I recently had the pleasure of sitting in on Peter Apfelbaum’s oral history, conducted by long-time friend and jazz writer, Dan Ouellette. I was most pleased to hear about the origins of The Hieroglyphics – a band Peter formed in his teens. I am fascinated by how the band has successfully shifted and transformed alongside him - growing as he did throughout the years. There is a touch of sadness about this being my last opportunity to hear a Duke Jazz artist tell his story like this – laughing with a friend while articulating the first musical sounds he ever made, pausing to find the right words to describe his artistic process, or discussing the true impact of a commission from organizations like Chamber Music America.
Each time we enter the oral history studio, I am reminded of how invaluable we are as our own, best primary resources. I am reminded of the true power of our stories – and of the humanity we feel when we share in the telling of our experiences. I feel overwhelmed with gratefulness for having had the chance to sit in on, catalog, and provide access to these artist histories. Each one has affected me in ways I would only fail in trying to articulate. I hope you will join the Library in celebrating these fine resources. Utilize them! Bring friends!
In the meantime, we do hope you will join us on Friday, November 13th when we end our Duke Jazz Series with a 12-piece bang!
The November Duke Jazz Series concert features Peter Apfelbaum and The New York Hieroglyphics: Peck Allmond, Patrice Blanchard, Charles Burnham, Natalie Cressman, Abdoulaye Diabate, Viva DeConcini, Jessica Jones, Tony Jones, David Phelps, Dafnis Prieto and Josh Roseman.
Composer/multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum started playing drums at the age of three, taking up piano and saxophone in elementary school and forming his first band at age 11. In 1977 - his senior year at Berkeley High - he formed the 17-piece Hieroglyphics Ensemble as a vehicle for composing and exploring non-traditional musical forms; the Hieroglyphics Ensemble went on to perform with artists like Don Cherry and the Grateful Dead. Apfelbaum put the Hieroglyphics Ensemble on hold during the mid-90s, forming a sextet comprising Hieroglyphics musicians and acoustic bassist John Shifflett. In 1998, Apfelbaum moved to Brooklyn, where he soon formed a New York version of his Sextet. This group grew in 2003 to become the 11-piece New York Hieroglyphics and recorded It is Written in 2004. In addition to the New York Hieroglyphics, Apfelbaum continues to perform regularly with Steven Bernstein, Trey Anastasio, Dafnis Prieto, Josh Roseman, and Kamikaze Ground Crew.
The concert will be held on Friday, November 13, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, 111 Amsterdam Avenue @ 65th Street. The program is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. For more information, please call 212.870.1793 or visit nypl.org/lpaprograms.
Please do stick around, say hello and share your Duke Jazz experiences at the public reception to follow! Thank you all for your continued support.
Katrina M. Dixon, Librarian
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Project