Composer and saxophonist Roscoe Mitchel recently premiered a composition honoring the Afro-American poet Bob Kaufman, at the Mills College Music Department in Oakland, California.
Inspired by Kaufman’s poem “Would You Wear My Eyes?”, Mitchell is remindful of works of this most likely, most significant jazz poet and key figure of the Beat Movement as a cultural phenomenon.
He composed the piece for baritone and chamber orchestra. At the concert, the respective improvisor was joined on stage by guest musicians: baritone Thomas Buckner, percussionist William Winant, the James Fei Alto Saxophone Quartet, the Eclipse String Quartet, and conductor Petr Kotik.
Roscoe Mitchell is one of most important musicians of avant-garde jazz whos career produced 85 releases and few hundred compositions. This premiere didn’t happen by accident at the Mills College since it has a reputation of a center for creative and innovative music. It’s a place where musicians of leading ideas perform, teach and question genre boundaries, from clasic music to jazz and electronic sound.