Montclair’s Seed Artists and the Jazz Room Series at William Paterson University have partnered to present a rare and very special live concert recording this Sunday, November 22nd. NEA Jazz Master Richard Davis, whose double bass has graced the music of everyone from Miles Davis and Sarah Vaughan to Sinatra, Stravinsky and Springsteen, will perform a set of improvisational music with a knockout band: Montclair’s own drumming legend Andrew Cyrille and two wave-making virtuosos—Jersey City-based pianist Angelica Sanchez and Japanese violinist Aska Kaneko, who flew in just for the show.
The group drew an encore at last year’s Eric Dolphy: Freedom of Sound festival in Montclair, their first performance together. Davis, a veteran of more than 3,000 recordings--that is not a misprint--was so taken with the experience that he decided to return and record the results. This will be adventurous stuff—music composed in real time by four masterful musicians, from the wild and wooly to the plaintive and utterly sublime. Because the artists won’t know what they’ll create until it happens, they and the audience will be on the same journey.
As Davis said recently in an interview on group improvisation for Listen magazine:
I don’t go in with a plan. It’s about keeping your ears open. Each person contributes an idea—harmonically, rhythmically—and as you heart it you either latch onto it and use it, or you don’t. [As a group], you’re looking for something cohesive that makes you feel excited…Don’t try to analyze it or even understand it. Just sit back and open your ears.
The musicians will sit for a Q&A before the show at 3pm, followed by a performance from William Paterson students, and then the Davis quartet.
A great way to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon.
Richard Davis is one of the great bassists in jazz history, an artist of remarkable versatility and imagination. He has appeared on more than 3,000 recordings, and his credits include everyone from Miles, Dizzy, Dexter and Eric Dolphy to Sarah Vaughan, Ben Webster, Clark Terry, Milt Jackson, and the highwire Creative Construction Company. To Stravinsky, Stokowsky, Boulez and Leonad Bernstein, to Sinatra, Streisand, Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen. Davis figures prominently in many of the signal jazz recordings of the 1960s, including Dolphy’s masterpiece Out to Lunch! DownBeat magazine named him “Best Bassist” from 1967-74, and Greil Marcus of Rolling Stone called his performance on Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks “the greatest bass ever heard on a rock album.” In 2014, Davis was named an NEA Jazz Master. At the University of Wisconsin, where he has taught for nearly four decades, Davis’s annual Bass Conference gives young musicians the opportunity to learn from masters of the art. He has received numerous awards for his decades of work to bridge the racial divide and build community.
Master drummer Andrew Cyrille is an icon of the jazz avant garde. Although he is best known for his decade-long tenure with pianist Cecil Taylor, which produced some of the landmark recordings of modern jazz, his varied credits include work with Coleman Hawkins, Kenny Dorham, Mary Lou Williams, Sun Ra, David Murray, Marilyn Crispell, Peter Brotzmann, Carla Bley, Horace Tapscott and Jimmy Giuffre. Cyrille has led percussion groups featuring Kenny Clarke, Milford Graves and Rashied Ali, and has a working trio, Trio3, with fellow Montclairian Oliver Lake and former Montclairian Reggie Workman. Cyrille is an instructor at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.
Pianist Angelica Sanchez has established herself as a compelling and dynamic voice in creative music. Her releases consistently make year-end “Best of” lists, and she has performed with a Who’s Who of cutting-edge jazz musicians, including Wadada Leo Smith, Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Ralph Alessi, Susie Ibarra, Tim Berne and Mark Dresser. Sanchez leads several groups, including a quintet featuring Marc Ducret, Tony Malaby, Drew Gress, and Tom Rainey. She is an instructor at the New York jazz Workshop Music School.
Violinist Aska Kaneko studied at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and later directed the Asian Fantasy Orchestra, a ten-year pan-Asian project supported by the Japan Foundation. She won a Bessie Composition Award for collaborative work with “The Unfinished Symphony,” a work by the choreographer Yoshiko Chuma. Her nearly twenty recordings span a wide range of settings, and her many projects include work with the London-based group Mekong Zoo; Aska Strings, an all-strings unit; the Japanese-Argentinian combo Gaia Cuatro; a duo project with harpist Amy Camie; musical direction for major musical-theater productions in Japan; and collaborations with Zakir Hussain, Bill Laswell, Butch Morris, Pheeroan AkLaff and Jane Birkin.