The John Coltrane Memorial Contemporary Jazz Series will kick off its spring 2010 lineup with a performance by the award-winning Chinese American baritone saxophonist Fred Ho and tenor saxophonist Salim Washington, at 7 p.m. Friday, March 5, at the Community Folk Art Center, Black Box Theater Dee-Davis Room. The performance is free and open to the public.
Coordinated by William Cole, professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Coltrane Jazz Series is sponsored by SU’s Office of the Chancellor and the College of Arts and Sciences Department of African American Studies and iLearn Program.
In addition to the March 5 concert, the spring 2010 series will include:
∙March 26: Harrison Bankhead with Warren Smith and Bill Cole
∙April 2: Shayna Dulberger with Warren Smith and Bill Cole
∙April 9: Gerald Veasley with Warren Smith and Bill Cole
∙April 22: The William Parker Trance Quartet
∙May 5: Untempered Ensemble with Billy Bang
All of the concerts will begin at 7 p.m. at the Community Folk Art Center, Black Box Theater Dee-Davis Room and are free and open to the public.
About the Musicians
Fred Ho, recipient of the 2010 American Music Center Letter of Distinction, founded the Afro Asian Music Ensemble (1982), the Monkey Orchestra (1990), and Caliente! Circle Around the Sun (2005), and is the co-founder of the Brooklyn Sax Quartet (1997). He is a prodigious composer, internationally renowned for his operas, music/theater epics, multimedia performance works, martial arts ballet, and oratorios.
Ho’s blockbuster, “Once Upon a Time in Chinese America,” a martial arts ballet and music/theater epic, was presented at the Guggenheim Museum, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Seattle International Children’s Festival and the Brooklyn Academy of Music 2001 Next Wave Festival. Re-titled “Voice of the Dragon: Once Upon a Time in Chinese America,” the show toured 33 cities in the United States from 2002-2003.
Ho’s more recent commissioned works include “Josephine Baker’s Angels From the Rainbow” for Imani Winds, “Suite for Matriarchal Shaman Warriors” for the Asian zither and percussion quartet IIIZ+, and “Suite Sam Furnace” for Chamber Music America in honor of the late alto saxophonist and 20-year member of Ho’s Afro Asian Music Ensemble.
Recent music/theater commissions include “Deadly She-Wolf Assassin at Armageddon,” a martial arts sword epic; “Mr. Mystery: The Return of Sun Ra to Save Planet Earth,” a new opera with libretto by Quincy Troupe; and “Dragon vs. Eagle,” for the Apollo Theater and the Brooklyn Academy of Music 2008 Next Wave Festival.
The Harlem-based musician/scholar Salim Washington plays tenor saxophone, flute and oboe and is an accomplished composer and arranger. He has performed at jazz festivals across the globe; leads the Harlem Arts Ensemble; and has performed with such noted musicians as Randy Weston, Billy Bang, Oliver Lake, and David Murray, among others. Washington holds chairs in several ensembles, including Ho’s Afro Asian Music Ensemble, Donald Smith’s Six Bashiri, Kuumba Frank Lacy’s Vibe Tribe, and Ahmed Abdullah’s Diaspora.
Washington is also a noted scholar of African American culture. He holds a bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University; has done extensive research on African American music and culture; conducts workshops in the United States, South Africa, France and Ireland on African American musical culture; and teaches jazz seminars and workshops at major universities as well as in underserved communities. He is the author of scholarly articles and co-author with Farah Jasmine Griffin of “Clawing at the Limits of Cool: The Collaboration of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, 1955-1961” (St. Martin’s Press 2008).