Master saxophonist and recent NEA Jazz Master Roscoe Mitchell is one of the great innovators in creative music of the post-Coltrane, post-Ayler era. He has for over 50 years been a restless explorer of new forms, ideas and concepts. In 1967 he founded the Art Ensemble of Chicago (originally the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble), a hugely influential collective whose motto – “Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future” – has been a rallying cry for adventurous artists for more than half a century. He is also distinguished as the founder of the Creative Arts Collective, The Roscoe Mitchell Sextet & Quartet, The Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble, The Sound Ensemble, The New Chamber Ensemble, and the Note Factory.
Earlier this year the Art Ensemble celebrated its 50th anniversary with the release of a stunningly varied new album, We Are On the Edge, newly configured as a large ensemble. The title comes from the words of Philadelphia-based musician, poet and visual artist Camae Ayewa, aka Moor Mother. Ayewa has performed at numerous festivals, colleges, galleries, and museums around the world, sharing the stage with King Britt, Zonal (Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick and The Bug’s Kevin Martin), Claudia Rankine, Bell Hooks, and more. Camae is a vocalist in three collaborative performance groups: Irreversible Entanglements, MoorJewelry and 700bliss. Her debut album as Moor Mother, Fetish Bones, was met with widespread critical acclaim, named 3rd best album of the year by The Wire Magazine, #1 by Jazz Right Now, and has appeared on numerous end of the year lists from Pitchfork, Noisy, Rolling Stone, and Spin Magazine.