In March 2001, a group of multi-talented musicians and friends premiered Waking the Living, a television broadcast performance, and the free-form music group Earth People was born. Deeply rooted in almost every major musical tradition, ancient and modern, the members of Earth People have combined to form the vanguard of the modern avant-garde.
Earth People's music constantly evolves, taking a new form and direction with every "cosmic offering." They have been dubbed "local legends" in New York City, and All About Jazz New York has praised their latest release, Now Is Rising; "What a CD! ... In this era of war and strife, Earth People stands as a shining example of the beauty and harmony human beings are capable of creating." Sky Readers, their last release was described as "a full-throttle adventure ... the new new music, an up-to-date message from jazz avant-garde: the music is alive and well, and Earth People is one of its strongest contributors." Musical boundaries are crossed with unprejudiced ease: Jazz, Funk, World Music, Rock, Electronic, Free, Classical and the unclassifiable.
At the core of Earth People is André Martinez (former Cecil Taylor collaborator on drums and percussion), Doug Principato (guitars, vocals & synthesizers) and Jason Candler (saxophones and guitar). These three musicians are the chief composers, arrangers, and administrators for the group. Like the planet from which they take their name, Earth People's core is surrounded by the hot magma of three main players ... Sabir Mateen on multi-reeds, Francóis Grillot on contra-bass, and Mark Hennen on grand piano and synthesizers. Elliott Levin (saxophone, flute, & poetry), Karen Borca (bassoon), M (vocals and incantations) and DJ Firehorse (electronics) have also been major contributors.
Calm feelings and mutual admiration prevail among the group. An atmosphere of trust and artistic freedom allows members to travel with the spirit of the music and create a sound that is pure of heart and truly adventurous.
Most compositions begin with preconceived themes that are merely seeds. Rehearsed among the core members, pieces are then presented to the band, who telepathically take it to the next level. "Everyone gets a chance to shine as different combinations of players weave their wares, ascending and submerging." The final product often leaves the players themselves astonished and wondering, "Is this what it's like to participate in a Santeria or Voodoo ceremony? Perhaps like the initiates in a ritual rite, seemingly oblivious to the phenomena that overcome them ... when the Gods descend upon them." Salvador Dali stated what became Earth People's motto, "If you understand your painting beforehand, you might as well not paint it."