Sonic Liberation Front

Sonic Liberation Front

Instrument: Band/orchestra | Location: Philadelphia

Sonic Liberation Front is well on its way to becoming one of the more important American ensembles of the decade.
—Bill Shoemaker, Point of Departure

Updated: November 22, 2021

Active since: 2000

Sonic Liberation Front is deeply rooted in the traditions of Afro Cuban music and has spent years fusing that grand tradition with new sounds including composed jazz, modern chamber composition, and the powerful Orisha spirit.

Sonic Liberation Front brings together sounds and time periods in a manner like no other band around today. As Sonic Liberation Front, this ensemble has consistently won international critical acclaim and have been named #1 or Top 10 by the Village Voice, All About Jazz, Jazziz, and more. The band has recorded five internationally-distributed albums. The eight-member ensemble has played extensively in the Philadelphia and New York area, and at festivals and cultural institutions throughout the Midwest U.S. and Canada.

The Musicians
Kevin Diehl – bata, Afro Cuban percussion, drumkit, sensory percussion, composer
Matt Engle – bass, electronics, composer
Veronica Jurkiewicz – violin, viola, vocals, sometimes piano
Elliot Levin – woodwinds (mostly reeds)
Jameka Gordon – woodwinds (mostly flutes), percussion

Special Projects:
Skip Burney – bata & Afro Cuban percussion, vocals
Greg Deal – bata, drumkit, electric bass


All About Jazz Articles

Album Review
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[a] sundry collection of wonders. It’s among the years greatest excitements.” – JAZZTIMES, Micheal J. West

“How dare you give me goosebumps so early in the morning. It looks like a great community of musicians you have there in Philly.” – John Tchicai (Perpignan, France)

“Ludicrously Superb” – Ben Watson, The WIRE

“wanted to tell you that i dig your record” – Flea

“Sonic Liberation Front is well on its way to becoming one of the more important American ensembles of the decade.” – Point of Departure, Bill Shoemaker

“Jetway Confidential is a roiling stew of diverse percussion and avant-jazz… evokes the Sun Ra Arkestra in its raucous, expansive sound.” – DOWNBEAT, Shaun Brady

“So in this beautiful album, there’s a mixture of sacred and profane, African-American song and ritual Cuban beat (influenced by Santería).” – JAZZ Magazine (France), François-René Simon

“Yin and yang-fierce avant-sax and friendly folksongs united by shifty Afro-Cuban beats.” – VILLAGE VOICE, Number 1 Jazz album, Tom Hull

“a wild joy… it’s tempting to think that the kind of sound Coltrane had in mind wouldn’t have been very different from what Murray recorded over three and a half decades later with the Philadelphia based free jazz collective Sonic Liberation Front.” – THE WIRE UKAdventures in Modern Music, Dan Warburton

“…succeed in demonstrating how close to African models much of the freakout music of Ra and Coltrane actually was… ludicrously superb, giving itotele,iya, quinto, okonkolo, chekere, chawaro, clavé, palitos and drumkit such rotundity and resonance you’re shaken to the orb.” – THE WIRE UK Adventures in Modern Music – Ben Watson

“A brazen conflation of free jazz, electronica,and Afro-Cuban rhythm

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Sonic Liberation Front Albums