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Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
21st Century Union March

Cat. No.: SHCD142

Personnel:
Joseph Bowie  trombone, miscellaneous percussion
Edward Wilkerson  tenor saxophone, alto clarinet, miscellaneous percussion
Kahil El'Zabar  earth drums, sanza, miscellaneous percussion, vocals

Track Listing:
1. Crumb Puck You Let Slide (Kahil El'Zabar) 6:48
2. Fanfare (Kahil El'Zabar) 8:58
3. Lover Man (Ramirez / Davis / Sherman) 3:23
4. How the Cow See Cirrus (Kahil El'Zabar) 11:43
5. Missing Miles (Kahil El'Zabar) 5:03
6. Burundi (Kahil El'Zabar) 10:05
7. Love Outside of Dreams (Kahil El'Zabar) 6:27
8. Dear Albert (Kahil El'Zabar) 9:01
9. Procession (Kahil El'Zabar) 3:14

Total time: 72:44
 
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Liner Notes

The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble has been "breaking the habit of boredom and pushing beyond nostalgia into the present" for almost 20 years. Their music fuses traditional African rhythmic and melodic sensibilities with popular African American musical forms. The Ensemble's unique instrumentation – trap drums, African and Latin hand-percussion, saxophone, trombone, digeridoo, bass clarinet and kalimba – endow their music with a warm textural richness and depth. Within a framework of organic, understated compositions, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble imparts an ancestral wisdom and conjures an energy and sparks rarely encountered in contem-porary music.
In 1976, Kahil El'Zabar, having just graduated from the school of Chicago's legendary Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, teamed up with tenor saxophonist Edward Wilkerson, Jr. Wilkerson has been called "one of the most thoughtful minds in modern experimental music", and is himself the leader of the premier Windy City Octet Eight Bold Souls and the big band Shadow Vignettes. Kahil El'Zabar is an accomplished trap drummer, having worked with acclaimed soul blues and R&B artist Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, and jazz greats from Cannonball Adderley to David Murray. El'Zabar is also a virtuoso kalimba player, master of Mandingo-style drum, balaphonist, flautist and vocalist.
Trombonist Joseph Bowie, leader of the legendary jazz-funk ensemble Defunkt, joined the Ensemble in 1988. Bowie's lean, metallic lines and muscular phrases made him the perfect third side of the triangle. Out front, Bowie complements Wilkerson's radiant tone and ingenious soloing. Also an accomplished congo player, Bowie masterfully aids El'Zabar in creating the stratified rhythmic layers for which the ensemble is known. 21st Century Union March celebrates 20 years of polyrhythmic and polyphonic invention. It is an anthem for the New Afrikan experience in the next millennium.

Katea Stitt
Anyawu Arts, WPFWRadio
Katea Stitt is the daughter of the legendary saxophonist Sonny Stitt. She is also a jazz producer and tour manager and an oral historian for the Smithsonian Institution Jazz Oral History Program.
 
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