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A Dynamic Jazz Trio: The Cutting-Edge from Generations of Great Musicians

October 28, 2017 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm


The Creative Music Series presents:

The return of a great one back to Boston, in concert, a New England legend, Guitarist, Composer, Educator, Joe Morris.

The arrival of another great one, a master titan for the ages coming to Boston, a Southern (and AACM) legend from Mississippi by way of Chicago and New Orleans, Drummer/Percussionist, Educator Alvin Fielder.

And solidifying this band is one of Boston’s most active and creative Bassist’s, Damon Smith.

“… the guitar revolutionary to pay attention to”.  Norman Weinstein, The Boston Pheonix.

“… a guitarist whose sound is completely his own, oscillating between deadpan sweetness and dangerous, shrapnel-like caprice.”  Down Beat.

The Wire:  “If Ornette Coleman were Jim Hall, he would be Joe Morris.”;  “… he sounds like no one else.”;  “One of the most profound improvisers at work in the U.S.” The Wire.

“The music played by these musicians is full of expressive, rigorous and very energetic solos, strange and unheard sounds and timbres, virtuosic elements and innovative musical decisions. The musicians had been improvising together many times in the past in various ensembles”.

“Damon Smith is a master of bowed bass and sounds inspired throughout—and well versed in the various incarnations of Jazz and free improvisation getting around playing with a wealth of international musicians—weaving a web with Mr. Fielder’s equally creative drumming. Best rhythm team only record I’ve heard since those two by William Parker and Hamid Drake, and that is really something special!” – Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery.

“…but it is the broad-mindedness of (these) players and the tension between divergent approaches that creates a pulsing sense of swing underneath (the music)”. Balance Point Acoustics

JOE MORRIS was born in New Haven.  With the exception of a few lessons he is self-taught. The influence of Jimi Hendrix and other guitarists of that period led him to concentrate on learning to play the blues. Soon thereafter his sister gave him a copy of John Coltrane’s OM, which inspired him to learn about Jazz and New Music. He worked to establish his own voice on guitar in a free jazz context from the age of 17, drawing on the influence of Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman as well as the AACM, BAG, and the many European improvisers of the ’70s.

Between 1975 and 1978 he was active on the Boston creative music scene as a soloist as well as in various groups from duos to large ensembles. He composed music for his first trio in 1977. In 1980 he traveled to Europe where he performed in Belgium and Holland. When he returned to Boston he helped to organize the Boston Improvisers Group (BIG) with other musicians.  In 1981 he formed his own record company, Riti, and recorded his first Lp Wraparound with a trio featuring Sebastian Steinberg on bass and Laurence Cook on drums. During the next few years in Boston he performed in groups which featured among others; Billy Bang, Andrew Cyrille, Peter Kowald, Joe McPhee, Malcolm Goldstein, Samm Bennett, Lawrence “Butch” Morris and Thurman Barker.

In 1989 he returned to Boston. Between 1989 and 1993 he performed and recorded with his electric trio Sweatshop and electric quartet Racket Club.  Since 1993 he has recorded and/or performed with among others; Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Joe and Mat Maneri, Rob Brown, Raphe Malik, Ivo Pearlman, Borah Bergman, Andrea Parkins, Whit Dickey, Ken Vandermark, DKV Trio, Karen Borca, Eugene Chadborne, Susie Ibarra, Hession/Wilkinson/Fell, Roy Campbell Jr., John Butcher, Aaly Trio, Hamid Drake, Fully Celebrated Orchestra and others.

He began playing acoustic bass in 2000 and has since performed with cellist Daniel Levin, Whit Dickey and recorded with pianist Steve Lantner.  Joe is currently on the faculty at New England Conservatory in the jazz and improvisation department. He was nominated as Best Guitarist of the year 1998 and 2002 at the New York Jazz Awards.


AlVIN FIELDER is a co-founder the AACM, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, the seminal progressive Jazz organization that spearheaded the revolution in Jazz to freer forms.  Plus the Black Arts Music Society, Improvisational Arts Trio/Quartet/Quintet, and is a founding faculty member of the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp.  He’s played in Sun Ra’s Arkestra and with Cecil Taylor, Oliver Lake, Eddie Harris, David Murray, Peter Kowald, Barry Guy and a gang of other jazz notables. He’s long been a regular on the New Orleans modern-jazz scene, especially with Kidd Jordon.

“Sound”, Roscoe Mitchell’s masterwork, was the first recording with his name (Alvin Fielder) on it. The records that followed – many of them as a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra – contributed to the development of the myth surrounding this pioneer of free jazz who thinks that music is like painting a portrait or writing creatively: “Drumming is not beating on something”, he warns. – Clean Feed Records.

From 1959 to 1968, Alvin was active in Chicago with: Sun Ra Arkestra 1960-61, Muhal Richard Abrams 1962-63, Roscoe Mitchell 1963-66, Eddie Harris and Kalaparusha 1965, co-op trio with Fred Anderson and Lester Lashley 1967-69. In between, he worked with John Stubblefield, Jack DeJohnette, “Scotty” Holt, Joseph Jarman, and other Chicago jazz musicians. Alvin is a charter member of AACM with Muhal Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, Fred Anderson, Malachi Favors, Jodie Christian, Steve McCall, Phil Cohran, Thurman Barker, Ajaramu, Charles Clark, Christopher Gaddy, Freddy Berry, etc. Damon Smith is a master of bowed bass and sounds inspired throughout, weaving a web with Mr.  Fielder’s equally creative drumming. Best rhythm team only record I’ve heard since those two by William Parker and Hamid Drake, and that is really something special! – Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG j

DAMON SMITH is a staunch believer in deference towards one’s elders, a stance that comes through in everything from his rigorous efforts at advocacy to regular acknowledgments of the debts he owes musically to those who have come before.  Fortunately, Smith’s unerring admiration doesn’t extend to a passivity or acquiescence when it comes to the actual making of music with his heroes. Rather, he’s an active and even aggressive instigator and that willingness to test the mettle of those he respects informs each of six duets that comprise the disc.

Since arriving in Boston in 2016, from Houston after six years by way of Oakland, CA., Damon has been very importantly active in the creative Jazz scene, joining the musical forces here already and part of visiting artist’s arrangements to contribute to a revitalized environment that Boston was known for decades ago!

Damon has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including: Cecil Taylor, Marshall Allen (of Sun Ra’s Arkestra), Henry Kaiser, Roscoe Mitchell, Michael Pisaro, Wadada Leo Smith, Marco Eneidi, Wolfgang Fuchs, Peter Brötzmann and Peter Kowald.  Damon has run Balance Point Acoustics record label since 2001, releasing music focusing on transatlantic collaborations between US and Europeans.

The Creative Music Series (CMS) was established in 1/ 2015, to showcase the work of adventurous jazz musicians from Out-of-State, presenting them in intimate venues in the Cambridge/Somerville area.  My endeavor was a reaction to the apparent lack of invitations being extended to accomplished and even unknown musicians to Boston.  CMS has now begun to zero in on Boston based musicians who are creating their own projects with these out-of-town guests and taking these musical risks to find an expression and gain a wider appreciation.


October 28, 2017
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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The Creative Music Series


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