In Honor of Joseph Jarman’s 74th Birthday, a WKCR Interview from 1987

These days, Joseph Jarman is as widely known for his activities as the founder of the Brooklyn Buddhist Association and head sensei of its affiliated aikido dojo as for his distinguished career as a creative musician. The latter activity was the focus in 1987, when I had the privilege of bringing Jarman to WKCR to present a five-hour retrospective of his musical production with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which he joined in 1969, as a composer-lead of his own ensembles, and as a solo performer. In reading the transcript of the proceedings, please remember that this was a live radio broadcast, not an oral history.

Joseph Jarman Profile (2-15-87) – (WKCR):

[MUSIC: AEC, “Prayer Of Jimbo Kwesi” (1980); “The Bulls,” “Little Fox Run,” “Noncognitive Aspects of the City” (1967)]
“The Bulls” and “Little Fox Run” were written by Fred Anderson, who taught me a great deal about music and about saxophone playing in this very wonderful early period.  It was performed by Fred Anderson, myself, Billy Brimfield, Charles Clark and Thurman Barker.

[ETC.] I’d like to discuss some of the events that precede the music you just heard.  This group came out of the activities of the AACM.  Although the story of the AACM is familiar to many listeners, perhaps you could speak about your introduction to and initial involvement in the AACM and what led up to it.

The AACM itself, if I’m not mistaken, was realized in 1965.  Prior to that realization, Muhal Richard Abrams had this wonderful group called the Experimental Band.  I think at that time it wasn’t called anything, it was just a band, and he was good enough to let people come over there.  You didn’t have to prove anything; you proved it by sitting down in the chair and playing the music.  But the music was all fresh, and he encouraged everyone to write for this group.  One of the things he told me that was always important was, “Write it.  One of the days, you can hear it.”  I still use that dictum today.

There weren’t any outlets in Chicago?

No.  There were no outlets for musicians practicing these forms of music.  And this band would meet once a week.  As a result of the band meeting and playing, the idea was realized that maybe we should form this organization and do something for ourselves, become responsible for our own destinies.  There was Roscoe Mitchell, Lester Bowie, Lester Lashley, Thurman Barker, Charles Clark, Christopher Gaddy… We’re not going to get into the forgetting bit.  Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton, Fred Anderson, Joel Brandon, a wonderful flute player who is an award-winning whistler now, Sherri Scott.  There was also Kalaparusha, Fred Berry, who is out on the West Coast now, Ajaramuu who is still in Chicago, John Stubblefield, Leo Smith, Raphael Garrett used to come through there quite often, Jack De Johnnette, Leroy Jenkins was a kind of a staple (he always played my violin parts), Jodie Christian, piano, and Amina did a lot of singing with us and a lot of piano playing as well, and during those days she was playing a lot of organ.  So there was all of this great diversity.  There were many other musicians who did things other than music.  I mean, they were not so much interested in becoming “professional musicians” as they were just madly in love with the music.  So this was a place where they could practice music as well.

How had you heard about the band?

Well, I was a student at Wilson Junior College.  We used to have sessions during some of the break periods.  One day, Roscoe said, “I know where you have to go,” and he took me to this place and introduced me to Muhal.  Then Muhal invited me, I could come to his home and practice with him, where he would teach me, ha-ha, all of the wonderful things that I would have to know.

What were you into at the time that you met Muhal Richard Abrams and Roscoe Mitchell?

Well, I was a student and trying to learn the basics of music.  Basically, that was it.  On the one hand, I was trying to learn the basics of academic music, and then through Roscoe, who was in the same situation with me at the time (also Malachi Favors was there), I met Muhal, who sort of turned me on to some of the other elements that I had to deal with, which were not so much academic, but academic in another way — sort of inside academic.  I mean, nothing mysterious or secret or anything, but nothing that anyone could teach you in a school as such.

Although you were born in Arkansas, you were raised in Chicago and attended the Chicago public schools.


Tell me about the musical education you received in the Chicago public schools.

I went to DuSable High School.  That was my first exposure to music.  Captain Walter Dyett was there, and I got in his band practicing snare drum. [LAUGHS]

Were you in a parade band?  He had several different bands…

No, I didn’t quite make it to his bands!  I was a little bit disorganized and misdirected.  But he did sort of straighten me out on that level.  And I only was able to perform in the concert band, which was the large big ensemble.  I did attend Hijinks and hear the bands, and many of the famous Jazz players came out of his Hijinks bands — Johnny Griffin, John Gilmore, John Young…

How about when you were there?

I don’t think there’s anyone from my period who… Fred Hopkins was over there, but he’s a little younger.  He was over there after me.  Well, you have to realize I’m going to be fifty years old in September.  So if I lose some of these things, it’s because I haven’t been there for a while.

You spent some time in the Armed Forces in the latter part of the Fifties.


I know for a lot of musicians that was a time when they could really concentrate on music and get it together.  Were you in any Army bands?
Yes, fortunately I did manage to work my way into an Army band, and it was there that I actually began to play the alto saxophone and clarinet.

Can you say anything about that?  Was there any particular individual who worked with you, or any particular place where that was happening?

That was happening in Germany for me.  It was a wonderful experience.  I met a lot of musicians there who put me in the right direction.  And it was there that I began to hear the recordings of… I was very impressed with Jackie McLean at that time, and I still am.  He just stood out in my mind even more so than Charlie Parker.  It was after I got out of the Army that I became conscious of the wonderful music of Charlie Parker.  But Jackie McLean, and then there was a wonderful young tenor saxophonist by the name of John Coltrane that I was able to hear.  And there were also a lot of fine musicians in the Army band who were professionals, I mean, that’s what they wanted to do, but they would play in the clubs off-duty.

I know there were a lot of clubs that built up around the Army bands, and I know Roscoe Mitchell talks about hearing Albert Ayler there for the first time and so on.

Mmm-hmm. I didn’t hear Albert Ayler there for the first time, but I heard Cannonball Adderley in that situation, and I heard Cedar Walton, Eddie Harris, and there were some European musicians — Albert Mangelsdorff is probably the one we know most of now.  Leo Wright.  There were lots of people…

I’m just trying to give people some sense of what the environment was like.

Well, prior to being in the band, I had been in a line unit; that’s what it was called.  It was an Airborne Line Unit.  And something happened where my consciousness changed, and I had some friends who were working in the Headquarters Company, and I got transferred to the band, heh-heh, and out of the line!

Tell us about the scene in Chicago when you were coming up as a youngster, as an adolescent and in high school.  I know you were very much into the music at that time.  You once told me about pressing your nose to the window at the Beehive, on 55th Street in Hyde Park.

Yeah, right, I heard Charlie Parker there.  A friend of mine, James Johnson, who is a bassoonist now, living in Wisconsin, we pressed our noses to the Beehive… But there was music all over the street in those days.  If you walked two blocks, you would hear music.  I mean, it was on loudspeakers.  And you could walk by the clubs on 63rd Street, down Cottage Grove, and Gene Ammons would be in there playing, Johnny Griffin would be in there playing, Sun Ra would be in there playing — it was like that.  One thing I remember is that Sonny Rollins stood on the corner of 63rd and Cottage Grove in a wonderful yellow dinner jacket with his hair cut in this Mohican style, and played his tenor saxophone right on the corner — and I thought, “Oh, this is it.”  And that, in fact, was the essence of theatre in street music.  I mean, he had walked out of the club, McKie’s Lounge, and just played for a bit on the street, and then went on back in there.

Sonny once wrote a piece called “At McKie’s.”

“At McKie’s,” that’s it.  Also Eric Dolphy and John Coltrane played in that place.

That was after the Army.

That was after the Army, yes.

I know you dug Eric Dolphy a lot also, and I was going to ask you about your first exposure to hearing Eric Dolphy.  Was it at that engagement with Coltrane…?

No, it was on recordings first.  Henry Threadgill and Roscoe and I, and several other musicians, Louis Hall on piano… Every Saturday we would get together, and we would spend about ten minutes on our school-work, and then we would spend the next ten hours playing music, like arrangements from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.  We would take a break during these periods, and listen to music.  And Drasir(?), who was a drummer at that time, brought these recordings.  One was called The Shape of Jazz To Come, the other was called The Prophet, and the other was called Coltrane, where he plays “The Inchworm” and those things.  And this was all new music to us, and it was like incredible.  And it was all different.  It was three different, brand-new ideas presented to us in our little rehearsal space at once.  But I remember after that break that everybody’s music had changed.  I do recall that, because it was an important event.  And no one played the same any more after that date.

What was the curriculum like at Wilson Junior College?  Were they teaching you any Jazz, or was it a formal, Euro-centered type of situation?

It was a formal Euro-centered… But actually, Richard Wang, who was the instructor there, and who is still very diligently working for the music, in his spare time had a little band.  He would also teach us how to analyze and approach the elements of the music that we wanted to deal with.

So between that and the AACM and Muhal’s band, it was really quite a fertile environment.

An excellent foundation.  Excellent foundation.

And you were able to play a great deal.

Yes.  That was the whole thing, playing all the time.

And you were exposed to the music of many other like-minded individuals.

Right.  And that was the most important thing, that there were many like-minded individuals, both in the educational system, in the schools, and out of the schools as well.  But more importantly, the music was available.  The music was everywhere.  It was available.  You could go in a one-mile radius, and you could hear ten different bands.  Every little place had a band in it.  And there were people, I mean, not sitting down in a formal concert situation, but dancing.  Even if there was new music, they would be dancing!  And it was available.  Now that’s all changed.

As I recall, you were involved in a very eclectic range of activities as well.  You were once involved in a collaboration with John Cage in 1965 at the Hyde Park Theatre, I think…


You were involved in a number of theatrical events… I don’t know if I have anything specific to ask you about it, but if you could make some general comments on things that were happening.

Well, as a student, when we were all students, and if we are students now, we have hopefully this real open mind so that the cup can have lots of things put in it, so it doesn’t run over.  So I was exposed to all of these kinds of forms, and interested in all of these kinds of things.  There was someone from an experimental music foundation that introduced us to John Cage, and we talked, and concluded that we should play this music together.  Roscoe with a group played on the other part of that same concert.

So it was that all areas were open.  That’s one of the things that a lot of people don’t realize, during those days just as now, that all areas of music were open.  It wasn’t that you could only play or be interested in one form of music.  You can play or be interested in any form of music.  And you can express the art through any form of music.  And this became one of the roots for the work that followed.

The next composition is from the Delmark LP, As If It Were The Seasons.

We made two recordings in this early period for Delmark, and this was the second.  The composition we’re going to hear is “Song For Christopher.”  Christopher Gaddy, who had been the pianist with the quartet (which was Thurman Barker, Christopher Gaddy, Charles Clark and I) had started to compose this composition, and he died, and I felt responsible to sort of finish it.  And that’s what we did here; we finished the composition.  This is with Lester Lashley, trombone, John Jackson, trumpet, John Stubblefield and Fred Anderson, tenor sax, Joel Brandon, flute, Richard Muhal Abrams, piano and oboe, Sherri Scott, voice, Thurman Barker, all kinds of drums, Charles Clark, bass, cello and koto, Joseph Jarman, alto sax, bassoon, fife, recorder, soprano sax.

[MUSIC: Joseph Jarman, “Song For Christopher”]

This was recorded in ’68, and it was after this recording that we lost Charles Clark.  I was shattered emotionally.  And it was at this time of being emotionally shattered that Roscoe and Lester and Malachi invited me to play music with them.  Shortly after that, in 1969, we went to Europe, to Paris, where we stayed for a couple of years.  And the next music will come from that period.

What motivated the four of you to make that jump?

Well, the music was very exciting.  After I started to play with them, it was very exciting for me even more.  And there were just no opportunities to perform.  I mean, really; literally none.  Outside of the AACM there were very, very few other situations, because the musical ideas were fresh, they were very challenging to many listeners, and moreso to promoters, club-owners, business people, like that — because it was a kind of aesthetic that they had not quite caught up with.  So it occurred to us that if we went to Europe, we would have more opportunity.  The motivation was really just to play, and be able to play music.  Because you have to do it for people, you know; you can’t just play  forever in your own little room.

You were also working some in Detroit, I believe.

Yes.  During that period there was the Detroit Artists Workshop.  John Sinclair and those people up there had a music program.  Charles Moore, a cornetist living on the West Coast now, was instrumental in organizing and inviting people up there.  And people from Chicago would go up there and perform.   It was like a little cultural exchange program, heh-heh!

And you took one trip to the West Coast, I believe.

No, I didn’t take the trip to the West Coast.  Lester, Malachi and Roscoe, and maybe Philip one time; they took a couple of trips to the West Coast.  This was prior to all of these events.

You weren’t the only ones in the AACM to go to Paris either.

No.  Leroy Jenkins, Leo Smith and Anthony Braxton were the others.

And there lots of other American musicians in Paris at that time.

There were people from St. Louis, Oliver Lake and Joe Bowie… Wow, this is another mind-boggling… There were a lot of musicians from New York there as well.  Archie Shepp, Dave Burrell, Frank Wright, Muhammed Ali, Alan Silva, Bobby Few… Oh yeah, it was a hot scene over there.

And everyone who knows the BYG label knows of these cross-currents blending together in some pretty amazing situations.

Yeah, it was very wonderful.  It was a hot scene.  It was like going from one wonderful scene to another.  We were very fortunate in that respect, that the move to Europe just placed us in another creative environment.  And all of these musicians from the East Coast or wherever who were living in Paris at the time had different ideas, which sort of revitalized us, and I’m sure that we excited them to some extent.

We’ll talk some more about this period after we hear “Ericka,” composed by Joseph, recorded June 23, 1969.

[MUSIC: AEC, “Ericka,” “Theme Amour Universal,” “Lori Song,” Braxton-Jarman, “Concluding Circles”]

After that there was a bit more moving around, and now we’re going to return to the wonderful United States after the Paris period.  So that concludes the first and the second period.  Now we move into the third.

So the Paris period was a period of ferment and growth for everyone in the Art Ensemble. There were many, many activities, and I guess procedures you’re still dealing with to this day that started at that point.

Yes.  In Paris, there was not only a wide development in the music, but more exposure to Theatre and Dance and all of these kinds of forms, and we began to incorporate many of these elements into our work.  Also in Paris we were exposed to you may say World Music Culture, more so than we had been in Chicago, meeting African musicians, meeting musicians from the Far East, meeting musicians from everywhere, and associating with them, and discovering the wonderfulness of the forms they had to offer.

And people became exposed to you.

Yes, and people became exposed to us as well, right.  So then we returned to the United States, and for the first two years we didn’t work very much, but we were rehearsing nearly every day — because we were still living all  together at that time, or pretty close together.  And we did return to Chicago.

Can we just go a little bit into the concept of the Art Ensemble spending this amount of time together as a unit, the degree of commitment that was required for that.

Well, during those days we were having every experience together possible, in order to get on a deeper level of what the music is about.  Because there is a feeling that the music is more than what’s on the page, or even more than words.  It’s an experience.  It’s a living process, this music is.  In fact, at one of our recent performances, we played some music, and it was almost like telepathy.  Everybody knew exactly, but fresh, where everyone was going. And it’s from this kind of knowing that we were able, even in those days, in the beginning, to reach areas of music that had not been reached before, as far as we had known.  Because we were trying to go deep-deep, deep-deep, deep-deep within, and find the elements there, and try to pull them out in a collective way.  A lot of individuals have been able to do this, but for a commitment to be made for a collective expression broadens the musical scope.  And this is what we were after.  Because the music is limitless.  It is without boundary.  Every individual experience, if the individual will allow it, can be expressed through a communal effort.  And this is what we were trying to achieve.

Also in Paris you found your drummer.

Yes, we found Famoudou Don Moye in Paris.  We were playing at a place called the American Center, and Moye appeared and said, “I’m playing with you.”  We said, “Oh yeah?”  And since then, in fact, he has been playing with us.

Some very positive things ensued from being without a drummer.  You’d had Philip Wilson, who left the band to go off into some other things, and although you used various different drummers, for the most part you were a four-piece group where everybody was forced to take on the rhythmic role.  I don’t know if there’s a specific question, but if there are any comments you’d care to make on that aspect of the music.

Well, see, it’s because you know so much about the Art Ensemble, since you’ve known us for fifteen years or so…!

Well, yeah, we did have to discover.  It also gave us all a different sense and perspective of what rhythm and drumming and all this business is actually about.  Because we discovered we had to do it ourselves, not because we even necessarily wanted to, but because the music required these kind of timbres, and that there must be a way, and where are they.  And we took it upon ourselves to investigate them.  It wasn’t just “Okay, I want to play this,” but it’s in order to find the sound and making the commitment to find the sound.

And this is another thing that was perhaps a bit different from many of our predecessors, the idea of looking for a sound, rather than playing a musical instrument and getting all of the sound out of that.  Because each instrument is a different universe, and each instrument does contain of its own-ness a wonderful thing.  One of the things that we were after was to find the sound.  It was coincidental where that sound came from.  The responsibility was not so much for me to play the saxophone as to play the sound that I heard.  And sometimes that came in the form of a bell, and it took years to find the bell to hear that sound.  Because all of this music, this kind of breath, cosmic breath, is flowing, and some people it touches.  And if we’re practicing music and we’re open enough and it touches us then we have to respond.  If we restrain ourselves, then we discover that we are not being true to our own selves.  Which might put a lot of stress and pressure on a single individual practicing music, but someone has to have the courage to make that investigation and endeavor.

And then you returned to the United States.

Yes.  Back to the United States.  We didn’t work for a couple of years, but we were rehearsing nearly every day.  Frank Lowe invited me to come up here to perform in New York, and as a result of that there was this recording that we’re going to hear.

[MUSIC: “Thulani,” Black Beings, 1973]

We’ll hear now music by the Art Ensemble from Fanfare For The Warriors recorded in 1973 — “Illistrum” and “What’s To Say?”  This is your second release for Atlantic.  How did your association with the label come about?

It just happened. [LAUGHS] “Illistrum” has a poem on it, which will be self-evident, and “What’s To Say?” is a little brighter, I would say.

[MUSIC: “Illistrum,” “What’s To Say?”]

We’ll now hear some material from a solo concert by Joseph Jarman in 1976 at the University of Chicago.

We’ll hear two excerpts.  One is called “The Spirit of Eric,” and this is a kind of homage to Eric Dolphy.  And the other is called “The Spirit of Trane,” and this is a kind of homage to Master John Coltrane.

I’d like to ask you a question about solo work.  I know some of it has to do with economics and putting together a set by yourself, but also in the AACM it was expected musicians would give solo concerts and develop that type of work.

Well, during the pre-Paris period and the post-Paris period as well, the AACM was having concerts at one time nightly, every night, seven nights.  There were like requirements that you would have to do, and one of the requirements was that you would have to perform solo.  So in the AACM, the solo performance tradition, solo recital, had been going on quite a while prior to practicing solo recordings.

When was your first solo concert?

I have no idea.  But it was during the AACM period, for the AACM at the Hull House on 57th Street and someplace in Chicago.  But each performance situation has its own unique identity.  In solo performance, because you have no other sounds, the instrumentalist must be very careful and go directly to where the source is.  So this is what I think everyone is trying to do who is performing in the solo context.  It’s certainly much more challenging, because you have to stay right on line.  It’s difficult to try to explain.  But when you’re playing music alone, as opposed to playing with one or more other beings, then somehow you must be in tune with another kind of aspect of yourself that’s not always available.

At this point, in 1976, you have somewhat more options for self-expression just in terms of the number of instruments you’re playing.


In the late Sixties recordings we get to hear you on alto sax, soprano, bassoon, and a few other instruments, but here you’re featuring bass clarinet, tenor sax, sopranino saxophone.  Talk about how your multi-instrumentalism developed up to this point.

Well, it was about the idea of the sound and trying to get to the actual sound.  When we got to Paris, there were many more sources available.  For example, many of these bells and gongs and vibraphones and instruments were readily available during those days, whereas prior to that they weren’t.  We discovered in our investigations that these sounds came from these instruments that were already there.  In other situations that we found ourselves in, some of the sounds didn’t have any source, so we had to create the source.  So Malachi built his little desk, Roscoe built his rack, Moye built his rack, Jarman built his rack, you know, to get these sounds that we wanted but that weren’t available.

So this is probably the reason that so many instruments are being played, not so much because someone wants to play them, because it’s very difficult to play all of these instruments and practice them, and that commitment — but the sound.  And so the commitment is to the sound and wherever the source is.  This, incidentally, is not a new idea.  It was just a new idea for us, and we felt that we had the right to make this investigation and we had the right to make this expression.

[MUSIC: “Spirit of Eric,” “Spirit of Trane”, Sundown, AECO (Chicago, 12-4-76)]

[ETC.] We’ll hear “Lonely Child,” a poem by Joseph Jarman, performed by the Magic Triangle group with Don Pullen and Don Moye.

I had the good fortune to meet Don Pullen, and as a result, he and Moye and I were able to document a couple of our experiences together.  One experience that we had a tape for, but unfortunately we can’t play, I just wanted to mention because it was a great time.  Moye and I were doing a duo tour out on the West Coast, and Pullen and Charlie Haden were doing a duo tour out on the West Coast, and we wound up in the old Keystone Corner together.  And somehow we played together.  I mean, musicians do that; they come together.  We said, “Oh yeah, we’re saying hello, but why don’t we really say hello and play some music.”  So we played some wonderful music, but unfortunately we can’t  share that at this time.

Incidentally, a lot of these musics have poetry with them because we feel that they somehow go together.  And that’s not a new idea either.  But words have meaning, and  the sounds have meaning — and in many instances, they have the same meaning.  But a lot of people don’t realize that.  I mean, they may hear words in their head while they are listening to music, and then sometimes while they are listening to words they may hear music in their heads.  So we were just sort of putting these things together.

This is around the time when the members of the Art Ensemble began again to devote time to their own projects, to stay together as the Art Ensemble and operate more as individuals, which is happening to this day, and I know that this has to happen.

That is wonderful, because when that started getting more revitalized, I think, and when we came back together as the Art Ensemble, it was always a fresh, new adventure for us.  I just don’t know, except that the input has become greater as a result of these various experiences, because the different members of the Art Ensemble have been going out into the world, and whereas before we were pretty much confined to our own individual resources and discovering things just from each other, now we are discovering things from lots of other kinds of ways of what music is about, and bringing this back again to the Ensemble and crystallizing it, is really what I have felt recently, in the past couple of years.  I have really been enjoying playing with the Art Ensemble because the music is becoming crystallized.  Some people say it’s becoming, what do you call it, predictable, and some people are saying it’s becoming…


Classic, yeah…I don’t know… All these kinds of things.  But for us, it’s a different kind of freshness.  It’s becoming crystal, it’s becoming… Sometimes we used to take chances, and if any one of the voices was maybe a little nervous about the chance, we couldn’t quite go there.  But now we’ll take a chance, and everybody will go there, because everyone knows that it’s okay to breathe and it’s okay to stretch.  So that’s very good.

[MUSIC: Magic Triangle, “Lonely Child”]

We’ll hear a tape from Joseph’s files of a composition performed with the AACM Big Band at the Underground Festival in the summer of 1981.

[MUSIC: AACM Large Ensemble, “Foresight”]

That was the AACM Large Ensemble.  It featured Ed Wilkerson, Douglas Ewart, Reggie Nicholson, Mchaka Uba, Mwata Bowden, Ernest Dawkins and a few others.

We’ve discussed before various situations for writing that occurred in the AACM, and this is the first example we’ve heard of your writing for large ensemble, etcetera.  This is to point out that many of the individuals familiar to New York audiences represent only a small slice of the many artists out of Chicago and St. Louis to New York City.

If I can say, the Chicago School has had some excellent examples up here.  Henry Threadgill’s writing can be looked at as probably the jewel of Chicago, and of course, Muhal Richard Abrams, we’ve had an opportunity to hear some of his large ensemble work.  So that the school’s concept is available, and that concept is that each composer look into his own resources, and do what he’s doing.

The next recording is “Black Paladins.”  This is a poem by Henry Dumas, a poet, and Jarman did the music for this.  We’ll go from there into “Mama Marimba,” which was written by the bassist Johnny Dyani, who we had the opportunity to work with. Henry Dumas was a wonderful poet who was mistaken, unfortunately, in New York for some kind of criminal, and was mistakenly killed in the subway of New York some years ago, 1968, May 23rd.  He was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas.  When I discovered Dumas’ writing, it became very important for me, because he was carrying on a kind of tradition that I had only found in Black African writers.  But here was an Afro-American telling stories about things that I knew about, because although I grew up in Chicago, I was born in Arkansas, and somehow my consciousness still remembers some of that Arkansas wonderfulness.  Dumas’ poetry and his stories were very close, are very close to me, and became I guess a principal inspiration for me.  Not only did this “Black Paladins” become a kind of manifesto for me, but it also generated a whole theatre piece that I had the opportunity to perform, but don’t have any music, tape or recording of it at this time.  So with that, we can go into “Black Paladins.”

[MUSIC: “Black Paladins,” “Mama Marimba”]

“Mama Marimba” was written by Johnny Dyani, who was a wonderful bass player who lived in Northern Europe and who was born in South Africa, and who, again, brought his culture to the Ensemble.  Moye introduced me to him.  Moye has a knack for finding all these wonderful musicians!  We toured a couple of times in Europe.  We tried to have opportunities to perform with him in the United States, but unfortunately, that never worked out.  But we did tour Europe on two, possibly three occasions, and it was always a very, very nice musical experience.  So that’s why really I wanted to play that composition of his.  And you can see the kind of melodic thing that was happening in that rhythm.


The remainder of the program comprised almost entirely tapes from Joseph Jarman’s collection.

1. “Dipple Hexokey Coterminus” as recorded at the Chicago Underground Festival in November 1983 by the AACM Large Ensemble and Ari Brown on tenor saxophone.

2. “Fanfare for the Newest-Born,” New York City, with Longineau Parsons on trumpet and fluegelhorn, Fred Hopkins on bass, Famoudou Don Moye on percussion, and Joseph Jarman.

3. From the album Inheritance, “Unicorn in Shadows,” “Love Song For A Rainy Monday”

4.   “Desert Song,” Brussels, early ’80s, with Craig Harris, Essiet Okun Essiet, Famoudou Don Moye and Jarman.

5.  “Scene 14”, NY.

6.  “Eyes of the Charm-Giver,” performed by The Musical Elements, with Thurman Barker on marimba

7.  “Poem Song,” with Jarman, Edward Wilkerson, Geri Allen, Fred Hopkins, Thurman Barker, Chicago Jazz Festival, 1985.

Leave a comment

Filed under AACM, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Interview, WKCR

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s