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Wadada Leo Smith at 80

“Once you get over-the-hill, you really pick up some speed.” Quincy Jones has adopted that aphorism and spread it around — and it most certainly applies to Wadada Leo Smith, who is enjoying perhaps the most prolific Indian summer of any jazzman of any era…. And if that wasn’t enough, with his 80th birthday looming […]

Jon Hassell, avant garde US composer, dies aged 84

Jon Hassell, the influential American avant garde composer who invented the global-minded “fourth world” musical aesthetic, has died aged 84. In a statement, his family said the “iconic trumpet player, author and composer” died in the early hours of 26 June, after just over a year of health complications. For the complete Guardian article click […]

A Blues Surrealist

Julius Hemphill’s music uses stark, lyrical abstraction and svelte dissonances to confront the vicissitudes of black American life. “I like to make things,” the saxophonist and composer Julius Hemphill told an interviewer from the Smithsonian in 1994, a year before his death from diabetes. “It might not equate to the great American novel…but I can […]

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