Art Ensemble of Chicago 50th Anniversary Project





Art Ensemble of Chicago 50th Anniversary Project

Bethlehem United Church of Christ, 423 S 4th Ave, Ann Arbor


  • Roscoe Mitchell, saxophones/clarinet/flute
  • Famoudou Don Moye, drums/percussion
  • Hugh Ragin, trumpet/ flugelhorn/piccolo trumpet
  • Fred Berry, trumpet/flugelhorn
  • Nicole Mitchell, flutes
  • Cristina Wheeler, voice/electronics
  • Jean Cook, violin
  • Eddy Kwon, viola
  • Tomeka Reid, cello
  • Silvia Bolognesi, bass
  • Jaribu Shahid, bass
  • Junius Paul, bass
  • Titos Sompa, congas, african percussion mbira, voice
  • Enoch Williamson, African percussion

Event Details

A Tribute to Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Malachi favors and their lasting contributions to “Great Black Music-Ancient to the Future”
This performance is made possible through the generous support of Niraj Ganatra, Nimish Ganatra, and Bonnie Patterson.
Featuring the current ACM lineup of Roscoe Mitchell, Hugh Ragin, Tomeka Reid, Jaribu Shahid, Julius Paul, and Famoudou Don Moye, the ensemble is augmented by a group of major new voices in music.

See our Edgefest page for more information about the festival. 

Times and dates of performances are subject to change.

Additional support for Edgefest is made possible in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Art Works.
Additional support for the festival is also provided by:



You may park on either side of 4th Street, on the east side of 5th Street or in Muehlig Funeral Chapel (403 S 4th Ave, Ann Arbor) parking lot.

Roscoe Mitchell

Chicago born saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell is one of the great innovators in creative music of the post-Coltrane, post-Ayler era. Having begun his musical studies as a teenager, he played in an Army band in Germany (where he jammed with Albert Ayler) and after returning to Chicago further developed his skills at Wilson Junior College where he encountered many of the musicians with whom he would work in the years to come, including Malachai Favors and Joseph Jarman and became an early member of the AACM. His 1966 album Sound was the first recording by any AACM group. In 1967 he co-founded the Art Ensemble of Chicago (originally the Roscoe Mitchell Art Ensemble) and this group, with its motto “Great Black Music, Ancient to the Future,” has carried the message of the AACM all over the globe for half a century. Over the years, Mitchell has pursued other projects, exploring different instrument combinations and developing his instrumental as well as compositional skills, spanning the gamut from completely improvised to fully notated compositions for groups of various sizes. His works explore diverse forms, ideas and concepts various instrument combinations, including electronics while his instrumental expertise extends through the full range of the saxophone and recorder families, as well as the flute, piccolo and clarinet. While living in Wisconsin, he co-founded the Creative Arts Collective (CAC) with students from Detroit who were studying at Western Michigan University. Several of them are featured in this CAC reunion tonight.

Famoudou Don Moye

Drummer and percussionist Famoudou Don Moye comes from Rochester, NY, where he took lessons on drums and violin. He moved to Detroit to study percussion at Wayne State University, where he met trumpeter Charles Moore and became associated with the local avant music scene also delving into African musical traditions, playing in the African Cultural Ensemble and in Moore’s Detroit Free Jazz. In 1968, Moore’s combo moved to Paris and it was there that in 1969 Roscoe Mitchell asked the drummer to join the Art Ensemble of Chicago (AEC) and he has been part of the group ever since. When the AEC returned to the US, Moye played for a time in St. Louis, MO with members of the Black Artists Group and then settled in Chicago. He currently lives in Marseilles, France.

Hugh Ragin

Hugh Ragin was raised in Houston, TX, where he attended the University of Houston, and then moved on to Colorado State University. In late 1978, he attended the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, NY, where he studied composition with Roscoe Mitchell. The following summer, he played the annual jazz festival in Moers, Germany, with the Roscoe Mitchell/Leo Smith Creative Orchestra. Later that year, he toured with Anthony Braxton. Ragin has taught extensively, including a stint at Oberlin College in Ohio. For some years he has been a regular member of the AEC.

Fred Berry

Trumpeter Fred Berry was an early member of the AACM and came to maturity in the Experimental Band directed by Muhal Richard Abrams. In the early sixties he was brought into the original Roscoe Mitchell Quartet, a precursor of the AEC, together with bassist Malachi Favors and drummer Alvin Fielder; this group can now be heard on the historic 1965 Before There Was Sound (Nessa), which was recorded before Mitchell’s first official record release, Sound, but only issued in 2011. Soon after, Berry left to pursue graduate studies at Stanford University in northern California, where he has continued performing and teach at the College of San Mateo and Stanford University.

Nicole Mitchell

Flutist and composer Nicole Mitchell settled in Chicago after obtaining a music degree from Oberlin, where she quickly became immersed in the new-music scene of that city, joining an all-woman ensemble of the AACM, eventually rising to become the first woman to chair the organization and worked tirelessly at cultivating another generation of artists. Her music celebrates contemporary African American culture; she is the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Sonic Projections and Ice Crystal, and composes for contemporary ensembles of varied instrumentation and size, while incorporating improvisation and a wide range of aesthetic expressions. She is currently Professor of Music at the University of California, Irvine.

Cristina Wheeler

Vocalist, multi-instrumental electronic musician, composer and multimedia artist Christina Wheeler’s musical explorations have included forays in techno, house, 2-step, drum and bass, breakbeat, soul, dance hall, dub, ambient, free jazz and improvisational forms. Her current projects include solo song-cycle series, solo instrumental improvisational compositions, The Magical Garden, and collaborations with Laraaji, Vernon Reid, Hprizm/Priest, Greg Tate, and Satch Hoyt.

Jean Cook

Jean Cook has been playing violin since 1979. She is part of the 11tet, a New York based jazz composers’ workshop, and is a founding member of the PnR Salon in Washington, DC, which brings together post-punk rockers and classically trained musicians. In 2000, she appeared at the Kennedy Center’s Hip-Hop Festival and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival with the Hip-Hop Philharmonic, a DC based live hip hop orchestra. She occasionally plays in New York with the Dixieland group Wriggle’s Red-Hot Agate-Cracking Jassers.

Eddy Kwon

Violinist and violist Eddy Kwon studied classical violin and jazz improvisation at the University of Cincinnati. In 2014, he founded the acclaimed Ambassador Ensemble Program at MYCincinnati, combining social justice practice with experimental chamber music performance. He is also Founding Director of the Price Hill Creative Community Festival, an annual arts and neighborhood festival that uses collaborative performing arts as a tool to build a more creative and inclusive community.

Tomeka Reid

Cellist Tomeka Reid, grew up outside of Washington D.C., moving to Chicago in 2000 to pursue graduate studies at DePaul University. There she worked various AACM-related groups and eventually in ensembles led by established masters such as Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, as well as by younger artists including flutist Nicole Mitchell, singer Dee Alexander, and drummer Mike Reed. She is also a co-leader of the string trio Hear in Now, with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi. She has been celebrated as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in the Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community, and although she is now based in New York, she still returns to the Windy City on a regular basis.

Silvia Bolognesi

Bassist Silvia Bolognesi was born in Sienna, Italy. After extensive classical and jazz studies, she performed with Butch Morris, attended workshops with Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell, Anthony Braxton and deepened her double-bass skills with William Parker. In 2009 she created the Hear in Now trio together with Tomeka Reid and Mazz Swift. She teaches at the Fondazione Siena Jazz and at the Association Mosaico in Colle Val d’Elsa.

Jaribu Shahid

Bassist Jaribu Shahid grew up in Detroit, playing with Kenn Cox, Wendell Harrison, Jimmy Wilkins, J.C. Heard, Martha and the Vandellas and others, eventually joining Griot Galaxy. He moved to Philadelphia and lived with the core of the Sun Ra Arkestra with whom he played intermittently until the leader’s passing. He began to work in various groups directed by Roscoe Mitchell and to work with some of the major players in jazz, including Milt Jackson, James Carter, David Murray, Geri Allen, Craig Taborn, and Hugh Ragin. After Malachi Favors passed, he was invited to join the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Junius Paul

Junius Paul has established himself as a first call electric and acoustic bassist on the Chicago music scene. He is well established in many genres, ranging from jazz to hip-hop, house music, funk, classical and gospel. Paul has shared the stage with artists including Curtis Fuller, Donald Byrd, Fred Anderson, Roscoe Mitchell, Kahil ElZabar, Roy Hargrove, and Corey Wilkes.

Titos Sompa

Originally from the Congo (Brazzaville), master drummer, percussionist, kalimba player, and dancer/choreographer Titos Sompa founded the first Congolese dance company (Tanawa Dance Company) in America. While in New York, he worked with Elvin Jones, Sun Ra, Pharaoh Sanders, Dave Murray, Arthur Blythe, and Olu Dara, among others, In 1988, Mr. Sompa founded Mbongi Dance Theatre Project, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing and celebrating the cultural arts of Africa, especially the music and dance of the Congo.

Enoch Williamson

Enoch Williamson, Musician, Folklorist, founding member of the Sun Drummer Society, honors graduate from University of Illinois (Chicago Circle) & mentor to all aspiring individuals interested in African culture. Since I was a child I’ve always had an interest in music, even before others around me knew it was true. My mother encouraged the playing of the piano as early as 5 years old but my love toward the study began even before that. Throughout the upcoming years I’ve been fortunate to study with master musicians & artists, spanning many genres all over the world. A goal of mine has lead me to always try to understand the social context of which music is formed. This gave me a focal point of studying centuries old Western & Central African music focusing mostly on percussion. Through the music I was enveloped in social & political issues throughout that period. Segregation, black revolution, cultural dissection, has aided me in better understanding of my musical development & appreciation. African Percussion, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Afro Cuban Drumming, Funk, Gospel, Spiritual, all fall under my umbrella of understanding. Music...not only do we hear it, we feel it; it becomes a color for us to see & an emotional chariot that carries us on our highs, lows & everything in between.

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