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Rabble Without A Cause
Wednesday January 11th, 2012 with Bernard Stepien
Chicago`s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble

Chicago has been an important source of Jazz musicians since the start. Its strategic position relative to the Mississippi river that used to be a major communication route before railroads and aviation has largely contributed to this situation in the past. Early Jazz musicians streamed in all the way from New Orleans which included musicians such as Louis Armstrong. More remarkable is the fact that Chicago has also been at the centre of avant-garde Jazz thanks in part to the sense of organization of Chicago musicians with the founding ofan organization, the AACM in the late '60s. This has produced some major projects and musicians, one of them being the Art Ensemble of Chicago, a world travelling band. May be the success of the AEOC can be attributed to the fact that it tried to free itself from pigeon holes and consider Jazz for what it is, i.e. diversified and the result of a constant evolution. The same preoccupation was central to the Sun Ra Arkestra resulted to be equally prestigious and also a constant source of ideas and concepts. Kahil el Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, mostly known as a post Art Ensemble of Chicago group is in direct lineage with these above mentioned giants. However, what distinguishes him from the others is among other things his deep exploration of African instruments whether percussion or the unique African Mbira and all the true distinctive African musical concepts that go with it. More important may be and in sharp contrast with his predecessors, is the size of the Band as a trio without the classic rythm section format, a trumpet and reeds against the drums and sometimes the humble in size but so rich African Mbira. In other words, this may sound like doing more with less, the ultimate dream of politicians with the difference that in this case, it actually really works! Conceptually though, the size of the band has to do more with the traditional African street musicians bands. Thus, besides the main core instruments, all of this comes with some extras drawn from the African musician world like the little bells attached to the legs that give an extra coloring and effect while doing the good old Jazz stomping and of course the moanin' and other vocal effects that are an essential part of the EHE's music. The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble will be performing at the Mercury lounge on February 4th as it has been doing for a number of years now. This year, however, the Ottawa International Jazz Festival will be chapperonning the show. Worth of note is that on the same day, in matinée, the IMOO-Orchestra, a local successful organization directly inspired by Chicago's AACM will also be performing as part of the Jazz festival.
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble - mama's house live - katalyst entertainment
all blues
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble - mama's house live - katalyst entertainment
Ethnic Heritage Ensemble - mama's house live - katalyst entertainment