The Forest with guests Warren Smith and J D Parran

Thursday, June 9, 2022. 8:00 pm
Tickets: $20 Online | $25 Doors
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The Forest with guests Warren Smith and J D Parran

Thursday, June 9, 2022. 8:00 pm

Roulette is excited to present the percussion ensemble The Forest. This performance features collaborative work by Forest members, including Warren Smith’s Elements of a Storm (composed for M’Boom), and Andrew Drury’s (D)ruminations on Blackwell: Mu First Part & Mu Second Part. The latter explores sonic images, impressions, and extrapolations from Drury’s eight-year mentorship with Ed Blackwell.

Instruments include dustpans, tinfoil, drum sets, timpani, mallet percussion, gongs, concert bass drum, djembe, congas, piano, aluminum cookware, voice, five-floor toms, etc.

Andrew Drury, percussion
Gustavo Aguilar, percussion
Leah Bowden, percussion
Lesley Mok, percussion
J D Parran, clarinet, saxophone, flute
Michael Wimberly, percussion
Warren Smith, percussion

Initiated by composer/percussionist/organizer Andrew Drury with Gustavo Aguilar, Leah Bowden, Lesley Mok, and Michael Wimberly, The Forest is a new, cooperative, percussion ensemble that weaves together threads from many traditions. The Forest emphasizes improvisation and composition, wind and innovative percussion techniques, and the individual musical personalities and collective sensibility of its members.

Gustavo Aguilar has been deeply involved in Contemporary New Music and Creative Music for decades, performing at major festivals on five continents with composers and musicians such as Ana Maria Avram, John Bergamo, Anthony Braxton, Tom Buckner, Roy Campbell, Nels Cline, Chaya Czernowin, Anthony Davis, Mark Dresser, Iancu Dumitrescu, Julio Estrada, Vinny Golia, Charlie Haden, Earl Howard, Kang Tae Hwan, George Lewis, Annea Lockwood, Park Jae Chun, Liz Phillips, Roger Reynolds, Adam Rudolph, Wadada Leo Smith, and many others. A Brownsville, Texas native, Gustavo is currently Associate Arts Professor of Collaborative Arts at NYU’s Tisch School and has been on faculty at the University of Maine at Farmington, University of California (San Diego), Del Mar College/Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Korea National University of the Arts, and The University of Akron, and has given lectures and master classes at universities and symposia across the United States and abroad.

Leah Bowden performs solo and in a wide variety of bands and projects from popular to experimental music. She has worked with Baby Bushka, red fish blue fish, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), William Winant, Anthony Davis, Kid Millions, Secret Drum Band, and more. She founded El Otro Lado, an international percussion ensemble (USA-Mexico), to celebrate all forms of diversity and draw attention to issues of social, economic, and environmental justice. She was a founding organizer of The Voices of Our City Choir, a project that brought together professional musicians and people experiencing homelessness. Bowden holds a D.M.A. from the University of California, San Diego, and wrote a dissertation—“Max Roach and M’Boom: Diasporic Soundings in American Percussion Music” and is Acting Director of the Warren Smith archives.

Andrew Drury is a composer/percussionist and organizer who has performed in 30 countries and on over 80 recordings with artists such as Christine Abdelnour, Kris Davis, Robert Dick, Peter Evans, Jason Kao Hwang, Eyvind Kang, Briggan Krauss, Frank Lacy, Ingrid Laubrock, Carol Liebowitz, Wade Mathews, Myra Melford, JD Parran, Tomeka Reid, Roswell Rudd, Brandon Seabrook, John Tchicai, Wadada Leo Smith. Drury founded Continuum Culture & Arts, a non-profit organization that produces live and recorded work including the Soup & Sound series, promotes international cultural exchange, and leads cultural activities with schools and social service organizations focused on low-income and homeless people. Originally from the Seattle area, he studied with Ed Blackwell, Dave Coleman, Alan Dawson, and Steve McCraven.

Lesley Mok is a drummer, composer, and improviser whose work focuses on transposing, augmenting, and overacting humanness to explore ideas about normalcy, alienness, and privilege. Leading a nine-piece improvising chamber ensemble, The Living Collection, and collaborating with artists such as Jen Shyu, Cory Smythe, and Tomeka Reid, Lesley has honed a unique voice as a drummer and percussionist by employing a dynamic range of timbres and orchestrations. Inspired by the Cuban rumba tradition, she often plays in sparse counterpoint to others in an ensemble, highlighting choice moments in the music. She is the winner of the 2021 ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Composer Award, the 2021 Van Lier Fellowship at the Asian American Arts Alliance, and was a participant in JACK Studio 2021, the inaugural cohort of Mutual Mentorship for Musicians (M³), and is an alumnus of the Banff Program for Jazz & Creative Music and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.

J D Parran plays multiple clarinets, saxophones and flutes. His virtuosity and mastery over a number of extended techniques has made him a valued collaborator with Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, Amir Elsaffar, Anthony Davis and others. Parran has collaborated and appeared on recordings with leading musical practitioners (Andrew Hill, Marty Ehrlich, Hamiet Bluiett, Douglas Ewart, James Jabbo Ware, Robert Dick, Ned Rothenberg, Jimmy Owens, Andrew Drury, George E. Lewis, Don Byron, Muhal Richard Abrams, Henry Threadgill, Wadada Leo Smith, Leroy Jenkins, Stevie Wonder, Lena Horne, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. His recordings as leader include J D Parran and Spirit Stage, Omegathorp: Living City, Kokopilau and Window Spirits: Solo. J D was at Harlem School of the Arts for 28 years and continues teaching at Borough of Manhattan Community College CUNY and Greenwich House Music School where he leads the definitive jazz orchestra, Dance Clarinets.

Warren Smith – jazz drummer, conservatory-trained percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader, Loft Era proprietor of Studio WIS, and among the first generation of jazz educators at the university level, Warren Smith has performed on more than 3,000 record dates and countless performances with Aretha Franklin, Harry Partch, Miles Davis, Count Basie, Barbra Streisand, Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte, Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, Nat King Cole, Anthony Braxton, The Last Poets, The Fugs, Gladys Knight and the Pips, John Cage, George Russell, Julius Hemphill, Lena Horne, Quincy Jones, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Judy Collins, Marvin Gaye, Roberta Flack, The Duke Ellington Orchestra under Mercer Ellington, and Joe Zawinul, to name a few. He was a member of Leonard Bernstein’s original West Side Story orchestra, was Janis Joplin’s Music Director, and a member of both Tony Williams’ Lifetime and M’Boom.

Michael Wimberly‘s early beginnings in soul, funk, rock, jazz, and classical music began in Cleveland, Ohio during the civil rights era where he grew up surrounded by the toxic fumes of steel mills buoyed by a sea of blue-collar workers. Since then, Wimberly has performed with George Clinton and the Parliament Funkedelic, Charles Gayle, Steve Coleman, Paul Winter Consort, Vernon Reid, Henry Rollins, Blondie, Dionne Warwick, Valerie Simpson, D’Angelo, and Angie Stone. A featured artist with Berlin’s Rundfunk Symphony, Vienna’s Tonkuntsler Symphony, Leipzig Symphony, and others. As a composer and sound designer, Wimberly’s compositions have been performed by dance companies Urban Bush Women, Joffrey Ballet II, Alvin Ailey, Ailey II, Philadanco, Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, Joan Millers Dance Players, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alpha Omega, Purelements, and The National Song and Dance Company of Mozambique. Wimberly joined the faculty of Bennington College in 2012.

This event is made possible with the support of Continuum Culture & Arts, and Jazz Road, a national initiative of South Arts, which is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


This performance by The Forest is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).