Music Program

Friday, October 22, 2010 at 8:00 p.m.

$18 general admission, $12 HW & BPAC members, students, seniors

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Roscoe Mitchell Trio & The Buffalo Improvisers Orchestra


Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave. Buffalo, N.Y.

Roscoe Mitchell - photo by J. Blough
photo by Joseph Blough
Roscoe Mitchell (saxophones, flute, compositions)
Jaribu Shahid (contrabass)
Vincent Davis (drums, percussion)

Rey Scott (baritone/soprano saxophone, flute, oboe)
Steve Baczkowski (baritone/tenor saxophone, winds)
Tim Clarke (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Dave DeWitt (trombone, tuba)
Greg Millar (guitar)
Bill Sack (prepared guitar, electronics)
John Bacon Jr (drums, vibraphone, percussion)

This week-long residency and public performance by Roscoe Mitchell and his Trio are made possible with a grant to Hallwalls Artists in Residence Project (HARP) from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), with a major grant from the Jazz Presenting program of Chamber Music America (CMA), and with public funds from the Music program of the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), a state agency.

Hallwalls is pleased and excited to welcome the iconoclastic saxophonist / composer / multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell & his trio (featuring Jaribu Shahid & Vincent Davis) for a week-long artist residency in which he will lead a ten-piece ensemble (featuring seven Buffalo musicians) through his varied compositions, culminating in a concert performance at the Burchfield Penney Arts Center. This unique and extraordinary project celebrates the 45th anniversary of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians as well as Mr. Mitchell's 70th birthday.

Roscoe Mitchell, internationally renowned musician, composer, and innovator, began his distinguished career in the spirited 1960s of Chicago, Illinois. His role in the resurrection of long neglected woodwind instruments of extreme register, his innovation as a solo woodwind performer, his and his reassertion of the composer into what has traditionally been an improvisational form have placed him at the forefront of contemporary music for over four decades. A leader in the field of avant-garde jazz and contemporary music, Mr. Mitchell is a founding member of the world renowned Art Ensemble of Chicago, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and the Trio Space.

Mr. Mitchell has recorded 87 albums and has written over 250 compositions. His compositions range from classical to contemporary, from wild and forceful free jazz to ornate chamber music. His instrumental expertise includes the saxophone family, from the sopranino to the bass saxophone; the recorder family, from sopranino to great bass recorder; flute, piccolo, clarinet, and the transverse flute. Also, for over 35 years, he has designed an elaborate percussion instrument called the Percussion Cage, consisting of instruments from America, China, Tibet, Africa, Australia, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, and Turkey, as well many found instruments.

He is the recipient of many honors and awards including the following: The American Music Center Letter of Distinction 2004 - Art Ensemble of Chicago; The International Jazz Critics Poll, Down Beat Magazine (Composer "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" [1980], Best Jazz Group (Established)-Art Ensemble of Chicago [1999, 1985, 1982, 1981, 1980, 1973, 1971], Record of the Year-Nonaah [1979]); Jazz Personality of the Year, City of Madison, Wisconsin [1997]; Named Madison Music Legend by "Madison" Magazine [2001]; Certificate of Appreciation, The St. Louis Public Schools Role Model Experiences Program [1996]; Honorary Citizen of Atlanta, GA [1980]; Outstanding Service to Jazz Education Award, National Association of Jazz Educators [1988]; Certificate of Appreciation, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Smithsonian Institution [1979]; and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Image Award [1982].

Roscoe Mitchell - photo by J. Blough
Mr. Mitchell has received numerous composition and performance grants/commissions from the National Endowment for the Arts (Individual Composer's Grant [1985, 1979], NEA Jazz Fellowship Grant [1981], NEA Jazz/Folk/Ethnic Grant [1975], Composer/Performer Grant [1975], NEA and Michigan State University matching grants {Art Ensemble of Chicago} [1973]); the John Cage Award for Music-Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, Inc. [1997, 1996]; Arts Midwest Jazz Masters [1991]; November Music 2000; the Minnesota Composer's Forum [1986]; Meet the Composer, Cultural Series Grant, Center for International Performance and Exhibition, Chicago IL [1996]; Mutable Music [2007, 2005, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995]; the Comnicut Foundation [1990, 1982]; the Wisconsin Arts Board (Individual Project Grant [1987], Individual Composer's Grant [1986], Individual Composer's/Vilas Foundation Grant [1981]); the Institut de Recherche at Coordination Acoustique Musique, Paris (with David Wessel) [1986]; Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission Project Grant, Madison Committee for the Arts; and the Madison Festival of the Lakes Grant [1988]; ASCAP Plus Award [2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997]. Mr. Mitchell was artist in residence for The Twenty Fifth Annual Chicago Jazz Festival 2003, where he was commissioned to write three works for Jazz Big Band. "Tech Ritter and the Megabytes," "Cards for BIg Band" and a revision of "Line Fine Lyon Seven." In 2005 Mr. Mitchell received a commission from the Mutable Music Foundation to compose "White Tiger Disguise" for Baritone Voice and String Quintet. He also received a commission in 2006 to compose a work for Baritone Voice and Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Mitchell is the founder of the Creative Arts Collective of East Lansing, Michigan, The Roscoe Mitchell Sextet, The Roscoe Mitchell Quartet, The Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble, The Sound Ensemble, The Roscoe Mitchell New Chamber Ensemble, and Roscoe Mitchell and the Note Factory.

His teaching credits include the University of Illinois, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the California Institute of the Arts, the AACM School of Music, the Creative Music Studio, The New England Conservatory Boston Masschusetts, University of Wisconsin Plattville, Wisconsin, Oberlin College Ohio and numerous workshops and artists-in-residence positions throughout the world. In August 2007, Mr. Mitchell assumed the Diarius Milhaud Chair at Mills College, Oakland, California.

Mitchell and the Percussion Cage
photo by Joseph Blough
February 5, 2007 Mr. Mitchell premiered "Q," a work for Jazz Big Band at UW Platteville, Platteville, WI.

He also premiered in March 2007 three new works for his large ensemble "The Note Factory," "Exflover Five, " "Quintet 2007A For Eight" and "Trio Four For Eight" during a European tour in Bergamo, Italy, Nickelsdorf, Austria and Berghausen, Germany.

November 9, 2006 Mr. Mitchell premiered two compositions in New York City at Merkin Concert Hall: "WHITE TIGER DISGUISE" for Baritone Voice and String Quintet and "Far Side" for Alto Saxophone and three Double Basses.

In 2004, Mr. Mitchell received a commission from the City of Munich to compose three compositions, "COMPOSITION / ONE, TWO AND THREE" for Large Ensemble, which were premiered at the Symposium on Improvised Music in Munich, Germany on Sept. 11.

In 2003 , at the home of the SEM Ensemble, Willow Place Auditorium in Brooklyn, NY, Mr. Mitchell premiered "Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City", a composition for Baritone Voice and Orchestra, with text by Joseph Jarman. This premier was performed by Petr Kotik and the S.E.M. Ensemble with Thomas Buckner, Baritone Voice. He also premiered the work at Ostrova Days, in the Czech Republic, where conductor Petr Kotik added musicians from the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra to increase the size of the orchestra from 35 to 90 players. At Ostrova Days Mr. Mitchell also gave master classes and a lecture on the AACM and compositional/improvisational music. He also premiered "21B," a work for solo soprano saxophone.

Also in 2003, he was selected as Artist-In-Residence for the 25th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival where he conducted an open rehearsal/workshop, premiered three works for jazz big band, and premiered two compositions for an nine-piece ensemble.

In 2000, Mr. Mitchell premiered two new compositions in 's-Hertogenbosch, Nederlands; Gent, Belgium; and Essen, Germany. "The Bells of Fifty Ninth Street," a work for Alto Saxophone and Gamelan Orchestra, and "59A," a composition for Solo Soprano Saxophone. These works were commissioned by November Music 2000.

On May 20, 1998, Mr. Mitchell premiered "Fallen Heroes," a work for Orchestra, Baritone Voice, and Solo Alto Saxophone. This work was premiered by the Petr Kotik SEM Ensemble with Thomas Buckner, Baritone Voice, and Roscoe Mitchell, Solo Alto Saxophone, at New York City's Alice Tully Hall. "Fallen Heroes" received its European premiere at Prague Spring Festival in the Czech Republic on May 22, 1999. In this performance, Mr. Kotik, once again, added musicians from the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra to increase the size of the orchestra from 35 to 90 players.

On June 17, 1995, Mr. Mitchell premiered "Memoirs of a Dying Parachutist," a work for Baritone Voice and Chamber Orchestra, with text by Daniel Moore at the New York Society for Ethical Culture in New York City. This work was performed by Petr Kotik and the SEM Ensemble with Thomas Buckner, Baritone Voice.

Roscoe Mitchell (b. August 3, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois) is an African American composer and jazz instrumentalist, mostly known for being "a technically superb—if idiosyncratic—saxophonist." He has been called "one of the key figures" in avant-garde jazz who has been "at the forefront of modern music" for the past thirty years. He continues "to be a major figure." He has even been called a "super musician" and the New York Times has mentioned that he "qualifies as an iconoclast."

Mitchell grew up in the Chicago, Illinois area where he played saxophone and clarinet at around age twelve. His family was always involved in music with many different styles playing in the house when he was a child as well as having a secular music background. His brother, Norman, in particular was the one who introduced Mitchell to jazz. While attending Inglewood High School in Chicago, he furthered his study of the clarinet. In the 1950s, he joined the United States Army, during which time he was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany and played in a band with fellow saxophonists Albert Ayler and Rubin Cooper, the later of which Mitchell commented "took me under his wing and taught me a lot of stuff." He also studied under the first clarinetist of the Heidelberg Symphony while in Germany. Mitchell returned to the United States in the early 1960s, relocated to the Chicago area, and performed in a band with Wilson Junior College undergraduates Malachi Favors (bass), Joseph Jarman, Henry Threadgill, and Anthony Braxton (all saxophonists). Mitchell also studied with Muhal Richard Abrams and played in his band, the Muhal Richard Abrams' Experimental Band, starting in 1961.

AACM and the Art Ensemble of Chicago
In 1965, Mitchell was one of the first members of the non-profit organization Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) along with Jodie Christian (piano), Steve McCall (drums), and Phil Cohran (composer). The following year, the augmented AACM of Mitchell, Lester Bowie (trumpet), Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre (tenor saxophone), Favors, Lester Lashley (trombone), and Alvin Fiedler (drums), recorded their first studio album, Sound. The album was "a departure from the more extroverted work of the New York-based free jazz players" due in part to the band recording with "unorthodox devices" such as toys and bicycle horns.

The group went through changes again in 1967 and 1969, both in name (changing first to the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble, then the Art Ensemble, and finally the Art Ensemble of Chicago) and the players (inclusion of Phillip Wilson on drums for short span before he joined Paul Butterfield's band). This group and its incarnations would be regarded as becoming "possibly the most highly acclaimed jazz band" in the 1970s and 1980s. The group lived and performed in Europe from 1969 to 1971, though they arrived without any percussionist after Wilson left. To fill the void, Mitchell commented that they "evolved into doing percussion ourselves." The band did eventually get a percussionist, Don Moye, who Mitchell had played with before and was living in Europe at that time. For performances, the band often wore brilliant African costumes and painted their faces.

Creative Arts Collective and beyond
Mitchell and the others returned to the States in 1971. After having been back in Chicago for three years, Mitchell then established the Creative Arts Collective (CAC) in 1974 that had a similar musical aesthetic to the AACM. The group was based in East Lansing, Michigan and frequently used the facilities at the University of Michigan. Mitchell also formed the Sound Ensemble in the early 1970s, an "outgrowth of the CAC" in his words, that consisted mainly of Mitchell, Hugh Ragin, Jaribu Shahid, Tani Tabbal, and Spencer Barefield.

In the 1990s, Mitchell started to experiment in classical music with such composers/artists such as Pauline Oliveros, Thomas Buckner, and Borah Bergman, the latter two of which formed a popular trio with Mitchell called Trio Space. Buckener also was part of another group with Mitchell and Gerald Oshita called Space in the late 1990s. He then conceived the Note Factory in 1992 with various old and new collaborators as another evolution of the Sound Ensemble. He currently lives in the area of Madison, Wisconsin and has been performing with a re-assembled Art Ensemble of Chicago. In 1999, the band was hit hard with the death of Bowie, but Mitchell fought off the urge to recast his position in the group, stating simply "You can't do that" in an interview with editor-in-chief Fred Jung. The band continued on despite the loss.

Jaribu Shahid Jaribu Shahid hails from Detroit, Michigan, and was raised in a diverse musical climate, playing with local luminaries such as Kenn Cox, Wendell Harrison, Jimmy Wilkins, J.C. Heard, Martha and the Vandellas and others. Principally self-taught, Jaribu's training began in the band of friend Kamau kenyatta and in bass studies with Bob Collins. Around 1975 he was mentored by Faruq Z. Bey and joined the sci-fi band Griot Galaxy. This explorative music, greatly influenced by Sun Ra and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, featured the original concepts by Faruq Z. Bey. This was further realized in 1976 when Tanni Tabal moved to Detroit, establishing the principal rhythm section of his career. In 1978, he moved to Philadelphia and lived with the core of the Sun Ra Arkestra with whom he played intermittenly untils Sonny's passing.

In 1979 he had his first opportunity to work with Roscoe Mitchell. This led to his career-long involvement with Roscoe in the Roscoe Mitchell Sound Ensemble and, currently, the Roscoe Mitchell Note Factory. In recent years, Jaribu has been a member of various groups led by master saxophonist David Murray and the Freedom Arts Quartet. Jaribu has recorded with Sun Ra, Roscoe Mitchell, James Carter, David Murray, Geri Allen, Rod Williams, Craig Taborn, Hugh Ragin, Abdoulaye Ndiaye and Blue Dog. He can be heard on the Milt Jackson DVD "Vibes Surprise" recorded live in Munich. After Malachi Favors' passing, he was invited to perform with the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Vincent Davis Vincent Davis - Born on February 22, 1957 in Chicago Illinois is an internationally acclaimed jazz percussionist, composer and teacher. The seed of music was planted in Davis early on in life; growing up in a home filled with the influences of rock, jazz and gospel. In 1979 Davis left the Windy City to attend the Milwaukee Conservatory of Music, where his love of jazz and skill at drumming further bloomed and flourished. It was here, that Davis met his mentor Manty Ellis. Davis trained and studied with Ellis, primarily focusing on Jazz Trap drumming. The two began performing together, along with several other local musicians on the Milwaukee jazz scene.

He was introduced to Roscoe Mitchell in 1985, became a touring musician and has been working with Roscoe Mitchell now for 25 years. Davis has toured all throughout the United States, Europe and Asia; playing events such as the Brussels Jazz Festival, Jazz Gallery Festival-Nicholsdorf, Austria, Wolf Trap - Washington D.C., Chicago Jazz Showcase Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival-Germany-Holland-Amsterdam, and Hothouse-Chicago, IL, just to name a few.

In addition to live performances, Vincent Davis can be heard on studio recordings such as Roscoe Mitchell's Songs in the Wind, and This Dance is for Steve McCall, Jodie Christian's Experience, and Rain or Shine, Scott Field's 48 Motives January 11, 1996, and Jane Reynolds' Gathering.

Other artists Davis has collaborated with include Matthew Ship, Buddy Montgomery, Ken Chaney, Earl Thompson, Art Porter, Arthur Blythe, David Murry, Frank Morgan, Gerald Cannon, Quincy Troop, Berkley Fudge, Carl Allen, Joseph Jarman, Marilyn Crispell, Greg Ward, Tatsu Aokichi, Harrison Bankhead, Kirk Brown, Malachi Thompson, John Hannah Taylor, Greg Tardy, Brian Lynch, Von Freeman, Hamid Drake, Corey Wilkes, Jason Todd and a host of many others.

Davis is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and has worked and recorded with many of the founding members, in the likes of Malachi Favors, Joseph Jarman, George Lewis, Ari Brown, Fred Anderson and Don Moye.

Currently, Davis can be found collaborating on various projects with the second generation of AACM members, mainly Ernest Dawkins and Nicole Mitchell. He is also the founder of the Avante Garde free form band "Laws of Motion", which includes Vincent Davis, Ed Wilkerson, Darius Savage, and Scott Hesse. Davis' quest is to make music that will reach and move people across traditional boundaries.

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October and November, 2010 - 2010