Saturday, February 3rd 8:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Bassist David Ambrosio conceived Civil Disobedience as a project to showcase the works of politically conscious jazz composers of the late 1960s—Bobby Hutcherson, Jackie McLean, Stanley Cowell, Harold Land, Joe Chambers, Duke Pearson, James Spaulding—who recorded for the iconic Blue Note label. Remarkably, much of their music, created during a period of sweeping social change and civil unrest, remained unreleased for decades. But more than fifty years later, our own troubled times offer a context in which this important body of work takes on a new sense of relevancy and urgency.
For a quarter-century, David Ambrosio has been one of New York City’s finest freelance musicians and educators. In addition to Civil Disobedience, his current working projects include a quartet featuring the powerful tenor/trumpet frontline of Joel Frahm and Tim Hagans, a trio with saxophonist Loren Stillman, and a sextet co-led with his regular collaborator, drummer Russ Meissner. He’s also part of several other groups, including George Schuller’s Circle Wide, the Matt Renzi Trio, the Eri Yamamoto Trio, and the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra led by Jim McNeeley. In the course of his career he has performed with such jazz greats as Kenny Werner, Buddy DeFranco, George Garzone, and Ralph Alessi.
With degrees in classical composition and jazz performance, Ambrosio has a broad musical palate that has grown even broader though extensive travel. In 2001 he performed in Cuba with Grupo Los Santos, Max Pollack’s Rumbatap, and numerous local Afro-Cuban folkloric music and dance ensembles. Shortly thereafter, he began a 14-year intense study of Afro-Cuban Bata drumming with master drummers Miguel Bernal, Carlos Gomez, and Carlos Aldama. He has also toured frequently in Central and Southeast Asia as a US State Department-sponsored performer and clinician. As a Fall 2023 South Arts/Jazz Road artist, Ambrosio is touring the Southeastern US with Civil Disobedience in January 2024. He is currently on the faculty of Hunter College and the New York Jazz Workshop in NYC.
Over the space of several years, Civil Disobedience’s lineup has included trumpeters Ingrid Jensen, Jason Palmer, and Duane Eubanks; pianists Bruce Barth and Gary Versace; and drummer Adam Nussbaum. For this West Coast run, it unites two regulars—Grammy-nominated saxophonist (and David Bowie alumnus, and old friend of the RJA) Donny McCaslin and living drum legend Victor Lewis—with two gifted subs, Houston-born/New York-based trumpeter Brandon Lee and veteran pianist David Kikoski. Come hear this all-star band connect an earlier era’s messages of social justice with the pressing issues, both domestic and global, of today.