50 Violins for Leroy Jenkins
Friday, June 22 began with an incredible tribute entitled, '50 Violins for Leroy Jenkins'. An early member of the AACM, Leroy Jenkins, played violin unlike anyone else and was a member of The Revolutionary Ensemble, a legendary avant/jazz trio that formed in the late sixties, recorded five albums and broke up in the seventies only to reunite and play a previous Vision Fest just a few years back. Mr. Jenkins passed away earlier this year and left many of us saddened by his loss. He played a fine duo set with a dancer at last year's Vision Fest. This memorial piece was an extraordinary work that was coordinated by Jason Hwang and led by Billy Bang. The assembled orchestra included heavy-weights like Charles Burnham, Mark Feldman, Henry Grimes (on violin), Ron Lawrence, David Soldier, Tomas Ulrich, Reggie Workman and Ken Filiano. The music was breathtaking, beautiful, dream-like, delicate and sublime in places and transcendant like a movie score that washes over us in cosmic waves. Highlights included an intense duet with Jason Hwang and Henry Grimes. It was, however, the entire sound of an orchestra that was crying, buzzing and triumphant in their sound that brought tears to my eyes and brought everyone together into one large connected family.
- Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter, November 30, 1999