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Identity: Freedom — Dave Burrell, Andrew Cyrille, William Parker, and others

Arts for Art and The Kitchen present FreeJazz ensembles improvising across disciplines, from music, dance, and poetry to political discourse

The Latest Update

Andrew Cyrille on March 9, 2019

Posted on July 30, 2019 by The Kitchen

Andrew Cyrille’s Haitian Fascination on Saturday, March 9, 2019

Watch the full performance of drummer and composer Andrew Cyrille’s new work paying homage to his Haitian ancestry with his ensemble and poet Stephanie Jean here.

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Dave Burrell on March 8, 2019

Posted on July 30, 2019 by The Kitchen

Dave Burrell’s Harlem Renaissance on Friday, March 8, 2019

For this performance, piano and dance take turns leading and following the ensemble, blurring lines between composition and free improvisation. Check out the full concert here.

William Parker on March 7, 2019

Posted on July 30, 2019 by The Kitchen

William Parker’s Trail of Tears Continuum (1492-2019) on Thursday, March 7, 2019

From the Program Notes:

This work is a tone poem that reflects the history, pain, and hope inspired by The Trail of Tears—the forcible relocation of 100,00 indigenous people, including members of the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations, which resulted in the death of over five thousand people. While The Trail of Tears actually occurred between 1831 and 1850, William Parker proposes that this event began in 1492 when Christopher Columbus initiated the genocide of Arawak indians killing 8 million people milled indians. Indigenous people were eventually forced to live in Reservations while African slaves were lynched existed under the law of Jim Crow were eventually regulated to housing proj­ects and prisons which continue today. America is a melting pot that never melted. Through music, poetry, and video we go through a ritualistic journey telling the story of this trail of blood, tears and resistance.

Watch the complete concert with readings by poets Fred Moten and Tracie Morris along with a film by Willian Parker and Michael Lucio-Sternbach here.

Poet Stephanie Jean was added to the line-up of Andrew Cyrille’s Haitian Fascination on Saturday, March 9.

Posted on July 30, 2019 by The Kitchen

Stephanie Jean is a Cave Canem Fellow and a member of the New York Foundation for the Arts’ Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. Her poems have appeared in the Journal of Poetics Research. She also runs The Nomads—a literary series where writers are invited to read in their native tongue and in English.

Photo credit: Ian Douglas

For the premiere of the latest iteration of Dave Burrell‘s continued exploration of the Harlem Renaissance, dancers Marguerite Hemmings and J’royce Jata were added to the line-up on Friday, March 8.

Posted on July 30, 2019 by The Kitchen

Marguerite Hemmings is a Jamaican-born, New Jersey-raised, performance artist and educator who has been living in the New York City area for over a decade. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Education and Urban Studies. Hemmings specializes in street, emergent, improvisational, and social dance styles.

J’royce Jata is a recent company member of Garth Fagan Dance. Selected credits include: HBO series Random Acts of Flyness, Killer Unicorn, and Mary Komosa’s “City of my Dreams” music video. Jata has performed in the national tours of Dirty Dancing (Tito Suarez/Ensemble), Fame (Tyrone Jackson), and Memphis (Swing/Black DJ).

Photo credit: Ian Douglas


New York-based FreeJazz organization Arts for Art collaborates with The Kitchen to present FreeJazz ensembles in a multidisciplinary program of improvisation over the course of three evenings, March 7–9, 2019, at The Kitchen. From Jazz, dance, and poetry to political discourse, these concerts consist of musical and discursive interjections among participants, which segue into conversations that are inclusive of audiences. The events aim to foster and celebrate new interrelationships among participants and audiences as they revolve around our conceptions of social justice. Titled IDENTITY: FREEDOM, the project declares liberation in both self-possession and movement.

The Lead Artists are all New York-based and well-established players in the vanguard of FreeJazz music: pianist and composer Dave Burrell (born 1940); drummer, percussionist, and composer Andrew Cyrille (born 1939); and bassist, improviser, composer, writer, and educator William Parker (born 1952). Read biographies and sample works in their profiles.

IDENTITY: FREEDOM is organized by Tim Griffin (The Kitchen Executive Director and Chief Curator), Todd Nicholson (Arts for Art Executive Director and Board member), Patricia Nicholson Parker (Arts for Art Founder and Board member), and Fred Moten (poet and Arts for Art Board member).

Program Schedule  Tickets: $25 General / $20 Members

Thursday, March 7, 8pm

William Parker’s Trail of Tears Continuum (1492-2019)

Bassist and composer William Parker premieres a new multimedia work tracing the de-evolution of humanity in America. The 90-minute suite is broken into four sections—“Plantations,” “Reservations,” “Housing Projects,” and Prisons”—and built around new music, libretto, and narrative composed by Parker. Performers include: singers Anne Marie Sandy and Raina Sokolov Gonzalez, musicians Hamid Drake (drums), Cooper-Moore (piano), and James Brandon Lewis (tenor sax), and features original poetry by Fred Moten and Tracie Morris. The piece is also accompanied by a film by Parker and Michael Lucio-Sternbach.


Friday, March 8, 8pm

Dave Burrell’s Harlem Renaissance

Pianist and composer Dave Burrell premieres the latest iteration of his continuing exploration of the Harlem Renaissance, presented in tribute to the Civil Rights activist and entertainer Josephine Baker. The piece centers on the interaction between piano and two dancers (to be announced), augmented by a brass line featuring Ted Daniel, (trumpet), Steve Swell (trombone), and Dick Griffin,(trombone) and rhythm section of William Parker (bass) and Hamid Drake (drums). Piano and dance take turns leading and following the ensemble, blurring lines between composition and free improvisation.


Saturday, March 9, 8pm

Andrew Cyrille’s Haitian Fascination

Drummer and composer Andrew Cyrille presents new work paying homage to his Haitian ancestry. Joining Cyrille are collaborators old and new, including Angelica Sanchez (piano), Lisle Atkinson (bass), Val Jeanty,(percussion, electronics), and Jorge Sylvester (saxophone). Expect a poet and additional musicians to augment the ensemble.


IDENTITY: FREEDOM creates a first-time opportunity for two pioneering Downtown organizations to join forces in a shared mission of fostering a diverse community of artists and audiences. Presenting innovative new improvisational and interdisciplinary work, the program also crosses generations while strengthening living, grassroots dialogues between the arts and larger culture.


Project Media

Dave Burrell (piano) with “Harlem Renaissance”
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Features: Dave Burrell

“Harlem Renaissance”: Dave Burrell (piano), Darius Jones (alto sax), Steve Swell (trombone), Harrison Bankhead (bass), Andrew Cyrille (drums)
Arts for Art’s Vision Festival 23, May 23, 2018
at Roulette, Brooklyn, NY
(16 minutes)

Andrew Cyrille (drums) with “Haitian Fascination”
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Features: Andrew Cyrille

“Haitian Fascination”: Andrew Cyrille (drums), Alix “Tit” Pascal (guitar), Alex Ambrose (tenor sax), Jean Guy Rene (Haitian drums), and Lisle Atkinson (bass)
New York City Winter Jazz Festival, January 7, 2017
at 12th Street Theater, The New School, New York, NY
(9 minutes)

William Parker (bass) with Fred Moten (poetry)
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Features: William Parker

William Parker (bass) with Fred Moten (poetry), Rob Brown (alto sax), Steve Swell (trombone), and Andrew Cyrille (drums)
Arts for Art’s “A Night of Vision” October 27, 2018
at Distler Performance Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University, Medford, MA
(40 minutes)

Start and End Dates



New York, New York

5 updates
Last update on July 30, 2019

Project Created By

New York, New York
Located in the Chelsea gallery district near the High Line, The Kitchen is one of New York City’s most forward-looking nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines of music, dance, performance, theater, and visual art. Since its inception in 1971, The Kitchen has been a leading force in shaping the…

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New York, New York
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