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This week, let's check out some videos featuring Douglas Ewart, a multi-instrumentalist and instrument builder who will be in St. Louis on Saturday, January 30 to perform in a duo concert with bassist Zimbabwe Nkenya at the Kranzberg Arts Center.
Born in Jamaica in 1956, Ewart moved to Chicago as a teenager and became involved with the city's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. He would eventually go on to serve as president of the AACM, and has worked and/or recorded with musicians including former St. Louisan J. D. Parran, Muhal Richard Abrams, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton, Alvin Curran, Anthony Davis, Robert Dick, Von Freeman, Joseph Jarman, Amina Claudine Myers, Roscoe Mitchell, James Newton, Rufus Reid, Wadada Leo Smith, Cecil Taylor, Richard Teitelbaum, Henry Threadgill, Hamid Drake, Don Byron, Malachi Favors Maghostut, and George Lewis. Ewart has lived since 1990 in Minneapolis, while continuing to perform and teach all over the world.
The first clip is from last year at Vision Festival 14 in NYC, and features an ensemble including Ewart, Parran, and Jarman along with drummer Thurman Barker, pianist Donald Smith and poet Amiri Baraka. Down below, there's an excerpt from a performance at the Velvet Lounge in Chicago by Ewart's ensemble Inventions, and below that, part of a 2006 duo performance in Minnesota by Ewart and fellow reedman Denis Colin.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.