Wadada Leo Smith: AACM Trumpeter, Pulitzer Finalist

Wadada Leo SmithWadada Leo Smith is a great Chicago trumpeter, and early member of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), pioneers in free improvisation. On Monday Wadada Leo Smith was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in music. Nice to see that the Pulitzer peeps are continuing to expand their boundaries beyond Western Classical music. Below is a vid of Ten Freedom Summers, the composition that earned Mr. Smith his Pulitzer nomination.

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice by Jonathan Harnum is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

Howard Reich of The Chicago Tribune posted a story about Smith and the Pulitzer Prize for Music.

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The provocative improvisational and compositional techniques long championed by the association, which was founded in Chicago in 1965 and now flourishes and around the world, course through Smith’s epic recording “Ten Freedom Summers” (Cuneiform Records). Never before has an artist associated with the association — and its oft-radical approaches to inventing music — gotten so far in the Pulitzer Prize competition.

I served on the music jury that recommended Smith’s “Ten Freedom Summers” as one of three finalists to the Pulitzer board, which selects winners (“Pieces of Winter Sky” by previous Pulitzer winner Aaron Jay Kernis completed the list). I also served on the jury that recommended Wynton Marsalis‘ “Blood on the Fields” to be the first jazz composition to receive a Pulitzer, in 1997.

Here’s Wadada Leo Smith’s Pulitzer-nominated improvisation, Ten Freedom Summers. If you’ve never tried free improvisation, you should. It’s a liberating way to make music with other people. More on that later, or you can check out some earlier posts I wrote on the subject.

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice by Jonathan Harnum is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

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