group of 155 international critics from organizations including The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, DownBeat, Jazziz, JazzTimes, NPR, Rolling Stone, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Village Voice participated in this year's poll. Smith is also featured on the cover of the August 2017 issue of DownBeat.
Wadada Leo Smith receives 2016 Mohn Career Achievement Award
The Hammer Museum at UCLA has announced the recipients of its Made In L.A. 2016 Mohn Awards. Among the recipients is jazz trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith, who received the Museum's $25,000 Career Achievement Award.
Trumpeter, composer, musical visionary Wadada Leo Smith
receives 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) today announced that the boldly original composer, trumpeter and Pulitzer Finalist Wadada Leo Smith has been named a 2016 Doris Duke Artist. Smith is one of twenty-one awardees appointed in recognition of their creative vitality and ongoing contributions to the fields of dance, jazz and theater.
“To receive the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award is the highest honor," said Smith. "It celebrates my achievements as a creative composer and performer in an art form that transcends boundaries. With the support of the Doris Duke Foundation, I now have the unique opportunity to develop a fresh connection to my art and to my community.”
Read full press release (.pdf)
Wadada's new album with Vijay Iyer on the ECM label, "A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke" is now available for pre-order on iTunes and Amazon. The album release date is March 25. Wadada and Vijay's tour dates and locations can be seen here.
|"A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke" brings Vijay Iyer together with the mighty trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, for what The New Yorker has described as "discourses both cultivated and passionate." Vijay has previously played extensively with Wadada in Smith's Golden Quartet, but this album, produced by Manfred Eicher and recorded at New York's Avatar Studios last October, is the first documentation of their duo work. The centerpiece of the album is the spellbinding title suite, dedicated to Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990), the innovative Indian artist whose improvisatory imagery evokes abstracted rhythms. Trumpet and piano interact here with creative sensitivity to tone, texture and space.
Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith begin a series of engagements with the premiere of "A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke" at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in the context of a major exhibition dedicated to Nasreen Mohamedi's art and writings.
Wadada was awarded "Composer of the Year" in the 19th annual Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards.
Wadada was voted #2 in the 2015 DownBeat Critics Poll "Best Composer" category, and #3 for trumpet. His album "The Great Lakes Suites" was voted #4 Jazz Album of the Year, and he was voted #7 in the Jazz Artist category.
Wadada Leo Smith Residency at The Stone (NYC) in April, 2015
Creative music is the oldest music on the planet.
It doesn’t need to be revolutionized or updated.
The boldly original composer, trumpeter and Pulitzer Finalist Wadada Leo Smith presents 44 Years: Retrospective (A.A.C.M. 50th Anniversary), featuring twelve ensembles + video, Tuesday, April 21 – Sunday, April 26, 2015 at The Stone, Corner of Avenue C and 2nd Street, New York City. All shows $20. thestonenyc.com
More info on each concert here.
Wadada Leo Smith is listed in DownBeat's July 2014 issue
"One of the 80 Coolest Things in Jazz Today":
NEW! - video of Wadada and the Golden Quartet performing
"September 11th, 2001: A Memorial" live at Café OTO, London Nov., 2013
Wadada Leo Smith has been voted "Composer of the Year"
in the 2013 DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll!
Read the interview/article here or download pdf
Wadada was also voted
"#3 Jazz Artist of the Year" and
Ten Freedom Summers "#2 Jazz Album of the Year"
"#2 Trumpeter of the Year"
Wadada Leo Smith has been announced as a finalist for the most prestigious award in music - the Pulitzer Prize!
Howard Reich wrote a nice article in the Chicago Tribune.
(view as PDF )
pulitzer.org awards 2013
A very interesting article and interview with Wadada by Daniel Fischlin:
Improvocracy, or Improvising the Civil Rights Movement in Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers
Please note that sometime on or before 9.7.12 Wadada's website will only be available at wadadaleosmith.com as the CalArts server is shutting down. Please update your links.
Wadada's epic composition Ten Freedom Summers has been released on Cuneiform Records (May 2012) and has received great early reviews and wide acclaim. It is currently a featured CD for August 2012 at the BBC Music Magazine , where they state: "Ten Freedom Summers truly deserves to be described as a masterpiece: 19 pieces across four CDs, encompassing more than four hours of music, composed by Wadada Leo Smith over the last 34 years." More info on the CD here.
Wadada announces upcoming performances worldwide of his epic work Ten Freedom Summers - 5 hours of music inspired by the American Civil rights movement, with performances in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ann Arbor, MI and NYC. He also has upcoming performances in London UK. Check Wadada's tour dates here.
Wadada's upcoming performance dates can now be seen on Facebook .
Wadada will be performing with his Golden Quartet at FIMAV (Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada on Saturday, May 19, 2012. FIMAV is North America’s premier festival of avant-garde music. Also performing in the same concert will be BLIXT (Bill Laswell / Raoul Björkenheim / Morgan Ågren).
Wadada is interviewed and the cover feature in InSound magazine (Italy) and Jazz PT (Portugal):
Wadada's Organic Heart's Reflections double CD release on Cuneiform Records has received much critical acclaim.
Southwest Chamber Music Society (Pasadena, CA) is awarded a Multi-Arts Production Fund grant and a National Endowment for the Arts Access to Artistic Excellence grant to support Ten Freedom Summers, a recording and national performance tour of a new work by composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith inspired by the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1964. Ten Freedom Summers is a three-evening musical composition by Wadada Leo Smith, which will be performed by Smith’s dynamic Golden Quartet, joined by Southwest Chamber Music and conducted by Grammy Award–winner Jeff von der Schmidt. This large multimovement work is inspired by the activity of the civil rights movement from 1954–1964. The composition is in suite form and reflects the spiritual condition and attitude surrounding many incidents that changed American social history.
The music of Ten Freedom Summers is a psychological interpretation of the events pertinent to the struggle for civil rights, not a pictorial or cinematic treatment that musically describes each event or situation. The trajectory of the three-concert experience is: Concert One—America Part 1 & Part 2, Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party 1964, Rosa Parks, and The Freedom Riders Ride; Concert Two—Dred Scott 1857, Democracy, Buzzsaw: The Myth of the Free Press, September 11, 2001, and People of the Shahada; Concert Three—Brown v. Board of Education 1954, Little Rock Nine 1957,Freedom Summer 1964, LBJ Civil Rights Act 1964, and Martin Luther King, Jr.—Memphis Prophecy and Assassination. The world premiere will take place October 28–30, 2011, at REDCAT at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California.
Wadada's new CD release The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer has received wide acclaim.
This recording documents the first duo performance of two towering figures in American creative music: trumpeter-composer Wadada Leo Smith and the late drummer Ed Blackwell, best known as a member of free-jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman's quartet. A beautifully recorded radio broadcast from October 1986, this concert between two major figures from two generations of cutting edge American music, brilliantly weds sound, silence and rhythm into a lyrical and swinging performance. It's been selected on many Top Albums of the 2010 lists, including The Village Voice and Jazz Journalists's Association. read more ...
Two new digital releases of Yo Miles! - Shinjuku and Lightning, featuring new studio recordings and live performances. Yo Miles! is the celebrated collaboration of Wadada Leo Smith and Henry Kaiser formed in 1998 to explore, expound and expand on Miles Davis’ mid-70s electric music. The all-star personnel is culled from both the jazz and rock communities.
New Reviews of Wadada's Golden Quartet performance at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, and some new interviews and articles.
New Reviews and Interviews with Wadada from Spain
Chamber Music America has awarded Wadada Leo Smith and Golden Quartet a 2010 New Jazz Works: Commissioning, Ensemble Development, with an extended Life of the Work grant.
Wadada Leo Smith will compose Ten Freedom Summers for Golden Quartet, a large work inspired by the activity of the civil rights movement from 1954-1964. It will be a suite in three movements, “Brown v. Board of Education”- 1954, “Little Rock Nine”- 1957 , and “Freedom Summer”-1964 . The Ten Freedom Summers is commissioned by Chamber Music America with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
The Brooklyn Public Library concert of Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quartet October 28, 2010.
This performance is the world premiere of the music Wadada composed while a 2009/2010 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. As a Fellow he composed five compositions: Dred Scott- 1857; September Eleventh - 2001; Democracy; Buzzsaw: The Myth of the Free Press; and People of the Shahada. These compositions are part of a larger compositional collection, America. America is a music that is the result of his research and reflection on the philosophical, social and political history of United States of America.
A great artist profile of Wadada by Lyn Horton at allaboutjazz.com:
Wadada Leo Smith: A Vital Life Force - (.pdf)
Wadada is featured on the cover of both the January, 2010 issue of Jazziz and the February, 2010 issue of The Wire!