Pheeroan akLaff: aRT Trio

Pheeroan akLaff

Pheeroan akLaff: aRT Trio





Pheeroan akLaff: aRT Trio


  • $45 Thursday Edgepass General Admission
  • $15 - this concert only General Admission
  • $5 - this concert only Student
  • Pheeroan akLaff, percussion
  • Scott Robinson, multi reeds
  • Julian F. Thayer, bass

Event Details

Drummer Pheeroan akLaff, multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, and bassist Dr. Julian F. Thayer comprise the aRT trio. Sharing a love for art in several strata of expression, they have been combining their unique disciplines for over 20 years.

In 1991 they began performing with sculpture and video imagery as musical scores or more so, an improvising platform. When the technology was in its infancy, video mixing by the late Rob Fisher, sculptor, engineer and professor, combined running imagery of live performance with existing film footage. Subsequently their performances have utilized Dr. Thayer's pioneering work in Psychophysiology, music, cognition, and human emotion research. Scott Robinson enjoys the aesthetics of painters such as Wasily Kandinsky, and others, who find holistic relationships in canvas representations. Pheeroan akLaff has informed his drumming with non-standard methods of meditation and theater.

About Edgefest 21

The 21st annual Edgefest (October 18 - October 21, 2016) new music created by drummers/percussionists. A roster of distinguished, ground breaking drummer/composers with their ensembles will illuminate the innovative role percussion and these artists, both seasoned and emerging, have played in the avant/jazz world! Tickets to Edgefest are $10 - $30 for individual ticketed events, with a limited number of student tickets available for most performances. Please check back for a complete lineup.

This Edgepass ($160) which allows for admission to all events, Wednesday through Saturday, as well as a special dinner Wednesday evening with our Edgefest artists. Individual day passes will be available for purchase after the lineup is announced. 

Contribute to Edgefest - become an Edgehead!

The festival depends on individual contributions, even more this year as cuts in corporate sponsorships affect the festival. As an Edgepass holder who becomes an Edgehead, you will not only be invited to the opening night dinner - always a gourmet feast in an informal, fun atmosphere - but those pass holders contributing $150 or more will have assigned seats in the first and second rows at ticketed events and those contributing at least $100 will have assigned seats beginning in the third row.

Edgepasses may be paid for by cash or check (to KCH) and picked up at Kerrytown Concert House at any time during the festival. Edgepasses can also be paid for via credit card over the phone (with a 3.5% processing fee) or in person at KCH (with a 2.75% processing fee). Payment for individual concert seats may also be made at the door of each concert site beginning one half hour prior to each show. All seating reserved through phone or e-mail is guaranteed only until performances are scheduled to begin.

Please send your checks, made out to KCH and indicate Edgehead on the memo line. Contributions are tax deductible. Send to:

Kerrytown Concert House
415 North Fourth Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Support for Edgefest 21 is provided by the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation.
Encore Records at 417 E. Liberty St. has sponsored and hosted the Tuesday evening Fringe events. Check back later for our exact schedule, and check out Encore Records for one of the most interesting music selections in the area!
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 The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, & Dance and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

Pheeroan akLaff

Pheeroan akLaff was born in Detroit, Michigan January 27, 1955, and named Paul, by his parents in honor of Paul Robeson one of their favorite musicians. Though his parents did not play instruments they enjoyed dancing with the Lunceford, Basie, Eckstein, and Ellington bands. His mother, distantly related to Wings Over Jordan choir director Glenn T. Settlle, was a fan of classical repertoire. His father is a Jazz fan and audiophile. This spawned a musical household in which all seven children had music lessons at some stage of their development. Eric, the eldest became a concert pianist and choir conductor.

Largely an autodidact, with some years at Eastern Michigan University, Pheeroan studied privately with Randall Hicks (New Jersey Symphony Orchestra), and "Pistol" Allen (Motown). Arranger Travis Biggs, at Eastern Michigan University enlisted him for statewide performances, and facilitated his first recording date; a 45rpm for local R&B singer Major Lasky titled Remember Me Always (1973), a favorite of Detroit's radio station WGPR. In 1975 he relocated to New Haven Connecticut. Auditing the African Art class of Robert Ferris Thompson, akLaff established a connection with drummer of John Coltrane Rashied Ali. He kindled the band DejaVu with his peers, and initiated a 40 year tenure with 2012 pulitzer finalist composer Wadada Leo Smith. Moving to New York in 1978 brought on worldwide performances and recordings with many creative composers, including Oliver Lake, Anthony Davis, Henry Threadgill, Sonny Sharrock, Andrew Hill, Cecil Taylor, Yamashita Yosuke, Amiri Baraka, Liu Sola, Tom Pierson, and Anthony Braxton.

As a young exploring artist Pheeroan akLaff toured several countries of Africa, Asia and Europe.Following an independant music immersion in Abidjan, Cote D”Ivoire in 1981, with the Marie Rose Guiraud dance troupe, he produced a wave of Funk and Reggae influenced performances and recordings. With Dr. Frank T. Fairfax III, at University of Akoka, Lagos Nigeria, he met Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Sonny Okosun, and Steve Rhodes. He also made a cameo television appearance with Rhodes. He toured for the U.S. State Department (USIS) In 1982 with the Oliver Lake and Jump Up, band; Malawi, Swaziland, Cote D'Ivoire Togo and Liberia, and in 1985 with Jay Hoggard Quintet; Morocco, Syria, Jordan, Sudan, Egypt and India. 1984 he played the Jazz Yatra in Mumbai and New Delhi with the Henry Threadgill Sextet. In 1988 he became part of The Yosuke Yamashita New York Trio, with bassist Cecil McBee, a trio that has annually toured Japan ever since.

Pheeroan akLaff believes that his engagement in the arts has been an evolutionary and humanitarian edification. His non-profit organization Seed Artists encorages education, mentorship and enlightenment through selective arts presentations. With Creative Director Chris Napierala he has recently presented music festivals and symposiums at William Patterson University, and Montclair State University, childrens writing workshops and community concerts at The Montclair Public Library, and community concerts at local galleries. In 2016 he began serving as curator at Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning in Jamaica, Queens, NY.  

Scott Robinson

Scott Robinson and his unusual reed and brass instruments have been heard throughout 55 nations and 250 recordings with a cross-section of jazz greats representing nearly every imaginable style of the music, including Marshall Allen, Bob Brookmeyer, Tom Harrell, Frank Wess, Maria Schneider, Anthony Braxton, Joe Lovano, Ron Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Ruby Braff and Roscoe Mitchell. Primarily a tenor saxophonist, Scott once placed directly below the great Sonny Rollins in a DownBeat Readers Poll. As a composer, his works range from solo performance pieces to chamber and symphonic works. He has been a writer of essays and liner notes, an invited speaker before the Congressional Black Caucus, and a Jazz Ambassador for the State Department. Scott releases highly adventurous music on his ScienSonic Laboratories label, and his Doctette (celebrating pulp adventure hero Doc Savage) gave what The Boston Globe called "the most quirky and delightful set" of the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival. 

Julian F. Thayer

Dr. Julian F. Thayer received his Ph.D. from New York University in psychophysiology with a minor in quantitative methods. Dr. Thayer has held faculty positions at Penn State University and the University of Missouri. Before moving to the Ohio State University in 2006 as the Ohio Eminent Scholar Professor in Health Psychology Dr. Thayer was Chief of the Emotions and Quantitative Psychophysiology Section in the Laboratory of Personality and Cognition at the National Institute on Aging. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Bergen in Norway and the Free University of Amsterdam and a Research Fellow in Residence at the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University. He has published over 300 research papers and book chapters covering a wide range of topics including behavioral medicine, cardiology, emotion, psychopathology, bioengineering, research design and multivariate statistical techniques. Dr. Thayer has received numerous research awards including the Sigma Xi Research Recognition Award, the Early Career Award for Contributions to Psychosomatic Medicine from the American Psychosomatic Society, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. He is a Fellow of the Society for Behavioral Medicine and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. He has also received a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research on emotion in Norway and an Alexander von Humboldt Research Award to conduct research in Germany He is a former Associate Editor of Psychophysiology, and Bio-Psycho-Social Medicine, is on the editorial board of Psychosomatic Medicine as well as Music and Medicine. He has also served as the program chair for the Society for Behavioral Medicine, the American Psychosomatic Society, and the Rocky Mountain Bioengineering Symposium. Dr. Thayer is currently the President of the Rocky Mountain Bioengineering Symposium and Past-President of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research.

Dr. Thayer is also a professional jazz musician with numerous recordings to his credit. Dr. Thayer has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe including performances with Charlie Mariano, George Garzone, John Hicks, Marshall Allen, Terrell Stafford, Carter Jefferson, Vernon Reid, Paul Steven Ray, Pheeroan akLaff, Scott Robinson, Klaus Suonsaari, Cyro Baptiste, Douglas Bown, Buck Hill, Emil Viklicky, Michael Weiss, Jim Beard, Eldar Djangirov, Tim Reis, and Jimmy Cobb. He has recorded with Charlie Mariano, Geri Allen, Pheeroan akLaff, Emil Viklicky, Paul Steven Ray, Scott Robinson, Frank Carlberg, Eli Fountain, Jarmo Savolainen, and Klaus Suonsaari. His performances and recordings have received critical acclaim including the All About Jazz New York Best Live Performance 2006 and All About Jazz New York Best Recording 2011 for his CD “Norwegian Invention”.

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