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The multifaceted drummer and percussionist Famoudou Don Moye, a stable and historical member of the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago, presents a tribute to the African American percussive tradition and its origins and influences of the African diaspora. The musical repertoire includes, in addition to his well-known compositions, pieces by Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Chico Freeman, Roscoe Mitchell, Dudu Kouaté, Simon Sieger and others. Famoudou's intention is to emphasize as much as possible the historical relationship between brass and percussion expressions. To this end, he involved Dudu Kouaté and Simon Sieger, two musicians of immense talent, like him with a thorough knowledge of the traditions of jazz, blues and funk, skilled both as soloists and in collective improvisation.
Famoudou Don Moye was born in Rochester (USA) in 1946 into a music-loving family and was "exposed" to jazz from an early age: next to his mother's workplace there is a well-known city jazz club that sees musicians like Kenny Burrell and Jimmy McGriff passing by. His uncles play the sax and his father the drums. His mother takes him to attend various shows, such as Opera Under the Stars, and Mahalia Jackson concerts. He studies music and philosophy at Wayne State University in Detroit and in the building where he lives also lives the trumpeter Charles Moore, who soon becomes his mentor. In 1966 in Detroit Don +was able to listen for the first time to the trio of Roscoe Mitchell on sax, Lester Bowie on trumpet and Malachi Favors on bass, later joined by saxophonist Joseph Jarman. Moye plays in the African Cultural Ensemble, which includes musicians from African countries like Ghana, and with Detroit Free Jazz, which is Moore's own band. It is in this period that he meets and approaches the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). In early 1968, Moore's band toured Europe and Moye decided to stay there for the next two years, touring and visiting the continent and North Africa. In 1969, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which in the meanwhile had become a quartet but always orphaned of a percussionist, crossed the Atlantic and came to Europe to perform throughout the continent. Moye at the time was rehearsing and playing in Paris, at the American Center for Students and Artists, where musicians such as Art Taylor and Johnny Griffin practice as a collective. When Mitchell meets Moye at the Center he asks him to join his group, formerly known as the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which had already released several recordings including three releases for the European label BYG Actual, recordings which included percussion but all played by Mitchell, Bowie, Favors or Jarman. Returning to the States in the early 1970s, Don played with the Black Artists Group in St. Louis, before finally settling in the Chicago area. He also performs in duo with fellow percussionist Steve McCall, later a member of Air with Henry Threadgil, while continuing his partnership with AEC, with whom - to date - he has recorded more than 70 CDs among the 180 CDs of his discography and with which he continues to perform and record. In the mid-1980s, Moye joins the Leaders, with Lester Bowie, Chico Freeman, Arthur Blythe, Cecil McBee and Kirk Lightsey. Moye has also recorded numerous solo albums and as the leader of his band. On tour and in the studio with the AEC throughout the 1990s, Don and the ensemble take a hard hit with Bowie's death in 1999. Other bands Don led in the 1990s include Joseph Jarman / Famoudou Don Moye Magic Triangle Band and the Sun Percussion Summit (with Enoch Williamson), dedicated to exploring the traditions of African-American percussive music. Universally known and recognized for his boundless knowledge and in-depth studies on world rhythms and Afro-Caribbean music, he continues his research on the traditional rhythms of Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Congo, Morocco, Cuba, and Blues, Gospel, Jazz and popular music of the African American cultural tradition. Don refers to his own percussive style as Sun Percussion. He is constantly researching The Pan African Pulse throughout the Diaspora and beyond. He regularly presents workshops and masterclasses at an international level for drums, percussion and multi-instrumental improvisation for individuals and groups: at the GRIM (Musical Improvisation Research Group) in Marseille, at the Brest Music Conservatory, at the University of Toulouse (France), at the FOL (Fédération des Oeuvres Laïques) in Casablanca, Morocco, at the Apositsia Festival in St Petersburg, Russia, and in many other situations. In Italy he collaborated with several Neapolitan musicians, including Tony Esposito, Pino Daniele, James Senese, Rino Zurzolo, Ernesto Vitolo and Tullio De Piscopo.
Dudu Kouaté. He was born in Senegal in 1963 into a family of griots, known for being the conservatives of the African cultural and musical tradition. After his humanities studies in his country, he left for Europe. He lives in Bergamo (IT), where he has been teaching African percussion for many years. Since 2017 he has collaborated on a permanent basis with the Chicago Art Ensemble of Roscoe Mitchell and Don Moye. He holds seminars on the history of traditional African instruments trying to trace the territorial boundaries of the populations and spreading the African cultural tradition through tales of fairy tales set to music. Multi-instrumental musician, he plays in different musical formations afro-jazz, modern, traditional and contemporary music. The constant search for sound always pushes him towards new experiences in the world of music. A recognized valuer of traditional instruments, he manages to find them a right place within the most diverse musical contexts. In 2018 the album Africation was released in which Dudù interprets the role assigned to him by tradition and revives it in a modern and multicultural key: the songs are in fact mainly sung in his mother tongue, Wolof, with some references to Bambarà and with phrases in French and in Italian, and express an intense emotional charge thanks also to the use of new and original sounds. In addition to the lyrics of the individual songs, what is striking about Africation is the fact that it is shaped on a symphony of instruments, a polyphony that creates magical and evocative atmospheres: from the Berber lute (xalam) to the kanjira, from the djembè to the traditional African wind instruments and the didgeridoo that symbolically kidnap the listener, taking him to an unexplored and engaging dimension. He collaborates with the saxophonist Guido Bombardieri, with whom he founded the duo Pensieri Africani, he is the founder of the trio Zayt and Komiel and collaborates regularly with the Odwalla and Multikulti groups and with many other Italian and European musicians.
Simon Sieger. Born in France in 1986, he spent his early childhood in Briey-en-forêt. His father, saxophonist and actor of the region's jazz and free jazz scene, taught him the basics of music and improvisation from the age of four. At the age of nine, Simon's parents move to India and it is there that Simon completes and learns his knowledge of jazz, but also classical and world music. After completing his baccalaureate, Simon decides to try his luck in France. He disembarks in Marseille where, playing the trombone under an overpass, he is immediately noticed and hired by a local musical group. He quickly met the leading musicians of the Marseille scene, in particular Jean-Marc Montera and Ahmad Compaoré, during his musicology studies at the Aix-Marseille faculty. The decisive meeting is the one with the guitarist Thomas Weirich; together they initiate more than a dozen projects, including the one that culminated in his first album for the Durance label, Thèmes et Variations. For ten years the two companions have been exploring the wilds of music. After this meeting the two musicians decide to get close to Raphaël Imbert who, fascinated by their inventiveness and their taste for jazz and improvisation, soon makes them join the Nine Spirit Company, where they now occupy a prominent place. Today Simon Sieger conducts his activities as a researcher in musicology (doctorate under the direction of Christine Esclapez), and his activity as a jazz musician within the Nine Spirit Company and as a cultural pioneer in various impromptu groups, including the AEC .