Date(s) - 08/04/2018
Newport Jazz Festival
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Improvisations with special guest Rubin Kodheli.
One of America’s most renowned – and daring- creative pioneers. She is best known for her multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology. As writer, director, visual artist and vocalist she has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theater, and experimental music.
Her recording career, launched by “O Superman” in 1981, includes the soundtrack to her feature film “Home of the Brave” and “Life on a String” (2001). Anderson’s live shows range from simple spoken word to elaborate multi-media stage performances such as “Songs and Stories for Moby Dick” (1999). Anderson has published seven books and her visual work has been presented in major museums around the world.
In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA which culminated in her 2004 touring solo performance “The End of the Moon”. Recent projects include a series of audio-visual installations and a high definition film, “Hidden Inside Mountains”, created for World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. In 2007 she received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for her outstanding contribution to the arts. In 2008 she completed a two-year worldwide tour of her performance piece, “Homeland”, which was released as an album on Nonesuch Records in June 2010. Anderson’s solo performance “Delusion” debuted at the Vancouver Cultural Olympiad in February 2010 and will continue to tour internationally into 2011. In 2010 a retrospective of her visual and installation work opened in Sao Paulo, Brazil and later traveled to Rio de Janeiro.
In 2011 her exhibition of all new work titled “Forty-Nine Days In the Bardo” opened at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. That same year she was awarded with the Pratt Institute’s Honorary Legends Award. Her exhibition “Boat” curated by Vito Schnabel opened in May of 2012. She has recently finished residencies at both CAP in UCLA in Los Angeles and EMPAC in Troy, New York. Her film “Heart of a Dog” was chosen as an official selection of the 2015 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. In the same year, her exhibition “Habeas Corpus” opened at the Park Avenue Armory to wide critical acclaim and in 2016 she was the recipient of Yoko Ono’s Courage Award for the Arts for that project. Anderson lives in New York City.
In 2017 Mass MoCA’s Building 6 opened, beginning a fifteen year rotating exhibition of work from Anderson’s archive as well as a platform to present new works. Included in 2017’s opening, Anderson and Chien-Chen Huang premiered their first collaborative VR works “Chalkroom” and “Aloft”. “Chalkroom” has been featured in film festivals all over the world including The Venice Film Festival where it won the award for “Best VR Film” under its Italian title “La Camera Insabbiata”. Anderson continues to tour her evolving performance “Language of the Future” and has collaborated with Christian McBride and Philip Glass on several projects in 2017. Anderson continues to work with the activist group “The Federation” which she co-founded in 2017.
In February of 2018 “Landfall”, a collaboration between Anderson and Kronos Quartet was released through Nonesuch Records. Commissioned by Kronos Quartet in 2013, the work was inspired by the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy. Also in February Rizzoli released “All The Things I Lost In The Flood” a book of images and a series of essays about pictures, language,and codes.
Six-time GRAMMY®-winning jazz bassist Christian McBride can be likened to a force of nature, fusing the fire and fury of a virtuoso with the depth and grounding of a seasoned journeyman. Powered by a relentless energy and a boundless love of swing, McBride’s path has described a continuous positive arc since his arrival on the scene. With a career now blazing into its third decade, the Philadelphia native has become one of the most requested, most recorded, and most respected figures in the music world today.
Raised in a city steeped in soul, McBride moved to New York in 1989 to pursue classical studies at the Juilliard School. There he was promptly recruited to the road by saxophonist Bobby Watson. Call it a change in curriculum: a decade’s worth of study through hundreds of recording sessions and countless gigs with an ever-expanding circle of musicians. He was finding his voice, and others were learning to listen for it.
In 2000 the lessons of the road came together in the formation of what would become his longest-running project, the Christian McBride Band. Praised by writer Alan Leeds as “one of the most intoxicating, least predictable bands on the scene today,” the CMB—saxophonist Ron Blake, keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer, and drummer Terreon Gully—have been collectively evolving McBride’s all-inclusive, forward-thinking outlook on music through their incendiary live shows, as chronicled on 2006’s Live at Tonic. Part excursion, part education, the CMB is a vehicle built on a framework of experience and powered by unfettered creativity: a mesmerizing dance on the edge of an electro-acoustic fault line.
In 2009 McBride began focusing this same energy through a more traditional lens with the debut of his critically-acclaimed Inside Straight quintet, and again with the Christian McBride Big Band, whose 2012 release The Good Feeling won the GRAMMY for Best Large Ensemble Jazz Album. As his career entered its third decade, McBride added the role of mentor, tapping rising stars pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. for the Christian McBride Trio’s GRAMMY-nominated album Out Here.
He is also a respected educator and advocate, first noted in 1997 when he spoke on former President Bill Clinton’s town hall meeting “Racism in the Performing Arts.” He has since been named Artistic Director of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Sessions (2000), co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem (2005), and the Second Creative Chair for Jazz of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association (2005).
In 1998 he combined roles, composing “The Movement, Revisited,” a four-movement suite dedicated to four of the major figures of the civil rights movement: Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The piece was commissioned by the Portland (ME) Arts Society and the National Endowment for the Arts, and performed throughout New England in the fall of 1998 with McBride’s quartet and a 30-piece gospel choir. For its tenth anniversary, “The Movement, Revisited” was expanded, rewritten, and revamped to feature an 18-piece big band and four actors/speakers in addition to the gospel choir. It was performed in Los Angeles at Walt Disney Concert Hall, and praised by the Los Angeles Times as “a work that was admirable—to paraphrase Dr. King—for both the content of its music and the character of its message.”
Currently he hosts and produces “The Lowdown: Conversations With Christian” on SiriusXM satellite radio and National Public Radio’s “Jazz Night in America,” a weekly radio show and multimedia collaboration between WBGO, NPR and Jazz at Lincoln Center, showcasing outstanding live jazz from across the country. With his staggering body of work, McBride is the ideal host, drawing on history, experience, and a gift for storytelling to bridge the gap between artist, music, and audience. He brings that same breadth of experience to bear as Artistic Advisor for Jazz Programming at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC).
Completing the circle is his work with Jazz House Kids, the nationally recognized community arts organization founded by his wife, vocalist Melissa Walker. Exclusively dedicated to educating children through jazz, the “Jazz House” concept brings internationally renowned jazz performers to teach alongside a professional staff, offering students a wide range of creative programming that develops musical potential, enhances leadership skills, and strengthens academic performance. This shared celebration of America’s original musical art form cultivates tomorrow’s community leaders and global citizens while preserving its rich legacy for future generations.
Whether behind the bass or away from it, Christian McBride is always of the music. From jazz (Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, to R&B (Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Lalah Hathaway, and the one and only Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown) to pop/rock (Sting, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Don Henley, Bruce Hornsby) to hip-hop/neo-soul (The Roots, D’Angelo, Queen Latifah) to classical (Kathleen Battle, Edgar Meyer, Shanghai Quartet, Sonus Quartet), he is a luminary with one hand ever reaching for new heights, and the other extended in fellowship—and perhaps the hint of a challenge—inviting us to join him.
Composer/cellist Rubin Kodheli (ko-thé-lee) is a celebrated, versatile, genre-transcending creative rebel. The inspirational tapestry of his work is intentionally woven from blended threads of rock, jazz and classical influences, a stylistic trademark that has afforded Kodheli a career rich in its diversity of output. From his compositions appearing in feature films such as Precious (2009), to his original symphonic rock compositions, to his collaborations as a performer with premier improviser composers of our time– including Dave Douglas, Henry Threadgill, Meredith Monk, and Tom Harrell– Kodheli’s eclectic work amounts to an intriguing sonic collage able to enrapture and captivate audiences. Kodheli began his musical journey as a cellist in Albania, where, as a child, he would stay up into the night absorbing celebratory performances of traditional Albanian folk music or spend days attending numerous rehearsals with his mother, singer and actress Justina Aliaj (a-lee-i). By age fifteen, he moved to Belgium to pursue formal studies at l’Académie d’Uccle and later to Germany to attend the Richard Strauss Konservatorium. In the 1990s Kodheli received a scholarship to The Juilliard School, where he studied as a pupil of cello visionary Fred Sherry.