Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk
Wadada Leo Smith — trumpet
“What Monk’s music illustrate is silence, not as a moment of absence, or a space for resting, but as a vital field where musical ideas exist as a result of what was played before and afterword. Silence.”
The project evolves around my solo recording of four compositions of Monk, as well as my dedications to him.
My solo Thelonious Monk project is conceived as music with video-image projections, which consist mostly of images of Monk and relevant photographs of that era. Those images will be mixed with live on-stage screening of the performance.
I envision this project being performed in large and small venues, with a proper technical support.
Shalini Vijayan — violin
Mona Thian — violin
Andrew McIntosh — viola
Ashley Walters — cello
My vision of music creation is centered in the twelve string quartets that I have composed so far. Those writings began in 1963, after hearing Ornette Coleman’s recording of ‘Dedication to Poets and Writers’ (1962). His work illustrated that one could use creativity and freedom as a major source in addition to inspiration in constructing a work of art.
A majority of my string quartets have some elements of the create and ankhrasmation language, and the ensemble forms. The scores are essentially non-metric, and a full page represents a complete “bar” length, with no maintaining of the concept of downbeat and upbeat idea. The ensemble’s leadership articulation continuously fluctuates from person to person as the decision for continuity keeps changing from page to page.
Wadada Leo Smith — trumpet
Brandon Ross — guitar
Lamar Smith — guitar
Bill Laswell — electric bass
Pheeroan Aklaff — drums
Najwa is a project ensemble organized to present an electric music idiom. This ensemble use my language and systems that I have developed and are fundamental to the practice of making music.
Our music is an expression of a polycentric – polytonal and multi-layered grid for collective creation in performance.
Each member has the right and responsibility to creatively organize the ensemble’s musical space and ideas as it moves across the performance dimension.
The value we place on electronics is communal in character and has a philosophy centered in the art of sound making, and is not noise based.
Najwa’s music is powerfully electric and electronic in nature; fiery and interactive in character; contemporary, spiritual and politically conscious, and its creative energy is heartfelt and connected with the human feeling.
Golden Quintet is an ensemble of master composers – performers, whose experimental practice utilizes the quintet form, which is the purest foundation of musical expression in jazz music, creative music and western, and other music cultures.
As multi-instrumentalists they are concerned with a practice and research that involves an array of complex systemic forms, where the musical languages of composition, create, and Ankhrasmation are merged seamlessly in their interactive development in the quartet and are manifested in the performance dimension as a single music language.
Golden Quintet music is fiery, explosive, with comprehensive multiple surges of musical activity happening simultaneously; as well as a positive creative energy-force that’s constructed with polycentric melodic, sonic, create and rhythm units. The ensemble’s textural and structural materials reveal a musical terrain that is creatively rich and architecturally clear.