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Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, Led By Dr. Kahil El’zabar, Caps 50th Anniversary World Tour With Rare Live Performance Of John Coltrane’s Masterpiece 'A Love Supreme' Presented By Jacaranda


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I am proud to be a living link to the great Austrian American émigré Arnold Schoenberg and to participate in this sesquicentennial celebration honoring his legacy.
—Kahil El'Zabar
Saxophonist David Murray Is the Featured Soloist on Original Arrangement of the Work by Miguel de la Cerna and El’Zabar

Sunday, February 25, 2024, 4 pm, First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, led by founder Kahil El'Zabar, caps its 50th Anniversary world tour with a rare live performance of John Coltrane’s masterwork, A Love Supreme, arranged by Miguel de la Cerna and El’Zabar, on Sunday, February 25, 2024, 4 pm, at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica, in Southern California. David Murray, a “master saxophonist” (The New York Times), will be the featured soloist with the acclaimed Chicago-based ensemble on this new arrangement for nine players.

The landmark concert, entitled “Fierce Beauty Part I,” is presented by Jacaranda Music, a Los Angeles cultural treasure esteemed for presenting trailblazing music, as part of its season-long exploration of “Planet Schoenberg,” celebrating of the sesquicentennial (1874-2024) of the birth of composer Arnold Schoenberg.

Coltrane’s mentor, Dennis Sandole, was a student of Arnold Schoenberg. The Shoenberg link is also personal for El'Zabar, “a living legend” (Washington Post), who himself was a student of Coltrane collaborator Pharoah Sanders.

El'Zabar says, “I am proud to be a living link to the great Austrian American émigré Arnold Schoenberg and to participate in this sesquicentennial celebration honoring his legacy. It gives me tremendous pleasure to conclude Ethnic Heritage Ensemble’s 50th Anniversary tour during Black History Month in Los Angeles, where we’ve played many times, and to premiere our original arrangement of the iconic A Love Supreme suite in four movements by John Coltrane. We are so excited to work with jazz great David Murray. We are also gratified to collaborate with the ever-visionary Jacaranda Music as part of its ‘Planet Schoenberg’ programming.”

The eclectic concert opens with virtuosic pianist Steven Vanhauwaert hailed for his “monster technique” (Los Angeles Times), performing Schoenberg’s Five Piano Pieces, Op. 23, the crystallization of Schoenberg’s revolutionary twelve-tone technique in piano music. Other featured works include Leo Ornstein’s Suicide in an Airplane, distinctive for its tone clusters, and Pierre Boulez’s fascinating 12 Notations, which uses the number 12 as a self-imposed structure with a 12-note row forming the basis of 12 solo piano pieces, each just 12 bars long. Ethnic Heritage Ensemble’s new rendition of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme closes the program.

About the Artists

Internationally renowned percussionist and composer Kahil El'Zabar is one of the most prolific jazz innovators of his generation. He is a multi-award winner and Grammy nominated artists who has played with likes of Archie Shepp, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Simon, Nona Hendryx, Pharoah Sanders, Cannonball Adderly, Donny Hathaway, Billy Bang to name only a few of the many giants in music, as well as recording with rock bands like Sonia Dada and Poi Dog Pondering. The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble (EHE) was founded by El’Zabar in 1974 as a quintet but was soon paired down to its classic form—a trio, featuring El’Zabar on multi-percussion and voice, plus two horns. With El’Zabar at the helm, the band’s line-up has always been open to changes, and over the years, the EHE has welcomed dozens of revered musicians, including Light Henry Huff, Kalaparusha Maruice Macintyre, Joseph Bowie, Hamiett Bluiett, and Craig Harris. The current line-up has been consolidated over two decades—trumpeter Corey Wilkes entered the circle 20 years ago, while baritone saxophonist Alex Harding joined seven years ago, after having played with El’Zabar since the early 2000s in groups such as Joseph Bowie’s Defunkt.

Jacaranda Music produces music adventures designed to awaken curiosity, passion, and discovery with a spirit of inclusion. By engaging a wide range of audiences, these curated concerts advance the repertoire of soloists and ensembles with live music, recordings, music videos, and education. Founded in 2003, by arts impresario Patrick Scott and conductor/organist Mark Alan Hilt, Jacaranda produces a concert series that features exciting current and rising stars in the world of classical music performance with program notes singled out by Classical Voice as “so absorbing that you don’t want to pry your eyes away from the pages... plenty of context for an alert, adventuresome concertgoer.”


Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Kahil El'Zabar, percussion, voice
Corey Wilkes, trumpet, percussion
Alex Harding, baritone saxophone
David Murray, saxophone
+ friends
Steven Vanhauwaert, piano

Sunday, February 25, 2024, 4 pm


Arnold Schoenberg Five Piano Pieces, Op.23
Pierre Boulez 12 Notations
Leo Ornstein Suicide in an Airplane
John Coltrane A Love Supreme

First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica
1220 Second Street
Santa Monica CA, 90401

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