Rob Reddy in : April as Jazz Month 

We at Seed Artists give a big thank you to Rob Reddy, Meg Araneo, and the tech crew at BRIC for creating INTERRUPTION. It was a moving moment of poetic social commentary by Oliver Lake, large ensemble music - both composed and improvised- by Rob Reddy, complimenting a sermon of Rev. Dr. Samuel Barber; emissary of the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina. Barber's image was depicted in video near the stage, amid a room engulfed in exquisite lighting design. 

Rob and Meg put forth this combined artistic expression in a Work in Progress that also raised a challenge to the audience. Especially those who are asking a familiar question today; "What to do now?" After the election of course, but also after feeling the cumbersome state of affairs within our nation. The audiences of both evenings were asked to comment on the work to help us refine its presentation. The first night someone actually did ask us what action should be taken as spur from our presentation. 

One woman who identified herself as a jazz musician drifted into commenting on how there were not enough women in Jazz. Though I don't think Rob's music was trying to be Jazz in the same sense she meant, and certainly Lisa Parrot is not a token in the orchestra, she just happens to be a badass baritone sax player. That aside, the comment reminded me of some things that I personally believe. First, and foremost I suggest that women started Jazz! It is my calculation from regarding the time when Jazz the culture formed. Jazz the music, in reductionist theory has it starting New Orleans, and lauds several notable, and selected men as its author. Today people have grown to call Jazz America's only true classical art music, which rebuts the antiquated notion that Jazz proficiency was not much more than an elixir driven folk music, which was not as serious as the classical music of Europe - Asia. That is acceptable, but not enough of the back story for me. If Jazz did start on these shores it started on the plantation with hands agile enough to explore a bunch of white keys frightened by a few black ones. I am sure the Sally Hemmings of our world would be first in line to use the spiritual power hidden in the ivories. Everyone interested in this topic should hear Mary Lou Williams' depiction of the evolution of Jazz. 

Secondly, and less significant in my view, there is Jazz the employment source, which has its own inequalities, over-qualifications, appropriations, and intersectional trends to complain about. In stark contrast to this, and the reason that I indulge and promote it, Jazz the culture is a healing force. This is impenetrable by hackers, not found in books or schools, and requires good old fashion mentoring, self - motivation, and countless inexplicable qualities of spiritual timing. 

Rob and Meg have taken action and responded to the times in which we live by fusing activism in their work and engaging their public. It is not for the faint of heart, or for posers who want to be Jazz musicians, or artists because it is cool or alternative. Rob and Meg are following a long standing tradition of using their voice and efforts for the evolutionary benefit to humanity it brings. This is what Jazz the culture has done ever since it was a defining trope that upheld the crux of American ingenuity - even if it was as diabolical as; how to relieve the pain of the slave-masters whip and bring some joy to our soul process. 

Now that the whip is visible again in a North American  scramble for sanctity, sanity and good will, it will be the artists verité who leads these painful conversations, and reality checks. We will look to our history, and to the poor, and disadvantaged, not only for doing good deeds but to protect ourselves from becoming so. 

As it was during several other periods of reconstruction; It's time for interruption! 

p.s. Seed Artists is screening Femmes de Jazz by Gil Corre on April 27th at 6:00 pm 

at Montclair Public Library Auditorium 50 S. Fullerton Ave. Montclair, NJ 07042 FREE 

and James Brandon Lewis - Chad Taylor Duo April 30th at 3:00pm at The 73 See Gallery 

73 Pine St. Montclair, NJ 07042 


Richard Davis' focus on healing 


..... is the subtext for the a class being taught by Richard Davis this year.
One of the many things a musician can do, is to share any enlightenment that comes from understanding the human condition. 
What Richard Davis is doing with this class is not only a political response. It is a contextualizing of a true musician's wealth. 

Visit Richard Davis@

Cali - Jazz catching on with city modernizations 

Just below the constant city construction hammers and dueling radios pulsating the hyperactive city of Santiago de Cali is the new burgeoning Jazz set culture.
No cool code lingo, no clever overthought tunes by under-dressed “hipsters”, or window dressing trios -at least not yet- just good ol’ fashion listening with curiosity, and cheering their mates.
Becoming more international – as in, more folks from elsewhere residing there - Cali is enjoying many things that big sister Bogota has garnered for some time.
One of them is international music and arts presentation. The city reflects a multi-ethnic palate of hues and a friendliness only to be outdone by spicy garb for a tropical metropolis.
Thanks to an invitation by veteran percussionist Larry Joseph who informed me of the Utopia Jazz festival, which happened just before I arrived in town,
I heard the Punto Baré Big Band.
They managed to gather a crowd at the Punto Baré club to rival the size of the one at the sultry salsa club next door.
Jaime Henao (piano/conductor ) has herded a mix of masterful players with strong support musicians.  Superb horn arrangements decorated the classic baby bass – percussion- electric piano sound of New York via Havana.
He conducted a slick theme song, followed by a lush arrangement of Gillespie’s Manteca featuring the brilliant sound of lead trumpeter Diego Giraldo. A post-modern version of Hefti’s Cute, and a sophisticated swaying of the traditional Cumbia La Pollera Coloran, put everyone in debt to their artistry. It was all so impressively commanded by young trap drummer Sebastian Blackburn who’s sound of fury with the slightest effort, and tasty treatment of each genre kept us glued to the stage with anticipation of the next phrase of their cohesive flair.
It may take some time for this music to pay for itself in Cali. No cover, no minimum, and the place was packed. But such appreciation of its resident maestros could foster noteworthy adaptations of Jazz as was done with their dancing to the groove of Puente, Palmieri and Cuban Pete.

Quest Live 1999

The internationally acclaimed New York Trio led by pianist Yosuke Yamashita, is in it’s 27th year of thrilling concert houses with artful ensemble music.
Mr. Yamashita, a worthy constituent of the “Gutai” movement of Japanese artists, modeled his early work after firebrand American vanguard musicians giving social significance to creative independence in their findings.
He is a National Treasure Artist, Oribe awardee,  and has received several citations of honorable note.
Cecil McBee and Pheeroan akLaff have been the stalwart accompanists in his New York Trio of strident and elegant folklore, interdisciplinary performances, and recordings in several musical settings. This three-decade nucleus with legendary chemistry, is coming to a theater near you! That is if you live in Japan.
Fond memories for some in the U.S. would occur at the famed Sweet Basil Club in New York, Japan Foundation of New York and Los Angeles, the Kennedy Center, and the San Francisco Jazz festival.
Yosuke Yamashita: New York Trio Recordings
• Grandioso, (Verve) 2013 Delightful Contrast  (Universal 2011) •Triple Cats, (Verve 2009) Mystic Layers (Verve 2008)• Pacific Crossing (Verve 2005) •  Wind of the Age (Verve 2004) • Canvas in Vigor  (Verve 2003) • Fragments (Verve 1999) 
• Ways of Time (Polygram 1997 ) 
• Spider
 (Verve 1995) • Dazzling Days (Polygram 1994)
 • Kurdish Dance (Antilles, 1993) 
• Sakura Live ( Antilles 1991)
 • Plays Gershwin
 (Verve ) 
• Sakura • (Kitty 1989) Crescendo (Kitty 1988)


20th Century Japan concludes with Yamashita's 1999 Quest concert 

It was 1999, the year of Prince's ubiquitous song title which rang more of "Y2K" fear than parties.
E-mail and the internet was becoming necessary, even for university teaching as I was in my sixth year of learning to teach.
I embraced this live performance tour with many drums, cymbals, cow bell, and precious temple blocks that were personal gifts; a mulberry tree mokugyo from a priest I met in Iwaki city, and an oak mokugyo from my friend's father Mr. Suda in Kyoto.

It was a transitional year for me musically because I was fortunate enough to perform and record with Andrew Hill, Julian Priester, Sam Rivers, adding to the many genius artists I loved and admired. 

There is no way to explain the zeal that was the New York Trio led by Yosuke Yamashita. His appetite for international and intellectual adaptation is unmatched. His humor exceeds the limits of the cultural boundaries he knew. His concern for fellow artists and his public is immeasurable. It is clear in this video that I am enjoying my role as accompanists and soloist equally. 
In this photo from Wesleyan University in the year 2000 I played with my mentor Max Roach, a summit in my professional life. I have been fortunate to have students who exemplify a passion for the arts. A A shout out to a few outstanding bright lights making an impact on the music scene !

From Wesleyan - Trevor Holder, Guillermo E. Brown, Tim Keiper, Azalea Birch, Steve Lehman, Brian McKenna, Chris Dingman, Keith Witty 
From New School University - Chad Taylor, Zan Tanocovich
From Nagoya - Masayasu Amano
15 Concerts and a symposium led by James Newton, with colleagues of Mr. Dolphy: Richard Davis, Gunther Schuller, Grachan Moncur III. and Professors John Szwed and Michael Veal.
From the incomparable FREEDOM OF SOUND FESTIVAL 2014 presented by Seed Artists

 co-sponsored with New York Buddhist Church
Book Talk  series with artists David Greenstein and William Parker 

Pheeroan's Artist Residency, and Performance at Par Do Tu, Warsaw Poland, February 2013

Solo at Nexus - Saalfelden, Austria for the MyUni consortium February 2013

Private Lessons Wesleyan University, USA

August 2013 - Jupiter Rhythm Workshops - at New York Buddhist Church 

Private Lessons and Jazz workshop - Nagoya Japan - September 2013  

"Dear Freedom Suite"で来日します。check it out!

Pheeroan Aklaff
自身の音楽表現を拡大してきた。 彼はジョン・コルトレーンの精神的音楽に捧げるダブル・デュオを率いている。メンバーは、

Residency with
Jazz students University De Javierna - Bogota     July 2012        

Drum-set students - Nagoya, Japan Summer 2012

Professor Sunny Kim ensemble at Jazz club "Monk" Changwon, Korea Summer 2012

Youth Workshop in Iida village, Nagoya prefecture Japan August 2008