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Art Ensemble of Chicago

  • Music, Jazz

Time Out says

The Art Ensemble of Chicago may be the most successful enterprise avant-garde jazz has ever known. A world-touring quintet with support staff and busloads of gear, they recorded for major labels while running their own imprint during their heyday of the 1970s and ’80s. Formed as the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble in 1966, the group developed a sound integrating free improvisation with tightly rehearsed themes drawing from the history of African-American music. They eventually scattered, with trumpeter Lester Bowie and saxophonist Joseph Jarman settling in Brooklyn, but remained a vibrant force into the ’90s. Only two of the original members (Mitchell and percussionist Famoudou Don Moye) are active today; Bowie and bassist Malachi Favors have both passed away and failing health has kept Jarman from the stage since 2011. Appearances as the Art Ensemble are scarce, but this fall the group brings its still-vital music to London, Philadelphia and New York City. At the Lenfest Center in Harlem, the band will be rounded out by trumpeter Hugh Ragin, cellist Tomeka Reid and bassist Junius Paul. The night serves as a tribute to Jarman, who joins the band to read his Buddhist-inspired poetry.

Written by
Kurt Gottschalk


$25, students $15
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