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Venue:
Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz738 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $15 General Admission
Sponsored by:
Friday, June 5, 2015 - 8:00pm

Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quartet

AACM 50th Anniversary Celebration

Wadada Leo Smith, trumpet + flugelhorn
Anthony Davis, piano
John Lindberg, bass
Pheeroan akLaff, drums + percussion

Ars Nova Workshop is pleased to present this very special performance of Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quartet, celebrating the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians’ (AACM) 50th anniversary.

One of the most original and important voices in American jazz, Wadada Leo Smith is a trumpet player, multi-instrumentalist, composer, improvisor, educator and music theorist/writer. A Mississippi native whose first musical experience was in marching and blues bands, Smith began playing trumpet when he was 12, encouraged by his stepfather, the blues guitarist Alex Wallace. After high school, Smith joined the Army, traveling overseas while playing in military bands. Smith moved to Chicago in the 1960s, where he studied at the Sherwood School of Music, became a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and played in the Creative Construction Company (with Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Muhal Richard Abrams, Richard Davis, and Steve McCall.) In the ‘70s, he moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where he founded a label to release his own music, Kabell, and a band, New Dalta Ahkri (with Oliver Lake, Wes Brown, Henry Threadgill, and Anthony Davis). Smith studied world music at Wesleyan University (1975-6) and independently began to develop and carefully document a unique system of musical notation, called Ahkreanvention and later, Ankhrasmation, that would underlay all of Smith’s original music.

Since Creative Music–1. came out in 1972, Smith has released nearly 30 albums as a leader. In addition to his own works, he has worked and recorded with numerous other artists, including Derek Bailey, Ed Blackwell, Carla Bley, Marion Brown, Don Cherry, Andrew Cyrille, Henry Kaiser, Roscoe Mitchell, Cecil Taylor, and ICP Orchestra co-founders Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg. In recent years, Smith has released a number of critically acclaimed albums that are as striking for their diversity as for the purity of artistic vision uniting them all. Smith’s 2009 release Spiritual Dimension (Cuneiform), a double disc featuring the Golden Quartet on disc one, has been described as “an exceptional exemplar of Smith’s work as a bandleader and improviser” (PopMatters). In 2013, Smith released the Pulitzer Prize finalist, Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform), a sprawling four-disc tribute to the Civil Rights Movement thirty years in the making, featuring the Golden Quartet and the Los Angeles-based contemporary classical group Southwest Chamber Music. The Guardian described it as an “epic life's work... a landmark in jazz's rich canon.”

Smith has taught at several colleges, including  University of New Haven, Bard College, and Woodstock’s Creative Music Studio. Currently, Smith is Director of the African American Improvisational Music Program at CalArts - Valencia. Smith founded the Creative Music Festival at CalArts around 1995, and served as its curator over the years. In 2005, he received the Jazz Journalist Association’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Jazz Education.