[acid-jazz] Will Calhoun, Ethnic Heritage Ens.

From: 99 <beleza_at_speakeasy.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 21:41:16 -0500

Bob Davis wrote:
> How was that Will Calhoun?

The Will Calhoun is cool. I've only given it a couple listens and I'm
waiting for it to sink in. I'm into these mixes of brave jazz and
electronic elements. Mostly, it works in a way that has some decorum to
it, you know? There are some corny moments, oh well. I like their take
on Afro Blue that opens the album.

In a similar vein, I stumbled on Omar Sosa's "Sentir". It is enticingly
fascinating, a minimalist deconstruction of Yoruba praisesongs
(!!!!!)...except where it sucks. The suckage is by far the worst when
the MC is babbling. Sorry, dude, whoever you are.

> Also, what is the concept and vibe of the "Ethnic Heritage Ensemble"?

Oh goodie, I was hoping someone would ask! In the spirit of a blog I
like called "Mathemetician vs Philosopher", I will answer this ala
"Journalist vs Poet". Disclaimer! I am neither, but I play both on the

Leroy Jenkins with Myra Melford, The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble led by
Zahil El'Zabar at the International House, Philadelphia

Some things to jot down:
1) The films and music at the IHouse Philly will gently rock your world
if you let them.
2) The Ars Nova Workship, a long-running free jazz series based in a
shifting collection of University City venues, is unfuckwithable.
3) Chicago is passionate and razor sharp.

The Ars Nova Workshop (http://www.arsnovaworkshop.com/) has been
presenting a series called Ancient to Future, showcasing artists from
Chicago's venerable Association for the Advancement of Creative
Musicians, Inc. (AACM, http://aacmchicago.org/history.html). Originally
based in South Side Chicago, this bold educational non-profit has been
an estuary for artists like Art Ensemble of Chicago, Fred Anderson,
Anthony Braxton, George E. Lewis, Amina Claudine Myers, and Tortoise’s
Jeff Parker. (In fact, I think Henry Threadgill is tonight. I should
be there but I'm...not. Whatever.) From their website:

"The AACM first coined the phrase Great Black Music to describe its
unique direction in music. The AACM pays homage to the diverse styles of
expression within the body of Black Music in the USA, Africa and
throughout the world. This experience extends from the ancient musics of
Africa to the music of the future.
The AACM may best be known for its leading-edge public concerts
featuring some of the most accomplished, versatile and innovative
musicians performing original creative music. The organization takes
particular pride in developing new generations of talent through the
free music training program conducted by members for city youth, the
AACM School of Music. Another equally important aspect of AACM 's
mission is the high moral standard members seek to provide in their
capacities as performers, artists, teachers and role models. "

Zahil El'Zabar also came up in this environment and his Ethnic Heritage
Ensemble currently includes Joseph Bowie on trombone and percussion, and
Ernest Khabeer Dawkins on sax and perscussion. For this performance,
young lion Corey Wilkes played in Bowie's place. It was fantastic.
Promo verbiage says the players are all virtuosos with wide musical
education, particularly in African instruments and traditions, that they
are equally interested in putting forth the genius of those traditions,
and pushing toward the future, and that their "compositions impart an
ancestral wisdom that conjures an energy rarely encountered in
contemporary music." And, well, yeah. What they said. More later.

It seems that EHE has been on the playground lately with IG Culture.
Duh! This is such a logical progression. I have a remix from like a
year ago that I didn't think much of, honestly, so little in fact that
the only thing I remember about it is that I got it at the Goya office,
and I don't know anything about this new-ish collaboration. But believe
you me, I shall have my ears out for it.

Leroy Jenkins (viola/violin) and Myra Melford played a heady set that
sat unwaveringly on the fence between contemporary classical and free
jazz. It was very good. (No further wordy effluent on that, since it's
not an area I know much about.) Melford was particularly awesome and
adorable in that she occasionally played with her forearms and elbows,
dressed like a librarian, but barefoot and clearly wrapped up in musical
rapture. I wanted to give her a hug!

So, I've been playing with some words from that performance cuz, hoo
boy, it was a doozey. Now we'll call in Poet(tm) to splat some stuff on
the page. This is new, and I'm not sure how finished it is. Feedback
welcome. Also, there's some chit chat about Chicago awaiting further
editing, b/c that city is my latest crush. An impressionistic draft
(with photos!) is available upon request.

     On seeing Zahil El'Zabar and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble

     It makes something churn like bird guts.

     Ground something up in my belly, gizzard pebbles.
     Just raw. That whistle in there,
     maybe it reminded me of Ed Rush
     and how that cackling catharsis saved us from our toxic fuming.
     Sounds like gnawing smog.

     Indeterminate vocalizations
     Unstructured from deep in the diaphram
     No form, perfectly tapered at each end
     Not anguish, not rage, not joy
     Not righteous indignation,
     Not lust, not pinching discomfort.
     Like what exhaling would sound like if you mixed them all
     Dirt and air air and dirt dirt and air
     Makes my lip curl
     Repetition therapy
     Attentuated punctuation, micro-tantric pinpricks
     Teeth grind
     Trumpets trickle with purpose and mischief
     Me and a pen
     Weirdo white girl doing a heady hoochie belly dance, intoxi-cat
     A guy and a sketch pad 2 seats down
     Sense of all of us here and things being
     This is deep.

     A sacred nomadic venue for joyful rage and I keep thinking,
     This is how our tribe is going to survive
     Telling stories of strength and abstraction
     Of how we Got Through and Always Have
     Because we've Done Been already, through huge times
     Orders of magnitude more magnificent than a few men's
              chicken scratch ambition
     Sitting around the fire in our bellies.
     Just wait till Dawn. Ehaah!

     My faucet is stuck at a low drizzle
     So much for eye makeup
     A lullaby for the conscious
     Intelligent design for the evolving and evolved
     Soft edges for the lot that don't buy happy
     "Barundi", "Ooph"
     All praises.


> ----------------------------------------
> Bob Davis
> earthjuice_at_prodigy.net
> ----------------------------------------
Received on 2006-03-18 03:55:11