Peace Thru Jazz! Celebrating the Music of Dr. Makanda Ken McIntyre
(Published: September 21, 2011)
Arts & Education Continuum, in conjunction with the Contemporary African American Music Organization, and Loft Arts Productions is proud to present an octet under the direction of Craig S. Harris and his performing the music of Dr. Makanda Ken McIntyre at 8:00 pm on Friday, October 21, 2011 at the Middle Collegiate Church, 50 East 7th Street, New York, New York (at Second Avenue). Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
The band will include Craig Harris, trombone and musical director, Richard Fairfax, James Stewart and Jay Rodriguez on reeds; Eddie Allen on trumpet, Richard Harper on piano and baritone horn, Calvin Jones on bass, and Tony Lewis on drums, with guest appearances by Andrew Bemkey on piano, Napoleon Revels-Bey on drums, and Warren Smith on percussion.
Dr. Makanda Ken McIntyre was a tireless musical innovator over 50 years. When he died in 2001, he had 12 albums, more than 500 compositions and 200 arrangements to his credit.
A virtuoso on all of the woodwind instruments, Makanda was known primarily for leading his own ensembles -- performing on alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet, oboe and bassoon. He was a featured soloist with Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra from1984 until his death. He recorded and appeared with a wide range of ground-breaking artists, including Muhal Richard Abrams, Nat Adderly, Rashied Ali, Jaki Byard, Ron Carter, Richard Davis, Eric Dolphy, Charlie Haden, Craig Harris, Sam Jones, David Murray, Ben Riley, Warren Smith, Arthur Taylor and Reggie Workman. In 1998, he served as jazz ambassador to the Middle East under the auspices of the Kennedy Center and United States Information Agency.
Makanda founded The Contemporary African American Music Organization (CAAMO) in 1983 to promote free expression and continuing education in music and the performing arts with African-American origins. CAAMO has produced more than 250 performances and educational workshops at venues throughout the New York City metropolitan area, including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Carnegie Hall, Medgar Evers College and the Museum of Modern Art.
Makanda's highly energetic musical style embodied a celebratory life force. His compositions represented many genres of music in the African American tradition, including the blues, swing, Calypso, straight ahead, bebop, and avant garde. His lyrical, sweet melodies contrasted with complicated rhythms, creating a dynamic tension rarely heard.
This year we mark several anniversaries - the 80th year since Makanda's birth, the 10th year since his death, and the 40th year since he founded the Department of Performing Arts at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury -- one of the country's first departments dedicated to the arts in the African American tradition.
Craig Harris is a superb trombonist who has performed with a veritable Who's Who of progressive jazz' most important figures - including Sun Ra, Sam Rivers, Lester Bowie, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jaki Byard, Cecil Taylor, Muhal Richard Abrams, and, of course, Makanda, who was his teacher at Old Westbury, and later his colleague and close friend. Craig's own projects display both a unique sense of concept and a total command of the sweeping expanse of African-American musical expression.
The past 15 years have brought Craig far beyond the confines of the jazz world and into the sphere of multimedia and performance art as composer, performer, conceptualist, curator and artistic director. He has created projects like Souls Within the Veil, composed to commemorate the centennial of W. E. B. Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk; Brown Butterfly, a multi- media work based on the movement of Muhamed Ali with video, dance, and music; and most recently, God's Trombones, based on James Weldon Johnson's classic collection of poems that refigure inspirational sermons by itinerant Negro preachers.
Under Craig's direction, this performance will highlight Makanda's skills as a composer and an arranger. For more information, to hear and see clips of Makanda's music or to purchase tickets online, go to www.mkmjazz.com.
Arts & Education Continuum