Frequency is a new quartet showcasing the improvisational talents of four longtime members of Chicago’s storied underground jazz scene
C flute, alto flute, piccolo, bass flute, melodica, Egyptian harp, vocals, plastic bag
“One of Chicago’s more inspiring jazz visionaries,” (Chicago Tribune), Nicole Mitchell is a creative instrumentalist, composer, bandleader and an educator. She is the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings and Tindanga Mama: groups that celebrate the diversity of the African American creative legacy. Mitchell was named Downbeat’s Critic’s Poll winner for Rising Star Flutist 2006. With her ensembles and as a featured flutist, Mitchell’s music has been a highlight at festivals throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Co-president of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Mitchell has performed with greats such as George Lewis, Orbert Davis, Miya Masaoka, Anthony Braxton, Dee Alexander, Muhal Richard Abrams. She enjoys inspiring children in the Chicago Public Schools through Ravinia’s Education Outreach Program and Orbert Davis’ Music Alive.
tenor sax, clarinet, wood flute, bells
Edward L. Wilkerson, Jr. is an internationally recognized composer, arranger, musician, and educator based in Chicago. As founder and director of the inventive octet, 8 Bold Souls, and the 25 member performance ensemble, Shadow Vignettes, Wilkerson has toured festivals and concert halls throughout the world. Defender, a large-scale piece for Shadow Vignettes, was commissioned by the Lila Wallace/ Reader’s Digest Fund and featured in the 10th Anniversary of New Music America, a presentation of BAM’s Next Wave Festival. His music can be heard on numerous recordings, including two film soundtracks and the critically acclaimed albums Birth of a Notion, and 8 Bold Souls, both on his own Sessoms Records label. A member of the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble since 1977, Wilkerson has also played with such artists and groups as the AACM Big Band, Roscoe Mitchell, Douglas Ewart, The Temptations, Chico Freeman, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Gerri Allen, Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, Clark Terry, Aretha Franklin and many others.
contra bass, cello, wood flute, bells
Pinning down the root of the fundamental sonorities within Frequency is the contra bass, where Harrison Bankhead holds court. Harrison is known as a musician who appreciates a musical challenge. He has never shunned an opportunity to participate in new and exciting ensembles and concerts where creativity abounds. From flamenco, to classical, to gospel, to soul, Harrison has lent his unique bass styling to enhance whatever ensemble is fortunate enough to have his participation. Luckily he expends much of his musical energies with the ‘Souls.’ Additionally he has performed with Oliver Lake, Joshua Redman, Fred Anderson, Von Freeman, The Waukegan Symphony, Roscoe Mitchell, Billy Pierce, Billy Harper and many others.
percussion, kalimbas, Native American flute, vocals
Master drummer / percussionist Avreeayl was described by the Chicago Tribune as “An indispensable innovator. Avreeayl Ra shapes the music-making swirling around him with remarkable precision and poise; extraordinarily sensitive percussion.” Avreeayl is a long-term member of the Chicago AACM, his relationship with the seminal music organization having begun with early studies with co-founder Kelan Philip Cohran. Avreeayl has performed and /or recorded with Fred Anderson, Amiri Baraka, Fontella Bass, Lester Bowie, Ari Brown, Oscar Brown, Jr., Henry Butler, Henry Byrd (”Professor Longhair”), Hamid Drake, Malachi Favors, Donald Raphael Garrett, Charles Gayle, Henry Grimes, Billy Harper, Joseph Jarman, Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders, Malachi Thompson, and many more. Avreeayl devotes much of his time and energy to the Congo Beach Initiative, a society in which Chicago musicians, dancers, and artists, young and old, have congregated for many years, playing music and practicing their spiritual and healing arts.