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Seed Artists is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Montclair, New Jersey, presenting adventurous music and arts programming.

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Upcoming Events

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Freedom of Sound: Percussion
May 3-4  
Glenfield Middle School, Montclair NJ

As I developed, I found I could play a lot of notes against  a common chord that some people would call wrong.

To my hearing it's right. You can play any note you like. Its based on freedom of sound.   -   Eric Dolphy

In 2014, Seed Artists produced Eric Dolphy: Freedom of Sound. A celebration of the maverick musician on the 50th anniversary of his passing. More than 40 artists over two nights, from Richard Davis, Andrew Cyrille and Howard Johnson to Vernon Reid, Angelica Sanchez, Don Byron. Among the highlights: James Newton conducted the debut of unheard Dolphy compositions, now housed in the Library of Congress. Gunther  Schuller spoke in a symposium. Henry Threadgill and Diane Moser debuted works dedicated to Dolphy.

On May 3-4, Freedom of Sound returns, as an annual event at a new home, Glenfield Middle School. Montclair's arts-magnet middle school. The theme: percussion. Adventurous music from some of the world's most compelling jazz, international and experimental musicians. We induct the world's first Jazz Laureate, Andrew Cyrille. The theater becomes a musical instrument using conductive paint. A concert in the school planetarium. We build The Worlds Largest Recyclable Drumkit.

 

Kids attend for FREE as long as the spots last. A portion of proceeds go to Getting Out & Staying Out, an innovative Harlem-based program that helps court-involved young men build new lives.

CHECK OUT THE LINEUP. GET YOUR TICKETS.

Past Events

 

All Past Events

Randy Weston's African Rhythms

July 07, 2018

153-10 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, NY  

Admission: $20 Adults, $15 Students with ID

Tickets & Info: jcal.org, 718-658-7400

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The artist:

Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning and Seed Artists are honored to present the legendary Randy Weston. 

Pianist and composer Randy Weston will perform with his African Rhythms Quartet, July 7th , at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center. Remarkably, Mr. Weston is still performing at full force at 92 years of age.  He is a testament to the vibrancy of music as a medium of spiritual restoration. He has been characterized as a "griot of jazz and its African roots",

 

Weston's piano style owes much to Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk and it is highly distinctive in its qualities: percussive, highly rhythmic, capable of producing a wide variety of moods. His life work has been in advocacy for connecting worlds of traditions in music. He has impacted jazz composition by pioneering multicultural expression with the piano since the 1950’s.

 

Randy Weston was born April 6, 1926, in Brooklyn New York of Jamaican parentage. He was described by Marian McPartland as "one of the world's great visionary pianists and composers."  Weston has said, "It's so important to teach the history of our music and the origins of our music, which comes directly from the African continent.... Musicians have to be historians, too." Described as "America's African Musical Ambassador", he has said: "I am truly blessed to have heard and spent so much time with the masters of our music during my rich cultural life of music. I am grateful to be a part of a great spiritual legacy. 

 

In 2001, Randy Weston was inducted into the prestigious cadre of NEA Jazz Masters, thereby joining his many contemporaries Max Roach, Ray Copeland and Cecil Payne. Several of his compositions are fundamental cornerstones in the jazz lexicon. He notably maintained a fruitful musical partnership with trombonist-arranger Melba Liston, who contributed to some of Weston's best recordings. Weston's interest in the African continent was sparked at an early age, and he lectured and performed in Africa in the early 1960s. He toured 14 African countries with his ensemble in 1967 on a State Department tour, eventually settling in Rabat, Morocco. He later moved to Tangier, opening the African Rhythms Club, in 1969. It was in Morocco that Weston first forged unique collaborations with Berber and Gnawan musicians, infusing his jazz with African music and rhythms.

 

Storybuilding Camp 2
3:30-5:30, Montclair Public Library
Jun 28-30, 2017

Time to make comic books!

Over three afternoons, comic-book artist Max Fuchs will teach Budding Young Storytellers how to create a story idea, invent and draw characters, and write storyboards. On the last day of camp, each camper will produce a comic book! Feed your child’s creative mind.

 

Max is a professional comic-book artist and amateur space cadet. He works as an instructor at the famed Kubert School in Dover, NJ. His work can be seen in the pages of Chuck Dixon’s 7 Deadly Sinners, and the upcoming Bram Stoker from Inner Station Comics. 

 

Presented by Seed Artists in conjunction with the youth department of the Montclair Public Library, and East Side Mags.

 
Stephanie Griffin & Hilliard Greene
4 PM, 73 See Gallery
Jun 25 2017

STEPHANIE GRIFFIN and HILLIARD GREENE create daring, utterly beautiful music. The sound of WHAT IF.

GRIFFIN is principal violist of the Princeton Symphony, cofounder of the Momenta Quartet, collaborator with jazz innovators from Butch Morris to Anthony Braxton. She has premiered new works from today's leading modern composers and performed on the sand dunes of the Gobi desert. Beyond his own groups, GREENE‘s many credits include Cecil Taylor, Jason Moran, Charles Gayle, Kenny Barron, Vijay Iyer, Dave Douglas, the Village Vanguard Orchestra and The Inkspots. And 20+ years with the legendary Jimmy Scott.

The first concert in the & series was exhilerating. Join us again in this intimate setting for two masters of their craft posing the question: What if?

Concert preceded by a discussion with the musicians.

As always, kids welcome. Refreshments served. Proceeds fund the series.

 
Let's Listen To... Montclair
6:30 PM, Montclair Public Library & Foundation
Jun 2 2017

Montclair has long been home to an astounding community of world-class jazz musicians. (Here are just a handful, past and present. We could easily fill the page.)

 

For our last listening session before taking a summer break, we’ll spin tunes from some of the many Montclair artists--your neighbors--who have made (and are making) their mark on the music. We think you’ll be surprised.

 

Join series curator Peter Bodge to listen and learn. Meet fellow fans of the music, and take home a list of recommended recordings and reads.

 

The Let’s Listen series explores jazz in its many facets. First Friday every month, new theme every session.

 
Let's Listen to... Dizzy, Ella, Monk
6:30 PM, Montclair Public Library & Foundation
May 5 2017

Centennial. One hundred years.

 

The year 1917 was a big one for jazz. First recording, by the Original Dixieland Jass Band. And the birth of three giants of the music: Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Thelonious Monk.

 

For May’s listening session, join series curator Peter Bodge to listen to and learn about three of his favorites. Meet fellow fans of the music, and take home a list of recommended recordings and reads.

 

The Let’s Listen series explores jazz in its many facets. First Friday every month, new theme every session. Refreshments served.

 
James Brandon Lewis & Chad Taylor
4 PM, 73 See Gallery
Apr 30 2017

SEED ARTISTS opens our monthly duo series--&--with a gem: JAMES BRANDON LEWIS (tenor sax) and CHAD TAYLOR (percussion). Beyond leading highly acclaimed groups, they’ve performed with everyone from Pharoah Sanders, Marc Ribot and William Parker to Richard Davis, Alphonso Johnson and Jamaladeen Tacuma. Deep-rooted, forward-looking, dynamic.

 

FREE kids’ music workshop at 2:30, followed by openers RIO (baritone sax) and Montclair High’s own WILLIE OECHSLI (drums). Refreshments served.

 
Femmes de Jazz Film Screening +Q&A
6:30 PM, Montclair Public Library & Foundation
Apr 27 2017

In April 1999, drummer Susia Ibarra marked ‘Women in Jazz Month in New York’ with a remarkable series of concerts by female artists at the club Tonic. Gil Corre’s award-winning 2000 documentary profiles 20 of those artists making their way in the downtown scene. A compelling testament to talent, commitment and the creative spirit, and the vital role of women in the music. (The soundtrack? My, my, my…)

 

Film subjects Akua Dixon (cello) and Virginia Mayhew (saxophone) will join associate producer Abby London and moderator (and pianist) Diane Moser for a post-screening Q&A. 

 

Free admission. No registration.

 
Let's Listen to... Jazz?
6:30 PM, Montclair Public Library & Foundation
Apr 7 2017

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. Perfect time to open the grand can of worms: What is jazz? From Coltrane to Kenny G, there are many answers, many more questions. And a remarkable breadth and depth of music. 

 

Hard Bop, bebop and post-bop, fusion, free, Third Stream, swing...Series curator Peter Bodge will guide us from A to Z - Louis Armstrong to John Zorn - with a wildly eclectic playlist, historical insights, and the question: What do you think jazz is?

 

Join us to listen to and learn about jazz in its many facets, and meet other people who want to do the same. As always, we’ll have a healthy take-home list of recommended recordings and readings.

 

The Let’s Listen series. First Friday every month, new theme every session. Refreshments served.

 
Let's Listen to... Women in Jazz
6:30 PM, Montclair Public Library & Foundation
Mar 3, 2017

Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan...Household names, rightly so. But the female voice in jazz goes far beyond vocals. As composers, instrumentalists and bandleaders, women have created some of our most compelling music. And today they are at the forefront, taking jazz in new directions.

 

In honor of Women’s History Month, Seed Artists follows our full-house opener with a listening session celebrating the past, present and future of women in jazz. Join us to listen to and learn about great music, and meet other people who want to do the same.

 

Renowned pianist/composer/bandleader Diane Moser will join series curator Peter Bodge to spin you through their playlist, answer your questions, and hang out. We have a new interactive format, and a healthy take-home list of recommended recordings and readings.

 

The Let’s Listen series explores jazz in its many facets. First Friday every month, new theme every session. Refreshments served.

 
Howard Johnson at 75
2:30 PM, The National Jazz Museum in Harlem
Jan 29, 2017

Seed Artists is proud to partner with The National Jazz Museum in Harlem to celebrate our friend Howard Johnson's 75th year. Johnson has built a deep (deep) resume as a multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger over the last 50-plus years. Beyond revolutionizing the tuba as a solo jazz instrument since the early ’60s, the versatile Johnson plays baritone sax and other reeds, cornet, and pennywhistle. His dizzying credits range from Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Gil Evans, Archie Shepp and Jaco Pastorius to John Lennon and The Band. Johnson’s four-tuba group Substructure performed with Taj Mahal, and in the late ’70s he formed a second tuba ensemble, the famed GRAVITY. This extended celebration of Howard’s 75th birthday features his quartet, Howard Johnson’s Friends and Family.

 

Personnel:

Howard Johnson – baritone sax, tuba, penny whistle

Yayoi Ikawa – piano

Melissa Slocum – bass

Newman Taylor Baker – drums

Let's Listen to... the Blues
6:30 PM, Montclair Public Library & Foundation
Feb 3, 2017

Join Seed Artists and our resident jazz historian, Peter Bodge, for our first monthly listening session in a series exploring jazz in its many facets. We start at the roots, from African tribal music through early American blues.

 

We’ll listen to and learn about great music, and hang out with other people who want to do the same. You’ll walk away with the playlist from the session, recommendations for further listening, and a list of suggested reads on the subject.

 

Peter, our Let’s Listen curator, is a Walking Jazz Encyclopedia, a musician, an accomplished visual artist, and an arts educator of more than 40 years. His jazz portraits hang in the Smithsonian Institution. At Cambridge College in Massachusetts, he teaches jazz history, art history, critical thinking, and a course that helps educators discover their own creativity and use it in the classroom.

 

First Fridays every month. New theme every session. Refreshments. 

 
 
Storybuilding Camp 1
4-6 PM, Montclair Public Library
July 12-14, 2016

Storybuilding Camp is a unique opportunity for children to join two remarkable artists in the collective creation of an original story. Start to finish, concept to presentation, from characters and dialogue to a musical soundscape. An inspiring experience that will feed and expand your child's creative mind, build confidence and teach teamwork.

 

And result in a printed and bound story that lists each child as co-author. 

 

Beyond his work for stage, film and television, actor/director/writer Michael Rogers has run youth story and drama workshops in New York City for more than a decade. He will lead the camp. Renowned jazz drummer Pheeroan akLaff will help the children create a soundscape to accompany a public reading of their story to close the camp. 

 

Presented by Seed Artists in conjunction with the Youth Services Department of the Montclair Public Library.

 
Discover the World of Jazz
5PM, Montclair Public Library & Foundation
May 11, 2016

WHAT IS JAZZ? We have the fun-filled answer:

Join David Demsey, Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University, and a knockout quintet of his star students, for an engaging hour of music and plain old goofing around that will introduce your children to America's great musical art form.

As an educator and highly accomplished saxophonist, Dr. Demsey has unlocked the mysteries of jazz for thousands of children. His enthusiasm for the music and for teaching children--and adults--is infectious. Get ready for some toe-tapping, some knee-slapping, and some beautiful sounds.

James Brandon Lewis Trio/Peter Bodge Exhibit/Anthony Orji/Joel Katz
3PM, Basement WRX
February 21, 2016

Ditch the winter blahs with a Sunday afternoon of inspired sights and sounds:


HEAR tenorman JAMES BRANDON LEWIS’s kinetic, head-nodding exploration of 90s hip hop and its roots. His trio with Luke Stewart (b) and Warren Crudup III (d) melts rooms. This is how jazz does hip hop.

 

THE ARTISTS:

 

James Brandon Lewis

James is a modern titan of the tenor. His accolades range from The New York Times to Burning Ambulance, Ebony Magazine--chosen one of “7 Young Players to Watch”--and a host of best-of lists that have honored his last two releases. He has shared stages with such icons as Benny Golson, Geri Allen, Richard Davis, Wallace Roney, the late “Queen of Gospel” Albertina Walker, and avant-garde masters William Parker, Andrew Cyrille, Gerald Cleaver, Charles Gayle, Marilyn Crispell, Cooper Moore, Marvin “Bugalu” Smith, and Sabir Mateen. James has collaborated with the dance company CircuitDebris, under the direction of Mersiha Mesihovic, and extensively with the poet Thomas Sayers Ellis. James attended Howard University and holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.

 

Peter Bodge

Visual artist and educator Peter Bodge has been creating stunning linoleum-block prints of jazz artists for decades. He has seven such pieces in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection, and the National Museum of American History chose his Ellington portrait as the banner image for its jazz collection. Peter’s works also grace the collections of departed legends Max Roach and Clark Terry, and greats from Barry Harris to Sheila Jordan and David Murray. Peter is a Walking Jazz Encyclopedia.

 

Anthony Orji

Anthony attended the prestigious Jazz House Kids program in Montclair, New Jersey, and earned a full scholarship to Juilliard. His principal instrument is the bass clarinet, which he took up under inspiration from his musical hero, Eric Dolphy. Anthony currently lives and performs in New York City.

Joel Katz

Filmmaker Joel Katz, Chair of Media Arts at New Jersey City University, makes films and videos that expand upon micro-histories to examine broader themes of social history and race in America. His works include Corporation with a Movie Camera (1992, PBS broadcast), Dear Carry (1997, premiere at Museum of Modern Art), Strange Fruit (2002, national PBS broadcast; theatrical release), and White: A Study in Color (2012, Montclair Film Festival). Katz’s work has been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Independent Television Service, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and numerous other agencies. He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2008 and has served on the Board of Directors of Third World Newsreel since 1999 and the Black Maria Film Festival since 2010. Joel lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

SEE artist PETER BODGE‘s stunning linoleum-block jazz prints. His works hang in the Smithsonian. You, too, can have an original Bodge.

HEAR reed phenom ANTHONY ORJI make the bass clarinet sing. The Jazz House Kids/Juilliard alum will open the music.

SEE a debut trailer from Montclair filmmaker JOEL KATZ, creator of the acclaimed documentaries Strange Fruit and White: A Study in Color.

The MC, a new Montclair media platform, will record the event for its inaugural podcast.

And we’ll have an art activity for the kids, and free wine, beer juice and finger foods.

Richard Davis/Andrew Cyrille/Angelica Sanchez/Aska Kaneko
3PM, The Jazz Room at William Paterson University
November 22, 2015

A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon:

 

Seed Artists’ first concert for the Jazz Room Series at William Paterson University is a real gem. Living legends Richard Davis (bass) and Andrew Cyrille (drums) join brilliant collaborators Angelica Sanchez (piano) and Aska Kaneko (violin) for a concert recording of masterful group improvisation. Public performances by Davis are rare as it is, but a free-improv setting like this is truly a must-hear event. And it will be recorded for release.

 

The group performed for the first and only time at last year’s Eric Dolphy: Freedom of Sound festival in Montclair. They drew an encore. Davis was so taken with the experience that he asked to do it again. We are thrilled to oblige.

 

Seed Artists is honored to present this concert in the Jazz Room, the nation’s longest-running university-based concert series. Fans can attend a pre-concert Q & A session with the artists. William Paterson students will open the show.

 

The Musicians:

NEA Jazz Master Richard Davis is one of the greatest bassists in jazz history. He appears on more than 3,000 recordings, including many seminal dates of the 1960s avant garde, and has performed with everyone from Dizzy, Miles and Sarah Vaughan to Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen. Downbeat International Critics Poll named him Best Bassist from 1967-74.

 

Avant-garde icon Andrew Cyrille has been a force in modern jazz for more than five decades. He is best known for his decade-long work with pianist Cecil Taylor. His many credits include Coleman Hawkins, Mary Lou Williams, Sun Ra, Peter Brotzmann, Carla Bley and Jimmy Giuffre.

 

Angelica Sanchez has established herself as a compelling voice in creative music, and her releases consistently make “Best of” lists. She leads several groups, and her collaborators include Wadada Leo Smith, Paul Motian, Susie Ibarra, Tim Berne and Mark Dresser.

Aska Kaneko’s nearly twenty recordings span a wide range of settings. Her many projects include the London-based group Mekong Zoo, the Japanese-Argentinian combo Gaia Cuatro, a duo project with harpist Amy Camie, and collaborations with Zakir Hussain, Bill Laswell, Butch Morris and Pheeroan AkLaff.

 
 
 
FuturePresent: Bandsc@pe
7PM Montclair Public LIbrary & Foundation
Jun 29, 2016

Music for your ears,

Science for your mind.

FREE.

Outdoors.

This ain't grandma's jazz.

(Although she's welcome.)

 

Seed Artists and the Adult School Department of the Montclair Public Library present an evening of adventurous jazz and a journey through the neuroscience of music. Free and open to the public, a summer’s night on the library plaza.

 

The trio of Pheeroan akLaff (drums), Scott Robinson (reeds, brass, woodwinds, theremin…) and Julian Thayer, Ph.D. (bass), have been pushing the boundaries of jazz for 25 years. Between them, they have recorded and performed with everyone from Ella Fitzgerald, Sting and Vernon Reid to avant-garde icons Cecil Taylor and Anthony Braxton. With the help of three very special guests—Nat Adderley Jr. (piano), Aska Kaneko (violin), Julius Tomkins (guitar)—they will take the audience on a wild musical ride that starts with jazz and ends wherever their collective creativity takes them.

 

Dr. Thayer, an eminent cognitive scientist at Ohio State University, will intersperse the concert with an engaging discussion of the neuroscience of music and the nature of improvisation.

 

FuturePresent is the latest Seed Artists project to introduce audiences to boundary-pushing jazz and its vanguard musicians. Like all of Seed’s programming, this concert is intended to enrich the cultural fabric, encourage curiosity, and build community through the arts. And as always, children are welcome.

 

Seed Artists began presenting children’s music and art programming at the library via the Youth Services Department in May. This is our first collaboration with the Adult School.

 

The concert is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs and from the Reberta C. and Louis F. Albright Foundation.

 
 
Tomeka Reid/Nicole Mitchell/Mike Reed: Concert + Children's Music Workshop
6PM, Glenfield School
July 11, 2015

Reid/Mitchell/Reed, a trio of creative music’s leading lights—cellist Tomeka Reid, flutist Nicole Mitchell and drummer Mike Reed—will celebrate 50 years of boundary-pushing music from the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Inc. (AACM) with interpretations of works by AACM composers. This rare opportunity to experience the trio—one of just three East Coast dates—will be preceded by a FREE children’s music workshop with the group and a community hangout with FREE light fare.

 
Eric Dolphy: Freedom of Sound
Montclair Public Library
May 30-31, 2015​

An unprecedented celebration of the life, music and legacy of the visionary jazz multi-instrumentalist and composer Eric Dolphy. Two nights of music from world-class musicians, including new compositions and the world premiere of UNHEARD DOLPHY COMPOSITIONS...A truly historic event.

Gunther Schuller? Yes.

Richard Davis? Yes.

Grachan Moncur III, Oliver Lake & Tarbaby, Andrew Cyrille, Don Byron, Vernon Reid, Oscar Noriega, James Brandon Lewis--from living legends to young innovators.

Plus dance from an Alvin Ailey instructor, poetry from a National Book Award nominee, photography and video exhibits, an educational display, pre-show performances by Jazz House Kids and the School of Rock, and food and wine service.

Proceeds benefit elderly and ailing musicians, and bring music and the arts to underserved children.

There is nothing like this anywhere. People will be talking about this celebration for a long time to come. Come witness history in the making.