Thursday, January 23, 2014

MEET THE BAND!


Jay Rodriguez is a Grammy Nominated Saxophonist, Flautist, Clarinetist, Film Composer, Producer and Arranger. He was born Hernan Ramiro Rodriguez-Sierra in the coastal port city of Barranquilla Colombia on September 17, 1967. His family immigrated to NYC when he was 3 in 1970. He commenced his musical studies at the age of 7 on clarinet. When he turned 10 he began studying alto saxophone and conducting with Tito D Rivera (Father of the famed Paquito D’Rivera ). Mr Tito D Rivera was a famed Classical saxophonist of his generation. By the time Jay turned 12, he had begun studying saxophone with Joe Allard. Other teachers included Saxophonist/flautist – Jesus Garcia, Mark Friedman, Kenny Hitchcock, and Emile De Cosmo. At 13 Paquito D Rivera would take Jay to sit in and play with him around town. He featured him as a guest soloist at the famed Salsa Meets Jazz concerts at the then well known Village Gate. There he met Jazz legends like Stanley Turrentine, Ray Barretto, Tito Puente, Victor Venegas and Dizzy Gillespie to name a few. He went on to work with the well known Jazz and Latin artists like Wilfredo Vargas, Bross Townsend, Vincente Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Jose Alberto, Candido and many more. At 14 he was chosen to attend the High School for the Performing Arts (now known as La Guardia) in NYC at the time located on 46th st. His classmates at the time included Billy Charlap, Jon Gordon, Jennifer Aniston and Justin Robinson.

Jay began studying with saxophonist Phil Woods and Pianist Michael Wolf. He continued working and learning in the Latin Jazz world and began to study flute with Julius Baker at the time principle flautist with The New York Philharmonic. Jay went on to study at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music at it’s inception under a full scholarship. The Jazz and Contemporary music program had just been founded by Arnie Lawrence and David Levy. During that time he studied with Sir Roland Hanna, Barry Harris, George Coleman, Kenny Werner, Gil Goldstein, Walter Davis Jr., John Gilmore, Jim Pepper and Joe Henderson. His classmates at the time included Roy Hargrove, Larry Goldings, John Popper and Brad Meldau.

Jay co founded the NYC phenomenon of the early 90’s the Groove Collective which influenced bands like the US 3, Roots, a Tribe called Quest and Modern Hip Hop and Dance music.


He has performed, produced recorded and or arranged for artists like Elvis Costello, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Roy Hargrove, Fred Wesley, George Porter Jr, Teruo Nakamura, Bobby Sanabria, Musiq Soulchild, Natalie Cole, Little Louie Vega, Dennis Ferrer, Melissa Manchester, Film Directors Godfrey Reggio, Shawn Batey and Michele Stephenson, Mino Cinelu, Alex Foster, Alex Blake, Patti Labelle, Sara Dash,Guru, DJ Nicodemus, DJ Premiere, Chucho Valdez, Victor Jones, Arturo O Farrill, Bernie Worrell, Roy Hargrove, The Roots, The Mingus Big Band, Al Macdowell, Widespread Panic, Mike Clark, Kenny Barron, Dave Schools, Widespread Panic, Irakere, Mongo Santamaria, Eddie Palmieri, Selah Sue, Jerry Wonda, The Gil Evans Band, Celia Cruz, Doc Cheatham, Miles Davis, Prince amongst many. He has taught/lectured all over the world including the Royal Academy of Music in Denmark, Berlin, Estonia, Japan, University of Cairo, Uninorte in Colombia and Unam in Mexico. Some of Jay Rodriguez’s achievements have been recorded in Leonard Feather-Ira Gitler’s The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz.

Jay currently is busy as a TV, film/documentary composer, arranger and soloist on his respective instruments. He has been a guest on the Jimmy Fallon Show with the Roots as a soloist for English sensation singer song writer Michael Kiwanuka and Jim James of my Morning Jacket.




Salim Washington is a highly accomplished jazz artist whose instruments are the tenor saxophone, flute, and oboe.

The Harvard University Ph.D. is a scholar and an in-demand lecturer as well as a composer and an arranger who leads the Harlem Arts Ensemble. Washington has performed with many of New York’s finest musicians, including Randy Weston, Pharoah Sanders, John Hicks, Hilton Ruiz, Charles Tolliver, Oliver Lake, David Murray, and Billy Bang. His body of work—spanning three decades, from Mozambique to Mexico—has been lauded as one of the most compelling modern voices in jazz. Dr. Cornel West celebrates Salim’s work as a “new synoptic vision of what jazz can be and do. The fundamental spirit behind this music…lives on in new ways and novel sounds.”

Salim Washington has emigrated to Durban, South Africa, after many years of following the music, culture and history of that nation, starting in 1976 at the time of the Soweto rebellion. Finally arriving as a Fulbright Senior Scholar/Artist in 2009 (would not be an "honorary white" in the 70s, supported the boycott in the 80s, was raising children in the 90s) he experienced the great potential of this country. Salim has accepted a position in musicology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, but also teaches for the Centre of Jazz and Popular Music. He has led workshops in various townships, including Soweto, Thembisa, KwaMashu, and others, performed in various cities, including Grahamstown, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Irini, and leads a big band built primarily of orphaned youths at the Durban Music Centre. Washington will also be participating in the 8th Pan African Congress to be held in Joburg in January 2014.




 Livio Almeida is a young emerging voice on saxophone. A Brazilian native, Livio has already played with renowned figure in the jazz scene such as Grammy winner Arturo O'Farrill, Boris Koslov, and Reuben Rodriguez among others. His approach and sound are a promising and refreshing blend of international musics that have earned him much recognition from the jazz press.

“Almeida delivers his most impressive solo work on the album here, perfectly capturing the soul and energy that dwells in this piece…”.(All About Jazz review of Giant Peach

“Saxophonist Livio Almeida appeared to paint his incessant signature as the element of change as he inadvertently sprayed streams of brilliant colors on the canvas to improvise a sonically unblemished montage of melodies on “Face It.” (Rob Young, music author and journalist) 




Benjamin Barson is a composer, saxophonist, and political activist. He is the coordinator of the Red, Black, and Green Revolutionary Eco-Music Tour and Baritone Saxophonist.

He has played with diverse cross-section of leading New York City jazz musicians, such as Fred Ho, Arturo O’Farrill, and Frank Lacy, and has performed at New York's leading musical institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Lincoln Center. He regularly performs at and curates the music program for the iconic Red Rooster and Ginny's Supper Club in Harlem. Ben does not separate culture from politics and considers cultural work to be essential to the construction of a revolutionary project for the 21st century. His influences are drawn from the world over but he owes a special debt to the music of African American artists. Currently he is working on a revival of the work of activist-musician Calvin Massey, an overlooked 1960s composer who worked with the Black Panther Party as well as John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and who left a deep legacy on his musical generation. Ben is a member of the revolutionary collective Scientific Soul Sessions, and its sister project, Ecosocialist Horizons. He lives in Harlem, where he engineers and hosts the radio show The Ecosocialsit Horizons Hour.


 Winston Byrd was initially bitten by the 'jazz bug' as a seventh grader when he heard Maynard Ferguson's playing of 'Give It One.'

Soon after, he witnessed Dizzy Gillespie and Jon Faddis trading solos on 'Groovin High' on a 1986 Grammy Awards telecast. A 1991 graduate of Gateway Regional High School in southern New Jersey, Mr. Byrd has had a career more like his forbears than his contemporaries; like jazz musicians of the mid-20th century, he developed his chops and style on the road in bands big and small, rather than in the classroom. Planning to go New York University to study Clinical Psychology, he detoured to go on the road (initially with the Stylistics), and never returned to college.

Enamored of high note playing, he worked at being able to articulate in the 'stratosphere', and then the young trumpeter became a multi-talented improviser in swing, hard-bop, bebop, funk, smooth jazz as well being versed in studies of classical trumpet. He earned gigs as a lead trumpeter in big bands including those of Illinois Jacquet, David Murray, Slide Hampton, Louie Bellson and Oliver Lake, as well as the Count Basie Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra and Blood, Sweat and Tears. Trumpeter Jon Faddis became an early role model and mentor, and Mr. Byrd has played in the trumpet section of the Faddis-led 'Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band'.

Another influence and current mentor is Arturo Sandoval. Winston has also performed, recorded, and/or toured with a myriad of big name jazz and pop artists and orchestras including The Chi-Lites, Patti Austin, The Dells, The Grateful Dead, Lionel Hampton, Michael Bolton, Illinois Jacquet Big Band, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Pieces Of A Dream, Claudio Roditi, David Murray, Oliver Lake Big Band, Larry Coryell, Aretha Franklin, Charles Tolliver Big Band, The Stylistics, Natalie Cole, Arturo Sandoval, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, Mary Wilson (of the Supremes), Chucho Valdes, Louie Bellson, T.S. Monk, David 'Fathead' Newman, Chaka Khan, Clark Terry (who suprise-guested with Winston on his All-Star 31st birthday concert!), James Moody, The Dramatics, Shirley Horn, Paquito d' Rivera, Lucky Peterson, Bernard Purdie, Diane Schuur, Don Rickles, Usher, Abbey Lincoln and the Charles Mingus Big Band among others!

For the last three years, Mr. Byrd, who leads his own band (one in New York, one in Los Angeles) has just recorded his first CD, 'Soul Searchin', which is currently available in stores and on the internet at www.winstonbyrd.com and his compositions can be heard here and on T.S. Monk's latest release, 'Higher Ground' in which Mr. Byrd is a former member of the T.S. Monk Band. Since moving to Los Angeles (as well as keeping a base in New York City as well), Winston has been keeping busy with even MANY more artists on the West Coast as well such as the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, the Frank Capp Juggernaut, the Buddy Collette Big Band, Steve March Torme, Eric Benet, The Don Ellis Reunion Big Band, Craig Robinson (of the NBC hit show, The Office), Ernie Andrews and also performing on the L.A. based award shows such as the Grammys & the B.E.T. awards!!! Along with these many attributes, Mr. Byrd has organized his Los Angeles based Jazz Orchestra which has been leaving audiences speechless since being formed just a year ago with some of L.A.'s finest and hottest players!!! 

 
Jon Mark McGowan, from Oakland, CA, is a second generation trumpeter, one of the most brilliant of his generation, who has worked with Barry Harris, David Murray, Lionel Hampton, the Ellington Band, Mulhal Richard Abrams, Harold Vick, Rodney Kendricks, and many well known musicians in the tristate area. He also writes and arranges his own distinctive songs.


Nabate Isles is a trumpeter/composer/educator, born and raised in New York City.


He went on to receive a BM at the Eastman School of Music and MA from New York University. He has participated in the Thelonious Monk Institute's Jazz Aspen and its Jazz Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He was a featured soloist with the Rochester Pops Orchestra and toured with the José Limon Dance Company. Nabaté has performed and/or recorded with numerous esteemed musicians such as James Newton, Mike Longo, Charli Persip, Steve Coleman, Ravi Coltrane, Buster Williams, Grady Tate, Uri Caine, Jay Hoggard, Marty Ehrlich, Christian McBride, David Gilmore, and the Mingus Big Band. He has also composed scores for 3 short films. 


Adam O'Farrill is a 18-year old jazz trumpeter born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Being the grandson of Afro-Cuban jazz composer and arranger Chico O'Farrill, and the son of Grammy-award winning Latin jazz pianist and composer Arturo O'Farrill, Adam clearly has a rich musical background. Having started studying classical piano at age six, and starting trumpet at age eight, he has been playing music for almost his whole life. 

Ever since then, he has had many achievements in the world of music. He has had the privilege of playing in many well-known venues, such as Birdland Jazz Club, the Jazz Standard, Mount Fuji Jazz Festival 2009, the White House, Madison Square Garden, and Symphony Space. He has had the opportunity to perform with critically acclaimed artists such as Stefon Harris, Curtis Fuller, Randy Weston, Arturo O’Farrill, and Benny Golson. He received the Outstanding Soloist Award at the 1st and 2nd Annual Charles Mingus Competitions, was chosen to participate in the 2010 GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble, and was commissioned to write a piece for Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra in the fall of 2009. He has studied with Jim Seeley, Michael Rodriguez, Bobby Shew, and Nathan Warner, and is a student at Laguardia High School for the Performing Arts and the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division, where he received the 2009-2010 Jazz Scholarship.




Earl McIntyre is a critically-acclaimed performer on the Bass Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, and Didjeridoo, as well as a composer-arranger


Born in Brooklyn N.Y. Earl received his
first musical training from his father (a very gifted amateur musician) who saw to it that the entire family became proficient at playing brass instruments. While attending the High School of Music & Art he studied trombone with John Clark, Jack Jeffers, Alan Raph and Benny Powell. It was during this period that he also developed relationships with composer William S.Fischer and tubaist Howard Johnson. At Mannes College of Music he studied Bass trombone with Simone Karasick and tuba with Thompson Hanks, and later studied arranging with Slide Hampton and Bob Brookmeyer. He also studied privately with the famous brass teacher Carmine Caruso. Since then he has played with Gil Evans, the Apollo stage band, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Taj Mahal, Lester Bowie, The Band, Stevie Wonder, McCoy Tyner, Carla Bley, George Russell, Lou Rawls, Jeffrey Osborne, Deniece Williams, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Ellington Orchestra, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra (with whom he was associated for over 20 years), Slide Hampton, George Gruntz, the Mingus Big Band, Cecil Taylor, the Carnegie Hall Jazz band, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, Chico O'Farrill, Renée Manning and others.

McIntyre served as guest conductor for the Brooklyn Philharmonic, directed and wrote large ensemble compositions for the Musicians of Brooklyn Initiative Big Band (an organization founded by Lester Bowie, Oliver Lake and others). Mr. McIntyre was musical director for Town Hall's "Ragtime to Broadway" featuring music from 1900-1909. His arranging and orchestrating credits include Roberta Flack, Luther Vandross, the "Saturday Night Live" band, Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, Johnny Copeland, Renée Manning, the Mel Lewis Orchestra, The Mingus Big Band, Elvis Costello, Steve Turré, Bob Stewart, Jon Faddis, the Art Ensemble of Chicago (for whom he's edited and arranged a catalogue of big band orchestra and small group compositions), arrangements for the "Big Man" tribute to Cannonball Adderley at the JVC Festival in 1976, and others. He has composed an orchestra work called "Sketches for Dunbar" which he conducted at a Town hall premiere. He also arranged and conducted Lester Bowie's Brooklyn Works (Behind The Rainbow). His compositions include a large work for Nat Adderley and Jazz orchestra (which was played at the Cannonball Adderley Festival in Tallahasee Florida). He wrote and conducted orchestral arrangements for McCoy Tyner and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He served as musical supervisor, copyist, and orchestrator on J.J. Johnsons's Brass Orchestra CD.

At the Brooklyn Conservatory, Earl McIntyre & Renée Manning unveiled Unsung Heroes a 15 piece World Beat Jazz ensemble featuring compositions by Earl, Renée, and notable composers from the African Diaspora. WBGO's children series included Earl McIntyres & Renée Manning's group Jazzimon. The two of them are preparing a much anticipated children's album and debuting their web site. Earl has received the National Endowment for the Arts grants for jazz study, jazz composition, and instruction. He is a receipient of grants from the New York State Council of the Arts, Meet the Composer, and others. He has been nominated for the "Most Valuable Player of The Year" award from the NARAS, as well as sitting on various arts and grants panels. Mr McIntyre's broadway credits include: "My One and Only", "The Mystery of Edwin Drood", "Anything Goes", "Meet Me In St. Louis", "Shogun", "Nick & Nora", "Guys & Dolls", "Rosa", "Steel Pier", and "Ragtime". He has been on the faculty at Long Island University, The New School for Social Research, and SUNY at Purchase. He does performances for young audiences and clinics through various arts organizations. Currently, he serves as producer for the Jazz at The Conservatory series at The Brooklyn Conservatory, presenting artists like Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, and Roy Hargrove, and serves as the Director for the Jazz division.



Richard Harper has played keyboard, trombone, baritone horn and vocals with artists such as Makanda McIntyre, James Jabbo Ware, Fred Ho, Bill Laswell, Miles Griffith, and Anthony Braxton.


He has served as musical director for Off-Broadway and regional theater as well as arranged for numerous original dance, theater and musical productions. Formerly Chair of the American Music, Dance and Theater Program at SUNY Old Westbury, he has been honored with three distinguished teaching awards.

Ernesto Villalobos is the eldest brother and virtuosic violinist composer in the esteemed "Villalobos Brothers" ensemble.

Masterfully blending the indigenous rhythms and melodies of their native Veracruz, Mexico with the intricate harmonies of jazz and classical music, the Villalobos Brothers deliver an intoxicating brew of musical brilliance, cadence and virtuosity that awakens the senses as it redefines the notions behind Latin music. The Villalobos Brothers have been acclaimed as one of today’s leading World Music and Contemporary Mexican ensembles. A trio of virtuoso violinists, singer-songwriters, composers, and arrangers, they were the winners of the Vox-Pop Award at the 2013 Independent Music Awards in the Best Song-World Beat category for their song, “El Pijul”.

Fighting against all odds, in April of 2013 they became the Borough Winners and representing band for the borough of Manhattan at the “2013 Battle of the Boroughs”, one of National Public Radio’s flagship competitions sponsored by The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, WNYC and WQXR’s in New York City. In June of 2013, the Villalobos Brothers went on to win the “Ultimate Battle” at this same competition, defeating the top picks from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and The Bronx in a grand finale at the Greene Space in SOHO.

Following their victory at the “2013 Battle of the Boroughs”, they became the first band from Mexico to ever play at the Apollo Theater as “featured guest artist” at “Amateur Night at the Apollo”. In addition, they have performed at the Latin Grammy Awards, Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations, Rockefeller Center, the New York Mets field at Shea Stadium, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, New Victory Theatre, and Teatro Amadeo Roldán in Havana among other historic venues.

The Villalobos Brothers have collaborated and recorded with legendary musicians, including Grammy winners Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains, Dolly Parton, Pierre Boulez, and Eddie Palmieri. Other collaborations include Morley, Graciela, Leni Stern, Lila Downs, Adam Feder and the Shul Band, Ramón Ponce and Mariachi Real de México, and Dan Zanes and Friends. In 2005 award-winning guitarist Humberto Flores joined the band and they debuted together at Carnegie Hall. In recognition of their artistic contribution, in late 2012 the Villalobos Brothers were granted a Proclamation by the Council of the City of New York and a Diploma by the President of the Borough of Brooklyn.

The Villalobos Brothers were born and raised in Xalapa, Mexico. They spent their childhood listening to their grandmother Cristina Vásquez play music for enjoyment after a day’s work. They took up the violin as children and soon learned to sing and play other instruments, including guitar and piano. They eventually moved on to specialize in classical violin and composition, studying under Vienna Philharmonic veteran Carlos Marrufo. The eldest brother developed his own style of playing, called “Fast-Chatting Violin” consisting in a rapid succession of notes and percussive sounds.


Adam Fischer is a rare combination of cellist, composer, and vocalist, known for writing music that moves freely between jazz, tango, and classical styles.

A graduate of Juilliard and Harvard University, Mr. Fisher appears regularly at New York venues such as Symphony Space, Joe’s Pub, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Jazz Standard. As a cello sideman, he has lent his unique flexibility to projects ranging from Octavio Brunetti's traditional Tango Orchestra to Fred Ho’s avant-jazz big band to “None More Eleven, a Spinal Tap Tribute”, for which he composed rock string quartet arrangements of Spinal Tap classics. He was a featured composer on the inaugural season of the Flea Theater's "Music With a View" series, and has performed his original compositions at Carnegie Hall. As a vocalist, he leads his own band, Adam and the Argentinians, performing his hilarious and poetic animal songs. He lives in Harlem with his two children.



Zack O'Farrill is a drummer and percussionist who has already amassed a long list of credits at the young age of 22.


He has performed in some of New York City's most prestigious jazz venues such as the Jazz Gallery, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Cornelia Street Café, and Birdland, and has played around the world in clubs and festivals in Spain, Japan, Switzerland, and Cuba. Zack and his brother, Adam, have recently released their second CD "Sensing Flight" with their group, The O'Farrill Brothers Band, on Zoho Records.

A dedicated teacher, he has been on the faculty of Samba Meets Jazz, the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, the Flynn Center Jazz Camp, and afterschool programs in the New York City public schools.

His drum teachers have included Dave Meade, Vince Cherico, Victor Jones, Kendrick Scott, and Ferenc Nemeth. 



Amanda Ruzza is an electric bass player and composer based in New York City.

Born in São Paulo, Brazil to a Chilean mother who loved opera and an Italian father who loved rock n’ roll, Amanda developed an eclectic musical ear at an early age. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and English, music was one more language that she learned to used to communicate across international cultural boundaries. While growing up, there were always records playing at her house, and Amanda started playing bass at the age of 12. By age 13, she was already gigging professionally. While in Brazil, she worked with distinguished Brazilian producers and arrangers, including Grammy Award-winner Moogie Canazio, Maestro Jobam and Sony Music Japan's Osny Mello. 

Currently, she performs with groups in a variety of styles, such as Global Noize, and Chris Stover’s Caetano Veloso Project, as well as with her own band, the Amanda Ruzza Group. Amanda’s multicultural background has influenced her passion for composing music that incorporates elements of funk, jazz and South American rhythms. Her group was formed while she obtained her dual degree in Jazz Bass Performance and Liberal Arts at The New School in New York City. In addition, Amanda is also a session bassist having participated in recordings with Bebel Gilberto, Jason Miles, Simone Giuliani and Simon Katz (Jamiroquai).

As the recipient of the highly competitive Latin American World Tour Scholarship, Amanda moved to the U.S.A to study bass performance and contemporary writing and production at Berklee College of Music. 


Albert Marques, born in 1986, is an accomplished pianist who graduated in 2008 from the prestigious Conservatory of El Liceu in Barcelona, Spain. He recorded his first album at age 22, leading a trio that included the celebrated guitarist Jordi Bonell, who has performed with musicians such as Chet Baker and Serrat. In Spain, Marques also performed with Perico Sambeat, Marc Miralta and other respected musicians

In Paris, the European capital of jazz, Marques played with the renowned Pierre Perchaud and Rémi Vignolo, culminating in a one-year stint as pianist in the quartet of legendary American minimalist drummer Leon Parker. From there he moved to New York City, where he plays in a Latin jazz big band conducted by the Grammy award winner Arturo O’Farril and teaches jazz piano in the NYC public schools with the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance. He has performed at Birdland, Fat Cat, Duc des Lombards, Jamboree and other venues and festivals in Europe and America including the legendary Montreal Jazz Festival.


Marie Incontrera is a composer and conductor living in Brooklyn, New York.  She has been a recipient of the Miriam Gideon Composition Award for women composers, a winner of the Remarkable Theater Brigade Art Song Competition, a winner of the 2011 Vocalessence/American Composers Forum “Essentially Choral” readings, and was a finalist in the Iron Composer 2010 competition. She was awarded a Meet the Composer Metlife Creative Connections award, a Foundation for the Contemporary Arts Grant, a Puffin Grant, and a New York Women Composers Seed Money Grant. Commissions have come from the Young New Yorkers Chorus, Remarkable Theater Brigade, ANALOG arts, Brooklyn Art Song Society, ANIKAI Dance Theater, and The Atlanta Opera. Her work has been performed in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Kaufman Center, Symphony Space, the Meridian Arts Festival in Bucharest, Roulette, Galapagos Art Space, WOW Cafe Theatre, the highSCORE Festival in Italy, and others. Marie has been named the conductor for the Green Monster Big Band for a series of upcoming engagements, for some of which she is also a guest composer and arranger. She currently studies composition and conducting privately with Fred Ho.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How Does Music Free Us? by Fred Ho


How Does Music Free Us? 
“Jazz” as Resistance to Commodification and the Embrace of the Eco-Logic Aesthetic*

by Fred Ho

This provocative and iconoclastic article by Fred Ho, originally published in Capitalism Nature Socialism, explores the connections between music, ecology, and revolution.

In my opinion, the predominant suppression of discourse around music and the arts is not so much its social context, which aspects of “critical theory” and “ethnomusicology” and other “ologies” engage, but the actual political role music and music creators can play in challenging—and even daring to overthrow and replace—capitalist-imperialist hegemony.1 That is the question: HOW DOES MUSIC FREE US?

But before I proceed, let me not make the assumption that the readership of this essay may share such an interest or intention. So for the sake of civil intellectual discourse, let me argue why we should even be concerned about this matter as intrinsic to perhaps what I may assume to be our common interests and values, such as artistic integrity, aesthetic development, creativity, originality, inclusivity and “racial/gender/economic” equity in terms of compensation, career recognition and rewards, valorization of transgressive and “avant garde” or innovative formal considerations, etc. Even if one subscribes and espouses “art for art’s sake” and “standards of creative excellence/artistic quality as the sole and determinant criteria,” I will argue that destroying capitalist imperialism is the way to go for anyone who feels, believes, and sees that commodification and desertification of creative resources is the ever present danger.2 The onslaught of cultural and ecological degradation, and the exponentially growing subordination to imperialist aggression (whether it be military conquest or socio-economic, the double effect of McPentagon and McWorld) is the imminent danger to both human society and to the planet.

First let me define what I mean by the capitalist-imperialist system. No one but the most dishonest or ideologically blinded would disagree that the hegemonic world-system of capitalism is running amok over the entire planet. Imperialism refers to this global, monopolistic stage of capitalist economic and social development, which seeks to impose its relations of production everywhere and hence is totalizing and globalizing. Imperialism is not merely a policy of nastiness and bullying practiced by mighty nation-states over weaker ones. Even these policies and acts of bullying and domination are driven by competition to hoard and control resources, to exploit cheaper labor, and to expand markets in order to stimulate and saturate them with consumer goods and parasitic services. So my use of “imperialism” refers to this totalizing, world dominating process and effect of capitalism, through both its state institutions (governments, military, world bank, trade cartels) and its monopolistic multi- and trans-national corporations.

Let me address the symptoms and characteristics of imperialism upon music.

Imperialism and Ecological and Cultural Desertification 

The capitalist system of mass commodity production and exchange inevitably replaces and defeats individual production (from the family farm, to the individual or cooperative craftsmen guilds, to mom-and-pop businesses) by simply producing things more cheaply and faster. The inevitable effects and consequences of mass production are mass consumption/consumerism. Circulation of commodities (including music via recordings or packaged tours, digital downloading thru the purchase of more toys like iPods, etc.) is accelerated and intensified. What might appear to be more “choices” in actuality is the homogenization of products, as volume and per unit sales trumps quality and individuality. Even so-called “niche” markets cannot survive if sales don’t produce sufficient profits to stave off competitors who are always looking to capture and control greater market share. We live, in sum, under a regime of so much information, so little knowledge; of so many channels, so few choices; of so many toys, so little satisfaction and pleasure.

The advancing desert is a powerful metaphor. Ecologically, soil erosion, increased land salinity, deforestation, monocrop horticulture and agriculture have led to a devastating desertification. So, too, has cultural desertification been a product of the homogeneity of commercial music (Pop music with a “capital/capitalist P” and not the popular music, small “p,” of indigenous creativity).

Musical malnourishment, with increasing mono-diets and over-consumption of processed, chemically treated/created culture, entails an over-reliance upon intake from manufactured commodities such as loudspeakers, machines, and computers. Thus greater passivity is generated whereby people no longer look to themselves to make music, but simply purchase it via a concert ticket or through a new electronic home entertainment toy. With declining participation in creative activity comes the musical and artistic deskilling of the populace along with its monopolization by “experts” or marketers (often, with the complicity of academia and corporations, these are one and the same).

So we get a listening population which, like the general population, is obese, out-of-shape, unhealthy, and addicted to all the wrong stuff. What is organic becomes a “specialty” niche market perhaps packaged as “world music,” etc. People become hooked onto the saccharine-saturated; they believe the hype, and worse, consume it as if it is good for them. Thus the cycle of consumption/accumulation spirals out of control: more diet fad books, to the latest pills, to the latest exercise toys or gurus. In terms of music, consumers consume the latest glossy music junk journalism, buy the latest world music guide books or illustrated coffee table books about “jazz” or watch the Probably Bullshit and boring Stuff (PBS) documentaries called “Jazz” made by a well-financed darling who not only is a novice about the subject matter, but relies upon the most reactionary and backward “advisors” in the field.3

Technology has not only mediated and shaped how and what kinds of music we hear, but it has in a growing number of cases under the control of capitalist interests, become the actual music. Sound and recording engineers are as—or in the most commercially aggressive cases, more—important to the finished product of music we buy and listen to than the actual musicians themselves! And as we all know, the most influential and determinant link in the process from recording studio to the marketplace has nothing to do with music production, but its marketing, from visual packaging design, to advertising, to the hype of so-called music journalism, to simply conforming to current lifestyle and fashion trends.

I go to my food market, and “regular” foods are everywhere, while “organic” foods are in special sections. A “regular” apple I buy has been subjected to petro-chemical fertilizers and insecticides, artificial environmental treatment, probably genetically modified to enhance its size and color attraction. The “organic” apple has to be labeled with its certification and of course, costs a whole lot more (because expensive human labor power was much more directly employed rather than automation). 


What Is To Be Done, How Can Music Free Us?

By recognizing and combating the ideological “givens” and values and assumptions of bourgeois culture/society—and by constructing their negation so we can live and make music in total opposition, as revolutionaries who seek to rid the world of all of its bullshit effects and toxins—we can become organically whole and self-producing, creative, imaginative and socially conscious human beings building socialist sustainability. Specifically, this requires that we:

Reject domination of the cerebral over the physical. Some black artists, in reaction to being stereotyped or “essentialized” as “physical” and “emotive,” have argued for and justify access, legitimacy, credibility, and recognition for the more “serious” valorization of European high-art musical values. In academia, this becomes apparent when music theory and analysis are valorized over performance or “playing.” Music as emphasized in bourgeois academia is more about knowing than doing (with the false assumption that one could ever really know something without being able to be engaged in doing). Performer-players are relegated to junior and adjunct positions. The stars are those who can throw together the most fashionable big-worded jargon masquerading as theory. When one scrutinizes what they can actually do, either as musical leaders or as performers, they come up shallow and superficial.

De-Europeanize the world (Kalamu ya Salaam 2002). With the ascendancy of the Western bourgeoisie, music became increasingly removed from its communal soil and sold on the market as the product of the individual heroic genius. Removed from its profound attachment to communal life, music became subjected to an elite paradigm produced for (and soon, by) the leisure classes, with concomitant values of notation-primacy, equal temperament, technical perfection, fixed “classics,” “canon” construction, rigid hierarchal pedagogy, and the correlated ensemble of social relations. These became established, and as capitalism took root everywhere, became the “standards” for “art.” I am not advocating the total discarding of the bourgeois European art music traditions (though personally I have little interest or use for them). I reject, however, their canonization as anything superior or more profoundly musical than other traditions. Indeed, I find those of Asia and Africa to be far more evocative, especially in regard to shamanism and the spiritualizing totality of music. In those traditions, music IS an affective force upon (wo)man and Nature.

I personally would rather converse in “non”-European tongues, eat the food of local families in Third World villages, wear Afro-Asian clothing, and build movements of musical and political solidarity with the national liberation struggles of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Oceania. But that’s me.

Reject technological supremacy, embrace Ludditism,4 learn from and have a low impact upon nature. I’d rather have sex with many womyn openly and freely without the repression of bourgeois monogamy, marriage, and the nuclear family than, failing to attain these “family values,” stay in front of the TV or on the Internet trying to find a date or masturbate to commercial porn. I’d rather be playing with George Lewis, without having a gig bring us together, enjoying the natural acoustics of my local church (I’m not religious, just rent the space to practice) to simply enjoy his musicality and personality.

Prioritize acoustic live performance over electricity-dependent situations. Live performance is a social act in which all people participate and interact and have mutual influence. It wasn’t the recordings of Sun Ra, Rahsaan Roland Kirk or many other artists that had the most important and profound impact upon me (indeed, some artists’ recorded works are substantially inferior to the experience of hearing and being there live with them, which ironically, “live” recordings fail to capture/convey). It was hearing them live, being in the aura and experience. I have visited the home of Amiri Baraka many times and have been most profoundly struck, that given his output of writings and involvement with “the music,” how few actual recordings he had, how little “stuff,” except paintings and other artwork, was in his home—especially the low number of techno-types of toys. I realized that Baraka’s great knowledge of music and of black culture in general came from participation and involvement, not from accumulation of things and objects (again, with the exception of visual art). I also noted how freely he gave away books he had (not just of the books he’s had published). It was like barter. He gives me a book, I give him a CD, he perhaps gives that CD away and someone gives him something else to check out. This recycling is another form of circulation, but outside of mainstream commodity exchange for cash.

Computer-generated music, like computer-generated art/animation, can infinitely explore all the permutations and probabilities of responses to any and all data. They are the ultimate in technical perfection. But I would submit that it is in the imperfections where the imagination inhabits, and which is truly the stuff of great, soulful human expression.

Reject city domination over countryside. Mao and the revolution in China especially had to struggle with this contradiction/dichotomy. My life is lived in two environmental extremes, from which Suburbia is completely removed and indeed non-existent. Suburbia is the analogy for homogeneity and social engineering. I spend part of my time living and working in one of the world’s great cosmopolitan cities: Brooklyn (secondarily New York City which most presume is Manhattan!). I spend the rest of my time in Third World rainforests completely nude, usually living with an extended family from whom I get meals and a place to sleep. My music is most characteristically “urban,” but my soul is “tropical rain forest.” While I think my music can communicate with humans, I am still learning to figure out how I can communicate with bears, coyotes, whales, dolphins, jaguars, mountain lions, cougars, bob cats, wild horses, etc. Raul Salinas, the great Native American-Xicano poet-revolutionary socialist, said in a poem that Native Americans liked Rahsaan Roland Kirk a lot (“Song for Roland Kirk”) because:

you were close to something, man…
native brothers and sisters from the north
dug you, too
you talk to trees, bees and birds and things like that…
the gray world judged you nuts,
so what else is new?…

I haven’t learned how to make my own musical instruments like the elderly musician I met on a beach in southern Turkey who made a flute from the marsh reeds by the beach, and played one of the most spectacular solos I’ve ever heard; and who, when finished, simply gave me the flute he made and had played (without my asking for it). 
 

Why “Jazz” is an Eco-Centric Revolutionary Music and How it Can Further Ludditism and Human Liberation

In other essays (2006, 2009a), I discuss why the music called “Jazz” has been the revolutionary music for the 20th century, not only for the U.S.A., but for the entire world as it has expressed revolutionary aesthetics and transformed both the process and character of music itself for the planet.

I needn’t reiterate here my arguments as to the features, characteristics and processes that make “Jazz” a revolutionary musical force, both artistically and socio-politically. Rather, here I will argue for why the music furthers eco-centric values and prefigures a revolutionary ludditism.

Some of what I suggest below is not unique only to “Jazz” but is shared by all music that has not been reified into a commercialized commodity (especially the Pop genres) or ossified as a classical artifact (institutionalized into high art canons and thereby “frozen” as something of the past). I mentioned earlier, the shamanistic music from peoples around the world of pre-industrial cultural origination. In such cultures, music exceeds its paramount modern role as entertainment (recreational) and aesthetic (the enjoyment of beauty). Rather, it confers spiritual and evocative power, regarded and practiced as a healing force. In many ways, the “avant garde Jazz” of the 1960s, especially as practiced by saxophonists Albert Ayler and John Coltrane, fulfilled this function. They explicitly philosophized and asserted that their music was a “healing force” and evoked musical cultures that practiced shamanism. Indeed, more than one observer has remarked upon the uncanny similarities of Korean shinaui (a pre-modern improvisatory shaman possessional-inducing music) to “free jazz.”

Avant garde jazz,” more than any current of the “Jazz” tradition, rebukes commercialism and canon constriction. As a result, it has been maligned by all of the institutional mechanisms of valorization in the “Jazz” industry, from the mainstream media to hegemonic institutions such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, for being too “outside” and unassimilable for mainstream commercial or institutional consumption and propagation. It is “outside” and too unruly and feral, like the wilderness, precisely because it relies upon the intuitive and is therefore incapable of being tamed, enclosed, and confined to preconception or predetermination, even in the musical process. While it evokes spontaneous, in-the-moment form, it neither comes with nor begins from set form. Its aesthetic is the conjuring of the moment, and not the well-rehearsed performance or the pre-determined architecture of the composer’s score.

Collective improvisation, as the form has been termed, I argue, is the purest form of human communication. It is free from preconception or pre-arrangement. It is the unity of performance and composition, as musicians spontaneously create and perform interactively with one another. The pleasure and gratification for both musicians and listeners, the degree of artistic success if one insists upon such criteria and goals, is the experience of that interaction and the spontaneous marvels that can result. This relies upon individual creativity and artistry, but its success or failure is contingent upon the communality or collectivity of all performers. It stands in the most direct opposition to individualized authorship and is the most realized “free association of independent producers” music can make possible. There are no inadmissible sounds, notes, rhythms, emotions, ideas; nor are there inclusive criteria of any kind except the agreement by the performers to be there and to play. It is genuine play, with the motivation and intent to seek pleasure, enlightenment, inspiration, revelation and discovery, constantly and collectively. It relies upon no score, no industry, nor audience expectations other than to be “real,” “fresh,” and “from the heart.” Collective improvisation at its supreme evocation has no expectation of virtuosity, formal architecture, or any considerations of artistry save the power to evoke freshly and indeterminately.

The ethos of “free jazz,” as it took shape in the 1960s, has been to be a medium in which all experiences, musical and non-musical, could find community and interaction, without the incessant expectations and demands placed upon the artist to gratify audiences. The “search” and “exploration,” the perpetual endeavor to experiment, and to have audiences share and experience this as such, is both process and goal.

Most “free jazz” performances are acoustic, optimally experienced live and in the moment as opposed to reproduced and disseminated via electronic recording. They work best in down-scale venues such as former factory lofts, recycled and converted for purposes of presenting music, and are best performed in intimate settings and surroundings and therefore not reliant upon technological sound reinforcement; thus “free jazz” valorizes in-the-moment expressivity over technical skill or training. Its “freedom” stems from both the musical democracy upon which it insists, and its elusiveness to being captured by forms of commodification. However, its influence is clearly felt in genres and forms that have been both popularized and captured by the Pop culture industry, including grunge, heavy metal, punk, etc. There are veritably no examples of crossover “free jazz” artists, except for those who abandoned it all together, and those examples are very few.5

Developing the musical empathy and deep listening abilities needed for effective free collective improvisation perhaps may lead to innovative capabilities for telepathy and, as noted earlier, in the case of the titanic blind musician, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, inter-species musical communication. These are not necessarily products of proficient technical mastery, such as playing faster or expanding the range of instrumental performance. They emerge rather from a deeper and more profound philosophical and spiritual engagement for which goals of professionalism, careers, recording and ticket sales—in other words, measurements of the exchange-value placed upon music in a capitalist social order—are immaterial and a curtailment upon artistic transcendence.

The capitalist music industry, like all industries, exists today and exercises dominance and hegemony upon all facets of music production and consumption. I have outlined the causes and effects of this domination and its consequences to artistry and to individual and social liberation. While theorists such as Jacques Attali, Theodor Adorno, and others have debated the hegemonic or liberatory, counter-hegemonic qualities to “Jazz” (and in Attali’s case, specifically “free jazz” for its social import and role), I have argued that it is in its revolutionary alteration of the agency and reception of music itself from which its greatest and most profound prefigurative contributions are evoked.

The collective nature of collective improvisation, the dissolution of demarcations as cited above, offers a precursory process of creative cultural production that should be the template for any socio-political activity that can transcend capitalist-dominated values and its inexorably imposed logic. The contribution of “free music” is precisely that it insists upon being “free” both from aesthetic predetermination and constricting socio-economic relations.6 In asserting “free music,” venues no longer were confined to the commercially exploitative night clubs or to the art establishment concert halls. Abandoned loft spaces, in particular, were reconstituted as performance outlets. Indeed, popular urban wisdom has deemed the “loft artists” as the vanguard of urban restoration, unfortunately paving the way for gentrification designs by real estate developers to parasitically intervene once declining industrial areas have been reinvigorated by pioneering artist communities.

Future tasks for “free music” or collective improvisation performance sites include further extraction from the grant dependency of art funders (both state- and corporate-sponsored), to modes of self-reliance supported directly by the community of artists and audiences. Venues have always been mixed-use and serve multi-purpose functions as rehearsal-work space, performance venue, and residential occupancy. During the early 1970s in the pre-gentrified Soho of lower Manhattan, what were then loft-residential spaces such as Studio Rivbea, Ladies’ Fort, and Ali’s Alley were founded by woodwindist Sam Rivers, singer Joe Lee Wilson, and drummer Rashied Ali, respectively. Self-reliant activity could mean forming food gardens, schools, restaurants, and other projects based upon revolutionary Luddite principles of organizing upon local-produced goods and services, sustained from collectivized, shared labor, skills, and management. Such an experimental project is presently underway in Harlem, New York, with Scientific Soul Sessions (see www.scientificsoulsessions.com). These include a socialist garden project for self-reliant food production, a concert and political discussion series, study groups, etc.

The “perpetual avant garde”7 nature of organizing and sustaining “free music” is an embryonic effort at revolutionary prefiguration, of furthering values of trust, cooperation, self-reliance and collectivity both via musical practice and the organization of musical production and dissemination. It is an experimental musical project built upon revolutionary precedents that emerged during the 1960s, ignited by the self-determination efforts of the Black Arts and Power Movements (what Robin D.G. Kelley has termed, The Great Black Proletarian Cultural Revolution), and continues forward as a committed alternative to the denaturing and depoliticizing of commercialized and canonized (veritably colonized or captured musics) music embedded in capitalist domination and control over culture.

We need to restore what some call community, others call collectivity, but what I would assert is communism: the social nature of production must finally and ultimately mean the social control and ownership and benefit of production over individual profiteering (transmogrified today into imperialism, the monopolization of power by a very few ruling over the very very many). Many would say: Fred, let’s focus on what’s possible. . . . or, Fred, your ideological and political predilection seems to preclude propensities for the here-and-now possible reforms. But I will only quote Sun Ra in response: “Everything possible has been tried and nothing has changed. What we need is the Impossible.” The music we make must embrace the Impossible in the arduous journey to make music a true force for social revolution. Everything musically possible has been done. The world hasn’t changed. What we need is some Impossible music along with some Impossible thinking and activity. 


 


References

Connor, S., J. Connor, and F. Ho. 2010. FUTURE’S END: COMMUNISM AND ECOLOGY, REVOLUTION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION AND IT MUST BE LUDDITE!. Unpublished and available from bigredmedia@hotmail.com.
Crouch, S. 2006. Considering genius. New York: Basic Civitas Books.
Ho, F. 2006. Fred Ho’s tribute to the black arts movement: Personal and political impact and analysis. Critical Studies in Improvisation 1 (3), http://www.criticalimprov.com.
——. 2009a. What makes jazz the revolutionary music of the twentieth century?. In Wicked Theory, Naked Practice: A Fred Ho Reader, 91-103. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.
——. 2009b. Highlights in the history of “Jazz” not covered by Ken Burns: A request from Ishmael Reed. In Wicked Theory, Naked Practice: A Fred Ho Reader, 121-128. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.
Lewis, G. 2008. A power stronger than itself: The AACM and American experimental music. Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press.
Washington, S. 2004. “All the things you could be by now”: Charles Mingus presents Charles Mingus and the limits of avant-garde jazz. In Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies, ed. R O’Meally, B.H. Edwards, and F.J. Griffin. 27-49. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.
Ya Salaam, K. 2002. A primer of the Black Arts Movement: Excerpts from The magic of juju: An appreciation of the Black Arts Movement. Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire June 22: 40-59. 

 
* This essay is a revised excerpt from a longer speech entitled “Imagine the Impossible! Perpetuating the Avante Garde in African American Music” for the conference “What’s Avant Garde about the Avant Garde?,” The Fourth Annual Interdisciplinary Jazz Studies Colloquium, University of Kansas, March 30-31, 2007.




1 Most institutions of musical pedagogy in the Western world tend to divorce the “practicum” fields of performance from those of “theory” (the “ologoies,” e.g., ethnomusicology, cultural anthropology, etc.). Furthermore, virtually all of the citadels of Western art, from the concert hall to the gallery, propagate the “art for art’s sake” ideology that opposes “art” and “artistry” to the social and political, and celebrates the individual genius as a Superman whose abilities are alien to the terrestrial structures of the socio-economic, whose origins are independent of the terrestrial, and whose duty or responsibilities are to the non-terrestrial aspects of politics and economics.

2 The MacArthur Genius Award recipient and Director of Jazz Studies at Columbia University, George Lewis, who is black, expresses such in his book, A Power Stronger than Itself (2008, 359-377).

3 I am, of course, referring to Ken Burns’ documentary “Jazz,” for which critiques abound. Burns has admitted that prior to his being hired by PBS to produce said documentary, he had only owned four “jazz” CDs. For more detailed criticism of Burns’ “Jazz,” see Ho 2009b, 121-128.

4 For an elaborated explanation of revolutionary ludditism, c.f., “FUTURE’S END: COMMUNISM AND ECOLOGY. REVOLUTION IS THE ONLY SOLUTION AND IT MUST BE LUDDITE! by Sarah and John Connor with Fred Ho (2010), unpublished. To obtain a copy, email: bigredmedia@hotmail.com.

5 We may note here the fact that Stanley Crouch, a former “free jazz” drummer, gave up playing music altogether when he became a right-wing commentator and professional pundit (Crouch 2006). As for the few artists who sought “greener” commercial pastures, they became purveyors of retro-“mainstream/straight ahead jazz” or commercial artists (e.g., Gato Barbieri, Norman Connors, possibly Pharoah Sanders…).

6 Originally, during the 1960s, this also meant “free” from white supremacist music industry-imposed relations.

7 The concept of the “perpetual” vs. the “permanent” avant garde was developed and asserted by Dr. Salim Washington to demarcate two contradictory practices in “free jazz” (S. Washington 2004). The former asserts the revolutionary nature of this music style, while the latter signals reification, and ossification of style and musical tropes.



www.cnsjournal.org

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

TRUTH AND DARE: A Comic Book Curriculum for the End and the Beginning of the World!

  
"Truth and Dare: The world is ending, and the revolution has begun"

"Truth and Dare" is a comic book and a curriculum, a graphic novel and a gateway to further knowledge and action. With fifty pages of illustrations from nine different world-class artists, and a ten page curriculum and resource list, it is a crash course in world history, political economy, sociology, gender studies, ecology, climate change and the world-wide ecosocialist struggle for humanity and nature in the 21st century.

We imagine this book in all settings and with all age groups, from elementary schools through universities; and outside the classroom, in homes, workplaces, grassroots organizations and beyond. It is produced by Ecosocialist Horizons with help from the World War Three artists collective.
 
A free copy of "Truth and Dare" will be distributed to everyone who attends the tour events in Vermont. Extra copies will be available for sale.

"This book is unconventional in that it challenges many mainstream assumptions and attitudes. Not only does it question the powers that be, but it also challenges many of those claiming to have solutions for today's profound problems. James Baldwin said that “artists are here to disturb the peace,” and we have tried with every aspect of this book – the illustrations, the words, and this curriculum – to be artistic. We hope to start conversations, and most of all to help people move into ever-more educated and organized forms of action."

For more information, please visit:
www.truthydare.blogspot.com 


(excerpt from an illustration by Paula Hewitt Amram)
  


PRAISE FOR TRUTH AND DARE:



A great presentation of our collective dilemmas, one that will provoke intelligent and productive debate about what we need to do to save ourselves and our descendants in this moment of the structural crisis of our modern world-system.” Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University 

Should be a prescribed text for all undergraduate students in every discipline, and is an essential toolbox for activists from a variety of backgrounds. Shop stewards, it will open your minds to the imperative of ecosocialism; social justice activists, it will impress upon you the imperative of changing production processes; environmental activists, it will force you to address class inequality and global injustice. There really is no way around it – read it, use it, get organized.” - Janet Cherry, South African activist and historian, former political detainee, and researcher for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Felicitaciones! This teaches more than the many boring pages which I, among others, have written.” - Hugo Blanco, leader of the Campesino Confederation of Peru; editor of the journal Lucha Indigena 

Against all the odds, Art dares to tell the Truth: this Comic collection is a fantastic achievement. In its diversity, it puts artistic imagination, surrealist irony, black humor, and spiritual energy at the service of the Ecosocialist struggle - the decisive fight against the Enemy of Nature and Humanity: Kapitalism!” Michael Löwy, co-author of the International Ecosocialist Manifesto

 
(excerpt from an illustration by Jordan Worley)


Ecosocialist Horizons:
www.ecosocialisthorizons.com

World War Three Illustrated:
www.worldwar3illustrated.org

Arabelle Clitandre (designer):
www.arabelleclitandre.com