New York Jazz Musician Graham Haynes to Participate in The Deconstruction Period

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Jazz musician Graham Haynes, son of legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes, will guest conduct the next installment of The Deconstruction Period on May 23 at Woodward Theater in Over-the-Rhine (Cincinnati).

Developed and directed by ISWHAT?!’s Napoleon Maddox, The Deconstruction Period features a number of local musicians, deejays and turntablists who are asked to sample and respond to themes that can be compared and/or contrasted. Artists using electronic production tools may sample, effect or re-play any segment of the chosen songs in any way they choose. The only rule is that the artists must bring their production tool to the live performance prepared to play separated elements of the composition, beat, collage or montage they created around the themes. Maddox or guest conductor presents cue cards with prompts to for the musicians to follow during the performance. The cards will have one word descriptions like RHYTHM, TEXTURE, MORE, LESS, LOUDER and QUIETER.

The participants will include DJ Apryl Reign, DJ Tree, CJ the Cynic, Marci from Mars, SamSun Zulu, Bishop Mulatto, Jennifer Simone, Brian Greer, Bryan Burke, Tobe Donohue, Brent Olds and more.

“The motivation behind The Deconstruction Period is to give platform to and cultivate a new school of urban intellectuals interested in hip hop,” Maddox says. “Participants are encouraged to not only present their reflections on the topics of each installment of The Deconstruction Period sonically, but to dissect the themes in conversations, interviews, visual art or any other way they can ‘own’ the re-telling.”

Napoleon says he was intrigued by the possibility of bringing in Graham to conduct because he’d seen him in an impressive concert using group improvisation at Symphony Space in New York City in 2006.

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“I was aware of his deep musical roots and his willingness to challenge convention,” he adds. “The idea of bringing him in as a specialist to contribute to The Deconstruction Period was exciting to me.”

Having grown up around jazz music his entire life, Haynes spent two years at Queens College in the late 1970s studying composition, harmony and theory, spurring his interest in classical and electronic music (Robert Moog was professor of electronic music at the time). He became a disciplined student, studying privately with Gillespie alumnus Dave Burns while playing in the Pentecostal church.

In 1979, Haynes met alto saxophonist Steve Coleman. They formed a band called Five Elements, which launched the M-Base collective, an influential group of New York improvisers. He spent much of the 1980s collaborating with Coleman and jazz singer Cassandra Wilson. In the late 1980s, he formed his own ensemble, Graham Haynes and No Image, and was a mainstay of the New York downtown music scene of that time. In 1989, he recorded his first album as a leader, What Time It Be?

During the late 1980s, Haynes immersed himself in a wide range of African, Arabic and South Asian music which prompted his move to Paris in 1990. There, he recorded Nocturne Parisienne and The Griots Footsteps, for French Polygram records.

Haynes spent the next three years studying and performing with masters of African and Asian music, occasionally returning to New York to work with artists such as Ed Blackwell, George Russell, Uri Cain and David Murray, among others. In 1993, Haynes moved back to New York, where he began investigating sampling and hip hop music, which led to the album Transition. His next project, Tones for The Twenty-First Century, combined sound effects, textures, drones, and samples, layered over Haynes electronically manipulated horn.

“Graham’s work is connected to Afrofuturism because of the way he responds to tradition and form,” Napoleon says. “I believe that he sees established convention as something to dissect and build on, as an expression of its worth. If something has been done – especially done well – there is no reason to attempt to redo what has been done. Instead, the Afrofuturist’s mind wants to see which direction an artistic achievement will head.”

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