Wadada Leo Smith
|Born||December 18, 1941|
Leland, Mississippi, U.S.
Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith (born December 18, 1941)is an American trumpeter and composer, working primarily in the field of creative music. He was one of three finalists for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Music for Ten Freedom Summers , released on May 22, 2012.
Smith was born in Leland, Mississippi, United States.He started out playing drums, mellophone, and French horn before he settled on the trumpet. He played in various R&B groups and, by 1967, became a member of the AACM and co-founded the Creative Construction Company, a trio with Leroy Jenkins and Anthony Braxton. In 1971, Smith formed his own label, Kabell. He also formed another band, the New Dalta Ahkri, with members including Henry Threadgill, Anthony Davis and Oliver Lake.
In the 1970s, Smith studied ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. He played again with Anthony Braxton, as well as recording with Derek Bailey's Company.In the mid-1980s, Smith became Rastafarian and began using the name Wadada. In 1993, he began teaching at Cal Arts, a position he held until 2014. In addition to trumpet and flugelhorn, Smith plays several world music instruments, including the koto, kalimba, and atenteben (Ghanaian bamboo flute). He has also taught courses in instrument making. His compositions often use a graphic notation system he calls "Ankhrasmation", which he developed in 1970.
In 1998, Smith and guitarist Henry Kaiser released Yo, Miles!, a tribute to Miles Davis's then-lesser-known 1970s electric period.On this album, Smith, Kaiser and a large cast of musicians recorded cover versions and original compositions inspired by Miles's electric music. The follow-ups Sky Garden (released by Cuneiform in 2004) and Upriver (released in 2005) were recorded with a different cast of musicians. Both line-ups featured Michael Manring on bass.
Smith's Golden Quartet (with which he has released several albums) originally featured Jack DeJohnette on drums, Anthony Davis on keyboards, and Malachi Favors on bass.After several iterations, the Golden Quartet now features Pheeroan akLaff on drums, John Lindberg on bass, and Davis on piano.
During the 2000s, Smith recorded albums for John Zorn's label Tzadik, as well as Pi Recordings. In 2008, he and his Golden Quartet released a DVD entitled Freedom Now.
Smith has lived in New Haven, Connecticut for many years, a city where he helped create a prominent culture for creative music.
With Muhal Richard Abrams
With Marion Brown
With Anthony Braxton
With Creative Construction Company
With Andrew Cyrille
With Leroy Jenkins
With Henry Kaiser
With Bill Laswell
With Frank Lowe
With Maurice McIntyre
With Roscoe Mitchell
With Matthew Shipp
With Spring Heel Jack
With John Zorn
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Discography for jazz saxophonist Anthony Braxton.
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Pheeroan akLaff is an American jazz drummer and percussionist. He began playing in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan and Ann Arbor, with R & B keyboardist Travis Biggs, funk keyboardist Nimrod “The Grinder” Lumpkin, The Ebony Set and The Last Days. He moved to New Haven, Connecticut, and formed a group with saxophonist/flautist/percussionist Dwight Andrews. He debuted with saxophonist Bill Barron in 1975, followed by a tenure in Leo Smith's ‘New Dalta Ahkri’ (1977-1979).
Joe Fonda is an American jazz bassist.
Hugh Ragin is an American jazz trumpeter.
Creative Music - 1 is the first recording as a leader by American jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, which was released in 1972 on his own, privately pressed label Kabell. Subtitled "Six Solo Improvisations", the album featured Smith solo using trumpet, flugelhorn and various drums, gongs, bells, and home made percussion. It was reissued in 2004 as part of the four-CD box Kabell Years: 1971-1979, released by John Zorn's imprint Tzadik Records.
Ancestors is a studio album by American jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, which was released in 2012 on the Finnish TUM label. The album features his first recording with South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo, after having explored the trumpet/drums duos on The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer with Ed Blackwell, Compassion with Adam Rudolph, Wisdom in Time with Günter Sommer and America with Jack DeJohnette.
Reflectativity is the second album by American jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and the debut with the ensemble New Dalta Ahkri, which was recorded live at The Educational Center for the Arts, New Haven, and released in 1975 on his own Kabell label.
The Year of the Elephant is the twenty-fifth studio album by American jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith which was recorded in 2002 and released on Pi Recordings. It was the second recording by his Golden Quartet featuring pianist Anthony Davis, bassist Malachi Favors and drummer Jack DeJohnette.
Tabligh is an album by American jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith which was recorded live at the CalArts Creative Music Festival in 2005 and released on Cuneiform. It was the third recording by his Golden Quartet with a new electro-acoustic lineup featuring pianist Vijay Iyer, bassist John Lindberg and drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson.
America is an album by American jazz trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and drummer Jack DeJohnette which was recorded in 2008 and released on Tzadik Records. It was their first duo recording, a collaboration originally proposed to ECM in 1979 and rejected.
Kabell Years: 1971–1979 is a four-CD box set released on Tzadik Records compiling American jazz trumpeter/composer/inmproviser Wadada Leo Smith's earliest albums which were originally released on his own, privately pressed label Kabell along with additional previously unissued material from the same era. The set includes the previously released material from Creative Music - 1, Reflectativity, Song of Humanity and Solo Music: Ahkreanvention.