Cecil Taylor: A Celebration of the Maestro

William Hooker Ensemble + Thollem McDonas & Arrington de Dionyso

In this evening dedicated to Cecil Taylor’s mastery and enduring influence, virtuoso pianist Thollem McDonas will perform solo and with bass clarinetist Arrington de Dionyso, followed by a set from the thunderous percussionist and powerhouse bandleader William Hooker, joined by Mark Hennen (piano) and Larry Roland (Bass) and Matt Lavelle (trumpet).

Arrington de Dionyso and Thollem McDonas have collaborated regularly since 2002 in duo and various groupings since meeting at the Olympia Festival of Experimental Musics. They have released albums on Edgetone Records (Intuition, Science and Sex) and ESP-disk (Naked Future, Gigantomachia). Their work emphasizes extremes, and unrelenting ecstasy of repeating phrases that interlock and constantly evolve at often breakneck velocity.

Arrington de Dionyso uses musical sound to access the liminal states and spaces between worlds. Fascinated from a young age equally by all forms of “World Music” and the aggressive energy of punk rock, Arrington pushes the registers of both voice and bass clarinet to their furthest extremes integrating throatsinging, free jazz multiphonics, and the serious study of trance-inducing and shamanic musical forms found throughout the world.

Thollem McDonas tours perpetually as a solo pianist, vocalist and collaborator regularly covering much of North America and Europe playing his unique brand of composed and spontaneous post-classical and hyphenated music. His musical experiences are extremely diverse and his ever expanding variety of approaches to making music result in dramatically new and different outcomes.

William Hooker has performed as a leader of many ensembles of improvised and new music. Recognized as an iconoclast, and one of the most innovative musicians and drummers of his generation, William knows no genre bounds and ceaselessly searches for new forms of music, always with the intent to inspire. A body of uninterrupted work beginning in the mid-seventies defines him as one of the most important composers and players in jazz. As bandleader, Hooker has fielded ensembles in an incredibly diverse array of configurations. Each collaboration has brought a serious investigation of his compositional agenda and the science of the modern drum kit. Accompanying musicians have included: Billy Bang, Thurston Moore, David Murray, David S. Ware, William Parker,Melvin Gibbs, Donald Miller, DJ Olive, Elliot Sharpe, Malachi Thompson, Zeena Parkins, Lee Ranaldo, DJ Spooky, Rob Brown, Roy Campbell, Mark Hennen, Steven Bernstein, Roy Nathanson, Jason Hwang, Glenn Spearman, Joseph Celli, Ellen Christi, and many more.

Photo: William Hooker by Lena Rogy

Presented in partnership with the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University.

Harlem Stage support for An Intimate Evening with Cecil Taylor is made possible, in part, by the NEA Jazz Masters Live, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. Celebrating Cecil is made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, with major support from SESAC.

Issue Project Room support for Cecil Taylor: A Celebration of the Maestro is made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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