CMA Announces $285,000 in Grants to Jazz Ensembles and Presenters

Twenty-three jazz artists, ensembles, and presenters in the U.S. and France to receive support.
Contact: Jeanette Vuocolo
212.242.2022 ext 17

NEW YORK, NY— Chamber Music America (CMA), celebrating its 34th year of service to ensemble music professionals, today announced the recipients of grants supporting jazz projects and performances. Approximately $285,000 will be distributed to 23 musicians and presenters through two of CMA’s major programs: Presenting Jazz and the CMA/FACE French American Jazz Exchange.

By assisting with concert-associated costs, Presenting Jazz supports not-for-profit U.S. presenters in engaging professional U.S. jazz artists in concert. The program is made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, whose grants this year included an extra $5,000 in general operating support for each grantee’s jazz programs. The additional amount was given in recognition of the unusual financial challenges faced by arts organizations during the past year.

Ten presenters—in Alabama, California, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—were awarded a total of $155,660. Following are the 2011 recipients and the ensembles and works they will present:

Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame (Birmingham, AL) will engage the David Sánchez Jazz Ensemble to perform its 2005 New Works commission, La Leyenda del Canaveral (The Legend of the Sugarcane) in concert at the city’s historic Carver Theatre on Friday, June 24, 2011. The ensemble features Edward Simon, piano; Matt Brewer, bass; Henry Cole, drums; Pernell Saturnino, percussion, and Sánchez, saxophone. On Saturday, June 25, Sánchez will perform the commission for a student audience, and a group discussion will follow the concert.

Ars Nova Workshop (Philadelphia, PA) will present Fieldwork (Vijay Iyer, piano; Tyshawn Sorey, percussion; Steve Lehman, alto saxophone) in its Composer Portraits series at the Settlement Music School. The trio will perform collaborative arrangements of works composed by each of its members and revisit works from its 2008 recording, Door.

Festival of New Trumpet Music (New York, NY) will premiere Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers, the composer’s 2010 New Jazz Works commission, at (Le) Poisson Rouge. Born in Mississippi, Mr. Smith had a first-hand view of the Civil Rights Movement that inspired this three-movement suite: “Brown v. Board of Education” (equal protection, 1954); “Little Rock Nine” (desegregation in education, 1957); and “Freedom Summer” (voter registration, 1964), The work will be performed by Smith’s Golden Quartet (Angelica Sanchez, piano and Fender Rhodes; John Lindberg, bass; Pheeroan akLaff, drums, and Smith, trumpet).

Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts (Queens, NY) will present Rudresh Mahanthappa and the Indo Pak Coalition in performance of selections from its album Apti (Pi Recordings), as well as new compositions from a forthcoming album. The trio features Rudresh Mahanthappa, alto saxophone; Rez Abbasi, guitar; and Dan Weiss, drums and tabla. Also included on the program are a panel discussion, a masterclass for musicians, and a professional development workshop for ESL educators.

Hallwalls (Buffalo, NY) will present Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet performing Ten Freedom Summers, Smith’s 2010 New Jazz Works commission, as well as other recent works. Four local, professional musicians, selected by Smith, will join the quartet in concert. The ensemble will also offer a masterclass, lecture, and concert for students at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. (For more details on Ten Freedom Summers, see entry above under “Festival of New Trumpet Music, 2011.”)

Kerrytown Concert House (Ann Arbor, MI) will present the Joel Harrison Septet performing Harrison’s 2009 New Jazz Works commission, Singularity, a work that explores a fresh approach to chamber jazz by drawing on technical and expressive qualities of some of Harrison’s favorite classical/contemporary composers, such as John Adams, Charles Ives, and Olivier Messiaen. The ensemble members are Christian Howes, violin; Donny McCaslin, saxophone; Dana Leong, cello; Gary Versace, piano; Stephan Crump, bass; and Jordan Person, drums; and Harrison, guitar.

Other Minds (San Francisco, CA) will premiere Slang, by pianist/ composer/bandleader Jason Moran, on March 5, 2011, during the 16th Other Minds Festival. Inspired by The Dialect of the Black American, a 1970 instructional recording produced by Western Electric, as well as by scholarship on Taiwan’s Bunun people, Moran’s work explores communication within cultures. The composer will be joined in performance by fellow members of his ensemble, The Bandwagon—Mary Halverson, guitar; Tarus Mateen, bass; Nasheet Waits, drums—and guest vocalist, Alicia Hall Moran.

Roulette (New York, NY) will present Jason Kao Hwang and Edge Plus 4, in a performance of Burning Bridge, Hwang’s 2009 New Jazz Works commission, an exploration of life, death, and the metaphorical fires that burn the bridges connecting past to present. The ensemble includes artists comfortable at the borders of jazz, classical, and Chinese music: Taylor Ho Bynum, cornet and flugelhorn; Ken Filiano, bass; and Andrew Drury, drums; plus guest artists Wang Guowei, erhu; Sun Li, pipa; Joseph Daley, tuba; and Dick Griffin, trombone.

Triple Canopy (Brooklyn, NY) will present Dawn of Midi, a collective made up of percussionist Qasim Naqvi, contrabassist Aakaash Israni, and pianist Amino Belyamani, in three nights of concerts. The concerts will be documented on video and via multi-channel recording and later used to create a Web-based iteration of the project for Triple Canopy’s online magazine. Dawn of Midi creates an idiosyncratic sound that juxtaposes improvisation and composition within an expansive sonic sensibility.

Wexner Center for the Arts (Columbus, OH), Ohio State University, will present the Joel Harrison Septet performing Harrison’s 2009 New Jazz Works commission, Singularity. (See Kerrytown Concert House, above, for details.)

Grants totalling $129,550 have been awarded to six American and seven French jazz artists and ensembles for collaborative projects in France and the U.S. The organizations collaborating on the CMA/FACE program—a joint initiative of Chamber Music America, the French American Cultural Exchange, and the French Embassy—announced the awards.

The program is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, CulturesFrance, the Florence Gould Foundation, and SACEM.

Following are funded projects for 2011 (the lead partner is indicated in bold):

Brooklyn-based alto saxophonist Tim Berne and collaborator Marc Ducret (electric, acoustic, fretless, and steel guitars and oud; Paris) will compose music to be performed and recorded in the United States by Ducret and Berne’s ensemble, Los Totopos (Berne, saxophone; Matt Mitchell, piano; Oscar Noriega, woodwinds; Chess Smith, percussion).

Denis Colin, bass clarinetist of Montreuil, France, and U.S. saxophonist Tony Malaby will create new material that they will tour and record this February in France with Colin’s octet, La Société des Arpenteurs.

Pianists Benoît Delbecq, of Clichy La Garenne, France, and Fred Hersch, of New York, will partner as composers on a double-bass trio project. Then Delbecq and drummer/producer Steve Argüelles will apply digital processing devices and real-time sound treatment to allow the ensemble to become a “virtual sextet,” mirroring and absorbing its own sound. The project will take place in May, with concerts at Europa Jazz Festival in Le Mans and La Dynamo de Banlieues Bleues in Pantin, plus educational activity and a recording session.

Two trumpeters—Dave Douglas of Croton-on-Hudson, NY, and France’s Ibrahim Maalouf, will compose music for an octet including both French and American musicians. The Douglas-Maalouf Project will perform in the 2011 Festival of New Trumpet Music in New York and in outreach activities for multicultural elementary schools in the city.

Brooklyn guitarist David Gilmore and Paris-based pianist Andy Elmer share a common fascination with the cyclical structures observable in nature. The duo will collaboratively compose a ten-part work via Internet that reflects on the astrological chart of each of the four ensemble members. The project ensemble also features François Moutin, bass, and Marque Gilmore, drums and percussion. The work premieres in June at Club Triton in Paris and will be followed by a recording session; the musicians then bring the work to The Jazz Gallery in New York.

French saxophonist Alexandra Grimal invites New York musicians Todd Neufeld (guitar), Thomas Morgan (bass), and Marcus Gilmore (drums) to perform a new work characterized by complex harmony and polyrhythms, structured improvisations, and open forms. The project includes a U.S./French tour that begins at Miles Café on March 17, 2011, in New York, followed by masterclasses next January in France; a recording session at Avatar Studio in New York; and mixing and mastering at La Buissonée in Pernes-les-Fontaines, France.

In a residency in Paris in the fall, drummer Christophe Marguet will team with upstate New York bassist Steve Swallow to co-compose a work for a sextet in which they will be joined by French artists Régis Huby, violin, and Benjamin Moussay, piano, and saxophonist Chris Cheek and trumpeter Cuong Vu, of the U.S. The group plans to tour to New York, Miami, Minneapolis and Los Angeles in the U.S. and to Paris, Coutances, Boissey le Cuté, Argenteuil, and other locales in France.

Paris-based drummer Edward Perraud will collaborate with compatriot Didier Petit (cello) and New Yorkers Andrea Parkins (accordion/electronics) and Hans Tammen (guitar/electronics) to create a work with both compositional and improvisational structures. Each artist will produce at least one piece for the group’s total instrumentation—percussion, accordion, keyboards, laptop electronics, cello, guitar and prepared guitar. The finished work will be rehearsed, premiered, and toured in France this fall, and performed and recorded in New York in January 2012.

Saxophonist Jerôme Sabbagh, a New Yorker since 1995, will join pianist Jozef Dumoulin, of Paris, on a project in which each will write a minimum of five songs for quartet (for themselves with Patrice Blanchard, electric bass, and Rudy Royston, drums). Though electric and electronic, the music will have live and organic qualities. Rehearsals this fall in New York will be followed by tours in the U.S. and in France, a concert/clinic at P.S. 154 in Brooklyn, and a recording session at Sear Sound in New York.

Saxophonist Jaleel Shaw, a Philadelphia native, has invited French pianist Vincent Bourgeyx to collaborate on a five-part suite for quartet in a mutual challenge—to compose one piece about his hometown and another about his New York experience and then collaborate on a work representing the similarities. Communicating via Skype and email in the early stages, the pair will then rehearse, perform, and record in New York, where they will be joined by Ben Williams, bass, and Johnathan Blake, drums.

Sachal Vasandani will collaborate with French-Moroccan vocalist Malika Zarra and Argentinian singer Sofia Rei Koutsovitis to create a body of new songs for voice and percussion to be performed by the quintet Sefira (Vasandani, Zarra, and Koutsovitis, with percussionists Nacho Arimany and Mathias Kunzli). The work will showcase each vocalist’s range, timbre, musical heritage, and improvisational ability, while exploring new common ground with the support and drive of master percussionists. The quintet will premiere the work in New York next summer and produce high-quality audio and video recordings of live performances.

Guitarist Nelson Veras will form a trio with Thomas Morgan, bass, and drummer Stephane Galland to perform new music that he will write especially for this project. The ensemble will rehearse and record the work in Limoges, France; premiere it at Café de la Dance in Paris; and tour Europe April through August. The project album will be released by Bee Jazz Records this April.

U.S. jazz-rock guitarist, David Fiuicynski, joins French trombone collaborators Daniel Zimmerman and Julien Chirol to create new music for a septet that will also include U.S. trombonists Robin Eubanks and Douglas Purviance and France’s Jean-Philippe Morel (electric bass) and Vincent Taeger (drums). A three-movement piece, Schizophonic Suite will explore extremes and contrasts in today’s music, followed by a tribute to jazz, pop, and rock icons. The first concert is planned for Paris this April, followed by a summer European tour and recording and mastering in New York and Montreuil, France.


This is the final year that CMA will administer the American portion of the French American Jazz Exchange. MidAtlantic Arts Foundation will partner with the French Embassy for the next round of applications. For further information on guidelines and application deadlines, contact Adam Bernstein or Emmanuel Morlet.


CHAMBER MUSIC AMERICA was founded in 1977 to develop and strengthen an evolving chamber music community. With a membership of over 6,000, including musicians, ensembles, presenters, artist managers, educators, music businesses, and advocates of ensemble music, CMA welcomes members representing a wide range of musical styles and traditions. In addition to its funding programs, CMA provides its members with consulting services, access to health and instrument insurance, conferences, seminars and several publications, including Chamber Music magazine, and a website, www.chamber-music.org.

The mission of the DORIS DUKE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child abuse, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. Visit www.ddcf.org.