CCI: Cultural Constructions Spring 2003

Spring 2003 Cultural Constructions Ensemble
Robert Labaree, Jerry Leake, Bill Lowe, Juanito Pascual


Thursday/Friday, May 29th/30th, 2003
Cultural Constructions I: Turkey meets North India meets Andalusia meets American Free Jazz
The Tremont Theater of the International Society
276 Tremont Street, Boston

Cultural Constructions is a unique two-day experiment in the merging of diverse musical cultures. The Tremont Music Series will bring together four musicians from widely varying musical backgrounds for a six-week period, during which time they will exchange musical traditions and share their different musical vocabularies. Through this exchange these musicians will merge their styles and create new works, both improvised and composed, culminating in two evenings of performance. The full ensemble will perform both evenings. In addition, each musician will perform a short opening set on one of the two evenings, presenting music which represents their own musical culture.

The musicians partaking in our first cultural construction are: Robert Labaree, Ceng (Turkish Harp): Labaree has been a student of Turkish music for more than 20 years, and for much of that time has performed, recorded and taught Turkish classical music with The EurAsia Ensemble, which he co-founded. His principal teachers in Turkey have been Neyzen Niyazi Sayin and the multi-instrumentalist Ihsan Ozgen, both of whom are members of the faculty of the Turkish music conservatory at Istanbul Technical University. Labaree is a member of the Musicology Department at New England Conservatory, where he is also the founder and director of The New England Conservatory Intercultural Institute. His solo CD, ‚engnagme, was released by Kalan MŸzik in Istanbul in 2001.

Jerry Leake, Tabla, North Indian percussionist: Leake is co-founder of the acclaimed world-music ensemble Natraj, He also performs with Club d'Elf, the Jazz Composer's Alliance, The Raga Ensemble and the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society. He is featured on many CDs and has released a solo recording of traditional and contemporary percussion vignettes. On tabla, he has accompanied Ali Akbar Khan, Steve Gorn, and Sharafat Ali Khan. He studied tabla in Pune, India with Shreeram and Rajiv Devasthali.. He continues to study African percussion with Dolsi-Naa Abubakari Luna of the Dagomba tradition (northern Ghana) and has studied Ewe music with Goodwin Agbeli (southern Ghana) as well as balafon and djembe with the Coulibaly family in Burkina Faso. Leake has written six widely used texts on Indian, West African, and Latin American percussion (

Bill Lowe, jazz bass trombonist and tubist: Lowe has been an important fixture in the Boston jazz scene since 1989. Besides touring and recording with his own quintet, Lowe has performed and recorded with such luminary jazz artists as Frank Foster, Henry Threadgill, Bill Dixon and Cecil Taylor as well as the younger generation of performers like Martin Medeski and Wood. As a composer, he has held commissions by CMIF (Creative Musicians' Improvisers' Forum), Real Art Ways and grants from Meet the Composer. He has recorded on Black Saint, RCA Novus, Denon. Lowe is an important educator and lecturer on the subject of African-American music, and is currently Associate Professor in the departments of African-American Studies and Music at Northeastern University.

Juanito Pascual Flamenco guitarist: Pascual has been called "one of the greatest American flamenco guitarists." He is a multifaceted guitarist, composer, and teacher who has performed in styles ranging from jazz and blues, to classical guitar, klezmer , as well as flamenco. Based in Boston, Pascual tours frequently throughout the U.S. and has played for most of the country's major flamenco dance companies including those of Omayra Amaya, Ramon de los Reyes, and Jose Greco II. He has performed in major festivals around the country including Festival Flamenco Internacional in Albuquerque and New York City's Fringe Festival. He has studied guitar since age eleven discovering flamenco guitar at age fifteen., He has lived in Spain where his teachers have included Adam del Monte, Parilla de Jerez, Manolo Sanlucar, and El Entri. Most recently, he has been mentored by the Boston based maestro Dimitri Goryachev.