Re: Jazz Masters Award, NEA

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#1 Fri, 1995-01-06 07:04
Trudy Morse
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Re: Jazz Masters Award, NEA

Hi Alan. Tributes to Sun Ra, featuring the poetry of Sun Ra, is going almost non-stop. Starting in the beginning of 1994, mainly with the Arkestra, now I will perform the poetry with any band of local musicians who play in the style of Sun Ra and feel his influence.

Wherever possible, I try to include musicians who have performed with Sun Ra sometime in the past. In the Bay area, Eddie Gale, India Cooke, Kash Killion in a fantastic program organized by Vejay Iyor of our list.

In Seattle, Michael Monhart organized a concert, featuring Julien Priester and Stuart Demptster. Large enthusiastic audience and nice review.

And finally, the grand finale of the season was December 30, Cecil Taylor in the big room of the new Knitting Factory, NYC; and a 12 pce band in the small room, paying Tribute to Sun Ra. Dave Burrell on the piano, D.J. Parran, clarinet. Phil Gelb from Florida; Dana Reason from Montreal; Vijay Iyor from San Francisco. Andre Vida, Anthony Braxton student; Joe Fonda of the Anthony Braxton Ensemble. Joe Gallant, who himself leads a 16 piece band, was the musical director. D. J. Parran (who has long performed with George Lewis) on clarinet.

At the New Orleans Jazz Festival this year, members of the AACM honored Sun Ra, with Kidd Jordan directing. Among others: Fred Anderson, George Lewis, Muhal Richard Abrams.

The most exciting development is the enthusiasm the Chopin Prelude in A Major is generating, among musicians and the audience. Upon a visit to Chris Trent in the UK, this scholarly musicologist, gave me some five versions of Sun Ra performing this Chopin piece, with Marshall Allen, solo. We have performed this many times with the Arkestra. I have sent out some 200 copies of the piece, and we already have done about six concerts where this piece was featured.

It reached a new high at the Knitting Factory, where the 12 pce band took over, old legends, with brilliant young students! I could hardly restrain them from playing over one hour and 15 minutes. Another session was scheduled after us, so regretfully it had to stop.

Think of it, musicians who never practiced together, drawn together by a devotion to Sun Ra, who could improvise for one hour and 15 minutes. The Chopin piece takes about one minute, I would guess.

Any musician out there who wants to perform with us at some time and wants to practice the piece, please send me your snail mail. and I will gladly send you a copy. I would guess, we now have close to 50 musicians who have perf performed this piece with the Sun Ra poetry during the year.

The 2nd annual Celebration of Sun Ra will be held at the Knitting Factory in 1995, May 22 to May 30. Anybody who wants to be on the program should be contacting Michael Dorf, at the new Knitting Factory, New York City. KF@Knitting Factory.com

Warm personal regards, Trudy Morse

I leave for Tallahassa Fla. for their festival, Jan 10. Then to San Francisco, to be with Cecil Taylor at Yoshi's, Jan 24-30. At Berkeley, there will be a Tribute to Cecil Taylor on January 30, by the Bay area musicians.

In March, I'll be on tour with Joe Fonda and also the Knitting Factory: John Coltrane music.

Starting to work with students on campus, with workshops on Sun Ra. If anybody has an English Department who wants a project, please contact me. This is my personal mission to make Sun Ra's poetry part of 20th Century literature, where he rightfully belongs.

Happy and healthy New Year to you all.

DATE: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 17:54:29 -0500 FROM: Alan Saul <saul+@PITT> Sorry for Marshall and John, but I'm sure we all congratulate these three great musicians. Especially, from my personal point of view, Roy Haynes.

Looking forward to hearing more about your performances, Trudy (not to mention actually catching one some day).

>

By the way, I put a little picture from an old free weekly that may still be published in Providence RI on a web page - http://farcry.neurobio.pitt.edu/GIFs/FunRa.gif. Apologies to all if it doesn't work, but it seems to on this end. Nights and weekends are best....


Alan Saul saul+@pitt.edu