Buffalo’s Historic Colored Musicians Club announced its artist line-up for the CMC International Jazz Festival presented by .9Mile Collaborative.
The three day festival begins Friday, October 8th and extends thru Sunday, October 10th, 2021.
A full schedule of events and Tickets are available at: www.cmcjazzfest.com
This year’s festival is dedicated to memory of jazz legend and Buffalo native Arthur E. ‘Juini’ Booth who passed away in July. Civic leaders and guests from the arts and cultural community are expected to attend.
The annual autumn event schedule highlights THE festival’s elite level of jazz musicianship and artistry and sets it apart from outdoor offerings found on area stages throughout the summer months. Adding to the uniqueness of the event are the “curation categories” so that festival attendees can anticipate the styles of jazz to be presented by each world-class artist.
Jazz patrons can see offerings in the following areas of curation: CMC Tribute Series, CMC Next Series, CMC Artist Master Series, and CMC Jazz Innovation Series.
Open to the public and the perfect kick-off to this year’s festival is a Masterclass led by woodwind sensation Brent Birckhead , “Dear Nina,” a noteworthy tribute to High Priestess of Soul, Nina Simone performed by Rootstock Republic featuring Drea d’Nur . An innovative offering of musical artists, Scott Tixier, Alan Mednard, Brent Birckhead and Rishon Odel join Walter Kemp3 to present Inside Sound: The Black Whole . The weekend includes other next generation music and futuristic performances from: HAGL (Heroes Are Gang Leaders) featuring James Brandon Lewis, and Haitian Afrofuturist Composer Val-Inc.
In addition to the 2021 Presenting Sponsor, Point9 Mile Collaborative, the Festival is pleased to welcome ABC-affiliate WKBW-TV / Channel 7 as its Official Media Sponsor. Channel 7 will feature the Festival on episodes of the “AM Buffalo” show leading up to this highly anticipated event. Embassy Suites by Hilton (Hospitality Sponsor) and WBFO-NPR 88.7 FM are also new to the Festival’s roster of top sponsors.
The Collaborative also acknowledges the support of the Cullen Foundation, The Challenger News, Villa Maria College, Mix Musik & Media Artist Management Group.
-2021 FESTIVAL SCHEDULE and Artist Profiles
CMC Master Class: with Jazz Master Class with Brent Birckhead
Friday, Oct. 8, 2021 at 4PM Villa Maria Recital Hall—240 Pine Ridge Road –
***This event is OPEN to the PUBLIC, and is sponsored by Villa Maria College, School of Music.
Known for his sound exploration and maverick approach to woodwind instruments, Brent Birckhead will host a master class performing on multiple reeds with “Inside Sound: The Black Whole” in CMC Jazz’ ARTIST MASTER series featuring Walter Kemp 3, Scott Tixier, RiShon Odel, and Allan Mednard.
Saxophonist Brent Birckhead is an award-winning artist, whose aesthetic is an intersectional amalgam of traditional and popular styles. Unbound by genre, Birckhead’s approach to woodwind artistry is driven by his compulsion for creative risk and deep respect for legacy. Educated at Howard University (BME, MM), Birckhead was named best blues/pop/rock soloist and outstanding instrumental jazz soloist by Downbeat Magazine as part of the annual Student Music Awards. In 2011 Brent was named “Best Alto Saxophonist” by the Washington City Paper. The Baltimore native’s talent earned him the honor of performing and touring with legendary artists including Lauryn Hill, Nas, Wale, Eric Benet, Larry Graham, George Duke, and many more. Birckhead is a professor of saxophone at Morgan State University.
CMC Tribute Series: Dear Nina ( Drea d’Nur and Rootstock Republic)
Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at 4PM Tralf Music Hall 622 Main Street —
A delicate twist on the familiar notion of a tribute show, “Dear Nina: A Sonic Love Letter to Nina Simone” is a love ode that commits to honoring the wisdom, truths and stories embedded in Nina Simone’s legacy—musically, socially, and politically. Featuring: Drea d’Nur, Juliette Jones, Jarvis Benson, Monique Brooks Roberts, Chris “BassPlayaPlaya” Johnson, Malcolm Parson and Riza Printup.
“Dear Nina: A Sonic Love Letter to Nina Simone” Ensemble
“Dear Nina: A Sonic Love Letter to Nina Simone” was originally commissioned by The Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY) in affiliation with their “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-1985” exhibit (March 2018/International Women’s Day—World Premiere). Later that same month, “Dear Nina” premiered in NYC to a sold-out audience at The Public Theatre’s Joe’s Pub. In the 2019 season, “Dear Nina” was met with high praise and back-to-back sold-out audiences: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s Women’s Jazz Festival, (March 2019), the 1st annual “Singing Nina Festival” (May 2019—Headliner), Rootstock Republic’s new acoustic, seasonal salon series ’HOME,’ with the support of NewMusicUSA (June 2019), and the Niagara Fall Underground Railroad Heritage Center’s “400 Years of Resistance” (October 2019).
“Power, poise and passion reign supreme in this pairing of voice and strings that celebrates the legendary—and at times uncharted—canon of Nina Simone. Drea D’Nur (Vocalist, Pianist) and House of Rootstock (Strings, Arrangements) share center stage in this uniquely intimate and newly orchestrated songbook of Nina’s Love Songs, Blues and Protest Music.” Reviews: “The audience was spellbound by the vocals and arrangements. Nina Simone’s fire and tenderness were on full display.” — The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture “The music is characterized by sweeping chamber style arrangements whereby the audience is swept up into the beauty of orchestral strings.” — JazzBuffalo
CMC Next Series:
HAGL Heroes Are Gang Leaders Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021 at 8PM Hallwalls Cinema (at Babeville)—341 Delaware Ave.
HAGL is a Literary Free Jazz Ensemble of writers, artists and musicians dedicated to the sound extensions of literary text and original comp Heroes Are Gang Leaders was founded in 2014 by poet, photographer and professor Thomas Sayers Ellis and saxophonist James Brandon Lewis as a tribute to the late poet, activist and Jazz Critic Amiri Baraka. Ellis and Lewis opened for Baraka at the St Marks Church (The Poetry Project) in 2013. HAGL is a Literary Free Jazz Ensemble of writers, artists and musicians dedicated to the sound extensions of literary text and original composition. Between 2014 and 2019 HAGL recorded six projects: “The Amiri Baraka Sessions,” “The Avant-Age Garde I AMs of the Gal Luxury,” “Highest Engines Near / Near Higher Engineers,” “Flukum (Your Book Sucks)” and the yet to be released “POPschutz” (recorded in Berlin, Germany) during HAGL’s first European Tour. Artificial Happiness Button finds HAGL moving from tribute-mode into the wider realm of integrating and expanding, in meaning and mode, what it means to be a literary jazz band once described as “a version of Funkadelic playing the Archie Shepp song book.”
CMC Artist Master Series:Walter Kemp 3, INSIDE SOUND: The Black Whole
Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021 at 5PM Hallwalls Cinema (at Babeville)— 341 Delaware Ave.
What is sound? Is it the absence of silence? What generates the improvisational nature of sound? When do we perceive music? These, and many more questions were the impetus for “Inside Sound: The Black Whole.”
Through an eclectic assemblage of touring collaborators and kinfolk, “The Black Whole” seamlessly reconnects jazz to its freer ancestral roots, while consciously and simultaneously working to uproot it through diverse sonic exchanges, instrumental interplay, and contemporary juxtapositions. Viscount-endorsed pianist and composer Walter Kemp 3 set out to explore this concept, pushing the boundaries of sound, and bringing with it a sense of cosmic freewheeling. Kemp, on piano, rhodes, and organ, GRAMMY award-winning improvisational violinist Scott Tixier, maverick woodwind master Brent Birckhead on alto sax, clarinet and flute, bass prodigy Rishon Odel and Allan Mednard, an NYC fixture on the percussion scene, add tonal richness to the group’s deconstructivist musical approach. What began as a Point9Mile Collaborative Artist Residency has emerged as an attention-grabbing ensemble that’s way ahead of its time. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime sound experience, led by Walter Kemp 3.
CMC Jazz Innovation Series: Val-Inc. artist Val Jeanty
Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021 at 8PM Hallwalls Cinema (at Babeville)— 341 Delaware Ave.
Val Jeanty, also known as Val-Inc, is an Haitian afrofuturist, composer, turntablist, and professor at Berklee College of Music. Jeanty is a pioneer of the electronic music subgenre Afro- Electronica incorporating Haitian Vodou rhythms with electronic instruments.
Jeanty is the great-grandniece of Haitian composer, pianist, and music director Occide Jeanty and granddaughter of a mambo (Vodou priestess). Growing up in Bizoton Fontamara, Haiti, Jeanty attended Sacré Coeur, which she describes as “a prestigious Catholic school, in a ritzy-bourgeois area” with strict rules. Jeanty left Haiti for the United States in 1986, when upheaval following the overthrow of then-president Jean-Claude Duvalier led to school closures.
Jeanty issued her first album in 2000 thanks to a Van Lier Fellowship, and has performed at the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and internationally at music festivals in Austria and Switzerland. Jeanty’s installations have been showcased in New York City at the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Village Vanguard and internationally at Saalfelden Music Festival in Austria, Stanser Musiktage in Switzerland, Jazz à la Villette in France, and the Biennale Di Venezia in Italy. In November of 2019, Roulette Intermedium, with New Music USA and the New York State Council on the Arts, commissioned interdisciplinary artist Risha Rox and Jeanty’s collaborative work, Ritual Merging.
Go to cmcjazzfest.com for tickets, festival passes and more info.