Photo: Francisco Mora Catlett.| Joyce Jones. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.
The next show will air on Sunday, December 25, 2016 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This broadcast continues WBAI’s coverage of the 2017 Winter Jazz Festival. Our featured musical guest is drummer, percussionist, composer and bandleader Francisco Mora Catlett.
Francisco Mora Catlett comes to his visionary work naturally: born into a family of celebrated artists (Mexican painter Francisco Mora and African-American sculptress Elizabeth Catlett) he began his musical career in Mexico, where he grew up. He studied music at the Berklee School of Music, and subsequently played with Sun Ra’s Arkestra, from 1973 to 1980. In 1987, he released his first album as a leader, the Latin project Mora!, and received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to study drumming and percussion with Max Roach in New York City. Mora-Catlett worked with Roach’s advanced all-percussion ensemble M’Boom, appearing on two Blue Moon LPs, 1990’s To the Max and 1992’s Live at S.O.B.’s New York.
In 1993, he became a visiting professor of music at Michigan State University, and later began leading his own Latin jazz group, Amigo, which played around the Detroit area. Mora Catlett played percussion on Bug in the Bassbin, – the 1996 debut single by Detroit techno producer Carl Craig’s groundbreaking jazz/electronica fusion project Innerzone Orchestra. He also appeared on the debut Innerzone Orchestra full-length, 1999’s Programmed. The same year, using Innerzone cohorts Craig Taborn (piano) and Rodney Whitaker (bass) as a core trio, Mora Catlett issued his acclaimed second album, World Trade Music.
Mora Catlett’s departure to Detroit’s music scene was the creation of The Outer Zone Band, featuring Marshal Allen and Craig Taborn.
After relocating to New York in 2002, Mora-Catlett while co-founding the “Oyu Oro Afro-Cuban Dance Company” with his wife Cuban dancer and choreographer Danys Perez Prades “La Mora.”
Partial bio adapted from Francisco Mora Catlett’s website.
This program is hosted, engineered, produced, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.
Catlett will be leading his AfroHORN ensemble at the 2017 Winter Jazz Fest in a CD release event for the latest recording At the Edge of the Spiral at Zinc Bar at 11:40 PM on January 7. They’ll also be at Clemente Soto Velez Center on January 19 as part of Arts for Art’s nearly monthlong “Justice is Compassion/ Not a Police State” series.
Watch Catlett play “Blue People” in this live clip.
Watch Catlett and AfroHORN play “Spirit One Voice” live at Minton’s.
Watch the official preview video from the 2017 Winter Jazz Fest!
Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system.