with an opening set from
SKEETER SHELTON & DJALLO DJAKATE
Friday, October 23 at 7:30 PM EDT
This performance is made possible with generous support from Marc Andren and Christine Reardon
PURPLE GUMS is a brass ensemble (tenor sax, cornet and tuba) whose role is to carry on the tradition of making music in the moment. Charts don’t exist. Rehearsals have never occurred. Ideas are generated and developed on the bandstand. Music making for this group is a high risk venture. The music created from the pooled experience of the band’s members is a tasty gumbo of jazz, free improv, ragtime and classical. This leads to flights of whimsy and excursions into the unexpected. What you see is not always what you get. While you may think for a moment that you are listening to a traditional New Orleans brass band, what you are caressed with may be something all together different – as in the band’s name and the title of their first CD, Purple Gums.
Purple Gums is a free-improvisation ensemble. The only times we play together is when we are on the stage. If they’re lucky, they might have a meal before the show. If they do, what they talk about is our lives, current events, memories. Never about the show. But those conversations have their effect on the performance. What’s going on the world influences the music. And because they don’t limit ourselves to the abstraction of instrumental musical expression…well, things get said. Purple Gum’s third album, Back Where We Came From, turns out to be a commentary on the turmoil that is happening in America right now, while giving a historical perspective to some of the roots of that turmoil. African American music has rarely just been about fun, love and the “hoochie coochie”. It is about oppression, injustice and a striving to not only deal with that oppression and injustice, but to turn it around and set it right. Purple Gums places its work in that tradition. Back Where We Came From, references Donald Trump’s famous tweet, speaking of four members of the House of Representatives, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Bobby Bradford, born in 1937, is the venerable elder and solid rock on which the ensemble stands. Bobby is a virtuosic cornet/trumpet player,composer and educator. He has played in and led ensembles with some of the greatest artists in improvised music, including Leo Wright, Buster Smith, John Hardee, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, David Murray, Charlie Haden and John Stevens. With long-time collaborator John Carter, he formed the New Art Jazz Ensemble with John Carter and was a member of the Little Big Horn workshop with Carter, Arthur Blythe, James Newton, and other free-jazz musicians. Bobby continues to lead his long-standing ensemble Motet and a newer one call Tete-A-Tete. He taught for many years at Pasadena City College and continues to teach at Pomona College.