Itinerary Sound Bytes Merchandise Images Reviews Recordings Biography Booking Info
A group consisting of Bass, Drums, Keyboards, Guitar and Trombone melding intricate composition with improvasation.

3 vocalist, 3 percussionist, bass, keyboards, guitarist and trombone bring the world together in a unified sound featuring voices and drums.

SLIDE RIDE (Trombone Quartet)
The coopertive of Ray Anderson, Joseph Bowie, Craig Harris, and Gary Valente brings together four of the most facile, daring, innovative and well regarded trombonist in modern jazz.

Craig's "God's Trombones" affords him the opportunity to realize a longstanding dream. It is based on James Weldon Johnson's classic collection of poems that refigure inspirational sermons by itinerant Negro preachers. In collecting these sermons in free verse form, Johnson strove to document and to preserve a unique African American cultural tradition in the face of increased assimilation into a more mainstream American way of life. Craig looks to Johnson's poems for inspiration to produce a musical interpretation of the rhythm and cadence that Johnson found in the original sermons.

Although deeply rooted in the work of these Christian preachers, Craig's vision for "God's Trombones" looks beyond the sectarian roots of the sermons to the realm of the spirit that underlies and moves all religious experience. Thus, "God's Trombones" both hearkens back to the spirit of the original work and reinterprets it for a contemporary audience. At its most fundamental level, the project strives to bring Johnson's poems, and the unique preaching style they preserve, to life. Craig's composition will consider "God's Trombones" through the intersection of sound (specifically, the trombone shout form) and word and movement. Technically, Craig creates a work that is operatic in scale, with the pitch, melody and harmony finding inspiration in the original poems, with the text (and its recitation) and the choreography (and its presentation) serving as partners in the overall composition.

"Souls Within the Veil" was composed to commemorate the centennial of W. E. B.  Du Bois'  The Souls of Black Folk. After one hundred years the book sets a high standard for those who aspire to compose, regardless of the medium in which they choose to express themselves. The compositional craft displayed by Du Bois has inspired Craig to compose a musical score which attempts to capture Souls' timeless social commentary, where Du Bois melded the experience of enslaved people and the English language into a state of Double Consciousness, modulating between social issues of the past-present. Examining the text through the lens of its final chapter, Craig presents a work composed for ten souls using ten timeless Veils. They combine improvisation and composition to the place where they become one. That state of Double Consciousness is where Craig navigates harmonically, rhythmically, and melodically not only within the shadows of the Veil but within a continuum that predates the Veil by centuries. It is a music Du Bois refers to as "the most beautiful expressions born this side of the seas."

"Like Souls," says Du Bois scholar Tony Monteiro,  "`Souls Within the Veil' is African in its cultural anchorage and its Humanity. It is elegant music which rediscovers African sublimity."

A multi- media work based on the movement of Muhamed Ali with video, dance, and music.

It is Ali the dancer, the boxer, the man, who has motivated and inspired me to create the score for Brown Butterfly. I wanted to create a score that will stand. A particularly American score, if you will, driven by Aliís remarkable life.

Aliís movement is my first and foremost inspiration, and my impetus to create sound for Brown Butterfly. I want to define the musical "color" along with the "sound of motion" that will bring Aliís journey into a dance theater environment.

Muhammad Aliís persona has influenced my music through his grace, power, and wisdom. As a musician and a black man, I am interested in Ali not only as a champion athlete, but also as one of the greatest statesman of our time. Muhammad Ali, with his unrelenting courage, burst through the conservative barriers of the sports world with his speed, timing, and rhythmic dances, all the while challenging not only opponents in the ring, but sports writers and political figures alike.

Brown Butterfly is a work based on the physical gestures of Muhammad Ali. To composed this work, I have I transposed his physical language into a rich, vibrant, notated score. Rhythms shadowing his footwork, melodies singing the song of his jab, and harmonies displaying the power of his combinations.

In his own words, "To float like a butterfly and sting like a bee," Ali has provided the basis for "scoring" the orchestra, an ensemble that must revel in the sounds of a heavy weight who moved like a welter weight.

Music, dance and poetry collaboration based on original music.
Collabarators Sekou Sundiata, Marlies Yearby, Vernon Ried.
American Center, Paris, France.

Collabarator Sekou Sundiata.
Rites & Reason at Brown University, Providence, RI.

Collabarator Sekou Sundiata. An epistolary praise poem with music.
Nuyorican Poets Café, NY and U.S Tour.

A full evening Musical Work based on Contemporary Slavery in Mauritania.
Collabarator Sekou Sundiata.
651 ARTS Brooklyn and U.S. Tour.

A fast paced, non-linear tribute to the Harlem Renaissance. Collabarator Amiri Baraka.
Schoumburg Library NYC.

Collabarators Nona Hendricks, Ntozake Shange, Jessica Hagedorn, Regina Carter, Quincey Troupe, Amiri Baraka, Sekou Sundiata.
Aaronn Davis Hall NYC.

An eight-part public television series that explores the renaissance of public poetry.
Collabarator Sekou Sundiata.

    home | itinerary | sound | merchandise | images | reviews | recordings | bio. | booking | links