“All my inspiration comes from Ahmad Jamal,… (he) knocked me out with his concept of space, his lightness of touch, and the way he phrases notes and chords and passages”. – Miles Davis
Text by Dawoud Kringle
Born Frederick Russell Jones in Pittsburgh in 1930, Jamal began playing music at three when an uncle inspired him to begin playing the piano. After some formal training, he began playing professionally at the age of 14. His potential was recognized by the great piano master Art Tatum.
Sylvain Leroux is a unique musician. He devoted years to the study and mastery of the Fula flute, the traditional flute from Guinea, West Africa. He founded a music school, L’ecole Fula Flute; a music literacy project that teaches this endangered flute tradition. He is one of those people who successfully – and respectfully – adapts a foreign musical tradition, and then expands upon it.
Keyna Wilkins, MFM’s first international member, is a pioneering Australian/British composer-musician. She was one of three finalists for the Australian Art Music Awards for Individual Excellence in 2021 and 2018 (APRA/AMCOS). As an innovative soloist her solo show explores stream-of-consciousness improvisations alongside her composed pieces, often using loop pedal and visual projections and inspired by contemporary human rights issues, astronomical phenomena and philosophy.
She has collaborated with six detained refugees from their prison cells via zoom, victims of Australia’s brutal mandatory refugee detention laws for nine years, on music, poetry and art collaborations. She has performed her solo show around Australia including Phoenix Central Park, MONA, Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival, Melbourne Digital Concert Hall, Australian Flute Festival and many other venues.
She has released 4 solo albums on piano and flute and 5 ensemble albums. Her works are published by Wirripang and performed internationally. While classically trained in UK, Germany and Sydney Conservatorium, she has branched into jazz, flamenco, live theatre and has studied intuitive conceptual improvisation with Tibetan Buddhist musician Tenzin Cheogyal. www.keynawilkins.com Continue reading →
Wayne Shorter was born in Newark on Aug. 25, 1933. At the age of 12, he won a citywide art contest, which led to his attending Newark Arts High School, the first public high school in the country specializing in the visual and performing arts. His teachers helped him cultivate his interest in music theory and composition. At the same time, he became fascinated with bebop and the works of Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. Shorter switched from clarinet to the tenor saxophone. He joined a local bebop group led by a singer named Jackie Bland.
He acquired the nickname, the Newark Flash, around the jazz scene of the 1950s, while earning a degree in music education at New York University. After serving two years in the Army, he re-entered the scene, making a strong impression as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.