ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer was named Downbeat Magazine’s Jazz Artist of the Year for 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2018, and the Vijay Iyer Sextet was named DownBeat‘s 2018 Jazz Group of the Year. He received a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2012 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and a 2011 Grammy nomination. He has released 23 albums, including Far From Over (ECM, 2017), with the Vijay Iyer Sextet, which topped numerous year-end critics polls and was cited by Rolling Stone as “2017’s jazz album to beat”; A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke (ECM, 2016) in duo with legendary composer-trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, named “Best New Music” by Pitchfork; Break Stuff (ECM, 2015) with the Vijay Iyer Trio, winner of the German Record Critics’ Award for Album of the Year; the live score to the film Radhe Radhe: Rites of Holi (ECM, 2014) by filmmaker Prashant Bhargava; and Holding it Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project (Pi Recordings, 2013), his third politically searing collaboration with poet-performer Mike Ladd, named Album of the Year in the Los Angeles Times.
Iyer’s compositions have been commissioned and premiered by Bang on a Can All-Stars, The Silk Road Ensemble, Ethel, Brentano Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Imani Winds, American Composers Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum, Matt Haimowitz, and Jennifer Koh. Iyer is the Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts at Harvard University, and the director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.
Teju Cole is a writer, art historian, photographer, and the photography critic of The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of four books, each in a different genre: the novella Every Day Is for the Thief, the novel Open City, the essay collection Known and Strange Things and, most recently, the genre-defying Blind Spot. His work has been translated into 16 languages. His honors include the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Internationaler Literaturpreis from the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the New York City Book Award for Fiction, the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Focus Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Windham Campbell Prize from Yale University, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His photography has been the subject of solo exhibitions in Milan, Berlin, Zürich, and New York, and he has given numerous distinguished lectureships. Born in Michigan in 1975 and raised in Nigeria, Cole currently lives in Brooklyn.
During his 15-year career, Ambrose Akinmusire has paradoxically situated himself in both the center and the periphery of jazz, most recently emerging in classical and hip-hop circles. He’s on a perpetual quest for new paradigms, masterfully weaving inspiration from other genres, arts and life in general into compositions that are as poetic and graceful as they are bold and unflinching. His unorthodox approach to sound and composition make him a regular on critics polls and have earned him earned him grants and commissions from the Doris Duke Foundation, the Kennedy Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival and Berlin Jazz Festival. While Akinmusire continues to garner accolades, his reach is always beyond — himself, his instrument, genre, form, preconceived notions and anything else imposing limitations. Motivated primarily by the spiritual and practical value of art, Akinmusire wants to remove the wall of erudition surrounding his music. He aspires to create richly textured emotional landscapes that tell the stories of the community, record the time and change the standard. While committed to continuing the lineage of black invention and innovation, he manages to honor tradition without being stifled by it. His fifth release as leader, Origami Harvest, will be released in October 2018.
Vibraphonist, marimbist, improviser and composer Patricia Brennan, originally from Mexico, has toured all over the world and has received numerous awards. Her search for freedom in her musical expression led her to find her voice through the vibraphone and mallet percussion in improvisational music. Brennan performs with Grammy-nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble and with Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus. Brennan has performed with many renowned artists such as Vijay Iyer, Matt Mitchell and Wadada Leo Smith. She has performed at Newport Jazz Festival and Carnegie Hall. Recent projects include an ECM recording with Ensemble Kolossus. Brennan holds degrees from Curtis Institute of Music and NYU.
Recently described as a “New Jazz Power Source” by The New York Times, cellist and composer Tomeka Reid has emerged as one of the most original, versatile and curious musicians in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community over the last decade. Now based in New York, her distinctive melodic sensibility, usually braided to a strong sense of groove, has been featured in many distinguished ensembles over the years. Reid has been a key member of ensembles led by legendary reedists Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, as well as a younger generation of visionaries including flutist Nicole Mitchell, singer Dee Alexander and drummer Mike Reed. She is also a co-leader of the adventurous string trio Hear in Now with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi. Reid released her eponymous debut recording as a bandleader in 2015 by the Tomeka Reid Quartet, including Jason Roebke, Tomas Fujiwara and Mary Halvorson. Reid is a recipient of a 2016 3Arts award in music and received her doctorate in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2017.