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“...one of New York’s most essential art events.”- The New York Times
NEW YORK CITY | Announcing the FULL SCHEDULE AND LINEUP OF PERFORMERS for Vision Festival 26, “A Light in Darkness” - bringing together the bright, beautiful voices of hundreds of artists in the vibrant Arts for Art (AFA) community to showcase the FreeJazz aesthetic of creative improvisation. AFA’s Artists are prepared to BE THE LIGHT with sights and sounds of hope and peace. In addition to the exciting lineup of performers across six nights and two New York City venues, this year The Vision Festival will celebrate the Lifetime Achievement of not one, but TWO titans of FreeJazz: Wadada Leo Smith and Oliver Lake. Mr. Smith and Mr. Lake have curated their evenings to share with us what they feel is most important to their legacies.
On the opening night of the festival (June 21st, 2022), Wadada Leo Smith will present new works that celebrate the heroism of Flight 93 In “Pennsylvania’s Sky: No Greater Love - A Remembrance of Their Beauty & Courage.” Mr. Smith’s performance will serve to punctuate 80 years, in a career full of enough achievements for several lifetimes. On the closing night of The Vision Festival (June 26th, 2022), AFA pays tribute to Oliver Lake’s legacy--from his early years as a co-founder of Black Arts Group (BAG) in St. Louis--with a multi-discipline work by JD Parran, as well as Oliver Lake’s own new piece entitled “Justice.” The final night of The Vision Festival will also feature a special performance of the World Saxophone Quartet. Mr. Smith and Mr. Lake join a venerable pantheon of FreeJazz pioneers in receiving the Vision Festival Lifetime Achievement Award including Amina Claudine Myers, Andrew Cyrille, Peter Brotzmann, Cooper-Moore, Milford Graves, Sam Rivers and Kidd Jordan.
Celebrating boundless improvisation and community in the diverse languages of FreeJazz with social justice has been AFA’s credo since 1996. Acknowledging and holding space for the African American voices that defined this aesthetic has been our commitment and our struggle. The artists change, the world changes, but the message remains and AFA continues to bring together varied generations of boundary-breaking, FreeJazz arts that are expressive of the important African American creative lineage and multiculturalism that the genre has embraced. As such, the lineup is varied and inclusive. The artists define the genre. The genre does not define the artist.
The theme of this years’ festival is “A Light In Darkness.” This is a quote from a song written by William Parker in the late 1970s and “A Light” is what the Artist is called to be as people across the globe struggle to stay safe while fear and tyranny walk hand in hand, and justice and freedom seem to be losing ground. The bright light of Creativity with Compassion is what will be our guide; as it becomes safer and we become smarter about how to navigate our new normal, we’ll gather to shine the light on our shared Vision for a better world.
About the Vision Festival
In 1996 the First Annual Vision Festival took place at The Learning Alliance on Lafayette Street near Houston Street in NYC. The idea was to bring together luminaries from the different avant-garde music scenes and, for the first time since the Sound Unity Festivals in the mid ‘80s, celebrate the important African American leaders of the music. Featuring artist Milford Graves, that first Vision Festival was unique in its multi-arts focus featuring poets such as Amiri Baraka, dancers such as Rod Rogers, and visual artists such as Jeff Schlanger, in collaboration with the music. Each year the Vision Festival also brought attention to issues of social justice by curating panel discussions, such as “Decolonizing the Music: Reclaiming the Power of Creative Music in Communities of Color” and “How Funding Affects Creative Choices.” The Vision Festival has created and guaranteed a space for improvisation as a leading creative language, and has been heralded as “one of New York’s most essential art events” (New York Times). The Vision Festival continues to honor and amplify the careers of legendary artists who are too often under-appreciated, such as aforementioned 2022 honorees Wadada Leo Smith and Oliver Lake, as well as Fred Anderson, Kidd Jordan, Bill Dixon, Sam Rivers, Connie Crothers, and many others.
About Arts For Art
Since its inception in 1996, the nonprofit Arts for Art (AFA) and its founder and Artistic Director Patricia Nicholson Parker have advocated for human rights and justice, and in support of FreeJazz improvised music and art. FreeJazz is recognized for its variety of highly developed and personalized improvisational languages. AFA works to preserve the legacy of FreeJazz through its multi-arts programming, as well as ensuring the vital future for the improvised arts through their reimagining by new generations of artists. AFA works to ensure that future through music education and mentoring programs offered free to those in need.
About Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Wadada Leo Smith
Trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist and composer Wadada Leo Smith is one of the most boldly original and influential artists of his time. Transcending the bounds of genre or idiom, he distinctly defines his music, tirelessly inventive in both sound and approach, as "Creative Music." For the last five decades, Smith has been a member of the legendary AACM collective, pivotal in its wide-open perspectives on music and art in general. He has carried those all-embracing concepts into his own work, expanding upon them in myriad ways. READ MORE.
About Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Oliver Lake
In 1968, inspired by Association for the Advancement of Creative Music and the Black Arts Movement, Oliver Lake co-founded the famed Black Artist Group (BAG) to bring together young black creatives of St. Louis, find spaces and venues for their creativity, and opportunity for multi-disciplined collaborations. Mr. Lake helped manage BAG, bringing together musicians, actors, poets, playwrights, painters, and dancers. Regarding BAG, Mr. Lake stated in 2014: “There is no separation in what we did. It’s all one thing. And that’s part of the philosophy of the Black Artist Group. And it ended up being my philosophy. I am open to all forms.” READ MORE.
VISION FESTIVAL DATES ARE
June 19-20- Film Screenings
June 21st - 25th: Performances at Roulette 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217 Starting at 7 PM
June 26th: Performances at La Plaza at The Clemente (outdoors) 114 Norfolk Street, New York, NY 10002 Starting at 5 PM
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