AACM Concert Series 2019
Dedicated to AACM members Joseph Jarman and Alvin Fielder
Featuring David Virelles, Solo Piano Performance
Thurman Barker and Time Factor
Paavo Carey, clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophone
James Emery, guitar
Noah Barker, piano and keyboards
Dean Torrey, bass
Thurman Barker, xylophone, percussion and drums
About the Artists:
Santiago de Cuba-born pianist David Virelles grew up in a musical home, his father a Nueva Trova singer-songwriter and his mother a flutist in the Santiago symphony and music teacher. Even though classically trained at the conservatory, he was also surrounded by many types of music in the culturally rich Santiago while growing up. Eventually, Virelles also discovered Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Andrew Hill and Don Pullen, and he would soon start studying the connections between this musical tradition and those from his birthplace.
After studying in Toronto (at the invitation of Canadian musician Jane Bunnett), he relocated to New York City in 2009 to study composition with Pulitzer Prize winner Henry Threadgill. Since then, he has established himself as one of the most sought-after pianists of his generation. He has performed and recorded with musicians as distinct as Threadgill, Mark Turner, Paul Motian, Andrew Cyrille, Chris Potter, Steve Coleman, Wadada Leo Smith, Tom Harrell, Hermeto Pascoal, Milford Graves, Ravi Coltrane, Marcus Gilmore and Román Díaz.
Virelles is a Shifting Foundation Fellow, a recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts, Louis Applebaum Award, Cristobal Díaz Ayala Travel Grant and The Jazz Gallery Commission. He was named #1 Rising Star in the Piano category by DownBeat in 2017. While a student at Humber College in Toronto he won the Oscar Peterson Prize, presented by Peterson himself. David’s 2012 release Continuum ended up on many “Best Of The Year” lists, including The New York Times. Since then, he has released three albums on the Munich label ECM to critical acclaim, documenting a wide artistic range – Mbóko, Antenna, and Gnosis. His latest release Igbó Alákọrin (The Singer's Grove) Vol I & II - a joint effort between his label El Tivoli Music and NY label Pi Recordings - is a celebration of the musical history of Santiago de Cuba. The album, which has garnered wide critical acclaim, features Santiago music legends and it was recorded at the Siboney E.G.R.E.M. Studios in this southeastern Cuban town. www.davidvirelles.com
* * *
Growing up in Chicago in the 1950s, Thurman Barker was exposed to the city’s rich musical heritage, regularly hearing R&B, doo-wop, soul, jazz and blues musics. Accordingly, he began his professional career at age seventeen by anchoring the rhythm section for blues legend Mighty Joe Young. He then attended the American Conservatory of Music and later Roosevelt University where he received classical training. While serving as percussionist for the city’s Shubert Theatre throughout much of the 1960s, Thurman played for numerous national touring productions, including “Hair,” “The Wiz,” “Grease,” “One Mo’ Time” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” A versatile drummer and percussionist, Barker also performed with singers Billy Eckstine, Marvin Gaye, Bette Midler and Vicki Carr, and worked with classical groups like the Chicago Chamber Players and the New York City Opera.
Perhaps Thurman Barker’s most notable musical experience has been with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), an organization founded in the 1960s to promote innovative music and its players. A charter member of the group, Thurman first appeared in AACM productions with Joseph Jarman’s pioneering ensemble. He then went on to play with many other members, including Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Meyers, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill. In the 1970s and ‘80s, after moving to New York, Barker worked with jazz giants Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers and Billy Bang, touring with their groups and recording numerous albums with them. Most recently, Thurman has performed with trombonist and composer George Lewis at the Festival International Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville, Quebec.
Since creating Uptee Records in the late 1980s, Barker has released five recordings as a leader, including Voyage (1987), The Way I Hear It (1999), Time Factor (2001), Strike Force (2004) and Rediscovered (2008). In 1994, his work “Dialogue,” commissioned by Mutable Music, was premiered at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra premiered Thurman’s chamber piece, “Expansions,” in May 1999, and that same year he became a lecturer at Smolny University in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Since 1993, Barker has taught jazz history and performance at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Through his efforts to develop the program, he was promoted to Full Professor of Jazz Studies in the June 2016.
Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre
Expected Run Time is 180 minutes