Photo: Andrew Cyrille | © Joyce Jones/ Suga Bowl Photography. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Used with Permission.
Program note: we’re in a new weekly Tuesday night slot from 10-12 midnight! We’re back to our regular schedule following WBAI’s Spring Fund Drive.
The next show will air on Tuesday June 4, 2019 from 10:00 PM – 12 Midnight Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This broadcast will kick off our coverage of Vision 24 with part one of an interview with composer and drummer/percussionist Andrew Cyrille. This is the first part of two conversations. This conversation will focus on Mr. Cyrille’s career up to his time with Cecil Taylor.
Andrew Cyrille, born in Brooklyn on November 10, 1939, studied with Philly Joe Jones in 1958 and then spent the first half of the 1960s studying in New York at Juilliard and the Hartnett School of Music. At the same time, he was performing with jazz artists ranging from Mary Lou Williams, Coleman Hawkins, and Illinois Jacquet to Kenny Dorham, Freddie Hubbard, Walt Dickerson, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, among others. He also played with Nigerian drummer Babtunde Olatunji and worked with dancers. In 1964 he formed what would prove to be an eleven-year association with Cecil Taylor, a gig that brought him new acclaim and established him in the vanguard of jazz drumming.
Starting in 1969, Cyrille played in a number of percussion groups with notable drummers including Kenny Clarke, Milford Graves, Don Moye, Rashied Ali, Daniel Ponce, Michael Carvin, and Vladimir Tarasov. Cyrille formed his group Maono (“feelings”) in 1975, with its fluid membership dictated by the forces his compositions called for rather than vice versa. Since leaving Taylor’s group, he has also worked with such top-flight peers as David Murray, Muhal Richard Abrams, Mal Waldron, Horace Tapscott, James Newton, and Oliver Lake, was the drummer on Billy Bang’s A Tribute to Stuff Smith (Soul Note 121216), notable for being the last studio session of Sun Ra.
An artist-in-residence and teacher at Antioch College (Yellow Springs, Ohio) from 1971 to 1973, Cyrille has also taught at the Graham Windham Home for Children in New York and is currently a faculty member at the New School for Social Research in New York City.
(Bio excerpted and adapted from Drummer World.)
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.
Andrew Cyrille is getting a lifetime achievement award at the opening night of the week-long 2019 Vision Festival on June 11 at Roulette in downtown Brooklyn and will be part of eight—yes, eight—different ensembles that night. Vision starts with film screenings on June 9 at Anthology Film Archives then moves to Roulette for nightly sets from June 11-16. See the full schedule at their website.
Watch Cyrille with Kidd Jordan and William Parker at the 2003 Vision Festival.
Watch Cyrille with Haitian Fascination at the 2017 NYC Winter Jazz Festival.
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 College in the City University of New York system.