Joe Fonda was born on December 16, 1954 in Amsterdam, New York to parents who both played jazz. He played guitar in his youth but switched to bass guitar later on. He studied bass at Berklee College of Music, where he also began playing upright bass.
In the early 1980s he played in the New Haven, Connecticut area and recorded with Wadada Leo Smith. Fonda explored dance and its relationship to jazz music, playing bass with a dance company in the 1980s and incorporating a tap dancer into his ensemble for the albums From the Source and The Healing.
1994 began his playing with Anthony Braxton, collaborating with him extensively for the next five years and recording fifteen albums. He and Michael Jefry Stevens co-lead an ensemble, the Fonda-Stevens group, that began in 1991. The group has recorded ten sessions and continues to perform extensively in Europe and the United States.
Bassist Joe Fonda has recorded seventeen albums as a bandleader and continues to record, perform and explore free jazz.
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Borah Bergman was born on December 13, 1926 in Brooklyn, New York to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. He began took piano lessons as a child and then changed to clarinet, before returning to piano after being discharged from the army. As an adult, he developed his left hand playing to the point where he became essentially ambidextrous as a pianist, and could play equally fast in both hands.
Bergman cited Earl Hines, Bud Powell, Lennie Tristano, Ornette Coleman chamber music, Bach and Dixieland as formative influences, due to the contrapuntally and polyphonically play.
Until the 1970s Borah played little in public, concentrating on private practice and his work as a school teacher. He recorded four albums as a soloist, most notably on the European label Soul Note, before embarking on duo and trio albums beginning in the 1990s. A small number of solo and quartet albums were also released from the middle of the decade.
Free jazz pianist Borah Bergman passed away on October 18, 2012.
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Kahil El’Zabar was born on November 11, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois and attended Lake Forest College before joining the AACM, Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in the early 1970s. He would go on to become its chairman in 1975.
During the 1970s, he formed the musical groups Ritual Trio and the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, both of which have remained active. Kahil has collaborated include Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Cannonball Adderley, and Paul Simon.
The multi-instrumentalist, Kahil El’Zabar, who is mainly a percussionist and composer, regularly records for Delmark Records. As a leader and co-leader he has released eight albums, fourteen with the Ensemble, 14 with the Trio, two with the group Tri-Factor and has recorded four as a sideman with David Murray and Wadada Leo Smith. He continues to perform, compose and record.
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Trilok Gurtu was born in Mumbai, India on October 30, 1951 to Hindu Brahmin parents and attended Don Bosco High School. His mother, singer Shobha Gurtu, encouraged him to learn playing tabla, and he studied playing the instrument under Shah Abdul Karim. He didn’t begin playing western drum kit in the 1970s and developed an interest in jazz, and played played with Charlie Mariano, John Tchicai, Terje Rypdal, and Don Cherry.
One of Trilok’s earliest recordings was around 1977 in the record Apo-Calypso in an album of the German ethnic fusion band, Embryo. His mother also sang in that record, and later joined him in his first solo CD, Usfret. In the 1980s, Gurtu played with Swiss drummer Charly Antolini, John McLaughlin, Jonas Hellborg, Kai Eckhardt, Dominique DiPiazza and opened for Miles Davis in Berkeley, California in 1988. He went on to play and record three albums with Oregon after the death of drummer Collin Walcott. In the early 1990s he resumed his career as a solo artist and a bandleader.
In 1999, Zakir Hussain and Bill Laswell founded a musical group, Tabla Beat Science, bringing Trilok, Karsh Kale and Talvin Singh into the fold. Before going dormant in late 2003 they released three albums. He went on to record the album, Miles Gurtu, with Robert Miles, collaborate with the Arkè String Quartet and perform with Ricky Portera, Nick Beggs, Mario Marzi, Terl Bryant, John De Leo.
Percussionist, drummer and composer Trilok Gurtu has won awards from DRUM! Magazine, Carlton Television Multicultural Music Awards, Down Beat’s Critics Poll and has been nominated for the BBC Radio 3 World and continues to perform, compose, record and tour.
Rozanne Levine was born October 19, 1945 in New York City and grew up in the Bronx. She studied clarinet and guitar as a youth, performing with the school orchestra as a clarinetist. She went on to matriculate through the New York University College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in Psychology. During the same period she took clarinet lessons with Perry Robinson.
By the end of the 1970s she was clarinetist in William Parker’s and Patricia Nicholson Parker ‘s Centering Music / Dance Ensemble. Since the early 1980s, she has also worked with saxophonist Mark Whitecage in his Glass House Ensemble. In 1993 she again joined William Parker and became a member of the Improvisors Collective. At the same time, she founded her group, Christal Clarinets, with Perry Robinson, Anthony Braxton and Joe Fonda.
Levine also worked with Jemeel Moondoc, Theo Jörgensmann, Steve Swell, Gerry Hemingway, Billy Bang, Polly Bradfield, Tristan Honsinger, Dennis Charles, Charles Brackeen, Jemeel Moondoc among others. In the duo RoMarkable with Mark Whitcage, she improvises to his sound sculptures. She composes chakra tuning for her ensemble and uses her own photographs as a starting point for collective imprints. In 1989, she received the commission Grant From The Painted Bride Art Center for her musical and photographic work.
Improvisational clarinetist, composer and photographer Rozanne Levine passed away on June 18, 2013.
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