JAZZHOPE REVIEW by Rebecca Hope
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 13, 2003
4th Annual Englewood Community Jazz Festival
////> SAT SEP 13 1– 6PM 4th
ANNUAL ENGLEWOOD COMMUNITY JAZZ FESTIVAL
Hamilton Park 513 West 72nd Street, Chicago, Call 312-747-6174, for info.
In the event of rain, it will be held inside the Community Center
- reserve your day for one of the best-produced festivals of the season.
-KWAME STEVE COBB and CHAVUNDUKA
de la Cerna-piano, Yosef Ben Israel-bass, Kwame Steve Cobb-drums, Chavunduka-vocals
-8 BOLD SOULS
Edward Wilkerson, Jr. (tenor, alto sax, clarinet, alto clarinet) and with Robert Griffin
(trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet), Mwata Bowden (baritone, tenor sax,
Isaiah S. Jackson (trombone,
Gerald Deon Powell (tuba), Naomi Millender (cello), Harrison Bankhead (contrabass), and Dushun Mosley (trap drums, percussion)
-LIVE THE SPIRIT BAND directed by ERNEST DAWKINS
with special guests ARI BROWN-sax, MAURICE BROWN-tpt and Bryan Nichols-piano, Kurt Schweitz-bass, Isaiah Spencer-drums, Corey Wilkes-trumpet, Ryan Nyther-trumpet, Marquis Hill-trumpet, Normal Palm-bone, Tony Herrera-bone, Julius Brooks-bone, Doug Rosenberg-sax, Kevin Nabors-tenor sax, Aaron Getsug-bari-sax, Jabari Powell-alto sax, Khari B-poet, and others…
-DELFEAYO MARSALIS ENSEMBLES
Quartet Delfeayo Marsalis-trombone, Justin Dillard-piano, Derick
Polk-bass, Isaiah Spencer-drums
Quintet Delfeayo Marsalis-trombone, Maurice Brown-trumpet, Justin Dillard-piano, Derick Polk-bass, Isaiah Spencer-drums
Octet Delfeayo Marsalis-trombone, Maurice Brown-trumpet, Norman Palm-slide trombone, Tommy Bradford-alto sax, Justin Dillard-piano, Derick Polk-bass, Isaiah Spencer-drums
Saturday September 13, 2003 morning began with an imminent, familiar cloudiness. Just the day before, the clouds had yielded a healthy flash flood, catching me without an umbrella as I left a record store in Hyde Park. Though previsions had been made in the event of rain to hold the 4th Annual Englewood Community Jazz Festival inside at the community center, a momentary disappointment merged in my mind.
I cleared the rainy thought out as best as possible by remembering the cosmic experience of riding in a deluge of rain to the Iowa City Jazz Festival with Hamid Drake and Fred Anderson. We listened to Hamid and Michael Zerang’s CD entitled Ask the Sun http://www.okkadisk.com/releases/od12008.html, as we followed Harrison Bankhead and Jimmy Jones in another car. The torrential downpour continued for several miles, but as we neared the festival stage, the rain had slowed to a sprinkle. By the time we exited the van the rain had virtually stopped. Then the sun came out and intensely dried the traces of rain. The Fred Anderson trio performed to an outdoor, applauding audience.
As I traveled south to the Hamilton Park venue, I noticed
the sun peeking through the clouds. The
rain can’t get started! Not with all the good vibes descending. I arrived at the park to see equipment being
brought outside. The stage manager,
Carol Wolfe, had decided the festival would be held outdoors. Harrison Bankhead came over and greeted the
people assembling on the bleachers and we reminisced about Hamid’s discussion
of the power of sunshine within one’s soul and the limitless qualities we as
humans, all possess.
‘Round two, as Eclipse Sound finished the sound check, the festival commenced with Ernest Dawkins thanking the people contributing to make the community event possible, such as Lauren Deutsch of the Jazz Institute, Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune, Stewart Mann, Joan Grey of Muntu Dancers, Mr. Getsug for his photography, and his father. He acknowledged the decision of Carol Wolfe, the efficiency of Eclipse Sound, the patience of the audience to move the “community event” outdoors, and the creator for granting such a beautiful day. He then announced the members of the first act would be introduced in song.
Drummer and percussionist Kwame Steve Cobb, pianist Miguel de la Cerna and bassist Yosef Ben Israel were introduced by improvised lyrics of vocalist Chavunduka in the first song of Afro Blue, written by Mongo Santamaria. (Afro Blue is one of my favorite songs and the research of lyrics leads to loads of web surfing. *) Chavunduka dedicated the next song, You are the Sunshine of my Life, by Stevie Wonder, to the sun that now confidently emerged. Chavunduka credited Dianne Reeves and Sarah Vaughn with popularizing the next song My Funny Valentine. She mentioned it was part of her first recorded music on a cassette but for her and most likely the rest of us watching, it is a timeless classic. As the band amply backed Chava’s rendition of Sugar, some of the children chased soap bubbles distributed through the air by a wand from a man carrying balloons. The set of music was completed with Earth, Wind & Fire’s That’s the Way of the World. I fetched my sunglasses from my car and purchased the bottled water available, eager to hear more of the creative music.
For more information on Chavunduka and Kwame Steve Cobb: http://www.cobbala.com
Miguel de la Cerna performances include vocalist Dee Alexander and vocalist Bobbi Wilsyn
Yosef Ben-Israel performances include Ernest Dawkins New Horizons, Ari Brown Trio, and Malachi Thompson’s Freebop, Michael Mason’s Exploratory Ensemble in Angels of Fire, Mwata Bowden's Sound Spectrum, Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell, Douglas Ewart, Amina Claudine Meyers, Joseph Jarman, and Steve Colson.
The 8 Bold Souls performed next on stage. This is an exciting collection of talent led by Edward Wilkerson, Jr. (tenor, alto sax, clarinet, alto clarinet), and with Robert Griffin (trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet), Mwata Bowden (baritone and tenor sax, clarinet) Isaiah Jackson (trombone percussion), Gerald Deon Powell (tuba), Naomi Millender (cello), Harrison Bankhead (contrabass), and Dushun Mosley (trap drums, percussion). Many of its members are seen and heard in other Chicagoland ensembles. The songs played were Third One Smiles, Pachinko, Odyssey, and Brown Town. I have heard 8 Bold Souls a few times before, but especially enjoyed this presentation out in the sunshine and particularly Brown Town because I couldn’t wait to hear and bop to the familiar part of the groove.
For more information on 8 Bold Souls: http://www.8boldsouls.com
Amazon.com's Best of 2000
Chicago's 8 Bold Souls are local legends on their home turf. Saxophonist and leader Ed Wilkerson's got an ear for dizzying sonorities, mixing tuba, cello, bass, drums, brass, and reeds in swooning, sweeping displays and then leading them into heated, richly pressing tunes that gallop and sprint and hop. This band is one of jazz's hidden treasures, and Last Option is an endless feast. --Andrew Bartlett
Band leader Edward Wilkerson Jr., is a jazz auteur in the tradition of Duke Ellington and Charles Mingus: his compositions integrate a staggering sum of musical information without calling attention to their own cleverness. "Third One Smiles" has a funky swagger that'd make the Adderley brothers proud; the dirge "The Art Of Tea" wouldn't sound out of place at a New Orleans funeral; and "Odyssey" sounds quite, well, Ellingtonian. Like his forbears, Wilkerson writes with his musicians' skills in mind. They reward him with impassioned solos and, more importantly, disciplined ensemble work. Wilkerson writes sumptuous arrangements that generate much more sound than you'd expect from eight players; the leader and Mwata Bowden help perpetrate this illusion by playing five reeds between them, and Gerald Powell's tuba and Dushun Mosely's fleet drumming lay down an amply proportioned rhythmic foundation. Bassist Harrison Bankhead and cellist Naomi Millender bow exquisite shadings that reveal Wilkerson's affection for early 20th-century impressionistic composer Maurice Ravel, while trumpeter Robert Griffin and trombonist Isaiah Jackson add sugar and vinegar to the mix. Never mind the bleak title, the jubilant music on Last Option holds hope for jazz's future. --Bill Meyer
Then was the time for the Live the Spirit Band to consume the stage with its vast array of young student musicians from the Englewood area. The Live the Spirit Band included special guests Ari Brown-sax and special guest/one-time member, Maurice Brown-trumpet, Bryan Nichols-piano, Kurt Schweitz-bass, Isaiah Spencer-drums, Corey Wilkes-trumpet, Ryan Nyther-trumpet, Marquis Hill-trumpet, Normal Palm-bone, Tony Herrera-bone, Julius Brooks-bone, Doug Rosenberg-sax, Kevin Nabors-tenor sax, Aaron Getsug-bari-sax, Jabari Powell-alto sax, and Khari B-poet. Excluding guest elder Ari Brown and conductor Ernest Dawkins, their ages ranged from 13 to 25. Poet Khari B. began with a snappin’ number called Jazz to Hip-Hop to Bebop. The lyrics will repeat in your ears. Jazz to hip-hop to bebop…Jazz… Norman Palm’s composition Jazz to Blues followed this. The set closed with Etude in E-Minor, written by Ernest Dawkins as a tribute to Gallery 37** in Bronzeville, explained drummer Isaiah Spencer, and where he first met Ernest.
Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis led the final act beginning with pianist Justin Dillard, bassist Derick Polk and drummer Isaiah Spencer. He then beckoned trumpeter Maurice Brown to join him on stage and played an audience request of Summertime. Delfeayo then added trombonist Norman Palm and alto saxist Tommy Bradford for a version of “one of the first blues they wrote down”, St. Louis Blues. Though credited to W.C. Handy, many believe this was actually composed by Jelly Roll Morton. Delfeayo returned to the quartet setting with a very low chamber-blues type introduction and finale of Ellington’s In a Sentimental Mood. Delfeayo ended the evening with the full septet in a snapping version of Caravan.
I enjoyed the plentitude of Love Supreme and the yards of invisible threads weaving a matrix of related people and events through time. It was great to see and greet the familiar faces and to meet the few I had not in the past (And obtain b-day autographs on the new Sidereal b-day calendar from the Earth Center (http://theearthcenter.com). And of course listening to the music in the sunshine, cooled by the trees was the ultimate frosting. I expect the Englewood Community festival to continue as an annual affair on the “Jazzin’ with zebra Libra” jazz schedule (http://www.jazzhope.com/ToDoAsOfYYYY_MM_DD.htm) and look forward to many more.
I thank Ernest Dawkins and those in the community who devote their efforts in laying the foundation with the youth. I believe this excerpt and his quote from the June 8th concert in 2002, says it better.
(http://www.meetthecomposer.org/works.html) “The concert kicked off at brunch by New Residencies composer Ernest Dawkins' The Eagles and the Castle: A Vision of Englewood, Mr. Dawkins' recent paean to his native community of Englewood, on Chicago's South Side. The piece was performed by his Live the Spirit Band, a 15-piece ensemble made up of student musicians from the Englewood area. Of the piece, Mr. Dawkins says:
"It's a tribute to the enduring courage, sacrifice, and triumph that has characterized the community of Englewood and those countless youths and residents who had to battle to claim a space in which to survive."
Composed by Mongo Santamaria
Lyrics by Oscar Brown Jr.
Familiar with version by John Coltrane
of a land my south is from
I hear a hand stroke on a drum
Shadows of light cocoa-hue
Rich as the night Af-ro Blue
Elegant boy beautiful girl
Dancing for joy der'lictic whirl
Shades of delight cocoa-hue
Rich as the night Afro Blue
Two young lovers are face to
With un-du-la-ting grace
They gently sway then slip a-way
to some seclud-ed place
Shades of delight co-coa hue
Rich as the night Af-ro Blue
Whispering trees echo their
Passionate pleas tender replys
Shades of delight cocoa hue
Rich as the night Afro Blue.
Lover in flight upwareds they
Burst at the height slowly subside
Shades of delight cocoa hue
Rich as the night Afro Blue.
And my slumbering fantasy
Until it seems it’s not a dream
The two are you and me
Shades of delight cocoa hue
Rich as the night Afro Blue.
We the youth of Gallery 37 at
the Elliott Donnelley Youth Center are residents of Bronzeville. We are trying
to bridge the gap and put our community together. Our neighborhood spans from
North to South from 31st to 51st, and from East to West from Cottage Grove to
the Dan Ryan Expressway. We live in a historic community. Many
African-Americans migrated here to escape from slavery, and later, oppression
in the deep American South. Over several decades, African-Americans built
homes, established businesses, and formed social and cultural organizations.
Today, however, Bronzeville is in need of attention. Our community is filled with crime, gang violence, poverty, and poor housing. People are sometimes embarrassed and afraid to clean up the community. Peers often ridicule washing windows, planting flowers, and doing other activities to beautify the community.
We the youth of Bronzeville strongly believe in making a change in our Community. We want the audience to understand that the Bronzeville community is changing by promoting activities that are revitalizing the urban environment. Our video will show this in action by showing the effects of planting flowers, growing gardens, redeveloping vacant lots and implementing other necessary steps to make changes in our community.
Our project will introduce several individuals and groups that are working to improve neighborhoods. In Chicago, Project S.O.U.L. (Save Our Urban Land) is a group that's working in the Bronzeville Community. Project S.O.U.L builds community gardens and creates nature trails on undeveloped properties by working in collaboration with community groups and organizations.
We will also document similar projects in other neighborhoods such as Bridgeport and Englewood that are improving the environment. By showing these various groups and projects we can learn some of the steps needed to improve our surroundings. We want people to feel as if they can go out and do the same thing within their own community. With dedication, and hard work, the results will be phenomenal!
In life, we believe that we should try to make a better place for ourselves to live. We want the audience to feel inspired, and to understand that our community is where we live and is a representation of us. We need to stop showing the negative side of our community and promote positive change. The positive would then overshadow the negative and would reflect the good image that the Bronzeville community once had.