MacArthur Genius Grant winner, saxophonist and composer Steve Coleman is investing his 625.000 American dollars prize money into education of young musicians.
He started his long term project that consists of residencies for young musicians featuring his ensemble Five Elements with whom he performed at 8th Jazz Fest Sarajevo 2004, that today consist of trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, guitarist Miles Okazaki, bassist Anthony Tidd and drummer Sean Rickman.
During the residencies that last two to three weeks, Coleman & Five Elements stay in different cities of the United States where they perform, hold workshops and other accompanying programs.
“Every city has musicians who are an inspiration to young artists”, said Coleman. “In Chicago, it was Von Freeman from whom I gathered my first insights about music, in Detroit Marcus Belgrave did the job. The goal of this project is to offer knowledge and exchange of experience and to introduce audiences to creative and progressive music.”
The MacArthur Genius Grant is being awarded for “exceptional originality and dedication to creative pursuits”. The prize money, paid over five years, according to the MacArthur Foundation is to be seen as an “investment in a person’s insight and potential”. This prestigious accolade is aimed to ensure financial support to its winners, enabling them to focus completely on their creative work over a course of five years.
Coleman received this award last year for his contribution to the foundation of the M-Base concept – a way of thinking about improvised music that he developed alongside saxophonist Greg Osby, pianist Geri Allen, vocalist Cassandra Wilson and others.
Watch Coleman on music, M-Base and learning.