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Annual Meeting and Concert featuring David Murray & Kahil El’Zabar

  • Murray and El'Zabar Contributed photo—

Published: 5/15/2019 4:00:29 PM

Pioneer Valley Jazz Shares, a grass-roots, shareholder-based concert organization bringing extraordinary music to western Massachusetts, will hold its annual meeting, followed by a concert by Kahil El’Zabar, drums, percussion, voice, and David Murray, tenor, bass clarinet, on June 12 in the New Africa House, 180 Infirmary Way, UMass, Amherst. Meeting (with food and conversation) at 6 p.m. and concert at 7:30 p.m. Suggested donation: $15/$10 for those who purchase Season 8 jazz shares.

At 64 years old, David Murrayis already a jazz legend. Among his hundreds of recordings are some of the most important jazz documents of the past 40 years. He won a Grammy in 1988, a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition in 1989, and was voted Musician of the Decade by the Village Voice for the 1980s. In 1991 he became the second recipient of Denmark’s Jazzpar Prize. He has been based in Paris since 1998. Murray was an original founding member of the iconic World Saxophone Quartet, with Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill and Hamiet Bluiett, and has recorded and performed with musicians such as Henry Threadgill, James Blood Ulmer, Olu Dara, Tani Tabbal, Butch Morris, Donal Fox, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Sunny Murray (no relation), Ed Blackwell, Johnny Dyani, Fred Hopkins, and Steve McCall. The son of Baptist parents, and born in Oakland, he grew up in Berkeley and studied with Catherine Murray (his mother, an organist), trumpeter Bobby Bradford, alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe, and drummer/writer Stanley Crouch. In March 1975, he left Ponoma College in Los Angeles for New York. The rest, as they say, is history.

Kahil El’Zabarhas been leading his Ethnic Heritage Ensemble in various trio configurations for over 40 years. A former Chairman of the internationally acclaimed, AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), Dr. Kahil El’Zabar is considered one of the most prolific innovators of his generation. In 2012, President Obama awarded El'Zabar the International Ambassador’s Award in the Arts. In 2014, Dr. El’Zabar was knighted and christened by the Counsel General of France. El’Zabar has worked with such musical luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Pharoah Sanders and many others. While attending college in the early '70s, El'Zabar was given the opportunity to study mime with Marcel Marceau in Paris, but instead opted to use the money to study in Ghana. He has released many albums under his own name, including a long-running relationship with Chicago's great Delmark label. His efforts as a musician, educator, and community leader led to his being named "Chicagoan of the year" in 2004 by the Chicago Tribune.

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