Mahmoud Ahmed + Trio X + Andrew Barker, Charles Waters, Daniel Carter + Soldier/Kane


A verified legend of African pop music, Mahmoud Ahmed led the wave of Ethiopian music’s 'golden age’ in the 60s-70s with his notoriously energetic combination of traditional Amharic music with soul, jazz & funk. His multi-octave voice made him household name in Ethiopia, and a star since nearly the moment he started recording, though this pioneering artist is still relatively obscure in North America. ISSUE and Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation are pleased to present Mahmoud Ahmed live in Red Hook, Brooklyn—his first New York performance since 2011. The afternoon includes performances by two trios of American free jazz giants: Joe McPhee, Dominic Duval and Jay Rosen as Trio X, as well as Andrew Barker, Charles Waters and Daniel Carter. As Soldier / Kane, drummer Jonathan Kane and multi-instrumentalist David Soldier perform uprooted Americana.

Doors open at 3pm, sets hourly beginning at 4pm.

Open-bar by Sixpoint Brewery between 3-4pm.

All ages, free for Children under 12.

With food by Rucola, beverages by Sixpoint Brewery, and Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony by Bunna Cafe.

A free After-Party from 9-11pm features Chances With Wolves. Well-known for their long-running show on the now-defunct EVR Radio, they spin classic soul, 90s hip hop, and 50s throwback, among other unclassifiable sounds.

"One of the most exhilarating singers of the past half century." —The New Yorker

Born 1941 in Addis Ababa, Mahmoud Ahmed shined shoes before becoming a handyman at the city’s Arizona Club, where he first sang professionally with their house band in the early 1960s. He sang for the state-sanctioned Imperial Body Guard Band until it's dissolution following 1974's revolution. Ahmed then formed his own group: the Ibex Band, later renamed the Roha Band, and burst to the forefront of the country’s pop scene with a melding of dance beats, prominent brass and sax arrangements, and traditional pentatonic scales and circular rhythms. His classic 1975 record Eré Mèla Mèla, released in Europe in 1986, was for years the only example of modern Ethiopian music known to the west.

Since the 90s Ahmed’s music has spread across the west through four separate releases devoted to his music in the award-winning Ethiopiques series (Buda Musique). Now in his 70s, Ahmed’s music has recently been reappraised with acclaimed, energetic performances internationally.

Taking its name and inspiration from the unknown, Trio X, brings together like-minded improvising powerhouses Dominic Duval (bass), Jay Rosen (drums), and Joe McPhee (sax). Formed in 1998, the group references classics by Monk, Ornette and even Freddie Hubbard, alongside standards and gospel tunes, refined through their distinctly avant-garde sensibilities. Joe McPhee has forged unlikely but rewarding partnerships around the globe, working with everyone from Evan Parker to William Parker. Dominic Duval was bassist of choice for Cecil Taylor for much of the last decade, while his frequent cohort Jay Rosen has also stoked the fires of veterans such as Sonny Simmons and Charles Gayle.

Daniel Carter (alto, tenor, and soprano saxophones, trumpet) is a writer and musician active since the mid 60s. A member of the cooperative free jazz groups Test, Other Dimensions In Music, and Ghost Moth, Carter has also recorded or performed with a wide range of collaborators including Joe Morris, Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Yoko Ono, Thurston Moore, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, and Sam Rivers, among many others. Drummer and composer Andrew Barker, most well-known for his work with Gold Sparkle Band and William Parker's Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, has recently performed with Barker Trio, with Michael Foster, Tim Dahl and James Ilgenfritz. Upcoming releases include the group ACID BIRDS (IV) with Jaime Fennelly and Charles Waters, and a CD with veteran saxophonist Paul Dunmall and bassist Tim Dahl. Charles Waters (alto saxophone, clarinets) has worked with William Parker's Little Huey Music Orchestra, Matthew Shipp, and Chris Jonas' Brooklyn Comprovisers Orchestra. With Andrew Barker, Waters is part of ACID BIRDS and a co-founder of the Gold Sparkle Band, a collective of musicians that has included Nate Wooley, Sabir Mateen, Matt Lavelle, Hill Greene, and many others.

Jonathan Kane (February, Swans, La Monte Young) and Dave Soldier (Soldier String Quartet, John Cale, Thai Elephant Orchestra) perform a set of Uprooted Americana. With Soldier on violin and Kane on drums and guitar, they dismantle the Blues, the Great American Songbook and R&B dance hits.