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12th Annual Composers and Improvisors Festival

May 4, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm EDT

Save the date! The 12th Annual Composers Festival is coming to town! (not the 14th as we listed before – oops) This will be a tremendous evening of new jazz featuring bassist Joe Fonda, percussionist Kevin Norton, and cornet player Taylor Ho Bynum.

Joe Fonda

Joe Fonda is a composer, bassist, recording artist, interdisciplinary performer, producer and educator. An accomplished international Jazz artist, Fonda has performed with his own ensembles throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. He has  collaborated  and performed with such artists as Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp, Ken McIntyre, Lou Donaldson, Bill and Kenny Barron, Leo Smith, Perry Robinson, Dave Douglas, Curtis Fuller, ,  Bill Dixon, Han Bennink, Bobby Naughton, Xu Fengia, Randy Weston, Gebhard Ullmann, Carla Bley,  Carlo Zingaro, Barry Altschul, Billy Bang.

Fonda was the bassist with the renowned Anthony Braxton sextet, octet, tentet, from 1984 through 1999. Fonda also sat on the Board of Directors from 1994 to 1999, and was the President from 1997 to 1999 of the newly formed Tri-Centric Foundation. He has also performed with the 38-piece Tri-Centric orchestra under the direction of Anthony Braxton, and was the bassist for the premiere performance of Anthony Braxton’s opera, Shalla Fears for the Poor, performed at the John Jay Theater in New York, New York, October 1996.

As a composer, Fonda has been the recipient of numerous grants and commissions From Meet the Composer New York and the New England Foundation on the Arts. He has released twelve recordings under his own name. (Reviews and recordings available). Fonda was also a member of The Creative Musicians Improvisors Forum directed by Leo Smith, and was the bassist with the American Tap Dance Orchestra in New York City, directed by world renowned tap dancer, Brenda Bufalino.

In 1989, Fonda performed with Fred Ho’s Jazz and Peking opera in its world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From 1982 to 1986 Fonda was the bassist and dancer with the Sonomama Dance Company. An independent producer since 1978, Fonda is the founding director of Kaleidoscope Arts an interdisciplinary performance ensemble and is the producer and musical director for the Connecticut Composers and improvisors Festival from 2001 to 2011.
Joe Fonda on Facebook

Kevin Norton

Kevin’s website

Kevin Norton was born in Brooklyn and raised in Staten Island, NY. Studies at Hunter College introduced Kevin to Milt Hinton and after a short period, Kevin began to perform with Milt Hinton, eventually recording The Judge’s Decision with a quartet led by Milt.

Too numerous to list here: Kevin played with many musicians on the downtown scene but eventually concentrated on his own compositions and own ensembles For Guy Debord (in nine events)is a composition for quintet and woodwind soloist (originally Anthony Braxton) based on the texts of the radical French philosopher whose thought proved central to the riots of Paris, 1968. Change Dance (Troubled Energy) draws its inspiration from another radical political activist, Kathy Change (born Kathleen Chang). Both suites are approximately an hour in duration.

Other great American masters Kevin has performed and/or recorded with include John Lindberg, Connie Crothers, James Emery, Scott Robinson, Nick Didkovsky, Steve LaSpina, Marshall Allen, Kazzrie Jaxen, Peter Zummo, Henry Grimes and poet/activist John Sinclair. In June of 2002, Kevin Norton was a resident composer at the prestigious MacDowell Colony. Norton worked closely with composer Pat Irwin on the animated television show, Roco’s Modern Lifefor the Nickelodeon network (approximately 1993-1996). Norton composed the original soundtrack for the movie Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words(2013).

He has served on the faculty of several schools including the University of Maryland and is currently on the faculty of William Paterson University (Jazz Studies Program).

Taylor Ho Bynum

He’s spent his career navigating the intersections between structure and improvisation – through musical composition, performance and interdisciplinary collaboration, and through production, organizing, teaching, writing and advocacy. Bynum’s expressionistic playing on cornet and his expansive vision as composer have garnered him critical attention on over twenty recordings as a bandleader and dozens more as a sideman.

Recent releases on the Firehouse 12 Records label include the 4-album set “Navigation” (2013) with his Sextet and 7-tette, and “Enter the Plustet” (2016), the debut recording of his 15-piece creative orchestra. “The Ambiguity Manifesto”, featuring Bynum’s 9-tette, will be released in the spring of 2019.His varied endeavors include his Acoustic Bicycle Tours (where he travels to concerts solely by bike across thousands of miles) and his stewardship of Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation (which he serves as executive director, producing and performing on most of Braxton’s recent major projects).

In addition to his own bands and his ongoing collaboration with Braxton, past work includes other legendary figures such as Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor, and current collective projects feature forward thinking peers like Mary Halvorson and Tomas Fujiwara. Bynum increasingly travels the globe to conduct community-based large ensembles in explorations of new creative orchestra music, and has taught at universities, festivals and workshops worldwide.

Since 2017 he has been the director of the jazz and creative music ensemble at Dartmouth College. Bynum’s writing has been published in the New YorkerPoint of Departure and Sound American, and he has served as a panelist, board member and consultant for leading funders, arts organizations and individual artists. His work has received support from Creative Capital, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Chamber Music America, New Music USA, US Artists International and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.



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Reserve tickets now to watch three extraordinary jazz artists demonstrate their widely renowned skill.

Reservations are suggested!


May 4, 2019
7:30 pm - 10:30 pm EDT