Marfa Dialogues

Kahil El’Zabar and Hamiet Bluiett

8 March 2013


Percussionist Kahil El’Zabar and baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett will perform at the opening reception of Rashid Johnson’s New Growth, 8 March 2013, at Ballroom Marfa.

The most prominent baritone saxophonist of his generation, Hamiet Bluiett combines a blunt, modestly inflected attack with a fleet, aggressive technique, and a uniform hugeness of sound that extends from his horn’s lowest reaches to far beyond what is usually its highest register. In St. Louis in the 1960s, Bluiett co-founded the Black Artists’ Group (BAG), an artist collective not unlike Chicago’s AACM. And, in 1969, he moved to New York City to join the Charles Mingus Quintet and the Sam Rivers Large Ensemble. In 1976 he co-founded the World Saxophone Quartet (along with two other Black Artists’ Group members, Julius Hemphill and Oliver Lake), which soon became jazz music’s most renowned saxophone quartet. Over the years, Bluiett has also worked with Babatunde Olatunji, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.

Kahil El’Zabar is one of Chicago’s jazz treasures. He joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the early 1970s, and became its chairman in 1975. He regularly records for Chicago’s Delmark Records and, during the 1970s, he formed the acclaimed ensembles Ritual Trio and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, both of which remain active today. El’Zabar has performed alongside a myriad of jazz greats such as Cannonball Adderley, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp and Dizzy Gillespie, but also in the bands of Stevie Wonder and Nina Simone.

For these two highly sensitive and energy-propelled modern music masters to come together, it represents a performance of historical significance. The stories they weave upon a landscape of rhythmic complexity and melodic sonority is a marvel. Don’t miss these cats, you owe it to yourself to be completely transported on a spiritual journey of musical ecstasy!

    New Growth and its musical program have been made possible through the support of Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, the Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston, Texas Commission on the Arts, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Meyer Levy Charitable Foundation and Hauser & Wirth Gallery, with generous contributions by Ballroom Marfa members.

    Special thanks to Yoseff Ben-Yehuda, Brice Beasley, Biff Bolen, Ross Cashiola, Vicente Celis, Rob Crowley, Robert Davis, Christie DeNizio, Hilary duPont, Michael Eason, Alex Ernst, Cuca Flores, Jose Grajeda, Ginger Griffice, Barbara Hill, Cristina Garcés Hoyos, Celia Hollander, David Hollander, Rod Lamborn, Brian Lewis, Chase Lindley, Susannah Lipsey, Jeff Matheis, Matt Panuska, Nancy Patterson, Samuel Lee Roberts, Francisco Rosas, Nancy Sanders, Adeline Schowengerdt, Krista Steinhauer and Libby Tilley.

    New Growth community dinner by Food Shark.

    Many thanks to Ballroom Marfa intern Cristina Garcés for this translation

    El percusionista Kahil El’Zabar y el saxofonista barítono Hamiet Bluiett actuarán en inauguración de la exposición de Rashid Johnson New Growth, el 8 de marzo de 2013, en Ballroom Marfa.

    El saxofonista barítono más destacado de su generación, Hamiet Bluiett (nacido en 1940) combina de manera contundente, una modesta modulación con una técnica rápida y agresiva y una inmensidad de sonidos graves que se extienden a lo lejos más allá de lo que suele ser el registro habitual. En St. Louis en la década de 1960, Bluiett co-fundó el Grupo Black Artists’ (BAG), un colectivo de artistas similar a AACM de Chicago. Y, en 1969, se trasladó a Nueva York para unirse al Charles Mingus Quintet and the Sam Rivers Large Ensemble. En 1976 co-fundó el World Saxophone Quartet (junto a otros dos miembros del Black Artists’, Julius Hemphill y Lake Oliver), quienes pronto se convertirían en el cuarteto de saxofonistas más renombrados del Jazz. Con los años, Bluiett también trabajó con Babatunde Olatunji, Ibrahim Abdullah, Stevie Wonder y Marvin Gaye.

    Kahil El’Zabar (nacido en 1953) es uno de los tesoros de jazz de Chicago. Se unió a la Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) en la década de 1970, y se convirtió en su presidente en 1975. Graba regularmente para el sello de Chicago Delmark y, durante la década de 1970, formó el Ritual Trio and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, los cuales siguen activos en la actualidad. El’Zabar no sólo ha actuado junto a un gran número de grandes del jazz como Cannonball Adderley, Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp y Dizzy Gillespie, sino también en las bandas de Stevie Wonder y Nina Simone.

    La unión en un escenario de estos dos grandes maestros representa una actuación de gran importancia histórica. Las narraciones que tejen sobre un paisaje de complejidad rítmica y melódica sonoridad son una maravilla. No te pierdas a estos chicos, te lo debes a ti mismo si quieres ser transportado a un viaje espiritual de éxtasis musical.