AKANEWS #1 - 2021

All upcoming concerts, new releases, new interviews and stories, videos, awards and top releases of artists collaborating with Akamu
Art Ensemble of Chicago | Anthony Braxton | Henry Threadgill | Roscoe Mitchell | Don Moye | Oliver Lake | James Brandon Lewis | Matthew Shipp | Dudù Kouate | Wayne Horvitz | Michael Formanek | Liberty Ellman | Ches Smith | Jonathan Finlayson | Matt Mitchell | Silke Eberhard | Marty Ehrlich | Frederic Rzewski | Anthony Davis | Elliott Sharp | Dave Burrell | D.D. Jackson | Gabriele Mirabassi | Andrea Rebaudengo | Filarmônica de Pasàrgada  | Hermeto Pascoal | Egberto Gismonti | João Bosco | Arrigo Barnabé | Yamandu Costa | Toninho Ferragutti | Anelis Assumpção | Siba | Mônica Salmaso | Stefano Bollani | Gabriele Mitelli | O-Janà | Elaine Mitchener | | Louis Sclavis | Claudio Fasoli | Luke Stewart |

1 - What's up

2 - Coming soon

3 - Recent releases/concerts/events

4 - Press reviews

5 - Extra-news
1 - What's up
Welcome to the second, and hopefully the last year of the pandemic.

In this newsletter you will find as usual many releases and streamings. No doubt: very good music is circulating but we miss live concerts.
Hopefully next time we will let you know about many live concerts all around the world.
Let's hope of being on the edge of a decade of big positive changes and improvments of all the aspects of our lives.

So, the recall of "We Are On The Edge" released exactly two years ago by Art Ensemble of Chicago celebrating their carreer is our best wish for future. And this radio broadcast realised during those days on ControRadio Firenze by Enrico Romero with double bass player, composer and arranger Silvia Bolognesi as special guest (being part of Art Ensemble of Chicago since 2017) is another way to think positive. So, Ancient to the future!


At the same time, let's not forget that at the very moment the situation is still rather difficult.

On The Wire - March 2021 (Issue n.445), you can read the Akamu point of view on what we've been facing during this period as a booking agency and especially the effects of Brexit and Covid-19 on gig and tour organisations (article available on request replying to this newsletter).

We can quickly take stock of what the governments have done for the culture sector. Let's take a look to the results of a survey on the money spent for art relief in 9 different Countries.
Moreover, it is interesting to know how art workers in different Countries do approach the issue of the closure of the theaters. Sometimes in completely opposite ways like this analisys on New York Tymes shows.
Anyway theaters sooner or later will open up again. It is "only" matter of time. Instead, many clubs and little venues will not. This is a major problem to be addressed in the next future. It's a big loss of art and of working places.
Fortunately, there are best practices all around the world trying to help the resistance of these places. And in some cases the musicians themselves are involved in this mission. Between them one of our musicians: Wayne Horvitz.

This is his message with the explanation of one of his projects going in that direction, The South Hudson Music Project in Seattle:

"Dear Friends, (...) As many of you know I helped start the Royal Room, a venue in Seattle, almost exactly a decade ago. The Royal Room has become an essential and beloved venue in Seattle, and a resource for musicians throughout the U.S. and beyond. A few years back I started a not for profit, , to create a workable model for sustaining small venues. Put simply, the life span of venues has always been tenuous at best, but in today’s digital world, combined with patterns of work, real estate values, and new pressures on families, it is virtually impossible. This is particularly true with a club that refuses to only focus on maximizing profits. Clubs are a vital arts institution within the eco system of any cities music scene. If you have it in your heart to support us, you can join us for this beautiful event and do so there, or else donate directly at our website. The event, Solos for a Brand New Day, features performances by a truly incredible cast of great artist, and a few special items. I hope you will join us!".
Well, the music deserves thousands of Royal Rooms! Thanks Wayne!

Now, straight to other news

Michael Zwiebach talks to the pianist and composer Anthony Davis about the political perspectives of his work, about his experiences with symphony orchestras and opera companies, about the influence of Thelonious Monk and his first gigs with some avant-garde musicians like Anthony Braxton in the 1970. This is the beginning of the article:
"It’s mere coincidence that composer Anthony Davis received word of winning the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Music less than a month before protests over the killing of Breonna Taylor and then the shocking video of the murder of George Floyd. It is, however, no coincidence that the opera he won the prize for, The Central Park Five, was about bias in American law enforcement, and not just at the police level.
has always been political, but his work in opera is deeply connected to a sense of epic stories, tragic stories with a sense of inevitability to them. He won the Pulitzer precisely because he digs much deeper than just a political take, notwithstanding the villain of the piece, a certain real-estate developer with a talent for attracting media attention. The committee noted
that the opera “transforms a notorious example of contemporary injustice into something empathetic and hopeful.

Henry Threadgill, discusses his musical background, his composition process, the piece he wrote for Fifty for the Future, and more. Here a recent Art Work Podcast.
At the beginning of March was presented ‘JazzLife, Life in J major’: it is the title of a new web, TV and social media format presented by Umbria Jazz and supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote Italian artistic and cultural heritage through the eyes and sounds of the best on the current Italian jazz scene. One of the selected artist is our clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi. You can watch at the interview (in Italian) and at the concert with Gabriele Mirabassi Trio.

2 - Coming soon

Mirabassi-Balducci-di Modugno Trio will release tomorrow 30 March 2021 the new CD "Tabacco e Caffè" Dodicilune.


James Brandon Lewis is premiering a new piece on April 01, 2021 "Even The Sparrow" - A Jazz Coalition Commission Video Premiere via PDX Jazz Festival.

James Brandon Lewis recently unveiled the new cover and the album preorder of the new album "Jesup Wagon" by his Red Lily Quintet:
James Brandon Lewis
: tenor saxophone, composition / Kirk Knuffke: cornet / William Parker: bass, gimbri (on tracks 2 & 7) / Chris Hoffman: cello / Chad Taylor: drums, mbira (on track 6).

Lewis also has an affinity for the spoken word, demonstrated on Jesup Wagon by a few timely placed short recitations. “Music is enough. But the older I get it’s important for me to have the listener hear my speaking voice,” he says. “Makes it more organic. I like to tell a story with an album.
Releases May 07, 2021.


Gabriele Mitelli is going to open the live concert season. Below the gigs planned. Finger crossed!
Novara - 11/06 Mitelli Delius Edwards Calcagnile quartet  // 13/06 European galactic orchestra.
Mantova - 14/06 Sebi Tramontana, Holmlander, Calcagnile, Mitelli // 15/06 European galactic orchestra.
Ground music festival (BS) - 18/06 European galactic orchestra.


Ches Smith, fresh teacher of a graduate level course in The New School's Performer-Composer program in NYC, is going to release a new album in June 11 2021 with his project We All Break. It is called Path of Seven Colors.
It features: Sirene Dantor Rene: vocals - Miguel Zenon: alto sax - Matt Mitchell: piano - Nick Dunston: bass - Daniel Brevil, Fanfan Jean-Guy Rene, and Markus Schwartz: Haitian drums and vocals - Ches Smith: drums and vocals. This group of forward-thinking musicians synthesize new jazz and the continually evolving and dynamic music of Haitian Vodou.
The making of the recording is the subject of a 50 minute film by Mimi Chakarova. 


Jessica Pavone is set to releasevery soon her fourth solo viola album When No One Around You is There but Nowhere to be Found (Relative Pitch Records).


Luke Stewart is working for:
- Upright Bass and Amplifier, II (Astral Spirits)
- Luke Stewart Trio with Chad Taylor and Brian Settles
- Luke Stewart Quintet, II.


A View Through A Slot" | Clean Feed
ft Danilo Gallo | bass - Massimiliano Milesi | tenor sax, soprano sax - Francesco Bigoni | tenor sax, clarinet - Jim Black | drums - Lorenzo Corti | guitar.


Before and since her 2018 debut album as leader (Fullmoon, Relative Pitch), trumpeter Stephanie Richards has excelled at sonic exploration from early work with Butch Morris, Anthony Braxton and Henry Threadgill and as FONT Festival performer and co-producer with Dave Douglas to her most recent album release Supersense (Northern Spy). Richards had hoped to present her 2020 album's full multi-sensory experience via live performance, but the pandemic has those plans on halt. Instead, she has a month-long daily live-stream duo with Ken Thompson throughout April.

Wayne Horviz is currently working on a series of 3 minute trio recordings, all improvised, all created virtually, with Bobby Previte, Peggy Lee, Nels Cline, Tim Young, Ron Miles, Kenny Wolleson, Jeff Parker, Sheridan Riley, Dylan van der Schyff and Mike Gebhart.
To be released in April.


Arts for Art launched On_Line Salon series: live streaming FreeJazz performances and conversations every Tuesday and Thursday.
The next live stream concert will be on
Tuesday April 6, 2021 with Marty Ehrlich - saxophones, clarinets, flutes / Michael Formanek - bass / Tomas Fujiwara - drums.

Recent performances,
still available with a little donation, are:
- Thursday March 25: Newman Taylor Baker - washboard
/ Matthew Shipp - piano / Stomu Takeishi - bass / Trashina Conner - dance
- Thursday March 18: Devin Brahja Waldman - alto saxophone / James Brandon Lewis - tenor saxophone / Gerald Cleaver - drums / Ala Dehghan - live painting.
- Thursday March 4: Ava Mendoza - guitar
/ Luke Stewart - bass / Ches Smith - drums / Keegan Monaghan - super-8 films.
- Tuesday March 2: Jaimie branch - trumpet
/ Luke Stewart - bass  /  Mike Pride - drums / Theo Darst - video.


It will be out on May "Mexico: Photographs" by Thomas Sayers Ellis, edited with an Introduction by Ben Mazer. 88 color and black & white illustrations, 100p, oversize perfect bound.
Crank Shaped Notes will be published on June 6th, 2021. This book of photos, poems, and essays chronicles like never before the inner world of GoGo, Washington D.C.’s official music. Thomas Sayers Ellis masterfully captures the rhythms, beats, and souls of a culture which is ever expanding beyond the beltway of our nation’s capital. This is a must-have volume.
3 - Recent releases/concerts/events

"Flow States" ScienSonic - SS 12
Roscoe Mitchell: soprano saxophone, sopranino saxophone, alto saxophone, bass saxophone

Marshall Allen: alto saxophone, EVI
Scott Robinson: tenor saxophone, contrabass saxophone, bass saxophone;
Milford Graves: drums.

This meeting took place at ScienSonic Laboratories in Teaneck, NJ on April 21, 2015. This recording is significant in that it presents the first music Roscoe Mitchell ever played with either Marshall Allen or Milford Graves. "The groove was good & I think it was a kind of historical thing." Milford Graves.


Wayne Horvitz new project Live Forever: A series of live recordings from the 80’s, 90’s and beyond featuring music from The President, The Horvitz Morris Previte Trio, The 4 Plus 1 Ensemble, The New York Composers’s Orchestra, Pigpen, Zony Mash, Sweeter Than the Day and more. Releases will be quarterly. The first release, on February 26, 2021, is entitled Live Forever, The President: New York in the 80’s. Featuring a live show from CBGBs in December of 1987, studio outtakes and demos, 4 cassette demos, and rare tracks from CBGBs in 1982. With Dave Tronzo, Bobby Previte, Doug Wieselman, Elliott Sharp, Dave Hofstra and more.


There are Ches Smith's collaborations during 2020 on several records, two of which came out recently:
Marc Ribot/Ceramic Dog: What I did on my Long Vacation EP and John Zorn: Azoth 
Two which will be out in the coming months:
Marc Ribot/Ceramic Dog: Hope - Marc Ribot: Guitar, vocals / Shahzad Ismaily: bass, Moog, electronics, vocals / Ches Smith: drums, electronics, vocals / (w/ special guest Darius Jones on alto sax). Northern Spy/Enja
John Zorn: Heaven and Earth Magick - Sae Hashimoto: vibraphone / Stephen Gosling: piano / Jorge Roeder: bass / Ches Smith: drums. Tzadik.


To observe his 70th year, composer, multi-instrumentalist, producer, author, and artist Elliott Sharp will present a number of concerts and recordings under the rubrik E#@70. The first concert in this series will be at Roulette and will feature the World Premiere of four new works created for this event and performed by his open-ended ensemble SysOrk.
The pieces include Oksusgenos (for bass clarinet and electronics performed by E#), two algorithmic scores: Feedback 21 and Viridia, and a long-form animated graphic score ReGenerate. Finally, Over Water, a work from 2019 for video projection and guitar by Janene Higgins and E# will be presented. Ladies and gentlemen:E#@70 – Concert Nr. 1 – SysOrk: New Works


Elaine Mitchener last February released a new album: Some Good News with Black Top (Pat & Orphy) / Hamid Drake, William Parker. This is in the works for Oto Roku. Andy Hamilton on The Wire goes quite deep in it

Elaine created a new radio piece commissioned by Sons d’hiver. The Party’s Over invokes the voices of Angela Davis, Claudia Jones, James Baldwin, David Lammy and Jeanne Lee. The world will change because it has to. The party’s over.” James Baldwin.  This is what Olivier Lam - Libération writes about it.

She's been invited to be a guest presenter on BBC Radio 3 New Music Show and she's curated two programmes which were broadcast on 19 and 26 Dec 2020.


Just released the new CD "Il Gatto e la Volpe" by Gabriele Mirabassi-Simone Zanchini - EGEA.

New Micheal Formanek cd "Dyads" with his Son Peter came out in January 2021 on Out Of Your Head, Adam Hopkins’ label.

Intakt has just released a solo cd "
Imperfect Measures" by Michael Formanek.

Thumbscrew's new album "
Never Is Enough" dropped on February 26th, all original material by Tomas FujiwaraMary Halvorson and Michael Formanek. In regards to the relationship between The Anthony Braxton Project and the this release, Michael Formanek says, "Braxton’s presence was very strong in this period, spending time with his music, reading some of the composition notes...I think and hope the influence was there. It was definitely in our minds. I don’t know if there’s a direct influence, but definitely inspiration.


Matthew Shipp new release "The Bright Awakening" (Paul Dunmall: tenor saxophone / Matthew Shipp: piano / Joe Morris: double bass / Gerald Cleaver: drums). This recording is a meaningful example of why we all continue to work this way. While we pursue any and all other versions of Free Music that our imaginations allow, the open form collective performance that builds itself on pitch, melody, rhythm, energy and rich, deep expression is an enduring one. Joe Morris.

"The Reward - Solo Piano Suite In Four Movement" is the orther more recent release by Matthew Shipp. This double LP is the first vinyl he recorded since his very first recording, "Sonic Exploration", a duo with Rob Brown, released on 1988. (500 copies limited edition)
4 - Other press reviews
Recent review of Sara Schoenbeck/Wayne HorvitzCell Walk” in JazzTimes, All About Jazz and others including last months review from NYC Jazz Record. “The most outstanding track is “The Fifth Day”. Horvitz’ notes are steady but spare, like a mild spring rain on a metal awning, and Schoenbeck virtually croons in a manner not unlike early ‘60s John Coltrane, poetic, passionate, but also with a sense of economy and restraint. “Tin Palace” finds Schoenbeck really going to town, driving the twisty tune the way a postbop saxophonist would while Horvitz provides torrents of sober, determined swing. If you like soulful reed instruments, wittily self-effacing piano and sonic atmosphere you could cut with a knife, this is the ticket.


These are only few recently selected reviews about Luke Stewart:
by Mike West - Bandcamp by Philip Freeman - Post Genre by Daniel Palmer

Magnet Magazine by Bill Meyer - Brooklyn Vegan Sean Mehl - The Quietus by Peter Margasak - Jazz Trail by Filipe Freitas.
Selected as one of The New York City Jazz Record's Best Of The Year (2020) "Up and Coming Musicians", bassist Luke Stewart continues his upward trajectory as leader (from solo projects to his Exposure Quintet bandleader debut album last year) and integral collaborator in the bands of
Heroes Are Gang Leaders, Irreversible Entanglements and James Brandon Lewis. Moreover, he released an interview for the Black History Month on New York City Jazz Record by Jordannah Elisabeth.


James Brandon Lewis last release "Molecular" got other reviews by Dave Cantor on Downbeat, by Nick Metzger on and by Kevin Le Gendre as one of the best new jazz album on Jazzwise.

And like many of the artists in our roster, James and Luke appeared in quite a number of "Best of 2020" but there were so many that it is impossible to speak of all of them without forgetting some of them in this newsletter.
5 - Extra-news
In this article Matthew Shipp explain what is the black mistery school pianists.

Wayne Horvitz released Little Pieces for the Piano — a book of 76 compositions for the beginning and intermediate pianist. This is the 3rd edition, which includes many additional pieces, all written in the two months after the pandemic lockdown.

Heroes Are Gang Leaders's forum Gianthology has released two poems by poet and visual artist Richard Leach.
New interview from the Dr. Jazz Talks interview series, this time Alexander Hawkins – amazing pianist and composer with a beautiful new album (released in January) Togetherness Music ft. Evan Parker and Riot Ensemble.

Time to say goodbye. And carpe diem before it's too late


Paolo Locatelli -
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