WADADA LEO SMITH – A founding member of the AACM, Wadada has been one of the most creative composers and trumpeters in Jazz for over half a century, and now in his 70s has finally attained the legendary status he deserves. As explained and illustrated in the August Downbeat, Wadada has created his own musical language Ankhrasmation, and his colorful scores are exhibited in galleries as paintings. A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2013 for his masterwork about the Civil Rights Movement, Ten Freedom Summers, Wadada was the JazzTimes Artist of the Year in 2016 as well as a recipient of the coveted Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Perhaps the only artist in history to be featured on the cover of Downbeat twice in less than a year, Wadada received a trifecta of awards in 2017 from that prestigious publication: Artist, Trumpeter, and Album of the Year, for his Cuneiform CD America’s National Parks.
To create that masterpiece Wadada expanded his working band the Golden Quartet, which currently features John Lindberg on bass, Silvie Courvoisier on piano, and Pheeroan akLaff on drums, to create a Golden Quintet with Ashley Walters on cello, and their live performances are enhanced by the hypnotic visual imagery of video artist Jesse Gilbert. But Wadada has never been more prolific than he is right now and other recent and upcoming projects include a solo tribute to Monk, an Oratorio for Rosa Parks with 15 musicians, video artist, and dancer, and Appassionata, featuring the Golden Quintet and Wadada’s original lighting design, which will premiere in October at SFJAZZ’s 50th Anniversary Tribute to ECM Records. All of these projects are available on CD and in live performance. It’s Wadada’s time, so give me a call.