The Angel City Jazz Festival closes on Sunday October 2 at 7:00pm with another show at REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, located in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. This very special event showcases and pays tribute to a leader in creative music and cutting edge jazz Roscoe Mitchell, a legendary winds player and founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Tickets are $30 and are available at www.redcat.org or by calling 213-237-2800.
Percussionist-composer Alex Cline realizes a years-long aspiration with a performance of his arrangement/re-imagining of the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s “People in Sorrow,” composed by Roscoe Mitchell. The piece, recorded by the Art Ensemble in 1969, had a profound and lasting impact on Cline, who first heard it as a teenager. Offered as a tribute to Mitchell, the Art Ensemble, and the AACM, the composed material along with the spirit of the original performance on the classic recording become the starting points for this deeply personal version of the piece, featuring sensitive and adventurous interpretations and improvisations by an all-star eleven-piece ensemble, including famed saxophonist Oliver Lake, woodwind player Vinny Golia, New York harpist Zeena Parkins, vocalist Dwight Trible, guitarist G.E. Stinson, bassist Mark Dresser and others. By retaining and showcasing its special beauty, evocative of the turbulent times in which it was first performed while simultaneously being a transcendent, timeless work of art, Cline endeavors to present “People in Sorrow” as a celebration of the transformational power of music.
The second half of the program will be a performance by The Roscoe Mitchell Trio which includes Mitchell and James Fei on woodwinds, and William Winant on percussion, performing a piece by Roscoe Mitchell written for this event. One of the top saxophonists to come out of Chicago’s AACM movement of the mid-’60s, Roscoe Mitchell is a particularly strong and consistently adventurous improviser. After getting out of the military, Mitchell led a hard bop sextet in Chicago (1961) which gradually became much freer. He was a member of Muhal Richard Abrams’s Experimental Band and a founding member of the AACM in 1965. Mitchell’s monumental Sound album (1966) introduced a new way of freely improvising, utilizing silence as well as high energy and “little instruments” as well as conventional horns.
The Art Ensemble of Chicago was one of the most popular groups in the jazz avant-garde. Roscoe Mitchell who, in addition to his main horns, plays clarinet, flute, piccolo, oboe, baritone and bass saxophone was also was involved in individual projects through the years and has recorded as a leader for Delmark, Nessa, Sackville, Moers Music, 1750 Arch, Black Saint, Cecma and Silkheart in settings ranging from large ensembles to unaccompanied solo concerts. Mitchell, who turns 71 this year, is currently Distinguished Darius Milhaud Professor of Composition at Mills College in Oakland.