On View: December 9-December 10
The Kitchen at Westbeth (163B Bank Street, Fourth Floor Loft)
Longtime collaborators Amirtha Kidambi (voice) and Darius Jones (alto sax) join sonic and compositional forces to materialize Angels & Demons, musical adaptations of cosmological writings by iconic composer and bandleader Sun Ra.
The duo formed to honor the intellectual, literary, and spiritual contribution of Sun Ra, as a philosopher and teacher. Dancing between Ra's prophetic poetic verse, abstract phonemes and syllables, sound, noise, tone, melody and rhythmic interplay, Jones and Kidambi use their unique compositional and improvisatory voices to amplify Ra's poetry to contemporary audiences.
Following the performance, a discussion with the artists will be led by interdisciplinary poet and sound artist LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs.
Lighting and Production Design by Nicholas Houfek.
Amirtha Kidambi and Darius Jones: Angels & Demons is organized by Matthew Lyons, Curator.
Darius Jones has created a recognizable voice as a critically acclaimed saxophonist and composer by embracing individuality and innovation in the tradition of African-American music. Jones has been awarded the Van Lier Fellowship, Jerome Foundation Commission, Jerome Artist-in-Residence at Roulette, French-American Jazz Exchange Award, and, in 2019, the Fromm Music Foundation commission at Harvard University. Jones has released a string of diverse recordings featuring music and images evocative of Black Futurism. His work as a new music composer for voice culminated in a major debut performance at Carnegie Hall in 2014. Jones has collaborated with artists including Gerald Cleaver, Oliver Lake, William Parker, Andrew Cyrille, Craig Taborn, Wet Ink Ensemble, Jason Moran, Trevor Dunn, Dave Burrell, Eric Revis, Matthew Shipp, Marshall Allen, Nasheet Waits, Branford Marsalis, Travis Laplante, Fay Victor, Cooper-Moore, Matana Roberts, JD Allen, Matthew Shipp, Nicole Mitchell, Georgia Ann Muldrow, and many more. In 2021, Darius released a new album on Northern Spy Records, entitled Raw Demoon Alchemy (A Lone Operation). Jones’ music is a confrontation against apathy and ego, hoping to inspire authenticity that compels us to be better humans.
Amirtha Kidambi is invested in the creation and performance of subversive music, from free improvisation and avant-jazz, to experimental bands and new music. She is an educator, activist and organizer, informed by anti-racism, decolonization and anti-capitalism, and is co-founder and co-organizer of South Asian Artists in Diaspora and Musicians Against Police Brutality. As a bandleader, she is the creative force behind Elder Ones and has received critical praise for dual releases on Northern Spy records from the New York Times, Pitchfork, Downbeat and WIRE magazine. Kidambi topped the categories of "Rising Star Vocalist", "Rising Star Composer" and "Rising Star Jazz Group" in the Downbeat Critics Poll for 2019. She is active in several improvising duos with Luke Stewart, Maria Grand, Matt Evans and Matteo Liberatore, with releases on Astral Spirits. Kidambi is a key collaborator in Mary Halvorson's latest sextet Code Girl, the duo Angels & Demons with Darius Jones and in various collaborations with William Parker and has worked with the late Muhal Richard Abrams and the late Robert Ashley. She has performed and presented her music in the U.S. and internationally at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, The Kitchen, Whitney Museum, EMPAC, Berlin Jazzfest and various DIY/punk spaces. Kidambi has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, Asian Cultural Council and artist residencies at EMPAC, Roulette, Pioneer Works and Bucareli 69 in Mexico City. She holds degrees from Brooklyn College and Columbia University and has taught at The New School and Brooklyn College.
A writer, vocalist and performance/sound artist, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of Village (Coffee House Press 2023), TwERK (Belladonna, 2013) as well as the co-editor of Coon Bidness. Diggs has presented and performed at California Institute of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, The Museum of Modern Art, and Walker Art Center and at festivals including: Explore the North Festival, Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Hekayeh Festival, Abu Dhabi; International Poetry Festival of Copenhagen; Ocean Space, Venice; International Poetry Festival of Romania; Question of Will, Slovakia; Poesiefestival, Berlin; and the 2015 Venice Biennale. As an independent curator, artistic director, and producer, Diggs has presented events for BAMCafé, Black Rock Coalition, El Museo del Barrio, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and the David Rubenstein Atrium. Diggs has received a 2020 C.D. Wright Award for Poetry from the Foundation of Contemporary Art, a Whiting Award (2016) and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship (2015), as well as grants and fellowships from Cave Canem, Creative Capital, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, among others. She lives in Harlem and teaches part-time at Brooklyn and Barnard College.
FUNDING SUPPORT & CREDITS
The Kitchen’s programs are made possible through generous support from annual grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Simons Foundation, Ruth Foundation for the Arts, and Teiger Foundation; and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.