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Ernest Dawkins New Horizons Ensemble
Chicago Now vol.2

Cat. No.: SHCD141

Personnel:
Ernest Dawkins  alto sax, tenor sax, flute, percussion, vocals
Steve Berry  trombone, percussion
Ameen Muhammad  trumpet, percussion, vocals
Jeffery Parker  electric guitar
Yosef Ben Israel  bass
Reggie Nicholson  drums, percussion

Track Listing:
1. Monk's Temptation (Ernest 'Khabeer' Dawkins) 10:58
2. Runnin' from the Rain (alt) (Ernest 'Khabeer' Dawkins) 9:35
3. Planet East (Ernest 'Khabeer' Dawkins) 10:38
4. Zera (alt) (Ernest 'Khabeer' Dawkins) 12:56
5. Improvisation #3 (Ernest 'Khabeer' Dawkins) 11:04
6. Looking for Ninny (Ameen Muhammad) 4:34
7. Many Favors (Ernest 'Khabeer' Dawkins) 13:04

Total time: 74:52
 
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Liner Notes

"The music on Chicago Now! is dedicated to the 30th Anniversary of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians)." There was a sharp sense of pride in the voice of reedist-composer Ernest 'Khabeer' Dawkins. Leaders of one of the most exciting and adventurous working groups today; the New Horizons Ensemble, Dawkins has much to be proud of The accolades of media and audiences worldwide attest to its new found success.
Builders of new parameters in modern black music, the AACM'ers have placed a valued importance on capturing the social essence of history, its meaning and purpose. Hence the guiding credo of the grassroots organisation: Great Black Music Ancient To The Future. This is particularly fitting when discussing artists known for framing their social/political visions through their art. Ernest Dawkins and New Horizons are no exception. They are a marvelous example of just how the music has richly absorbed the impact of history, events and the moment. These are men who could capture the passion and glory of an era - in just a fragment, in just a second of artistic virtue.
This vision of tradition runs deep within the mind, heart and soul of Dawkins. The music has baptized and cleansed him. Part of a new generation of AACM'ers; among them Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble and Ritual Trio; Ed Wilkerson's Eight Bold Souls; Vandy Harris' Front Burners and Mwata Bowden's Sound Spectrum, New Horizons is stepping out boldly to the forefront. Working with regularity, all these groups are a force on the Chicago scene.
Much of Dawkins' career has been told over the course of his previous Silkheart releases, South Side Street Songs (SHCD 132) and Chicago Now! Volume One (SHCD 140). However, little has been mentioned or documented about his associations with the many groups and ensembles of the mid-to-late 70s. Dawkins' development accelerated in the earthy musical unions of the AACM Big Band; Wilkerson's Shadow Vignettes Big Band; Douglas Ewart's Clarinet Choir, and invaluable study was done under the tutelage of Wes Cochran, the late reedist who was something of a sage to many a young musician. It was in Cochran's ensemble that Dawkins gained a measure of notoriety. Profitable woodshedding was also done on the smoky bandstands of south side taverns and blues clubs.
"I wanted to make special mention to those who helped me. The thank you's are never enough for the patience of people like Von Freeman and Jimmy Ellis (Workshop Big Band). This music is also dedicated to their unending spirit, their contributions toward, 'my development'."
Chicago Now! Volume Two was recorded in the same session as Volume One. Yet both stand apart as highly significant musical statements With the exception of guitarist Jeff Parker this is the, "original New Horizons." The band includes Steve Berry, Ameen Muhammad, Yosef Ben Israel and Reggie Nicholson. Past members have included Malachi Favors Maghostut and Avreeayl Amen Ra, with guest appearances by Ari Brown and Lester Bowie.
Volume Two is a slice of, "our current repertoire with a couple of old numbers added," Dawkins said. Indeed it does. From the opening "Monk's Temptation" to the closing "Many Favors", one can feel the cultural legacy of the group's predecessors, the Art Ensemble. "Many people make that comparison and we take it as the utmost compliment." And there is a wealth of african rhythm throughout the music, not to mention the living and breathing.
Mingusian textualism the band exudes. An adept composer and skilled reedman, Ernest Dawkins came up through the ranks and is finally making his mark. On tap are other projects such as his saxophone quartet, Saxophonitis, and the New Horizons Trio. Between teaching and tutoring students at the AACM's school, touring with his various bands, composing and playing, Ernest Dawkins looks forward to the wider presentation of his music. With an abundance of creative imagination, from the dramatic to the humorous, his New Horizons is a band that truly lives up to its name.

L A. Emenari III
Chicago Citizen Newspapers
Radio station WHPK-FM

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CHICAGO NOW THIRTY YEARS OF GREAT BLACK MUSIC, VOL I & 2, are dedicated to the AACM'S 30th Anniversary, and the memories of Christopher Gaddy, Charles Clark, Wes Cochran, John Koger, my godfather John S. Jackson, Steve McCall, and "Light" Henry Huff. All praises to the creator for my being and inspiration. Special thanks to the A.A.C.M. for nurturing me and giving me an outlet for my musical creativity. Thanks to James Jackson who pointed me in the right direction, to Wes Cochran, who took me in when no one else had time, to Douglas Ewart, who was one of my first saxophone teachers, to Ameen Muhammad, for the thirty years of friendship. My mother, father and family for putting up with me for all those years. To my children, Marshone, Jamila, and Naomi. To Kahil El'Zabar and Ed Wilkerson, who were very instrumental in my career development, to Ivory, Pamela, Felisha, and all those I didn't have time to list. And finally thanks to all the members of the New Horizons Ensemble who were there through thick and thin. Our time is now.

Ernest "Khabeer" Dawkins
 
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