Famoudou Don Moye – dr, gongs, bongos, congas, perc
The dinosaur of avant-garde jazz is back! After the 50th anniversary tour of the living legend, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, which also reached the Vilnius Jazz in 2019, Famoudou Don Moye, one of the predecessors of this group, has embarked on a new journey inspired by the mantra that has been with him for many decades: “Great Black Music – Ancient to the Future”.
Having played with many jazz coryphées, Famoudou Don Moye is best known as the drummer of The Art Ensemble of Chicago, the most influential avant-garde jazz group of the 1970s and 1980s. He joined the group in 1969 while living in Paris.
Born in Rochester, Don Moye studied philosophy and percussion at Detroit State University, where he was mentored by trumpeter Charles Moore. When the opportunity arose, he travelled to Europe with a Detroit free jazz band, escaping the political turmoil in the country following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, the leader of the African-American civil rights movement.
As drummer of The Art Ensemble of Chicago, he has recorded over 70 live performances, as well as studio albums, videos and DVDs on a variety of labels, including Atlantic Records, ECM, Disk Union, Nessa Records, Delmark and Pi Recordings.
Today, only Don Moye and Roscoe Mitchell remain of the original five members of the famous group, continuing the legacy of The Art Ensemble of Chicago’s luminaries – Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors and Joseph Jarman.
In the 1970s, in addition to this group, Don Moye played with the St Louis Black Artists Group, pianist Randy Weston, and in a duo with Steve McCall. In 1984, he joined avant-garde stars L. Bowie, Chico Freeman, Arthur Blythe, Don Cherry and Kirk Lightsey, becoming a member of the jazz supergroup The Leaders.
Don Moye’s discography comprises 180 CDs, including over 100 recorded with L. Bowie’s Brass Fantasy and New York Organ Ensemble, The Kirk Lightsey Trio and The Leaders. The drummer has participated in numerous recording sessions with Sun Ra, Milford Graves, Wadada Leo Smith, Hamiet Bluiett, Julius Hemphill, Kenny Clarke, R. Weston, Baba Sissoko and Cecil McBee.
He has played with a whole host of other celebrities including Sonny Sharrock, Steve Lacy, Archie Shepp, Mal Waldron, Pharaoh Sanders, Sun Ra All Stars, Von & Chico Freeman Quintet, Sam Rivers, David Murray, Oliver Lake, Billy Cobham, Billy Higgins, Roy Haynes, Jack De Jonette and Cecil Taylor.
The drummer calls himself a perpetual student – he continues to explore African-American, African and Caribbean percussive instruments and rhythmic techniques, and continues to collect rhythms from Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Congo, Morocco and Cuba. He learned the secrets of the Moroccan Gnawa musicians and studied the possibilities of the djembe with drum master Famoudou Konaté, from whom he took his name.
Don Moye’s work recalls the glory days of the AACM (the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, founded in 1965, was a strong catalyst in Chicago’s experimental scene, launching the careers of many jazz innovators).
He believes that cultural exchange can contribute to preserving world peace and fostering human creativity.
Senegalese multi-instrumentalist Dudu Kouaté also visited Vilnius with The Art Ensemble of Chicago, with which he has collaborated since 2017.
Born into a family of griots (tellers of mythical stories), he spreads African traditions through musical storytelling. However, Dudu uses traditional instruments in a wide variety of contexts – he plays both Afro jazz and contemporary music, and is always on the lookout for new and exciting experiences.
In 2018, he released an album that combines songs in his native language with innovative sounds. Dudu also likes to try out string and wind instruments, although he claims to have been born a percussionist. He plays in various bands, participates in theatre projects and teaches African percussion and the history of traditional African instruments.
Simon Sieger is a multi-instrumentalist, arranger and composer who does not accept strict boundaries in music. “Anything can go anywhere with the right attitude. That’s the way the world should be”, he believes.
He plays stride piano at noise concerts and Turkish maqam (a pattern of harmonies typical of Arab, Iranian and Turkish music) in a blues band, and collaborates with The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Legacy Quintet and Mars Music Bar Opera.
Christophe Loilier, a graduate of the Academy of Music in Caen, France, has performed and toured with many of the greats of European jazz, including Emmanuel Bex, Peter King, Alain Jean-Marie, Eric Barrett, Sophie Alour, Pierrick Pedron, Siegfried Kessler and Geraldine Laurent.
As a member of Archie Shepp’s Attica Blues Orchestra, he has shared the stage with Ambrose Akinmusire, Cecile Mc Lorin, Tom Mc Clunug, Stéphane Belmondo, Reggie Washington and Darryl Hall.
He has appeared on two albums with drum legend André Ceccarelli. In addition to his intense musical activity, he is also teaching.
Bassist Darryl Hall was born in Philadelphia and studied music privately and at the Manhattan School of Music. In 1995, he won the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute of Jazz International Bass Competition.
He developed an early interest in a wide variety of music, but is most drawn to jazz, gospel, soul and Latin genres. He tries himself everywhere, travelling the world with American and European musicians. Hall’s instruments are featured on Ravi Coltrane’s Mad 6 and Carmen Lundy’s Soul to Soul albums. The bassist’s flexibility and professionalism have earned him an excellent reputation.
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