Wed, Feb 08|
The Parlor Room
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Kahil El'Zabar (percussion), Corey Wilkes (trumpet), Alex Harding (baritone Saxophone)
Time & Location
Feb 08, 2023, 7:30 PM
The Parlor Room, 32 Masonic St., Northampton, MA 01060
About The Event
Kahil El'Zabar is an accomplished musician with mastery of a variety of instruments: congas, bongos, African drums, shekere, gongs, trap drums, balaphon, marimba, sanza, kalimba and berimbau. Music holds no boundaries for El'Zabar, who has not only played alongside a myriad of jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Cannonball Adderly, but was in the bands of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone (who he also designed clothes for) and Paul Simon, as well as recording with rock bands like Sonia Dada and Poi Dog Pondering and heading up the jazz/house outfit, JUBA Collective.
El'Zabar was born in Chicago, on November 11, 1953. One of three children growing up in a South Side neighborhood where he heard music in the streets everyday - doo-wop, r&b, gospel, blues and jazz. After attending Catholic schools in Chicago, El'Zabar went to Kennedy-King College and later to Malcolm X and Lake Forest colleges. In 1973 while attending Lake Forest college, El'Zabar was given the opportunity to study mime with Marcel Marceau in Paris, but instead opted to use the money to attend the University of Ghana and study African music firsthand.
At the age of eighteen, he joined Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and by 1975 he was chairman of the organization. During the early 1970s, El'Zabar formed his own musical group, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, and later another group, the Ritual Trio, with both of which he still performs. His talents have also extended to the cinematic arena, scoring and appearing in three feature films - "Love Jones" (New Line), "Mo' Money" (Columbia Pictures) and "How U Like Me Now" (Universal Pictures), costarring in the feature film "Savannah", and starring in two independent films - "So Low But Not Alone," and "The Last Set." El'Zabar was chosen to do the arranging for the stage performances of The Lion King, he has published a book of poetry, Mis'taken Brilliance and he tailors clothing both for his band and for others. From 1996 to 1999, El'Zabar organized Traffic at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, an inter-arts program featuring music and poetry. In 1991, El'Zabar was commissioned by Germany's Leverkusen Jazz Festival to present a 20 year retrospective of his work, which showcased Orchestra Infinity - a 25-piece big band formed several years ago.
Corey Wilkes has established himself as one of the best improvising trumpeters in the modern era. Having the skill and maturity to approach avant-garde to mainstream jazz standards along he combines them with his own unique sensibilities. Corey continues to bring his brand of musicianship and talent to the forefront of the genre.
As a child, growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Wilkes was surrounded by the sounds of Blues, R&B, Soul, Funk and Jazz. He picked up the trumpet for the first time at the age of 10 participating in his school band programs. Corey's natural talent immediately began to flourish. His confidence and maturity were well beyond his years. As a student at Rich South High School in Richton Park, Illinois, his hard work and dedication secured him a spot in the Illinois All State Honors Jazz Combo; the first student in the school's history to do so.
Corey has also shared the stage with numerous Jazz Masters including but not limited to; Art Ensemble of Chicago, Roscoe Mitchell, David Murray, Hammiet Bluiett, James Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, James Moody, Kurt Elling, Von Freeman, Greg Osby, Marcus Belgrave, Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison and Mulgrew Miller.
Alex Harding was born on April 5, 1967 in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of six, Alex knew what he wanted to do in his lifetime: to be a musician. Alex started on the tenor sax as a child, but as time went by he mastered playing the tenor, soprano, alto, baritone, clarinet and flute. Mr. Harding took band classes in elementary and middle school, entering musical competitions and shows. He chose to attend Northwestern High School so he could study music under the direction of Mr. Ernest Rogers, a renowned musician. It was during high school that Alex decided to make the baritone sax and bass clarinet his main instruments. Alex Harding studied music in his early years with Yusef Lateef, Beans Bows and Herbie Williams, and had a chance to play with Wynton Marsalis and Donald Byrd while still in high school. Alex went on to win music scholarships to the University of Massachusetts and the Aspen School of Music. Alex’s first European engagement in 1990 was in Porgy and Bess. A year later, he went to Mexico to the Arts and Music Festival with percussionist Francisco Mora.
After settling in New York in 1993, and a stint touring with Phatoms, a Haitian group, Alex joined Julius Hemphill’s Saxophone Sextet. He also began performing with Muhal Richard Abrams, Craig Harris, Lester Bowie, Frank Lacey, Oliver Lake and David Murray’s Big Band. In 1996, Alex joined Hamiet Bluiett’s Baritone Group and appeared with the Mingus Big Band, Jayne Cortez Firespitters and Lester Bowie’s Hip-Hop Philharmonic. He also recorded with Greg Osby, Frank Lowe, David Lee Roth and Rodney Whittaker. The following year, Alex recorded At Doctor King’s Table with the Julius Hemphill Sextet, a CD with Hamiet Bluiett’s Baritone Group, and he made his debut with the Sun Ra Arkestra under Marshall Allen’s leadership. In 1998, Alex was part of the Sun Ra All-Star Project that premiered at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival. More recently Alex has performed with the Roy Hargrove Big Band and with Aretha Franklin.
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble$15.00+$0.38 service fee