April 9, 2012
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Saxophonist Fuasi Abdul-Khaliq, a composer, arranger and international performer, will bring his talents to La Sierra University’s ongoing Pierce Street Jazz series this month.
The Fuasi Abdul-Khaliq Quartet will perform Wed., April 11 at 7 p.m., at the La Sierra University Alumni Center. The band includes Abdul-Khaliq on tenor saxophone, Henry “the Skipper” Franklin on bass, Theo Saunders on piano and Ramon Banda on drums. Group members have played with a roster of famous acts including Poncho Sanchez, Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, Freddie Hubbard and Horace Tapscott.
Admission is free. The alumni center is at 11500 Pierce St., Riverside, a block from the main university campus in front of the Natural Foods store and plaza. Call 951-785-2148 for information. A campus map is at www.lasierra.edu/campusmap/.
The event is part of La Sierra’s Pierce Street Jazz concerts which offer the community free jazz by talented, professional players.
Los Angeles native Abdul-Khaliq has performed around the nation and the world for the past 40 years. He has played with such jazz greats as bop jazz pianist Walter Bishop Jr., double bassist Jimmy Garrison and alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe. In 1992 he traveled to Berlin, Germany, where he became a well-known fixture in the city’s music scene, his biography states.
In Los Angeles he studied with the late, great African-American pianist and activist Tapscott and continued his relationship with the musician for many years serving as assistant conductor, arranger, composer and player of saxophone, clarinet and flute with Tapscott’s ensemble, the Pan-Afrikan People’s Arkestra. In 2006 Abdul-Khaliq organized the Horace Tapscott Memorial Ensemble in dedication to his former teacher and music colleague who died in 1999.
Abdul-Khaliq’s credits include performing in three German films as well as in the 1975 African-American film classic, “Passing Through,” written by Ted Lange and directed by Larry Clark.
Abdul-Khaliq has also composed original scores for three plays including for his production of “Yardbird’s Vamp,” a Robert Earl Price play that depicts the life of saxophone legend Charlie Parker.
Abdul-Khaliq performs regularly with his group Khaliq & Ensemble, and works with the Afro Cubano Latin Jazz Connection and the Horace Tapscott Memorial Ensemble. He has performed on at least 15 recording projects.
Bassist Franklin’s extensive musical background includes performances on more than 150 albums and compact discs including gold releases, many of which he produced. Last March he released his 24th album, “Soul of the World,” recorded with his band on his SP Records label. His band’s 2009 album, “Home Cookin’,” features the renowned Barbara Morrison on vocals. The project received airplay on KJAZZ 88.1 FM.
Franklin has played his upright bass with numerous jazz and pop greats including Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder, Count Basie, Freddie Hubbard and Milt Jackson, and was part of the legendary Hugh Masekela’s band during the late 1960s. When not on tour in various parts of the United States and the world, Franklin performs at The Historic Mission Inn in Riverside, Calif.
Pianist Saunders has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals and concert halls with distinguished artists including Hubbard, Carla Bley, David “Fathead” Newman, Barbara Morrison, Charles Lloyd, Claudio Roditi, Victor Brasil, Raul De Souza, Bobby Rodriguez, Gladys Knight, the Four Tops and many others.
He has directed music for opera productions and international musical theatre. As a composer, Saunders has numerous compositions to his credit as well as original scores for theatre, radio and multimedia production. Artists Franklin, Ray Armando, Benn Clatworthy, Bobby Matos, and Bruce Paulson have recorded his compositions.
Drummer Banda performed 24 years with the Grammy award-winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. He is a current band member with famed jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco. Banda grew up in Norwalk, Calif., part of a large musical family. He started out on the guitar but switched to drums in 1967. Banda and his electric bass-playing brother, Tony Banda, performed weekend gigs during their school years with several bands including with Poncho Sanchez. In 1996 he and Tony formed their own ensemble, The Banda Bros. Group, with Tony on upright bass. The duo has performed on numerous worldwide tours and with many famous acts. Over the past two decades, Ramon has performed on more than 22 recordings and recorded and played with such music greats as Dizzie Gillespie, Tito Puente, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Arturo Sandoval, Diana Reeves and others.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University