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Kahil El’Zabar conducts MOKI (Music / Opening / Kinetic / Improvisations)
Institute of Contemporary Arts
A room covered with Moki's tapestries from the ceiling and on the wall. Cushions are laid out in front of a stage of instruments and mics, ready to perform
Organic Music concert at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1977. © Rita Knox

Legendary improviser and percussionist Kahil El’Zabar conducts a large ensemble of musicians committed to the art of collaborative improvisation. A rare opportunity to experience El’Zabar’s improvised conduction, in an event he describes will be ‘MOKI (Music / Opening / Kinetic / Improvisations) Magic music’.

The ensemble will include a selection of next generation improvisers from the UK, Mexico and USA.


Adriana Camacho, upright bass  
Alex Harding, baritone saxophone 
Amirah de Bourg, viola  
Chelsea Carmichael, saxophone  
Corey Wilkes, trumpet  
Finlay Clark, violin 
Justin Dillard, keyboard
Kenichi Iwasa, Don Cherry’s Zen saxophones 
Naima Karlsson, piano
Nathaniel Cross, trombone  
Sarathy Korwar, drums  
Vanessa Bedoret, violin

+ guest vocalists including Tyson Mcvey and other special guests
Kahil El’Zabar joined The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the 70s as a teenager, where he was mentored by AACM founder and Sun Ra Arkestra graduate Phil Cohran and cut his teeth playing with Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Muhal Richard Abrams and Steve McCall. El’Zabar left Chicago to study African music at the University of Ghana, Accra. Returning in 1973, he founded his influential Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, before becoming the chairman of AACM 1975 for over a decade. The Ritual Trio, initially featuring Art Ensemble’s Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors, laid the framework for the equal footing of spiritual jazz and traditional African rhythm and instrumentation, pioneering his ‘spirit groove’ style. Whilst his Ritual Trio focused more on avant-garde jazz, he initially recorded with Billy Bang and Malachi Favors and the trio would feature or play with Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp and Lester Bowie.

El’Zabar recently released an album Spirit Gatherer: Tribute to Don Cherry featuring Dwight Trible and David Ornette Cherry, Don’s late son. The album is a tribute to the late, great spiritual jazz trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Don Cherry and his spiritual path, along with an unwavering conviction toward the betterment of global humanity. Featuring legendary LA vocalist Dwight Trible, together with the eldest son of Don Cherry, the internationally renowned musician David Ornette Cherry, the album consists of new compositions by Kahil El’Zabar in tribute to the great incomparable Don Cherry, together with sketches and re-interpreted classics in true Ethnic Heritage Ensemble style.
07:30 pm
Sat, 01 Jul 2023
Note: Please leave extra time if travelling on 1 July due to large crowds for Pride events.

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