Afro Yaqui Music Collective Honors Fred Ho (1957-2014)
Friday, August 11 at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m.)
Ginny’s Supper Club at Red Rooster – 310 Lenox Avenue at 125th Street
Admission: $15 in advance
Fred Ho – called the “greatest baritone saxophonist of all time” by The New Yorker – would be celebrating his 60th birthday on August 10. Despite a life cut short by a relentless cancer, Ho’s output remains massive, with more than 15 albums as a bandleader, several full-length Manga Operas which fused jazz and marital arts choreography, and a distinctive Afro Asian style he can call his own. By combining revolutionary politics with African and Asian musical traditions, Ho pioneered a vibrant new form of jazz deployed in service of eco-socialist ideals.
The Afro Yaqui Music Collective is a nine-piece outfit that descends from Ho’s Afro Asian revolutionary ensembles and musical concepts. Led by Ben Barson, Ho’s Baritone protege who “he felt has the heft and sound to represent [Ho’s] assertive approach (The New York Times),” the band will include alumni of Ho’s groups such as trumpet maestro Jon Mark McGowan and Aaron J. Johnson.
Theatre artist Marina Celander and multimedia artist Nejma Shea will also be joining the ensemble. On top of it all, special guest Baritone Saxophonist Calaire Daaley and Bassoonist Karen Borca will be performing Fred’s work and new works as well!
The Afro Yaqui Music Collective has invited the Cuban trumpet and keyboard virtuoso Albertico Lescay to perform with the collective. Ho was long interested in the ways that the cultures of the African diaspora have contributed to the formation of jazz and a transnational consciousness embedded in the music. Lescay’s work is no stranger to these themes, which embeds in complex harmonic and melodic arrangements the ritual and functional music of his hometown of Santiago de Cuba.
Ginny’s Supper Club was a special location for Ho. Despite refusing to perform in clubs or bars since the late 1980s, Ho felt Ginny’s was an exceptional venue, and he organized a special series of concerts toward the end of his life. He unofficially inaugurated the downstairs Supper Club with his tribute to Black Power activist and under-recognized composer Cal Massey’s Black Liberation Movement Suite, which jazz critic Will Friedwald in his review of Ho’s interpretation in the Wall Street Journal, wrote “was well worth the 40-year wait that it took to be heard.” Massey, who performed at the original Red Rooster with Charlie Parker, would have understood Ho as a fellow visionary iconoclast.
To purchase tickets, please visit Ginny’s Supper Club’s website.
“Fred Ho’s style is a genre unto itself, a pioneering fusion of free-jazz and traditional Chinese music that manages to combine truculence and delicacy with such natural ease that it sounds positively organic.”