Jazz masters and living legends in a rare Austin performance
Epistrophy Arts is incredibly proud to present a duo performance by two masters in modern jazz and creative music.
Andrew Cyrille studied at the Julliard and Hartnett schools of music emerging to professional gigs with such noted legends as Mary Lou Williams, and Coleman Hawkins. In 1964, Cyrille formed an eleven year association with pianist, Cecil Taylor, establishing himself as “one of the most instinctively, musically, inventive drummers of the era.” Since 1969, Cyrille has worked with many notable dance groups, most recently with Cleo Parker Robinson and her dance company. He has organized several percussion groups including Dialogue of the Drums, Pieces of Time, Weights and Measures, which featured distinguished artists such as Kenny Clark, Milford Graves, Famoudou Don Moye, Michael Carvin, Victor Lewis, Ghanian drummer, Obo Addy and Haitian drummer, Frisner Augustin. He has toured internationally with renowned Russian percussionist, Vladimir Tarasov. He has also worked with some of the leading proponents of contemporary music such as Richard Muhal Abrams, John Carter, Walt Dickerson and David Murray. Cyrille has been artist-in-residence at Antioch College and is currently on faculty at The New School University for Jazz & Contemporary Music in New York City. His sterling work has earned him several grants and awards including funding from the NEA, Meet the Composer and a Guggenheim Fellowship for composition.
Texas-born Billy Harper is “one of a generation of Coltrane-influenced tenor saxophonists” with a distinctively stern, hard-as-nails sound on his instrument.
Harper has played with some of jazz’s greatest drummers; he served with Art Blakey’s Messengers for two years (1968–70); he played very briefly with Elvin Jones (1970), he played with the Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra in the 1970s, and was a member of Max Roach’s band in the late 1970s. He has also been a frequent member of Randy Weston’s ensembles, and in 2013 they recorded their first album as a duo, entitled The Roots of the Blues. Harper performed on Gil Evans’ 1973 album Svengali, and contributed two of the most-performed tunes in the band’s repertoire: “Priestess” and “Thoroughbred”.
Harper’s 1973 album Capra Black “remains one of the seminal recordings of jazz’s black consciousness movement–a profoundly spiritual effort that channels both the intellectual complexity of the avant-garde as well as the emotional potency of gospel.” The Italian jazz label Black Saint was launched with Harper’s 1975 album Black Saint. His later releases have mostly been on SteepleChase and Evidence.
This project is supported in part by individual contributors and the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
Cyrille photo by Shawn Brackbill