Jazz Avenues May 2015 BLOG

Jazz Avenues May 2015 BLOG

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Percussion maestro Nasar Abadey performs

with Inner Urge for the Nomadic Jazz show

May 2 at Durant Art Center in Alexandria, Va.


A springtime of jazz blooms for May


In addition to the blessing of May flowers we have a quite a flowering of jazz coming up, including this weekend’s highlights with Jeff Antoniuk and Thad Wilson Friday night May 1 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Sine Qua Non at Bohemian Caverns, Kenny Garrett at Blues Alley, Benito Gonzalez at Twins and Nomadic Jazz (see more on below) in Alexandria, Va.
The theme at Westminster Friday night is Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” Live, with the Jeff Antoniuk Update featuring him and Lyle Link on sax, Wilson, trumpet, Wade Beach, piano, Tom Baldwin, bass and Tony Martucci, drums. In Georgetown the masterful alto sax guru Kenny Garrett is at Blues Alley through Sunday May 3, while uptown piano whiz Benito Gonzalez, our own prodigy by way of Venezuela, plays at Twins jazz Friday and Saturday and eclectic combo Sine Qua Non, led by bassist Michael Bowie is at Bohemian Caverns.
On Sunday May 3, from 5 to 7 p.m., Washington Performing Arts’ Mars Urban Arts Initiative is hosting a jazz listening salon at the former home of famed D.C. poet Sterling Brown—and CapitalBop’s Giovanni Russonello and Luke Stewart will lead a jazz listening session, focusing on his impact on those like A.B. Spellman and Amiri Baraka, both of whom became pioneering jazz writers. Brown was mostly known for his poems, but also for his personal music library, according to event information. One of his favorite pastimes was to invite his friends to his home and play his extensive jazz collection for them, an experience from which both Baraka and Spellman benefited when they were undergrads at Howard University. Space is limited, so RSVP is requested at http://www.washingtonperformingarts.org/calendar/view.aspx?id=2972.



Reginald Cyntje is to play at the East River Jazz

show “Strayhorn: Caribbean Interpretations”

May 9 at Caton Castle Lounge in Baltimore.



East River Jazz’s series of concerts, “Strayhorn-Inspired: Variations on a Theme” in May at Caton Castle Lounge in Baltimore include May 9 with trombonist Reginald Cyntje’s “Strayhorn Caribbean Interpretations;” sax man Craig Alston’s “Strayhorn and Beyond” May 23; bassist Herman Burney’s “Strayhorn Melodies & Harmonies” May 30; and at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, pianist Janelle Gill with “Celebrating Strayhorn” May 31, all honoring famed composer Billy Strayhorn in the centennial year of his birth. See http://www.eastriverjazz.net for complete information.

On May 8 the KC Jazz Club at the Kennedy Center features alto saxophonist Antonio Hart; May 10 features “Harlem Nights/U Street Lights” at the Kennedy Center with an all-star lineup of artists from D.C. and New York celebrating the legacies of Duke Ellington, Dr. Billy Taylor, Miles Davis and others. Performers include Howard University’s vocal group Afro Blue, and pianists Jason Moran and Marc Cary, and trumpeter Roy Hargrove, drummer Jimmy Cobb and others. See http://www.kennedy-center.org for complete information.

A D.C. Jazz Loft event Sunday May 10 at 6 p.m. features Reginald Cyntje, playing with guitarist Anthony Pirog and the Robert Muncy Big Band at Union Arts, 411 New York Avenue N.E. See http://www.capitalbop.com for more information.


JanelleGillArtsClubof Wash

Pianist Janelle Gill is featured

May 11 for The Arts Club

of Washington show.
In other early May events, “rising star” Gill is the featured artist for a 7 p.m. show May 11at the Monroe (!) House, an Arts Club of Washington event, brought to us by producer Burnett Thompson. Gill was recently commissioned by the Phillips Collection museum to compose an original composition for an exhibition, and appearances including the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival and a tribute to Women In Jazz for the Smithsonian. The concert begins at 7 p.m., followed by a wine reception and chance to meet the artist. Cost is $30. RSVP by 3 pm on Friday, May 8 at 202-331-7282, ext. 3 or administrator@artsclubofwashington.org.



Multi-genre vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater

will host the 2015 Mary Lou Jazz Festival



The Mary Lou Jazz Festival May 15-16 at the Kennedy Center, hosted by Dee Dee Bridgewater, features Sylvia Cuenca and her Organ Group, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and her Berklee Quintet and Michele Rosewoman and her Latin jazz ensemble New Yor-Uba, as well as vocalists Catherine Russell, Brianna Thomas and Charenee Wade.

Other May highlights include the Frank Lacy Legacy Band, May 9-10, at Bohemian Caverns; Saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed will have CD release parties for his new recording, “Lessons from the Streets,” May 14 at An Die Musik in Baltimore and May 15 at the Mansion at Strathmore in North Bethesda;



Young lion saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed

has a released his new CD “Lessons from the Streets”


The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra plays May 15 at Bohemian Caverns and May 16 at Jazzway 6004 in Baltimore; the MARS-4tet performs May 15-16 at Twins Jazz; D.C.’s own drum legend Jimmy Cobb performs with Mike Stern in “Four Generations of Miles,” May 21-24 at Blues Alley; bass master James King leads a group for ”Remembering Keter Betts” May 29 at Westminster, followed that night by Jazz Night at The Movies/”The Many Faces of Billie Holiday,” at Westminster; and “Celebrating Baltimore Jazz,” a benefit for the Baltimore Jazz Alliance at 5 p.m. May 31 at Caton Castle, with Jump Street Band, featuring Brad Collins, performing and with Baltimore legends John Tegler and Gary Bartz to receive awards; the $50 donation including dinner (www.baltimorejazz.com).

Nomadic Jazz Now on the Scene!

Something new for the region and especially for Northern Virginia jazz fans is the coming of Nomadic Jazz, the program of events produced by Debbie Hodnett, beginning with her show at 7 p.m. Saturday May 2 featuring Inner Urge with percussion master and composer Nasar Abadey and friends.
Abadey will perform with an all-star group including Allyn Johnson, piano, Fred Boss and Elijah Jamal Balbed, saxophones, Thad Wilson, trumpet and Herman Burney bass, at the Durant Art Center, 1605
Cameron Street in Alexandria (two blocks from King Street Metro). As Nomadic Jazz puts it, “Join us … for a unique experience as the leaders of 6 different straight-ahead jazz ensembles come together to perform a mix of standards & original compositions.” Tickets are $20 and are available online or at the door. See http://www.nomadicjazz.com for more information.



One of our reigning sax masters Fred Foss

performs with Inner Urge Saturday May 2

at the Nomadic Jazz show in Alexandria, Va.
Hodnett, an IT professional and serial entrepreneur, says “The aim of Nomadic Jazz is to put jazz, and I mean straight-ahead real jazz, in people’s backyard. No commute over the 14th St. bridge, no long ride to Baltimore. Nomadic Jazz is all about finding spots in your neighborhood or within easy driving or walking distance and giving you an evening of live jazz that shows respect and love for the creativity and dedication of the artists. Our aim is to give the lover of straight-ahead jazz the joys of appreciating the music without being charged more for parking than the show. We’ve all had that experience.”
“Another part of Nomadic Jazz is trying to put the next generation of jazz artists, the students studying music in school, the gifted amateurs working hard on their chops in the basement, an opportunity to come out and network and maybe even jam with those who have already made the leap to being paid performers. We need to make ladders that provide a way for the next generation to rise, and that’s something we’re very aware of. We’re going to work with both today’s and tomorrow’s artists.”

“Spiritual Awakening”

Trombonist Reginald Cyntje’s new recording “Spiritual Awakening,” reflects his belief that, “In my humble opinion, unconditional love is freedom. Freedom to live and understand. Freedom to learn about our similarities. Freedom to celebrate our differences. With the concept of love and freedom in mind, I composed nine songs.”
He says of the tune, “Awakening,” “In my early 20s, I was on an ambitious mission to learn about different cultures. What surprised me were the similarities that existed between different religions. When the shackles of tradition were removed, once I met another spiritual being from a different faith, I was better equipped to understand them. I felt awake and aware. I’m still yearning to learn more.”


Cyntje, with CD release parties including May 15 at Westminster Presbyterian Church and May 17 At Bohemian Caverns, has fashioned another winner with the recording, which builds naturally on his previous CDs, “Freedom’s Children,” “Love” and “Elements of Life,”
Greatly helping make “Spiritual Awakening” a melodic gem is bassist Herman Burney, who almost steals the show with urgently compelling, and melodically inspiring bass work throughout. Burney’s band mates, with Cyntje’s frequently biting, sometimes smoothly sweetening trombone accenting each tune, include Allyn Johnson and Janelle Gill on piano, Brian Settles, tenor sax, Carroll Dashiell III and Amin Gumbs, drums, Kenny Rittenhouse trumpet, Victor Provost, steel pan, and Christie Dashiell, vocals.
Highlights include “Beatitudes,” led by Christie Dashiell’s vocal flights, and Settles’ sax work, and Rittenhouse on trumpet; “Atonement,” a subtly engaging, lilting yet urgently melodic work, driven masterfully by Burney’s bluesy bass and “Compassion,” another Burney showcase. “Ritual,” is an intriguing gem all its own, highlighted by Burney, Cyntje, Gumbs’ polyrhythmic drum weavings. And “Rejoice” is a vintage island rocker spurred by Provost’s steel pan melodies and Settles’ simpering, slicing sax riffs.
Cyntje says in the liner notes, “We are Spiritual beings. Our DNA is coded with Instructions on how to achieve greatness. The groove helps us march forward in our quest for resolution…”
See http://www.reginaldcyntje.com for more information.

Tim Whalen’s “Oblivion”

Tim Whalen has come to the fore as one our area’s finest pianists in recent years and his latest recording, “Oblivion: The Music of Bud Powell,” helps cement his stature everywhere as a formidable talent. An ambitious task, doing justice to Powell, the eclectic bop and beyond master whose career was short but brilliant, but Whalen largely meets the mark with creative arrangements of some of Powell’s best known tunes.
Whalen’s cohorts are Paul Pieper, guitar, Elijah Jamal Balbed, saxophones, Eliot Seppa, bass, and Shareef Taher and Carroll Dashiell III, drums.



Pianist Tim Whalen
“Parisian Thoroughfare” is one highlight of “Oblivion,” with Whalen tinkering with the walk-in opening to give the tune his own touch, then reprising the melody with crystal, joyful clarity, and Pieper’s venturesome guitar licks another inventive accent to the Powell favorite. “Un Poco Loco” is smartly snappy, driven by drummer Taher, Balbed spurting his own sharp riffs on sax and Whalen rippling melodically in lilting then urgent romps.
Other high points include the melancholy “Blue Pearl, highlighted by Seppa’s grooves on bass; Whalen, Seppa and Balbed spurring “Oblivion” into a whipping, jamming ode to bebop’s finest with Taher bristling on drums; and Whalen and Taher’s interplay on “Tempus Fugue-It.”
See http://www.timothywhalen.com.

InPerson … Calvin Jones Big Band Festival

The 29th edition of the Calvin Jones Big Band Festival at the University of the District of Columbia April 27, thanks to UDC’s Professor and Curator of the Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives Judith A. Korey and her staff, was another head-shaking, foot-tapping success, with the Howard University Jazz Ensemble opening with rockers like “Stablemates” and “Theme for Malcolm,” and the searing “Soul Eyes,” with saxophonist Kenneth J. Nunn and drummer Savannah Grace Harris among those in top form for legendary director Fred Irby III.





Photo by W.A. “Bill” Brower

UDC Director of Jazz Studies

and pianist Allyn Johnson
The University of Maryland Jazz Ensemble, led by Chris Vadala, shined on the Oliver Nelson tune “Miss Fine” and Thad Jones’ “Cherry Juice,” trombonist Reginald Cyntje one of the stars the set along with Rico Huff on piano.
The UDC Jazz Ensemble, led in vintage form by Allyn Johnson on piano, closed the evening out in style, especially on a couple of tunes by D.C. pianist Reuben Brown, “Billy” and “Float Like A Butterfly,” with trumpeter DeAndre Shaifer spearing the air with scintillating solo lines, complimenting Johnson and company, including guitarist Pete Muldoon.

Makanda Jazz Coming to D.C. May 16

Coming back to the region this month is The Makanda Project, led by pianist and bandleader John Kordalewski, at Michigan Park Christian Church1600 Taylor St NE, 6:30 pm, also a workshop at 11:30 am. The Makanda Project is an ensemble dedicated to performing the previously unrecorded compositions of the late Makanda Ken McIntyre, according to the project website. The group is based in Boston (Makanda’s hometown) and was formed in 2005
After McIntyre passed away unexpectedly in 2001, it was discovered that, in addition to the approximately 75 original compositions that appear on his albums, he had written around 350 more that had not been recorded or, in most cases, performed in public. Makanda was a “brilliant composer. His compositions are marked by a distinctive rhythmic and lyrical quality, along with how effectively he can do the unexpected. The unrecorded compositions promised to be a significant body of work.”
Band members have included Oliver Lake, alto saxophone, Eddie Allen, trumpet, Ku-umba Frank Lacy, trombone and Billy Hart, drums, and also dancer Mickey Davidson, who is from the D.C. area.
Kordalewski, who studied and worked with Makanda, last brought the project to the area at An Die Musik in Baltimore four years ago. He says, “I’m really excited to finally be bringing the Makanda Project to DC. DC is where I learned to play. It’s been 24 years since I moved to Boston, and I’m expecting to see a lot of old friends. To be playing at a church fundraiser fits with how we’ve been doing things in Boston. Instead of playing at established jazz venues, we’ve been putting on our own free concerts at a public library and a park in the Roxbury neighborhood. The concerts take on the character of community events, and the audience is broader than the hard core jazz listeners. In that kind of setting we’ve found a great receptiveness to the music.”



Montage from the Makanda Project website
Kordalewski adds, “I also want to mention that we will be performing one piece composed by South African pianist Ndikho Xaba, who lived in DC in the late 1970s. Ndikho frequently appeared at various political rallies around town, and also performed regularly at [D C Space] and other venues. He is one of the most inspiring musicians I have ever met. I had the good fortune to get to know him well during that time. I spent some time with him in South Africa last year and am working on a project writing big band arrangements of some of his compositions. I’m expecting there will be others at the concert who remember him.”
See www. makandaproject.com for more information.

“Inner Harbor Revisited …”

Carl Grubbs, award-winning saxophone master, composer and educator, unveils his “Inner Harbor Suite Revisited: A Tribute to Baltimore” compositions with the Carl Grubbs Jazz/Strings Ensemble at 4 p.m. May 31 at The Ward Center for the Arts at St. Paul’s Schools, 11152 Falls Road, Lutherville/Timonium, Md., near Baltimore. The works, reprising Grubbs’ acclaimed 1994 CD “Inner Harbor Suite,” result from the grant he received as a 2014 Rubys Artist Award winner in Baltimore.


Saxophonist, bandleader, composer Carl Grubbs
Performers will include Eric Byrd, piano, Blake Meister, bass, John Lamkin, drums, Eric Kennedy, percussion, Cleveland Chandler and Samuel Thompson, violins, Daphne Benichou, viola and Kenneth Law, cello. Also performing will be the St. Paul’s School Jazz Band, where Grubbs is the director of jazz studies.
Contact Barbara Grubbs, 410-944-2909, see http://www.contemporaryartsinc.org or go to http://www.instantseats.com/events/ContemporaryArts. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door ($5 students).

Charlie Fishman named JJA 2015 Hero

The Jazz Journalists Association has rightly named Charlie Fishman, the force behind the DC Jazz Festival, a JJA 2015 Jazz Hero, citing the fact that “countless D.C. residents and visitors have now got a decade of musical memories thanks to Fishman’s ceaseless efforts…”
That’s a reference to Fishman’s engineering the DC Jazz Festival for going on 11 years of citywide presentations of distinguished and diverse artists for the enjoyment and education of residents and tourists of all ages. The festival returns with another potpourri of music in glittering halls, clubs, museums and other venues June 10-16.

Herman Burney

Bassist Herman Burney, a star on

Reginald Cyntje’s “Spiritual Awakening,”

plays for Jazz ‘n Families event during

the 2015 DC Jazz Festival

DCJF kickoff events include Jazz ‘N Families Fun Days June 6-7 at the Phillips Collection with talks, storytelling, the film “Oxygen for the Ears,” and music by Herman Burney, Allyn Johnson, Charles Rahmat Woods, Paul Carr, Halley Shoenberg and others; John Scofield, June 10, Paquito D’Rivera June 11 and The Bad Plus and Joshua Redman June 12 at The Hamilton; and Jazz In The ‘Hoods events.
See http://www.dcjazzfest.org, and http://www.jjaawards.org for complete information on the JJA 2015 Jazz Heroes.

Steve Monroe is a Washington, D.C. writer who can be reached at steve@jazzavenues.com and followed at http://www.twitter.com/jazzavenues.

Jazz Avenues Special — Transparent Productions

Jazz Avenues Special

“Live music is it…nothing will transform you like live music and spirits!” (Henry Threadgill)

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Bobby Hill Jr.


Transparent Productions provides avant jazz venue
By Steve Monroe
Of the thousands of jazz fans who come to Bohemian Caverns  every year, the ones that come for the Transparent Productions shows are special. They are the niche within the niche genre of jazz, those that come to enjoy the free, avant garde music, that special blend of sounds that sometimes even goes beyond those makeshift categories.
Transparent Productions has been presenting this special music going on 18 plus years now. Its concert this Sunday April 12 features Rob Mazurek and Black Cube SP. Not familiar? That’s the point of Transparent Productions. Its mission is to present those voices of the music that travel just outside of the mainstreams of traditional, post-bop, modern, contemporary, soul jazz, fusion or those other more popular genres of the music.
It is a labor of love and dedication, for those behind Transparent Productions as it is for the artists themselves. The crowd Sunday for Mazurek may be large and overflowing, but more likely it may be a modest gathering of serious listeners as many of the Transparent shows are. No matter. It is a genre, freed from the traditional and mainstream chord and melody structures for explorations in sounds that are often dissonant or extreme in their tone and intensity, a genre spurred by the likes of Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler and many others and lives on forcefully and stubbornly regardless of the times, or the box office receipts in some cases.
“Our show attendance covers all … gamuts,” says Transparent Productions co-founder Bobby Hill Jr., well known to many as a WPFW-FM (89.3 FM) Pacifica Radio programmer. “Some sellouts, but even when the audiences are small the artists are always happy with the listening and feedback. Historically, we’ve had sell-out shows at larger venues such as the French Embassy and the Jewish Community Center.”
Thomas Stanley, another founder of Transparent Productions, doesn’t worry about the number of people who come: “You know, that used to matter to me a lot, recently, much less so. What’s important is that this music be prepared and presented with the highest level of care and commitment to listeners who are ready to parse this unique transcultural code. If you need to be coaxed into coming to one of our concerts, stay home. You’re probably a very boring person, anyhow.”
Mazurek’s group follows Transparent shows in its 2014-15 season that have included Ingrid Laubrock, Darius Jones, Cooper-Moore, Angelica Sanchez, Mario Pavone, Jeff Cosgrove, Jason Kao Hwang, William Parker, The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble and Joel Harrison.
Mazurek, who plays cornet, will be accompanied by Mauricio Takara, drums, cavaquinho, vocals, Guilherme Granado, keyboards, vocals, and Thomas Rohrer, rabeca, electronics, soprano sax, vocals. Of Mazurek’s most recent recording, “Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost,” on Cuneiform Records, working with five sonic explorers in Black Cube SP, a sextet that builds on the celebrated São Paulo Underground collective trio with drummer Takara and keyboardist Granado, All About Jazz said “… cathartic and compelling, it combines avant-garde jazz expressionism, bold electronic experimentation and hypnotic Tropicália rhythms with a profound spirituality.”
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Mazurek moved to Chicago, joining the Chicago music scene in 1983, immersing himself in the eclectic jazz scene, playing alongside and studying with jazz masters like Jodie Christian, Billy Brimfield, and Fred Hopkins, according to Transparent Productions information. From 2000-2008, Mazurek lived in Brazil among the dense Amazon jungle. He formed the Chicago Underground Duo with drummer Chad Taylor, and released numerous recordings. See http://www.robmazurek.com for more on Mazurek.



Rob Mazurek’s album

“Return the Tides: Ascension Suite and Holy Ghost”

is on Cuneiform Records.


There are shows at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Sunday at the Caverns; tickets are $15 advance and $20 at the door. For more information, see http://www.transparentproductionsdc.org or http://www.bohemiancaverns.org.
For the rest of this season, Transparent shows feature Tim Berne’s Snake Oil April 26; Eri Yamamoto May 24; AfroHORN June 14; and Leena Conquest June 21.

Toward a freer music

“My ears started to move towards the more free jazz music while still a teenager,” says Hill, who says, at Bohemian Caverns, he is “glad to be presenting just 1 block away from a home where I was raised.” He says he first came to free jazz through the “radio offerings of the infamous WGTB [Georgetown University station), and soon followed by the early days of WPFW, being influenced by folks like Greg Tate, Art Cromwell, the late Jimmy Gray [whose show was called ‘Black Fire’], and others.”
Says Stanley, “I was really lucky to be coming into advanced music in the mid-80s at the same time that Bill Warrell and District Curators were presenting a lot of amazing concerts. Bill had a club, [D.C. Space], that was his primary small audience venue and I got to hear some very important artists in that little space. My breakthrough moment came there in about 1988 while hearing Don Byron play a clarinet solo with Craig Harris’s Tailgater’s Tales. I had been listening to so-called free jazz for years, but up until that point, for me it had served as a convenient cultural signifier of something hiply progressive and emblematic of liberation.
“In the middle of Byron’s solo, however, something flipped and what had up until that point only been a stream of aesthetically interesting sound became a clearly comprehensible language, an articulate utterance complete with grammar and syntax. It was an utterly profound conversion and that’s the way I’ve experienced creative improvised music ever since. In other words, this music is nowhere near as ‘free’ as we’ve been led to believe.”
This observer’s real education on the avant garde genre also came at D.C. Space, notably a Don Cherry concert.
Hill says “I was always on the edges of the other forms of music that I listened to, so doing the same for the music that I most loved, jazz, was a natural transition. [Pianist] Cecil Taylor was the first cat for me. His attack and originality were like no other. After him, many cats – Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, Albert Ayler.”
From the book “Jazz – The First Century,” edited by John Edward Hasse; “… Even before Coleman, Cecil Taylor was playing piano solos so dissonant and free they sounded atonal … turmoil grew in his highly complex solo forms, which often used fragmentary phrases to generate grad designs; he also composed knotty pieces with many mood changes and stops and starts.”
Hill says Transparent Productions, whose members are now Hill, Stanley, Sara Donnelly and Chris Clouden, grew from that fertile time of the free music in D.C. “We were all influenced heavily by District Curators and all the great work that they had done in the city, much at the now defunct DC Space club,” says Hill. “We were concerned that Curators was beginning to move away from regular presenting. Being jazz programmers for so many years, we all had interests, ideas, and contacts that we wanted to pursue, so we went for it.”
Transparent Productions started in 1997, says Hill, named a 2014 Jazz Hero by the Jazz Journalists Association. “That year, a number of mostly WPFW programmers met in a friend’s Capitol Hill home. The WPFW programmers were Herb Taylor, Larry Appelbaum, Thomas Stanley and myself, and Vince That Kargatis, who had done community jazz radio further west.”

Making it work

“Our first concert was in July of 1997, done in partnership with Curators’ annual 4th of July weekend series. We presented a duet of saxophonist Joe McPhee and bassist Michael Bisio at the now closed Food For Thought. Because our first show was done in partnership with Curators, we still weren’t sure if we could carry our own weight as presenters. Our next concert gave us the confidence that we needed, a wonderful sold-out solo concert by bassist William Parker at the now-closed Kaffa House. Almost 20 years later we’ve now presented over 300 shows, at venues through the city. Since 2011, we are honored that our home has been the historic Bohemian Caverns.”
Stanley says, “It was Larry’s model to use donated venues with 100% of the door going to the artists. We had a great run with Jennifer Carter at Sangha in Takoma Park and have presented some historic shows at Omrao Brown’s Bohemian Caverns. It’s primarily thanks to Omrao and Bobby Hill that this music is back on U Street to be heard in a well-established jazz venue.”
Of the proceeds going to the artists as a key for Transparent Productions, Hill said, “Let’s be clear; what TransP does is a glorified door gig, a door gig that is glorified by the energy that we put into the presentations and the attentive audiences that we’ve been able to attract,” says Hill, “We’ve had the opportunity to present so many great musicians that are now unfortunately ancestors. Artists such as bassist Wilbur Morris, trumpeter Roy Campbell, violinist Billy Bang, and saxophonists Fred Ho, Joe Maneri, Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, John Tchicai, Frank Lowe, and Byard Lancaster. What honors!” And the name Transparent Productions, says Hill, “ … places the primary importance of our efforts on the music presentations. It’s not about us, but the artists and their art.”
Asked what musicians on today’s landscape are the masters of the genre,
“There are true masters, and their landscape is larger than just free jazz, though everything they do is still out there. Folks like [bassist] William Parker, bassist Joelle Leandre, guitarist Joe Morris, reflect a few.” Of the younger artists on the scene to watch, he says, “Flautist Nicole Mitchell, saxophonists Ingrid Laubrock and Darius Jones, would make a great starting of young lions.”