Afro Yaqui Music Collective Honors Fred Ho
August 13, 2016
7:30 and 9:30 sets
$15 in advance
Red Rooster, 310 Lenox Ave at 125th St
“Fred Ho’s style is a genre unto itself, a pioneering fusion of free-jazz and traditional Chinese music that manages to combine truculence and delicacy with such natural ease that it sounds positively organic.”
Fred Ho—called the “greatest baritone saxophonist of all time” by The New Yorker—would be celebrating his 59th birthday this August. Despite a life cut short by a relentless cancer, Ho's output remains massive, with over 15 albums as a bandleader, several full length Manga Operas which fused jazz and marital arts choreography, and a distinctive Afro Asian style he can call his own. By combining revolutionary politics with African and Asian musical traditions, Ho pioneered a vibrant new form of jazz deployed in service of eco-socialist ideals. Comprising leading jazz luminaries who have performed with the likes of Duke Ellington, Ornette Coleman, and Gil Evans, graced Ho's bands and his recorded output.
The Afro Yaqui Music Collective is a 9-piece outfit which descends from Ho's Afro Asian revolutionary ensembles and musical concepts. Led by Ben Barson, Ho's Baritone protege who "he felt has the heft and sound to represent [Ho's] assertive approach (The New York Times)," the band will include alumni of Ho's groups such as trumpet maestro Mark McGowan and vocalist Youn Joun Kim with a new generation of innovators, such as violin sensation Ernesto Villalobos, Alto saxpohonist Yoko Suzuki, and Metropolitan Opera Soprano Gizelxanath Rodriguez.
Ginny's Supper Club was a special location for Mr. Ho. Despite refusing to perform in clubs or bars since the late 1980s, Ho felt Ginny's was an exceptional venue, and organized a special series of concerts towards the end of his life. He unofficially inaugurated the downstairs Supper Club with his tribute to Black Power activist and under-recognized composer Cal Massey's Black Liberation Movement Suite, which jazz critic Will Friedwald in his review of Ho's interpretation in the Wall Street Journal, wrote "was well worth the 40 year wait that it took to be heard." Massey, who performed at the original Red Rooster with Charlie Parker, would have understood Ho as a fellow visionary iconoclast.