6:00PM Sunday 6/26/2016
The Azmaris are a day dream come true and the brainchild of saxophonist Jason Frey, who then lured trumpeter Derek Phelps and drummer Stephen Bidwell (all three in afrobeat 10 piece, Hard Proof) to begin the group. Over the next year the ensemble was solidified with vibraphonist John Best and upright bassist Janie Cowan. Beginning as a cover band of sorts, playing the music of Ethiopian composer Mulatu Astatke and others of the Ethiopian golden era of instrumental jazz and funk. Now performing original music influenced by these great musicians of Ethiopia, composers Phelps and Frey both bring their own musical experiences to the conversation. Just on the heels of rapping up the first studio recording documenting the group, their performance at NMASS 2016 will include a larger ensemble and incorporate electrified instruments as well as their normal acoustic set up. The set will include new arrangements of original music as well as some large ensemble improvisations.