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Venue:
World Cafe Live3025 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $10 General Admission
Thursday, February 26, 2009 - 8:00pm

Bobby Zankel's Warriors of the Wonderful Sound featuring Marty Ehrlich perform the music of Julius Hemphill

Composer Portrait: Julius Hemphill

Marty Ehrlich, alto saxophone
Bobby Zankel, alto saxophone
Dan Scofield, alto saxophone
Elliott Levin, tenor saxophone
Dan Peterson, reeds
Bryan Rogers, tenor saxophone
Bart Miltenberger, trumpet
Adam Hershberger, trumpet
Patrick Hughes, trumpet
Tom Madeja, trumpet
Larry Toft, trombone
Dan Blacksberg, trombone
George Barnett, French horn
Adam Lesnick, French horn
Matt Davis, el. guitar
Tom Lawton, piano
Dylan Taylor, double-bass
Craig McIver, drums

Please join Ars Nova Workshop for part two of our celebration of Julius Hemphill's unique body of work: music for big band and saxophone sextet.

Julius Hemphill (1938-1995) was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in the same musical community as his cousin Ornette Coleman and Dewey Redman. He gained experience as a saxophonist performing with groups such as Ike Turner and Richard Kill's Boogie-Chillin Blues Boys Band. He moved to St. Louis in 1966 and became a founding member of the Black Artists Group (BAG), an interdisciplinary collective that also included Oliver Lake and Hamiet Bluiett. Moving to New York City in 1973, Hemphill founded the acclaimed World Saxophone Quartet with Lake, Bluiett and David Murray, composing prolifically for the ensemble over the next twelve years. A key member of New York's loft scene, he organized many events at Ornette Coleman's Prince Street Loft, and led numerous small ensembles, many with the remarkable cellist Abdul Wadud. A prodigious composer whose work is marked by a sharp, edgy melodicism steeped in the blues, contrapuntal complexity and a striking formal logic, Julius Hemphill was as comfortable writing for full orchestra as he was for his sextet or big band.

Since 1975, Brooklyn-born saxophonist and composer Bobby Zankel has been an integral member of Philadelphia's jazz community. He first began attracting attention in the early 1970s for his work with Cecil Taylor's Unit Core Ensemble and his underground reputation continued to grow during the New York Loft Scene years, when he performed with the likes of Ray Anderson, William Parker and Sunny Murray. Zankel's work is a stunning blend of rhythmic layers with a highly personal, complex, chromatic and harmonic language: it is hauntingly beautiful lyricism. His work has been performed by such musicians as Johnny Coles, Odean Pope, Dave Liebman, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Lester Bowie, Marilyn Crispell and Ralph Peterson Jr. His world-class big band - Warriors of the Wonderful Sound - features many of Philadelphia's most acclaimed improvisers, and has been his primary creative outlet for over five years. It is understandable that JazzTimes recently declared that "He's headed to status as a prime jazz innovator!"

As a high school student, Marty Ehrlich (b.1955) was actively involved with the community of musicians and poets influenced by the innovations of St. Louis' Black Artist Group (BAG). In 1977, he graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied with George Russell, Jaki Byard, Joe Maneri, Gunther Schuller, and the legendary woodwind teacher Joseph Allard. Since moving to New York in 1978, Ehrlich has been at the center of the jazz and new music scene. He has performed in ensembles led by Muhal Richard Abrams, Fontella Bass, Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Jaki Byard, John Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Andrew Hill, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, Roscoe Mitchell, John Zorn, and others. He appears on nearly 100 albums with these composers. He has premiered compositions written for him by David Lang and David Schiff. He has also toured with the Jose Limon and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane dance companies. Since 1997, Ehrlich has been actively conducting and performing the music of the late Julius Hemphill. An original member of Mr. Hemphill's Sextet, he has continued the group as its musical director, touring with the ensemble. He continues to lead his own quartet as well as his Dark Woods Ensemble.

This concert has been funded by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, through the Philadelphia Music Project. This performance is part of ANW's Free/Form: Composer Portrait series.