City of Asylum presents an evening of jazz with Jerome Harris & Brandon Ross. Between solo sets, these musicians will also collaborate with poet Ladan Osman (Somalia), humorist Damon Young (U.S.) and Attack Theatre dance company for a jazz and poetry (and dance!) creation.
Guitarist Jerome Harris was raised in Brooklyn, New York, where he experienced a broad range of traditional and popular American music genres, including blues, folk and gospel. After majoring in psychology and social relations at Harvard University, Harris became an honors student in jazz guitar at New England Conservatory of Music. He has recorded and/or toured with Sonny Rollins, Jack DeJohnette, Don Byron, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Marty Ehrlich, and Julius Hemphill, among many others; his international touring includes trips to south Asia and eastern Africa under the auspices of the U.S. State Department’s “Jazz Ambassadors” program. Harris appears on over fifty recordings; his albums as leader include Rendezvous (Stereophile) and Hidden In Plain View (New World). His essay “Jazz on the Global Stage,” published in The African Diaspora: A Musical Perspective (Ingrid Monson, editor; Garland, 2000), explores the history, present state, and future implications of the spread of jazz to locales far from its African American birthplace.
Brandon Ross is a New York City-based guitarist/composer/singer/songwriter. As a performing and recording artist Ross has collaborated with many innovative voices in modern music such as Cassandra Wilson, Henry Threadgill, Jewel, Wadada Leo Smith, Tony Williams, Lizz Wright, Arto Lindsay, The Lounge Lizards, Leroy Jenkins, Oliver Lake, Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, Bill Frisell, Me’Shell N’degeocello, Moreno Veloso, Arrested Development, Archie Shepp, Muhal Richard Abrams, Don Byron, Ron Miles and many others, crafting a personal approach to guitar and improvisation which has taken him all over the world.
Ross co-leads the avant power trio, Harriet Tubman, with bassist Melvin Gibbs, and drummer JT Lewis. “Tubman” is dedicated to musical revelation/investigation in a pan-African vernacular. In Harriet Tubman, Ross uses electronics, and pan-tonality to sculpt a multidimensional, interactive, sonic language in a classic R&B/Rock configuration of guitar, bass, and drums. The band’s latest studio album, “Araminta”, was released in February 2017.
In his semi-acoustic quartet, Brandon Ross & Blazing Beauty, Ross plays banjo, electric, acoustic and soprano guitars to extend his expressive range into “folk” oriented musics and compositional approaches that communicate his dedication to fresh musical experience. He has released 2 albums with Blazing Beauty, “Costume” (2004) and “Puppet” (2006), on the Japanese label, Intoxicate Records. Both garnered rave reviews, and appearances on several Japanese critics’, “best of the year” lists.
Ross also leads, For Living Lovers, his Chamber Music for Improvisers acoustic duo with acoustic bass guitarist, Stomu Takeishi. The duo’s debut release, “Revealing Essence” (2014) on Sunnyside Records was called “… another masterpiece … ” – John Garrat, (Pop Matters) honored by superlative reviews and year-end “best of …” lists. Ross has received composition commission grants from The Rockefeller Foundation; ASCAP Awards; New York Foundation for the Arts and Chamber Music America.
Ladan Osman is a Somali born artist whose work is a lyric and exegetic response to problems of race, gender, displacement, and colonialism. She is the author of The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony (2015), winner of a Sillerman First Book Prize. Her work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Roar, Rumpus, among others. Osman’s writing has been translated into over 10 languages. She currently lives in Brooklyn.
Damon Young is writer, critic, humorist, satirist, and professional Black person. He’s a senior editor at The Root, co-founder and editor in chief of VerySmartBrothas, and a columnist for GQ Magazine. The Pittsburgh-native is also the author of a collection of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins).
Look for Attack Theatre on Sampsonia Way performing live for a video stream being broadcast to audiences in Alphabet City.