De-Ja-Chi members have musical roots and leaves in DEtroit, JApan, and CHIcago.
Mwata Bowden-reeds, dirigido, small instruments
Dushun Mosley-drums, percussion
Rebecca Hope-promoter, film/documentation, vibes
the eleventh letter of the Greek alphabet,
the point at the site of the posterior fontanel where the lambdoid and sagittal sutures meet; used as a craniometric landmark.
RECORDINGS - DVD – 5 songs
MWATA BOWDEN - baritone sax, dirigido, bass clarinet, African flute, clarinet, small instruments
VICTORIA ALEXANDRA - baritone sax, contra-alto clarinet, flute, tenor sax
TATSU AOKI – contrabass
DUSHUN MOSLEY – drums
--Recorded 6/6/2004 - THE CANDLESTICK MAKER, Chicago IL
1. BARIHEAVY (Mwata Bowden)
2. DO-IT DUET (Mwata Bowden/Victoria Alexandra)
3. ALL ABOUT AFRICAN WOOD (Victoria Alexander)
4. HOW INSECTS COMMUNICATE (free group improvisation)
5. MIDEASTERN FLAVORS (Mwata Bowden)
MWATA BOWDEN (Chicago)
Born October 11, 1947 in Memphis, Tennessee, Mwata
Bowden came the South Side of Chicago with his family when he was ten.
Following the path that generations of African-Americans had taken since the
beginning of the century, Bowden's father came North looking for better-paying
work and found it at a South Side factory. More than just a place to make a
living, though, the South Side in the 50's was teeming with jazz, its
exuberant, life-affirming sounds making a profound impression on Bowden, the
eldest of the family's seven children.
"The community was really vibrant then," recalls Bowden. "Along 47th Street, you had the Regal Theater, the Metropolitan Theater, clubs, bars, cabarets, everything. It was a thriving area, and we lived a block away, at 46th and Vincennes". "And musicians were visible all over the neighborhood. I would see these guys walking around with their beautiful instrument cases in their hands, I would walk by Gerri's Palm Tavern and hear the music pouring out onto the street from inside. And when I heard that, I thought, 'Man, I want to play that music.'"
Having picked up 'one of those old, metal, silver clarinets' in church when he was twelve, Bowden soon found himself in the junior high school band and, a couple of years later, playing at DuSable High School for one of the most revered figures in Chicago Black Music, Captain Walter Dyett. This was the man who had inspired and trained no less than Nat 'King' Cole, Johnny Griffin, Gene Ammons, Von Freeman, Richard Davis, Fred Hopkins, and other South Side music giants too numerous to mention. "Playing in the school bands for Capt. Dyett was about much more than just music, though maybe I didn't realize it at the time. Capt. Dyett was teaching you music, but he also was teaching you ways of dealing with life. He taught you about focus, discipline, punctuality, stick-to-it-ivness. He taught you about practice routines, about competitiveness, about being prepared in advance. He made us read all sorts of books, like Think and Grow Rich an Mind Over Matter. And us kids just thought: 'What is this? I just want to play my horn.' But Capt. Dyett put it on you that you had to drink it in, even though you didn't know why, or what it was going to mean."
The rigorous musical training Bowden received at DuSable earned him a spot at the American Conservatory of Music, in Chicago, but as he came close to completing his music education degree, reality set in. Though he had dreamed of being a clarinetist in a symphony orchestra, "My teacher said, ' Hey, you better get real. How many symphony jobs do you think open up each year?'" So, on his teacher's advice, Bowden picked up a baritone saxophone and started working the big bands and the R&B outfits that were so popular in Chicago in the late 60's. No sooner had Bowden graduated than he was touring the country with the Chi-Lites, and R&B group. And it was this time on the road that inevitably led him to the AACM, back home in Chicago. "I had met this AACM guy, Rasul Saddik, on one of the R&B dates, he started taking me to the AACM sessions, and that's when the change began," says Bowden. "I remember that was the first time I met musicians who stayed up all night just to jam. It was a high-energy period. So then he started taking me to the AACM Big Band sessions, around '74, and we would be rehearsing in Muhal Richard Abrams' basement. It was like a revelation".
To keep food on the table, Bowden taught junior high school in the mid-70's, all the while working on a graduate degree in composition from Governor's State University, which he completed in 1979. By now, his reputation as a rising avant-gardist was getting around town, which made it possible for him to quit school teaching by the early '80's, and earn a living playing clubs, working artist-in-residence programs, and appearing in any other forum where new musical ideas were valued. "At first, it was a little difficult trying to figure out how to make money at all this, because this music was not readily accepted," says Bowden. "So you just had to find your niche, and it wasn't easy, because there was a certain level at which you had to compete just to be a part of the AACM. The pace was very fast, because Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago had set it. I started to realize how open-ended music was. And when you start to realize that everything is available to you, it becomes almost overwhelming".
During the past several years, Bowden has gone beyond the stage of discovery into a genuine mastery. In addition to the obvious technical virtuosity he commands on baritone saxophone and clarinet, he has been able to put together ensembles that develop his ideas on a somewhat larger scale. In his Sound Spectrum and Tri-Tone ensembles, for instance, he has presented long and complex compositions that nevertheless prove accessible to the uninitiated listener.
Above all, though the AACM remains the constant in his musical life. Bowden is presently Chairman of the AACM. "It's extremely important to the cultural community, because otherwise this information is lost, and the next generation doesn't have the advantages they need. The AACM preserves that information, and so it protects our future".
Vicki Alexandra (Chicago, Detroit)
Detroit, Mi - Phone 313-922-8837
Chicago Phone# c/o 773-646-1519
Performer on Alto, Bass and Soprano Flutes; Soprano, Alto, Baritone and Tenor Saxophones; Sarrusophone and Bass Clarinets; Woodwind Restorer, Consultant and Music Teacher.
A talented professional musician, widely traveled and proficient international performer and recording session player in Jazz, Pop and Classical music.
An experienced private music instructor and music historian conducting numerous public and private workshops on historic and antique wind instruments.
A designer of wind instruments with hands-on expertise in modern and vintage instrument making, restorations, revisions and custom keywork.
1998- Demonstration of historic and antique wind instruments at the James Carter “At Home Conversin’ with the Youngsters” workshop.
1991- Soloist on Sarrusophone “Rhapsody Español” with the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Vladimir Ashkenazi.
1986- Named curator of the Curt Guckert Instrument Collection that spans his lifetime of designing and building musical instruments.
This collection is made available for musician workshops within universities.
1986- Memorial recording for Ruhi Su in Cologne, Germany.
1986- Frankfort, Germany- Frankfort Institute, NAMM trade show. Presented trombone slide design and won the NAMM award for best trombone design.
1980- Design of saxophone mouthpieces and necks, woodwind acoustical research and design of woodwind tone hole placement with Kurt Guckert for the Conn Manufacturing Co.
1970- 1980- Guest performer on several live radio broadcast of the Larry Smith Show, WHQK Chicago.
1979-Performer in the Governor State University Band under the direction of Billy Howell which received three band performance awards at the “Notre Dame Jazz Competition.”
1978- “Women in Jazz” Northwestern University, Chicago IL. Best performance award “Downbeat Magazine” with Diane Ellis.
Professional Work Experience
Restoration of modern and vintage instruments at workshops in Detroit and Chicago. Owner of Dreamsinger Horns .
Numerous private music students as well as music instructor at the Jerry Lux Studios and the Flute Specialist of Royal Oak, MI.
Workshops on antique and historic instruments include- Wayne State University “Bands, Winds, Brass and Percussion.”
Yearly workshops with Tim Holmes at Wayne State University. “Saxology” with James Carter, “
Playing Professionals- Wind Instrument Restoration.” The Real Tones with Vaughn Klugh Jazz performances and workshops in the Metro Detroit area.
Currently doing business as Yavawinds.
tours include Ollie Woodson’s 2000 Motown European tour with the
Three world tours (1998-1999-2000) with Dennis Edwards and the Temptations.
Local performances include several appearances at the Detroit (Montreau) Jazz Festival with various featured artists.
Beans Bowles “Resurgence” and Department of Parks and Recreation “Tribute to Beans”at Hart plaza.
Detroit Department of Parks and Recreation summer concert series 1999-2002. “
The Motown Review” with the Johnny Trudel Band at Waterford, High School (2003).
Performed at local clubs and private venues with the following groups- II-V-I Orchestra, Joe Vitale Swing Band, Joe Hunter Trio, Gentlemen of Swing, Mimosa Classical Quintet,
Prevos Brothers Greek Orchestra, Bob Hopkins Orchestra, Teddy Harris New Breed Be-Bop Society, Martha Reeves, and Ladies in Jazz.
Recordings include “The Oliologist” Word Jazz (2003), “Mimosa,” Toledo, Ohio, Room With A View Productions (1996), Northwinds Improvisors, Hot House, Chicago,
“Rhapsody Español” Cleveland Symphony Orchestra.
Toured as a performer in the United States and Europe. Played with the Milton Marcus trio, Tom Nehre Orchestra and the Sonny Boyer Group in Los Angeles,
the Ed Blackwell and Steve Smith’s Experimental Music Group and Carl Berger’s Creative Studio Orchestra. Traveled in Europe and played with various Dixieland groups
in Münchengladback, Cologne and Amsterdam. Workshops conducted for Manfred Schmeltzer- repair workshops, tone production, mouthpieces and antique wind instruments
in Münchengladback, Germany. Conducted radio broadcast show at WHPK- University of Chicago. Consultant, instructor, and instrument repair technician for the following companies
throughout the 1980's- in Chicago Kagan and Gaines, Joe Calli, Sid Sherman Musical Instrument Co., Carl Fisher Music, Inc., Oak Park IN., Austin Music Center, Woodstock, N.Y.,
Musicians Horn Service, Brass Woodwind Wonderland.
Music director for the Travel Light Theater Orchestra, Chicago, The University of Illinois Dance Band and Gene Ammon’s House Club, “Toast of the Town.”
Performed and recorded with the African Highlife Dance Band, Oscar Sulley, Sun Ra Orchestra, Lee Roland’s Big Band, Ron Dewar, Bridgewaters, Jack McDuff,
Bob and Von Freeman, Rafael Garret and the Supper Club tour with the G. Lynn Road Show. Recordings include Nicolas Tremulos (1977), Two albums for Christine Lems folk Jazz (1971and 72)
and dozens of recording sessions at the Delmark Studios in Chicago, IL. Workshop and teaching assignments include- Chicago Board of Education, Marshall High School, Chicago Park District,
youth program, University of Chicago Laboratory School, Creative Music Studio (NYSU) Newpaltz, N.Y., Chicago Safari House. Band instrument repair apprentice at Clarence Boess Instrument Repair, Chicago, Ill (1971-79) and certified in woodwind repair by Allied Inc. Elkhorn, WI (1973).
Baritone Saxophone understudy with Dr. Beans Bowles and Dr. Teddy Harris
University of Chicago- Radio Broadcasting
Creative Music Studio (NYSU) Newpaltz, Bachelor of Arts in Music
Berklee College Boston, MA.
Allied Music Corporation, Elkhorn, WI
American Federation of Musicians
American Musical Instrument Society
International Jazz Record Collectors
Member New Breed Be-Bop Society Band- Dr. Teddy Harris
Coalition of Musicians, Artists, Craftsmen and Scientists
Mwata Bowden, Tatsu Aoki and Francis Wong. Playing
four pieces, the trio performed with passion veritable works of art
we later found out, were "completely" made up on the spot, save for one melody that was based on a Chinese folksong.
(click on photo to view larger image)
Tatsu Aoki (Japan, Chicago)
Tatsu Aoki is one of the most recorded, talked-about bassists on the Chicago music
scene. A prolific artist, composer, musician, educator and a consummate
bassist, he works in a wide range of musical styles, ranging from traditional
Asian music and jazz, to creative free and experimental music.
Aoki is founder and artistic director of the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, which debuted in October 1996 and had six straight successful seasons. Currently national in scope, the annual event is now known as "Asian American Jazz," and is held in several cities (San Francisco, Chicago). The 2002 Chicago celebration is scheduled for late October.
Aoki has recorded seven solo bass albums, eight duet albums with various other artists, 13 ensemble works, and has appeared as a guest artist on over 60 other albums internationally. With works ranging from solo to larger ensemble, from mainstream to avant garde, Aoki has worked with many musical legends, including Fred Anderson, Von Freeman, George Freeman, Malachi Favors Maghostut, Don Moye, Mwata Bowden, Jhon Watson, Sonny Seals, Eric Leonardson, Francis Wong and Carol Genetti.
Among the variety of works produced in the last 15 years, his solo bass performance and recordings are internationally acclaimed, and known for one of the most innovative approaches of the bass instrument.
Aoki, who was named president of Asian Improv Records (AIR) in 1999, served as executive producer on Anthony Brown's Asian American Orchestra piece, Ellington-Strayhorn's "Far East Suite," (AIR0053), for which the label received a Grammy Award nomination in 1999.
As a producer, Aoki has produced over 30 albums, including the legendary Max Roach and Jon Jang’s “Beijing Trio,” (AIR 0044), as well as projects in the hip hop arena, and a number of other projects in the Asian Pacific American arts, such as film and concert series.
Aoki's most prolific work to date is, "ROOTED: Origins of Now," a four-suite, approximately 50-minute piece, which featured for its world premiere on August 26, 2001, a 12-piece big band in performance at Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chicago's Chinatown. Subsequent full house performances followed on September 1, 2001 at the Chicago Jazz Fest in Grant Park, and on October 27, 2001 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, as the highlight of Asian American Jazz Festival 2001: Chicago.
Citing "ROOTED" as the most important work of his career, Aoki was recently named one of 16 inspirational "Chicagoans of the year" by the Chicago Tribune (December 30, 2001.) The Tribune stated that "ROOTED" had "come into its own as an eloquent, often dramatic merger of ancient Japanese music and experimental American jazz."
"ROOTED: Origins of Now" the CD (S-SSD 0092 October 2001) is a project of The Jazz Institute of Chicago Sound Archive and Recordings, and is available via distributors SOUTHPORT and Asian Improv Records.
As a producer, the Aoki name is behind a number of other significant projects in the arts, including recordings, film and concert series. Born in Japan the son of artisans, Tatsu Aoki is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received bachelor and master of fine arts degrees, and where he is currently an assistant professor in film.
Dushun Mosley (Detroit, Chicago)
Dushun Mosley, percussionist, is a performer
Based in Chicago, IL he is the bandleader for the Vizitors and the Signature Group,
a member of the Eight Bold Souls, Frontburners, Chicago 3D, Shadow Vignettes and the AACM Big Band.
Dushun has toured extensively as a soloist, in duets, trios
and big bands.
He has been called upon to do numerous engagements in social clubs, music halls and festivals in cities throughout the United States,
Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and Japan.
These performances have contributed to his distinguished reputation as a forerunner in this generation of innovators.
His style is Traditional Jazz, Blues and Funk in a combo
but feels equally at home pushing big bands and Orchestras' to their limit.
He produced his first CD with the Vizitors in 1998.
He has performed with numerous entertainers such as Sasha Dolton, Roscoe Mitchell, Steve Colson, Douglas Ewart,
Henry Threadgill, Anthony Davis, Don Moye, Don Cherry, Richard Muhal Abrams, Jodie Christian and others.