Artist-in-Residence
Urban Bush Women with the David Murray Octet
Residency May 1-13, 1999


Urban Bush Women

David Murray

This collaborative residency unites the distinct voices of two major African-American artists (choreographer Jawole Zollar and her dance company Urban Bush Women, and jazz composer-performer David Murray and his Octet) working in the two arts forms considered to have their roots in the United States -- modern dance and jazz. The work is a journey through music, dance, and spoken word, steeped in both spiritual and secular music; where family life included gospel singing alongside jazz music and dance. It is a return to earthy social dances and "blue light" basement parties; a multipart work that includes movement and music that is both fixed and improvised as well as text from various poets such as Langston Hughes and Ntozake Shange. The potential is there to attract a broad crossover audience interested in jazz, blues, gospel, soul, and rock music, along with contemporary dance, African-American social dance, and dance forms of the African diaspora. The Walker will host a developmental workshop period in May; both artists and companies will be in residence rehearsing and developing the work as well as performing and conducting selected educational and outreach activities.

URBAN BUSH WOMEN

Urban Bush Women is an ensemble of artists, educators, organizers and administrators dedicated to exploring the use of culture as a catalyst for social change. Founded in 1984 to realize the artistic vision of choreographer Zollar, the company weaves contemporary dance, music, and text to create performance works rooted in folklore and spiritual traditions through movement, music, and a cappella vocalizations that explore the struggle, growth, transformation, and survival of the human spirit. Urban Bush Women also encourages cross-cultural exchange through a range of educational workshops, long-term residencies, community organizing, and leadership development.

The Walker has long supported Urban Bush Women having presented the company many times in the past 10 years, including two major evening-length works -- Praise House (1990) and Bones and Ash: The Gilda Stories (1995). In conjunction with the Urban Bush Women residency, the Walker commissioned Ananya Chatterjea, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota's Dance Department, and local Web designer Ahree Lee to produce a hyperessay about the company. COMIN' ON OVER: THE LEGACIES OF THE URBAN BUSH WOMEN takes a closer look at many of Urban Bush Women's dances, including the company's most recent piece commissioned by the Walker, Soul Deep.


DAVID MURRAY OCTET

The David Murray Octet practices energetic song-based improvisations that blend the legacies of the 1970s free jazz movement, gospel, and the New Orleans sound with African roots. Murray breaks down the Octet into smaller touring units with players such as the pianists Dave Burrell and John Hicks, bassists Richard Davis, Ray Drummond, Johnny Dyani, and Reggie Workman, and drummers Ed Blackwell, Ralph Peterson, Jr., and Phillip Wilson. In addition to the Octet, Murray currently leads the "Power" Quartet with John Hicks and the David Murray Big Band, which has appeared every Monday night for two years at New York's Knitting Factory, performing original compositions and arrangements utilizing Butch Morris' concept of "conduction." He has also played with The Grateful Dead and with the solo groups of Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, a collaboration which led to the recording of Dark Star, an album of Grateful Dead songs arranged and played by Murray and his Octet.

As a leader, Murray's discography now approaches 200 recordings, including 300 original compositions and suites. His recordings Special Quartet and David Murray/Milford Graves were voted two of the best jazz recordings of 1993. His Live at Sweet Basil, Vol. II was a critic's pick of the decade in Jazziz magazine. He received a Grammy Award for Blues for Coltrane: A Tribute to John Coltrane with McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Cecil McBee, and Roy Haynes.


RELATED EVENTS AND RESIDENCY ACTIVITIES

COMMUNITY WELCOME RECEPTION WITH URBAN BUSH WOMEN AND DAVID MURRAY OCTET
MAY 6, 1999

DAVID MURRAY: MEET THE MAN AND HIS MUSIC
MAY 8, 1999

THE DAVID MURRAY OCTET (PERFORMANCE)
MAY 8, 1999

URBAN BUSH WOMEN AND THE DAVID MURRAY OCTET: OPEN SHOWING AND ARTIST TALK
MAY 10, 1999
Excerpts of Soul Deep, a work-in-progress.

URBAN BUSH WOMEN AND THE DAVID MURRAY OCTET (PERFORMANCE)
MAY 11, 1999



THIS RESIDENCE IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUPPORT FROM THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS.