taking a break from social media during this time of so much flux, and just consistent meditated violence against American BIPOC, has been one the best decisions I’ve made this year…
I’ve lost a great deal of work bc of the pandemic, and am lucky to have supporters who have thrown me a few new things that filled a few vacant holes. I am grateful.
My string quartet Borderlands was recorded by the amazing Brooklyn Rider, and I was able to take part in one of their streamed performances of the work.
A snippet of a large ensemble mixed media piece that I created for the Time Spans festival in honor of Sandra Bland, can be viewed here.
I have had the honor this past year to work in collaboration with the artist Nene Humphrey on one of her projects about memory and dreams. a snippet of that can be seen here. More abt Nene here. We did some of our collaborative work in France at the Dora Maar House. It was a joy to be there, despite the sad history behind D. Maar’s art existence and just overall well being, at the hands of another ( unfortunately abusive) celebrated artist.
I guested on a handful of different recordings this past year before the pandemic, of which 1 may come out this fall, and another later next year, but my main recorded output is always here. And if you really want to support me, anything CST has to offer on my artist page on their site is best, most other recordings out there, (with the exception of the aforementioned Brooklyn Rider and a few others) are very suspect for that. There is a recording coming out later this fall w/ the wonderful UK pianist Pat Thomas. pls note, it is not an ongoing project. It was PT’s gig, my guesting, suggested by the venue Cafe Oto. It was being board recorded for the venue archive. When I was asked later on, if I was okay with it being put out, I said it was okay, as long as the full focus was on PT, since it was his gig, and also bc I feel he deserves a lot more shine… He is a creative force of nature. (All sales from this recording btw go to PT and the label that put it out. I will receive nothing from this, in case you are looking to support me directly in these pandemic times. Pat Thomas is definitely worth supporting though. pls check out his other work.)
My main projects revolve around finishing the coin coin series( it will not take 25 more years I promise), expanding my realms of the saxophone sound-verse, and exploring other mixed media work, which include some other collaborations, that piques my curiosity. This past phase of life has also been about trying to find some everyday life stability and balance, so that I can really hone in on my craft in a more intensive but grounded way. The intensity has amped up in beautiful ways, but the everyday stability thing still seems to evade me. Guess that’s just not my journey for now. It’s definitely been an adventure up to this point, and I suspect there is more to come… Am doing my best to keep track of it all, so that I can one day share with you in another form perhaps…
I spent the last year, taking a break from performance, focusing on my composition and sound conceptualist work for others, being commissioned to create solo as well as large mix media compositions. One of those pieces for orchestra has been postponed to 2022, but I’m still working on it anyway. Sometimes I have been included in the performance as a participant of these pieces, but most times not. There are a few instances where the archived performance material then becomes it’s own installation in another form. I find this exciting, I love making work that has many areas of entry as well as exit and essence. It matches my overall spirit and curiosity.
One of those commissions was a piece for the wonderful musician and movement artist Elaine Mitchener for the 2020 Donaueschinger Musiktage Festival. EM commissioned I believe 5 composers to respond to texts by the amazing Jamaican scholar Sylvia Wynter. At the time I was working on this commission, the death of Ahmaud Arbery had just happened and I was already focusing the work on an open letter she had written to her colleagues over the acquittal of the police officers involved in the beatings of Rodney King. I remember that news event quite well, and it seemed to call me to consider it. And when AA’s death happened it seemed to also sync in a way that made sense to my creative proclivities. Mr. Arbery was a runner, I also run, and when the story hit the news it was so obvious what went on there. I felt very offended as an African American, of course, but also as a runner… It was written in Mr. Arbery’s honor, and was also dedicated to a Fluxus hero of mine: Ben Patterson. The title(“gasping for air, considering your purpose, dissolving…”) represents in text what I visually see when I reluctantly watch these videos of black body american death on social media loops, in news cycles…. It was very hard to write. But I did it, and I’m glad it’s out there. There is a dance component to this piece and I hope when it is performed for witness in 2021 I will get to see it and also share it w/ you. The audio is here.
I was a curator for the Le Guess Who festival this year. In lieu of it’s postponement they’ve dug into film curation, as an online “TV” stream. I picked a number of films, and they will be meted out over the remainder of the year, but you can start here. I am fascinated w/captured image, moving image, video and various experimental film work. On average I take in more documentaries than anything else these days.
One of the other pieces that I am working on right now is a memorial sonic meditation for Breonna Taylor, written for chorus, that will premiere in some socially distant fashion, live in December. I have spent the summer doing research, speaking with folks on the ground in Louisville and lapping up as much info out there available to the public on what happened to her. Right now, I am pouring over the grand jury tapes which you can hear here .
My instinct says it is incredibly important, especially Americans, to listen and understand just how problematic the american judicial system still is….so many questionable holes… take a listen, and hear for yrself…Violence against women I take very seriously. Violence against Black women hits me even more personally for obvious reasons…whether physical or emotional ( as were the recent stories of fragile white women academics performing minstrel “blackness” for financial gain. this is violent.) State violence is just an extension of the original slave patrols and it has no place in 21st century America. I am tired of these stories, but I am not w/o fortitude to bear witness, and add to the chorus of ancestral resilience/resistance.
I’m also doing some social distanced recording collabs right now, and being involved in a myriad of educational arts workshops, talks et al… Also very involved in behind the scenes covid relief for artists. If you are an artist reading this, who has lost work, canceled shows etc etc and you need some advice on resources, pls reach out. I am happy to connect you to some resources you may not be aware of.
I miss performance madly and am trying to find a new virtual line to toe there so that I can share in these spaces. I recently had to postpone a live show bc of rising covid numbers. I have never had to do that in my life. It was a rather depressing moment… In the meantime, for performance, I’m trying a lot of platforms, but have not yet settled on one. will keep you posted. I have a community project in mind as well. More on that fairly soon. I will also continue to update this site with various places to explore. I am being asked for full scores a lot right now too. Without making this any longer, a bevy of my scores, bc of covid logistical madness, are unfortunately not with me. But I will take what I do have near digitally, and continue to upload them…thank you for your patience.My goal is to make this website a lot fatter than it is currently. I will get there!
Any other time I have is focused on making sure my inner spirit life is straight. Being born black and with ovaries, I would not trade for the world, however I can say that I am, as 2020 rumbles down like a never ending volcano of societal b.s., somewhat tired and weary and just hope, that as the world shifts and changes, those black and brown with ovaries, who will come after me, will not feel the same casual societal discardment, callousness, and safety issues I have felt trying to survive all of my life as a POC. I have definitely had it better than my forebearers, but how high is that bar really? There’s something about this year that is making it all seem a bit harsher than usual I suppose… Listening to an audio recording recently of Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, has been a good reminder of what carries us through hard times though. It’s not the strength of our limbs. It is the strength of our minds. I hope that gives you something to hold onto in these uncertain times.
Regardless, please be safe wherever you are and thank you once again for the support, it is so meaningful.
Yours in creativity,
p.s. We have been receiving an influx of messages here lately regarding folks who want to write for this website, help expand this website, marketing strategies etc…. This is not that kind of website. not interested in that kind of help at all.Thanks for the reach out, but save yourself some screen time as messages of this nature will never be returned.