Bill Cole - Music for Yoruba Proverbs
Location: AMERICA NORTH: USA: New York (NY)
Bill Cole is an American jazz musician, composer, educator and author. An admired innovator, Cole successfully combines the sounds of untempered instruments with an American art form – jazz. Cole specializes in non-Western wind instruments, especially double reed horns: including Chinese sonas, Korean hojok and piri; Indian nagaswarm and shenai and Tibetan trumpet; as well as the Australian digeridoo and Ghanaian flute. Cole is the leader of the Untempered Ensemble, a group he founded in 1992. He has performed with Sam Rivers, Billy Bang, Jayne Cortez, Julius Hemphill, Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer, William Parker, Fred Ho, Gerald Veasley and others; at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, Symphony Space and venues around the U.S. and in Europe; and has recorded for Boxholder Records.
In the late 1970’s I was given 500 proverbs that came from the Yorubas of Nigeria by my mentor Chief Fela Sowande. At first I just read them and felt they were wise sayings, lessons that gave insight on how to live life. Later, in speaking them to myself I realized that they had a flow, a rhythmic sense. I began to use the syllables to create melodic lines. After writing for about 10 of them I saw that they each had many dual meanings depending on the person who read them.
It was time to perform the lines and I contacted Julius Hemphill to arrange them for Asian double reed horns, cello, cornet, alto sax, soprano sax, baritone horn, bass guitar, metal flute, atenteben wooden flute, euphonium, had drums, drum kit, and balophone.
On September 26, 1986 at Symphony Space, NYC we performed several of the proverbs for the first time. -Bill Cole