Faruq Z. Bey
Then, in the late '90s, Bey was approached by members of the Northwoods Improvisers. "The trio version of Northwoods shared a bill with Griot Galaxy back in the '80s and Faruq and I played together on sessions once in a while," Johnston related. "When our friend Len Bukowski came to town, we encouraged him to meet up with Faruq for sax lessons and that led to Faruq and Northwoods gigging together." 19 Moons, the first cooperative release by Faruq Z. Bey and the Northwoods Improvisers, was released on Entropy Stereo in 2001 and since then the group has expanded to include saxophonists Skeeter Shelton and Mike Carey. More performances followed, along with further releases on Entropy and on vinyl-only label Qbico (including the recent Hymn for Tomasz Stanko, adding trumpeter Dennis González).
The upcoming appearance by the Northwoods Improvisers with Faruq Z. Bey at Issue Project Room promises to bring much of the intensity and colorful flare that the collective has developed with Bey. It will be a well-overdue opportunity for New Yorkers to hear Bey's distinctive approach to the saxophone and his unique blend of Detroit groove, melodic angularity and compositional intrigue.
Griot Galaxy, Kins (Black and White, 1981)
Griot Galaxy, Live at the D.I.A. (Entropy, 1983)
Griot Galaxy, Opus Krampus (Sound Aspects, 1984)
Faruq Z. Bey/Northwoods Improvisers, 19 Moons (Entropy, 2001)
Faruq Z. Bey/Northwoods Improvisers, Ashirai Pattern (Entropy, 2002)
Faruq Z. Bey/Northwoods Improvisers, Journey Into The Valley (Entropy, 2004)