March 3, 2009
Contact: Sara R. Leonard
Concert and Production Manager
AMHERST, Mass.— The yearlong Amherst College Music festival Faultlines: Mapping Jazz in the 21st Century will continue on Wednesday, March 25, with a roundtable discussion of the innovative late violinist Leroy Jenkins at 6 p.m. in Room 7 of the Arms Music Center at Amherst College. The conversation will feature three acclaimed violinists—Billy Bang, Charles Burnham and Terry Jenoure—as well as Hampshire College Professor of Contemporary Music Marty Ehrlich, and will be moderated by Amherst Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Jason Robinson. The event is free and open to the public.
Over the past 30 years, Bang’s hard-edged tone, soulful sense of traditional swing and evocatively expressive style has enhanced dozens of albums by top names in a variety of genres, from the blistering funk of Bootsy Collins and the harmolodic groove of Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society to the intergalactic uproar of Sun Ra. With more than 15 albums under his own leadership, nearly a dozen more in co-led endeavors and five more with the String Trio of New York (which he co-founded in 1977 with guitarist James Emery and bassist John Lindberg), Bang is one of the more prolific and original members of the progressive music scene.
Burnham is best known as one-third of Odyssey, along with guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer’s and drummer Warren Benbow. Odyssey performed as part of the 2006 Magic Triangle Jazz Series. Burnham and Ulmer are “unlike any other front line in music,” wrote Richard Cook. “Playful, joyous, agitated and melodic, they become ten strings in unison yet independent of one and other. Burnham's step into the spotlight has long been coming.” The passion and fire of Burnham’s violin has graced the work of Cassandra Wilson, Steven Bernstein, Susie Ibarra, Henry Threadgrill, the String Trio of New York and Medeski, Martin & Wood, among many others. The violinist’s new band includes Clark Gayton and Curtis Fowlkes on trombones, Mark Peterson on bass and Pheeroan akLaff on drums.
A veteran of the bands of John Carter, Archie Shepp, Henry Threadgill, Butch Morris, Reggie Workman and others, Jenoure is a wide-ranging visual and performing artist. Her sound on violin and vocals blends the risk of improvisation, rhythmic influences from her Puerto Rican and Jamaican heritage, the drive and excitement of urban references and ideas influenced by her world travels. Born and raised in the Bronx, she began studying music at the age of eight, attended New York’s High School of Music & Art and received a bachelor's degree in philosophy and master’s and doctoral degrees in education. A faculty member at the University of Massachusetts and Lesley University, Jenoure has devoted almost 15 years to forging a multicultural and multi-arts program as the director for the Augusta Savage Gallery at UMass Amherst. “When I perform,” Jenoure says, “it feels as though I’m untangling knots or threads or webs in some dense place, so we can see some light.”
Long a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Jenkins innovated the use of violin in improvised and experimental music and collaborated with Anthony Braxton, Andrew Cyrille, Anthony Davis, Cecil Taylor and many other famous musicians.
The Faultlines festival includes concerts, performance workshops, talks and roundtable discussions, all free and open to the public and all guaranteed to generate passionate debate about the nature of jazz and its relationship to American cultural identity. The festival is made possible through the generous support of the Amherst College Arts Series Fund; the Amherst College Departments of Music, English and American Studies; the Amherst College Mead Art Museum; the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center’s Solos and Duos Concert Series and Magic Triangle Concert Series; and the Northampton Center for the Arts’ A World of Piano Concert Series.
For more information about the roundtable discussion, or any events associated with Faultlines: Mapping Jazz in the 21st Century, visit the festival Web site at www.amherst.edu/faultlines or call 413/542-2195.
March 3, 2009