Steve Lehman's Sélébéyone
Ars Nova Workshop and Painted Bride Art Center are pleased to present inventive saxophonist Steve Lehman’s Sélébéyone, an idiom-spanning new project combining modern jazz, underground hip-hop, Senegalese rap and live electronics to create a unique form of urban experimentalism.
Lehman’s music has always drawn from disparate sources in distinctive ways, but with Sélébéyone he has crafted a singular new crossing of musical streams. The project stands apart from past attempts to meld jazz and hip-hop, with the hybrid’s musical elements - shifting rhythms, electro-acoustic harmonies, and contemporary sound design - wholly integrated into the lyrical content. The project, which also juxtaposes English and Wolof lyrics, is not Lehman’s first plunge into the world of hip-hop; his acclaimed octet has recorded arrangements of songs by the Wu-Tang Clan and Camp Lo, while he has enjoyed a variety of collaborations with Meshell Ndegeocello since 2004.
The New York Times has referred to Lehman as “a state-of-the-art musical thinker with a reputation for sure-footed futurism” and “a quietly dazzling saxophonist.”
Lehman is joined on Sélébéyone by a group of fellow envelope-pushers from across the musical spectrum. HPrizm (aka High Priest) is a legendary figure in the New York underground hip-hop scene and a co-founder of the pioneering Antipop Consortium, and has been collaborating with Lehman for over a decade. Saxophonist Maciek Lasserre began studying with Lehman in 2005 and was responsible for introducing him to the burgeoning Senegalese hip-hop movement, one of the stars of which is rapper Gaston Bandimic. The album was engineered by Lehman’s childhood friend Andrew Wright, who received a Grammy nomination for his work on Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City. Lehman is a composer, performer, educator, and scholar who works across a broad spectrum of experimental musical idioms. The recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, he has performed and recorded nationally and internationally with his own ensembles and with those led by Anthony Braxton, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, and Meshell Ndegeocello, among many others.
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. ANW informs, inspires, and challenges listeners to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation, and experimental music in contemporary culture. ANW events provide a forum for discourse, emergent trends in contemporary music, and unique forms of cultural exchange, while nurturing a diverse community for innovative music.