Ernest Dawkins

Ernest Dawkins



Ernest Dawkins website



AKAMU representation: worldwide


• projects as a leader •

Ernest Dawkins' Chicago 12 present:
Black Op'Era or Un-Till Emmett Till or Memory in the Center (An Afro Opera: Homage to Nelson Mandela)
Ernest Dawkins - alto sax, flute, composition and direction
Khari B - spoken word
Dee Alexander - vocals
Corey Wilkes - trumpet
Marquis Hill - trumpet
Kevin Nabors or Irving Pierce - tenor sax
Aaron Getsug - baritone sax
Steve Berry - trombone
Norman Palm III - trombone
Justin Dillard or Neil Gonzalves - piano and keyboards
Junius Paul - double bass
Isaiah Spencer - drums

Ernest Dawkins' Propaganda Nabaggala "1917"
Ernest Dawkins - alto sax, clarinet, composition and direction
Corey Wilkes - trumpet
Soweto Kinch - saxophone, beat box and poet vocals
Isaiah Necklace - sax and flute
Steve Berry - trombone
Ben Lamar Gay - piano and eletronics
Isaiah Spencer - drums and percussion
Kia Smith - dance
Jonathan Woods - videos, documentation

Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble
Ernest Dawkins - alto sax, flute and composition
Maurice Brown or Marquis Hill - trumpet
Steve Berry - trombone
Jeff Parker - guitar
Junius Paul - double bass
Isaiah Spencer - drums

For info and costs please contact Alberto Lofoco


• links •

Press and quotes
Discography
Biography


• videos •

Ernest Dawkins New Horizons Ensemble
Ernest Dawkins New Horizons Ensemble live at Sherwood Music Academy
Ernest Dawkins Chicago 12: "Untill Emmett Till"


• biography •

Ernest Dawkins is born in Chicago (Illinois) on 2 November 1953.
He is one of Chicago's premier jazz saxophonist whose music reflects his extraordinary talent not just as a musician but a composer as well. He has recorded eleven CD's and is the founder and leader of his own group, New Horizons Ensemble.
Dawkins started his musical career at the tender age of twelve when he learned how to play the bass and conga drams. At nineteen he became mesmerized by the sound of the saxophone while listening to his father's jazz recordings of Lester Young. But it wasn't until he heard the alto sax of Guido Sinclair that he knew this was the instrument he wanted to play. Within a week, he had purchased his first saxophone, clarinet and flute all for the meager sum of $24.00. He taught himself the music scale and then found he had to practice at Washington Park because he couldn't practice at home. Two weeks later Dawkins got his first lesson from members of the AACM. From there his illustrious career in music began.
Dawkins remembered hearing Anthony Braxton (a neighbor) practice as a youth.
He originally played bass and then drums before settling on the saxophone in 1973.
He attended the AACM school and studied music at the Vandercook College of Music and with the AACM "elders" (including Joseph Jarman and Chico Freeman).
After playing with local ensembles (including the AACM Big Band, Ed Wilkerson's Shadow Vignettes big band, and Douglas Ewart's Clarinet Choir), in 1979 Dawkins formed New Horizons Ensemble which eventually grew into a pianoless sextet.
Dawkins also takes the time to share his musical genius and knowledge with Chicago's youth. He has been teaching music in the Chicago Public School system since 1989. Prior to that he worked with the Urban Gateways's Educational Performances Program for schools. He has also worked with the Chicago Park District as well.
In 1978 Dawkins formed his own group New Horizons Ensemble, a group which today continues to create a sound that showcases their unique combination of jazz, bebop, swing, and avant garde. The Chicago Tribune describes them as " a band with an uncommon versatility that erupts into new music bursts of dissonance and color. This band can enlighten an audience while enthralling it."
Dawkins has worked with a myriad of music greats which include: Ramsey Lewis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lester Bowie, Edward Wilkerson, Jr., Henry Threadgill, Amina Claudine Myers, Anthony Braxton, Jack McDuff, Don Moye, Jerry Butler, and The Dells.
As a world renowned musician, Dawkins has performed in Maputo Mozambique and appeared on local radio and television programs as well as workshops there. He's performed with Zina Nggawana in Pretoria and at the Hugh Masekela Club J&B in Johnanesburg both in South Africa. He is also working as a consultant to The Jazz Club De Maputo in Mozambique.
He has composed music for the documentary film "Malcolm" in 1995 under the direction of Alan Siegal. In 1994 he was commissioned to write a three-piece suite honoring Rahsaan Roland Kirk for the King Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio.
He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants some of which include: Arts Midwest Meet the Composer Grant (1992), Apprenticeship Study Grant from The National Endowment for the Arts (1985-1986), Music & Performance Grant from the Chicago Office of Fine Arts (1984-1985), Talent Scholarship from Governors State University (1980-1981), the CAIP (Chicago Artist International Program)Grant from the Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs, The United States Information Agency, United Airlines and Lufthansa Airlines (1998).
He holds a Masters in Music Education from Governors State University in University Park, Illinois and has studied music at the Vandercook School of Music as well as the AACM School of Music.
Dawkins currently serves as Chairman of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), the oldest musicians collective, of its kind, in the United States.

One of the life goals of Ernest Dawkins, is for his music and compositions to reflect the evolving collective cultural memory of the American jazz aesthetic. Dawkins is one of the world's premiere saxophonists and composers.
He is leader of several ensembles, including the New Horizons Ensemble, Aesop Quartet, Chicago Trio, Live the Spirit Big Band, and the Chicago 12. He is also a member of the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble.
Dawkins has recorded numerous CDs.
His publishing company, Dawk Music, has eight releases to date.
Dawkins started his musical journey at the tender age of eight, when he learned how to play the bass and conga drums.
At nineteen, he became mesmerized by the sound of the saxophone while listening to his father's jazz recordings of Lester Young. It was not until he heard the alto sax of Guido Sinclair, however, that he knew this was the instrument he wanted to play. Within a week, he had purchased his first saxophone, clarinet, and flute. Two weeks later, Dawkins got his first lesson from members of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM).
From there, his illustrious career in music began. Dawkins also takes the time to share his musical genius and knowledge with young musicians. For many years, he taught music with the Urban Gateway's Educational Performances program and in the Chicago Public School system.
He has mentored countless number of young musicians, often the musicians become part of his performing ensembles.
He collaborated with Sons d'Hiver Festival, Clichy-sous-Bois High School, and founded the Creative Music Association in Paris to present workshops to students. He has conducted several residencies in association with the Sons d'Hiver and Banliues Bleues Festivals in Paris. He also has also been a part of other residencies all over the world including South Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Also as a member of the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, Dawkins has been in residence at Musiques de Nuit in Bordeaux France, for over fifteen years.
Dawkins was named 'Chicagoan of the Year' twice by the Chicago Tribune, most recently in 2001.
He received a Meet the Composers Round VII New Residencies grant in 2000 and has been awarded the State of Illinois Governors Fellowship award twice. In 2008, he received a Governor's International Grant.
Dawkins established The Englewood Jazz Festival, now in its 15th year and founded Live The Spirit Residency, a not-for-profit arts organization committed to improving access to creative and improvised music for under-served communities within the city of Chicago.
He has created commissioned works for the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, Sons d'Hiver Festival, Banliues Bleues Festival, the Jazz Institute of Chicago, and the King Arts Complex of Columbus Ohio.
Dawkins is an active member in the local arts community and is former Chairman of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Dawkins has worked with a myriad of music greats including: Ramsey Lewis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell, Willie Pickens, Malachi Favors, Henry Threadgill, Amina Claudine Myers, Anthony Braxton, Jack McDuff, Don Moye, Jerry Butler, and The Dells.
In 2011, he released New Horizons Ensemble, The Prairie Prophet [Delmark Records] and in 2012 he released two new recordings recordings: Chicago Trio (Ernest Dawkins, Hamid Drake, Harrison Bankhead) Live at the Velvet Lounge, Dedicated to Fred Anderson [Rogue Art] and Afro Straight featuring the Afro Straight Quintet w special guest Corey Wilkes [Delmark Records].
In addition to composing and performing, Dawkins is an entrepreneur with years of experience working with new media technologies to produce and promote his work and that of the creative and improvisational community online and in digital venues.

 
AKAMU - Ernest Dawkins
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