Ensemble Helacious

Friday, February 20, 2009. 8:30 pm


Ensemble Helacious at Roulette 2009

Ensemble Helacious

Friday, February 20, 2009. 8:30 pm

J D Parran:  bass saxophone, clarinet, mbira, flutes
Peter Zummo:  trombone, electronics
Kevin Norton:  vibraphone, drums

Ensemble Helacious was formed in 2007 and has appeared at the second NYC Rhythm in the Kitchen Festival, at The Stone as well as on Art for Art’s RUCMA series.

Now allied in this new configuration these composer/performers have shared projects and stages during many years on the creative music scene such as:

J D Parran’s Omegathorp: Living City, Kevin Norton’s “Breakfast of Champignons” ensemble, Peter Zummo’s Noisy Meditation Band, Annea Lockwood’s Thousand Year Dreaming, The DownTown Ensemble and Ninetet (Yoshi’s) 1997, a six CD release by Anthony Braxton.

These shared musical experiences and associations with pioneering music in almost all genres invest Parran, Norton and Zummo with a musical affinity that virtually explodes in performances of their individual and collective compositions.

WKCR broadcast 2/17/09

Ensemble Helacious will appear live on the WKCR Afternoon New Music, hosted by Ben Young on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, for most of the programs 3pm-6pm slot on 89.9 FM. Recordings of the collective as well as individual compositions will be aired along with other significant recordings featuring the members of this power trio.

J D Parran is a current participant in the Columbia University Radio Station WKCR New York Music Alive series, funded by the New York State Music Fund. The premiere broadcast of this career retrospective will air Sunday, March 1, 2009, 3pm-6pm on WKCR Radio.
Kokopilau is the newest release by J D Parran, a duo with poet, Michael Castro: http://www.freedoniamusic.org/catalog/fm29.html. His previous releases on the Y’all of New York label: Omegathorp: Living City with co-leader Mark Deutsch featuring Thomas Buckner and David Darling and J D Parran and Spirit Stage featuring the poetry of Shirley LeFlore are iconic collaborations of music composition and literature. He has recently participated in premieres by Anthony Davis: Miller Theatre/Columbia University and Spoletto USA as soloist performing the concerto, You Have the Right To Remain Silent, and also as clarinet soloist in Mr. Davis’ operas: Waconda’s Dream (2007) at Opera Omaha and Amistad (2008) at Spoletto USA; Current performances of the music of Julius Hemphill with Marty Ehrlich and Ursula Oppens at Tanglewood, Miller Theatre and the Gardner Museum have been triumphant and critically acclaimed along with his recent recording and performing with Andrew Hill; J D Parran & Spirit Stage TOO, participated in Music and Musicians in the Black Artists’ Group of St. Louis Symposium and Performances presented in 2006 by Washington University (St. Louis); Theatre Museum, Covent Garden and Hong Kong Cultural Center with cabaret vocalist Rosemary George; Festival Sons D’Hiver/Paris with Amiri Baraka and Adegoke Steve Colson; Skopje Jazz Festival/Macedonia and Iridium, NYC with Cecil Taylor and soundVision Orchestra; and at the Miller Theater/Columbia University Anniversary Series, Peroxide by Henry Threadgill.

J D has recorded and performed on clarinets, saxophones and flutes with many other artists such as Muhal Richard Abrahms, Hamiet Bluiett, Anthony Braxton, Don Byron, George Coleman, Robert Dick, Bill Dixon, Douglas Ewart, Stephen Haynes, Graham Haynes, Frank Foster, Leroy Jenkins, Howard Johnson, Oliver Lake, George E. Lewis, Sam Rivers, Ned Rothenberg, Adam Rudolf, Wadada Leo Smith and James Jabbo Ware along with Lena Horne, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, The Band, and Sammy Davis Jr.

Kevin Norton is known for both his composition work and his performances as a percussionist. At Hunter College, Kevin met and began to perform and record with the legendary bassist, (photographer and writer) Milt Hinton. After graduating from Manhattan School of Music with a Masters of Music degree, Kevin soon fell in with New York’s “downtown music scene”: including recordings and/or performances with The Microscopic Septet, Fred Frith, Phillip Johnston’s Big Trouble, Joel Forrester, Ikue Mori, Framework (w/Laura Seaton and Erik Friedlander), among many others. Norton became a key member of Anthony Braxton’s various ensembles. For about ten years Kevin played drums, vibraphone, marimba and multiple percussion in the Braxton’s “Ghost Trance” ensembles, Tri-Centric Orchestra and “Standards” Quartet. As a composer, Kevin has written jazz tunes, hour-long suites, soundtrack cues and everything in between. He is a leader (or co-leader) on more than 15 recordings and can be heard on over 80 recordings as a percussionist. He is a MacDowell Colony fellow and has won various awards and grants from Meet The Composer and similar organizations. He continues to make music with internationally renown artists like Joelle Leandre, Paul Rogers, Paul Dunmall, Connie Crothers, Frode Gjerstad, Angelica Sanchez, Tony Malaby, John Lindberg, J.D. Parran, Mary Rowell, Dave Ballou and the brass band, TILT.

Peter Zummo has been composing for ensemble and trombone since 1967, in pursuit of the evolving boundary of music-making and brass culture. From 1975 to the present, he has performed and recorded for composers, ensembles, bands, film, theatre groups, and dance companies worldwide. Since 1978, he has been artistic director of The Loris Bend Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit presenter of music, dance, and media. Professional studies were with Carmine Caruso and Roswell Rudd, and included study with Stuart Dempster, James Fulkerson, Dick Griffin, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Clifford Thornton and Sam Rivers. His work has been associated with the contemporary classical tradition, in combination with or in juxtaposition to the minimal, jazz, world music, and rock genres. He has pioneered new approaches to instrumental technique on the trombone, and also uses the dijeridoo, euphonium, trumpet, keyboards, percussion, and his voice in performance. His many compositions for ensemble build on original melody and melodic fragments, generating interactive situations for musicians in which they explore the boundaries of common and extended practice without, however, having to act arbitrarily.