with James Brandon Lewis Trio feat. special guest guitarist Anthony Pirog & Val-Inc
Wed May 31st, 2017
Minimum Age: 18+
Doors Open: 6:00PM
Show Time: 7:00PM
Event Ticket: $15
Day of Show: $20
Benefitting Equal Justice Initiative
Praise for Harriet Tubman”
“This is black music at its best.” – SURAYA MOHAMED, NPR
“Araminta” is the best jazz so far this year.” – BRET SAUNDERS, THE DENVER POST
“Harriet Tubman’s new album is a reminder that when creative musicians fly into the outer space of improvisation, they don’t spend much time worrying about the planet they left, or where they might land. Like their namesake, they have only one concern: to lead people to freedom.” – ADAM SHATZ, THE PARIS REVIEW
“Harriet Tubman is an irresistible force of truth, beauty, and electric improvisation….their remarkable new Araminta, a screaming jam session of an album that roils, skronks, bites, and wails with irrepressible beauty, soul, and fire.” – RICHARD GEHR, THE VILLAGE VOICE
“A message of freedom, hope and protest in the form of their soul-baring, politically-tweaked fusion of funk, rock, jazz and dub that is spiritually cleansing as it is earth-scorching when we most need it.”
– BRAD COHAN, THE OBSERVER
“This is extremely meditative and beautiful music that sounds like nothing else out there.” – PETER FREEMAN, THE WIRE MAGAZINE
TABLE SEATING POLICY
Table seating for all seated shows is reserved exclusively for ticket holders who purchase “Table Seating” tickets. By purchasing a “Table Seating” ticket you agree to also purchase a minimum of two food and/or beverage items per person. Table seating is first come, first seated. Please arrive early for the best choice of available seats. Seating begins when doors open. Tables are communal so you may be seated with other patrons. We do not take table reservations.
A standing room area is available by the bar for all guests who purchase “Standing Room” tickets. Food and beverage can be purchased at the bar but there is no minimum purchase required in this area.
All tickets sales are final. No refund or credits.
“Imagine a band that uses sounds that are familiar, but does things with them that are unlike any other band you’ve heard. That’s Harriet Tubman.”
Harriet Tubman is a musical collective formed in 1998 by guitarist/vocalist Brandon Ross, bassist Melvin Gibbs and drummer JT Lewis. Harriet Tubman was an African-American woman born into slavery in 1822 in the southern US state of Maryland. Tubman is renowned as a liberator of other African-American slaves who like she, chose to defy the system of Slavery and seek freedom by escaping to the North. She accomplished this with the help of a secret network of safe houses, or “stations” on what was known as “The Underground Railroad”.
Far from being underground, Ross, Gibbs and Lewis have collectively performed with some of the most important musical innovators and visionaries of the last half of the 20th century: Herbie Hancock, Henry Threadgill, Tony Williams, Don Pullen, Tina Turner, James Blood Ulmer, Sonny Sharrock, Leroy Jenkins, Cassandra Wilson, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Oliver Lake, Muhal Richard Abrams, Aretha Franklin, Lawrence Butch Morris, and many others.
The music of Harriet Tubman is both familiar and fresh, while allowing the listener to experience the music free from distracting labels of style or genre. At the same time, it is easy to perceive sources that have seeded the musical development of the trio. From the electric explosion of fabled Miles Davis bands of the 70’s; to the transcendent spirituality of the music of the Mississippi Delta and beyond; to the anointing cry of John Coltrane’s musical apex; to the open rhyme scheme of the rhythm invention of the American Urban 80’s; to the imagined sound of the endless expanse of the African savannah – Harriet Tubman uses ALL of their musical experiences to communicate a vision of musical freedom and musical invention for those who choose to take the journey.
Hear/Buy @ iTunes/Amazon: “Ascension”/”Prototype”/”I Am A Man”
Photo Credit: Michael Halsband
James Brandon Lewis Trio feat. special guest guitarist Anthony Pirog
About James Brandon Lewis:
Visionary composer and tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis’s bravest, yet most palpable artistic feat, Days Of FreeMan, opens with a poignant and profound introductory monologue from a maternal sage. She says, “The best thing of living is living who you are. You can’t be somebody else; you gotta be what God gave you to be and who you are. You look in the mirror and see yourself and say ‘I’m James Brandon Lewis.”’Next, bass and drums congeal around the sapphire melodic motif of “Brother 1976,” recalling one of those jazzy jewel-like hooks from a 1990s Native Tongue hip-hop jam. The effect is like 1990s hip-hop’s fascination with jazz being spit back by a prodigious jazz innovator. Welcome to Days Of FreeMan.
James Brandon Lewis is one of the modern titans of the tenor. He’s received accolades from mainstream cultural tastemakers such as Ebony Magazine who hailed him as one of “7 Young Players to Watch,” and earned the respect of a diverse cross section of esteemed artists. James has shared stages with such icons as Benny Golson, Geri Allen, Wallace Roney, Grammy® Award-winning singer Dorinda Clark Cole, and the late “Queen of Gospel Music,” Albertina Walker. In bold contrast, James has also worked with such intrepid artists as Weather Report bassist Alphonso Johnson, William Parker, Gerald Cleaver, Charles Gayle, Ed Shuller, Kirk Knuffke, Jason Hwang , Marilyn Crispell, Ken Filiano, Cooper Moore, Darius Jones, Eri Yamamoto, Federico Ughi, Kenny Wessel, Marvin “Bugalu” Smith, and Sabir Mateen. In addition, he has collaborated with the dance company CircuitDebris under the direction of Mersiha Mesihovic. James attended Howard University and holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.
Currently, James resides in New York City where he actively gigs as a sideman and leads his own ensembles. In NYC, he is a co-founder of “Heroes Are Gang Leaders” with poet Thomas Sayers Ellis—a collective of poets and musicians—and he is a member of the collective “Dark Matter,” a conceptual musical collaboration exploring that which is invisible but is detected by it’s gravitational effects. Outside NYC, James is an active national and international touring artist with a highly respected profile. Some career highlights are playing such esteemed festivals as Winter Jazz Festival /Sony Okeh records Showcase with William Parker and Gerald Cleaver; The Eric Dolphy Festival with an ensemble featuring Grachan Moncur III, Richard Davis, Andrew Cyrille, Angelica Sanchez , Ted Daniel , and Alfred Patterson; and Princeton University as part of Fred Ho’s “Journey to the West,” an interdisciplinary dance and music project.
James is deep in an intrepid artistic continuum that explores identity and spirituality through challenging and awe-inspiring concepts and epiphanic playing that melds formalistic technique, bold exploration, and strains of gospel and blues. Each new James Brandon Lewis release presents a rich dialogue with his audience that is both fiery and cerebral. For his third album, Days Of FreeMan, he uses ideas from 1990s hip-hop to masterfully weave together threads of cultural identity, cross-generational identity, and personal reflection.
“I didn’t grow up a hip-hop head, but where I grew up in Buffalo, New York, on Freeman Street, the sound of 1990s hip-hop was ubiquitous,” James says. “I decided to go back and explore that time through music.”
Days Of Freeman is imaginatively organized in chapters with classic hip-hop style breaks and interludes functioning as chapter breathers. Like the cross-cultural and generational mosaic on Freeman Street proper, the album invites the listener into many dialogues. It is a nod to 1990s hip-hop, and explores rhyme-scapes and the musical conventions of that golden age of hip-hop in a revolutionary way. The album also explores hip-hop as a culture through taking inspiration from the original four pillars of hip-hop: dance, rapping, graffiti, and DJ-ing.Days Of FreeMan also loosely functions as a memoir with an underlay of nostalgia for the carefree boyhood days of fly nicknames, basketball, and those first encounters with the transformative power of music. Adding to the power and emotionality of this thread on growing up, are pontifications on love, identity, and God peppered throughout the album, culled from informal conversations James recorded with his grandmother, Pearl Lewis. James’s immersive creative process to realize his vision for Days Of FreeMan include poring over hip-hop documentaries for up to eight hours a day, and dissecting albums by KRS-One, Digable Planets, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, A Tribe Called Quest, Medeski, Martin & Wood, along with fearless jazz trumpeter Don Cherry’s 1985 album Home Boy and Lauryn Hill’s 1998 masterpiece the Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill.
How all of this preparation plays out musically is stunning. For years instrumentalists held fast to the lofty notion of “singing through the instrument,” but on Days Of FreeMan, James aspires to MC through his tenor. The album’s title track perfectly captures the clipped cadence of a master MC with speech-like phrases and a long flowing solo that conjures up a blazing freestyle battle rap session. “Black Ark” traces the legacy of hip-hop from the balmy and pioneering dub explorations of Lee “Scratch” Perry in Jamaica (“Black Ark” is the name of his famed studio) to the burgeoning sounds of hip-hop blaring out in the Bronx. On “Lament for JLew,” in five vigorous minutes James ties together the dual lineages of classical music to hip-hop and classical music to rock using original classical-flavored motifs to illustrate the overlaps.The second to last track of Days Of FreeMan is the political and timely “Unarmed With A Mic” and is a reminder of hip-hop’s power as a form of protest music. On this track James plays with seething sentimentality. The album concludes with “Epilogue,” a reprise of the infectious melody of the opening track “Brother 1976.”
On the album James is accompanied by former Ornette Coleman Prime Time bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Bill Frisell and Ravi Coltrane drummer Rudy Royston. Both took the weighty undertaking of album deeply, researching 1990s hip-hop jams for inspiration and vision. Their attention to the vocabulary of the era James sought to explore, and their panoramic musicality and sympathetic musical skills, match James’s artistic ideal to authentically and thoroughly fuse genres and cultures without pandering to trends in jazz-groove records. The record also features a guest spot from the gifted freestyle rapper Supernatural on the track “Days Of FreeMan.”
Days of FreeMan has turned out to be one James Brandon Lewis’s most ambitious works, and, interestingly enough, his most accessible. Reflecting on this intriguing duality he says: “The artist is charged with taking creative risks, but the universe lined up this time and I was able to connect with my audience conversationally.”
About Anthony Pirog:
Anthony Pirog is making his mark on the guitar playing universe, one sonically enthralling, diversely influenced project after another. From his work on Janel and Anthony’s “Where is Home,” described in Guitar Player Magazine as “approachable experimentalism,” to what AllMusic described as “pristinely executed rock guitar solos” with Skysaw, Anthony displays a “crystalline tone that’s immediately recognizable as his own” in his ever-evolving conception of how a guitar can sound.
Born in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Anthony lived in Chevy Chase, Maryland and Carmel Valley, California before his family settled in the Washington DC suburb of Vienna, Virginia when he was nine. At home he listened to his father’s blues, surf and doo-wop albums and their influence can be heard in his playing today. Formerly in a surf band, Anthony’s father had a 1963 Fender Jaguar and it was on this guitar Anthony first played music. In high school, Anthony was in more than a dozen bands before an interest in free jazz and experimental music led him to study jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music in Boston, eventually completing his degree in jazz performance at NYU in 2004.
As it turned out, the studying paid off. By 2004 Anthony had distinguished himself, quickly earning a reputation as a masterful guitarist, capable of using his studied yet unorthodox voice to fit a wide range of musical styles including jazz, country, fingerstyle and old time music, free improvisation, free jazz, surf and experimental music.
Anthony has played with musicians across a wide spectrum of styles and genres. He has performed with renowned avant jazzers such as Henry Kaiser, Elliot Sharp, Michael Formanek, Ches Smith, Mary Halvorson, William Hooker, William Parker, Eyvind Kang, Skuli Sverrisson, Allison Miller, Jon Irabagon, Doug Weiselman, Susan Alcorn, Dave Ballou, Andrew Bishop, Balázs Pándi, Gino Robair, Tatsuya Nakatani, James Brandon Lewis, Jessika Kenney and played in myriad jazz, electronic and improvisational groups up and down the East Coast. Some of the groups Anthony’s played with include: Out of Your Head Collective, Better Than Lost, Beep Honk, Kung Fu Bastard, The Landscaping Crew, The Bobby Muncy Quartet, Ad Hoc Quartet, Inner Loop and Stylus. In 2012, he performed a sold-out show at The Stone with Violet (Jeff Surak) and Berlin filmmaker Sylvia Schedelabuer.
But jazz and experimentalism are just two of the many facets of Anthony Pirog. He’s performed with rock, roots and rockabilly musicians and ensembles like Bill Kirchen, Tab Benoit Billy Hancock, Dave Elliot, Joe Stanley, The Dave Kitchen Band at SXSW 2008, The El Rays, The Rocking Bones and many, many others. Anthony also played with ex-Smashing Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlain in the rock trio Skysaw, who’s album was released on Dangerbird Records in 2011.
The groups Anthony leads further reflect his eclectic influences and varied tastes. He leads several groups of his own including The Anthony Pirog Trio, Quintet, Sextet and Septet. He led a 22-member ensemble in performance of Terry Riley’s “In C” at the Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music, a DC area festival for new music at which Anthony has become a staple, performing for seven straight years. The 2011 performance garnered a favorable review in The Washington Post. Anthony went on to record a similar session, leading a 30-piece ensemble playing “In C”; this recording will be released in 2014. Anthony also performs solo. His solo work can be found on his record label, Sonic Mass Records.
It is as one half of the experimental duo Janel and Anthony that Anthony’s diverse influences and varied styles converge most elegantly. As he puts it, “We’re able to play in all the different scenes: jazz, roots, surf, rockabilly, Persian, experimental. And then we bring all of that into Janel and Anthony.” The duo began in Northern Virginia and Janel and Anthony have toured the East and West Coasts as well as the Midwest. In October 2010 they enjoyed a residency at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn. Janel and Anthony’s second album “Where is Home” has received international praise and radio play from places like the BBC, The Village Voice, The Washington Post, Downbeat Magazine, AllMusic and The Huffington Post. “Where is Home” appeared on 10 “Best of 2012″ lists, DownBeat Magazines “Best Albums of 2013″ list and is available on Cuneiform Records. The Washington Area Music Association (WAMA) awarded “Where Is Home” Best Modern Rock Recording for 2012. Additionally, Janel and Anthony’s 2006 self-titled debut album has been re-released by Cricket Cemetery Records in 2012. In 2013, Janel and Anthony recorded an original piece, “Head and Shoulders,” composed by Lithuanian composer Arturas Bumsteinas, which The Wire Magazine called a “highly attractive work” and was released on Sangoplasmo Records.
Whether playing with Janel and Anthony or another one of his many groups, Anthony remains a prominent figure in the emerging artistic and musical scene in and surrounding our Nation’s Capital. Anthony’s played at many DC area venues including the Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, 9:30 Club, Black Cat, The Hamilton, Twin’s Jazz, Bohemian Caverns, The Rock and Roll Hotel, DC9, The Velvet Lounge, Iota, Galaxy Hut, Strathmore Mansion and the French Embassy in addition to playing the Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music. He’s appeared in numerous concerts presented by Transparent Productions, Capital Bop, Claveus Productions, Electric Possible and Brightest Young Things.
Anthony’s frequent gigging has gotten recognition in the form of press and awards. In 2011, the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA), Washington’s most prestigious music awards, named Anthony Washington’s Best Modern Rock Instrumentalist. In 2012 he was awarded a “Jazzie” by The Washington City Paper as Best Guitarist 2012, “the hands-down victor.” The Washington Post praised his music in 2012 for its “fusion of talent and creativity.” Recently, Anthony has begun to receive national recognition as well. He was featured in a September 2012 article in Guitar Player Magazine on “Rising Artists You Must Hear.” Then in January 2013, he was featured in a 5-page interview in Guitar Player Magazine in which he was praised for his “copious creativity” and “loopy, cross-genre melodicism.”
Seemingly able to master any convention he chooses to adopt and more than capable of developing and adapting his own, Anthony Pirog challenges our preconceived notions about genre and guitar sound. As he comes further into his own as an artist, he continues to shape, tear down and reshape his unique conceptions of what guitar can be. Anthony’s style is studied, yet unorthodox; avant-garde, yet accessible; faintly familiar, yet conspicuously original.
Val-Inc (Val Jeanty) is a Haitian-born com- poser, percussionist and turntablist, who uses technology to lead listeners into her dream- like expressionism of Afro-Electronica compositions. She incorporates her African Haitian Musical traditions into the present and beyond, combining acoustics with electronics, the archaic with the post-modern.