Famoudou Don Moye Sun Percussion Summit | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Famoudou Don Moye Sun Percussion Summit 

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FAMOUDOU DON MOYE SUN PERCUSSION SUMMIT

Famoudou Don Moye joined the previously drummerless Art Ensemble of Chicago in 1970, and his fierce and multifaceted trap work did more than alter the group's subtle interrelationships--it transformed the Art Ensemble into the flagship band of the AACM. He plays with a constant intensity--aggressive in fast and complex passages, sharply focused when the music calls for quiet colors--that reflects his studies of African music. And you can't overestimate Moye's moxie, displayed in everything from his outlandish costumery to the zeal with which he attacks more conventional jazz--as in the sextet called the Leaders, or on a newly available piano trio date led by Kirk Lightsey, Goodbye Mr. Evans, on Evidence--to his creation of Sun Percussion, a philosophy of the drum that involves meditation as well as music. The Sun Percussion concept underlies this concert, as Moye leads an ensemble similar to the one on last year's Afrikan Song (AECO Records); that is, half a dozen vocalist-rhythmagicians, joined by guitarist Herb Walker, playing works designed to evoke ancient roots. But in the last week, Moye has expanded this group to include a few other AACM stalwarts--trumpeter Malachi Thompson, Ari Brown on piano and saxes, and probably bassist Fred Hopkins--which stamps the whole project "special event." Moye's minions will play as part of the annual Jazz Fair, an all-night, six-band event organized by the Jazz Institute of Chicago (on whose board this writer sits). This year the fair moves to a new location. Monday, 9:15 PM, Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe; 312-427-3300 or 312-427-1676. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Lauren Deutsch.

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