Chris Pattishall "Zodiac"
Self-taught pianist by three, professional musician by fifteen, teacher to Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis soon thereafter, and later Duke's first Artist in Residence and Director of the Duke Jazz Ensemble, Mary Lou Williams's 20th-century artistic scope was stratospheric. In 1945, she turned toward the stars with the landmark Zodiac Suite, a constellation of jazz tone poems inspired by the astrological signs of her musical contemporaries. Their boundary-breaking, stylistic intertwining - tilting from blues to early swing to jagged jazz harmony - caught the ear of GRAMMY-nominated pianist Chris Pattishall, a fellow musical wunderkind, rising star in the New York jazz scene, and Durham native. Pattishall spent over a decade with Williams's compositions, expanding and exploding their instrumentation into a full-bodied interpretive album, Zodiac. This world premiere performance, enlivened by sound design from experimental musician and composer Rafiq Bhatia and video projections by artist Kim Alpert, will bring Williams's work home to Duke and Durham in an unprecedented way.