Ethnic Heritage Ensemble Celebrates 25th Anniversary With Tour


The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, a Chicago-based trio known for its innovative musical approach consisting of a drum and two horns, celebrates its 25th anniversary with a tour by members Kahil El’ Zabar, Ernest Dawkins and Joseph Bowie.

Percussionist El’ Zabar has performed with musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Donny Hathaway, Henry Threadgill, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder. Aside from leading the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, he also heads up the Ritual Trio featuring bassist Malachi Favors and saxophonist Ari Brown.

Saxophonist Dawkins is as well-known for his work as an educator and performer in the Chicago area. Leading the New Horizons Ensemble since 1978, he has collaborated with music greats, including Ramsey Lewis, Lester Bowie, Anthony Braxton and Jack McDuff.

Trombonist Joseph Bowie, younger brother of trumpeter Lester Bowie, was led to the EHE through his work with the band Defunkt. Bowie also tours and records with several European artists including the Vienna Arts Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra and the Sebastian Peikarek Quartet.

The tour dates are as follows:

  • Feb. 17: Erie Art Museum, Erie, Pa.
  • Feb. 18: Hallwalls, Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Feb. 20: Ottowa, Canada
  • Feb. 21: Artword Theater, Toronto, Canada
  • Feb. 23-24: Montreal, Canada
  • Feb. 25: Flynn Theater, Burlington, Vt.
  • Feb. 26: Knitting Factory, New York City
  • Feb. 28: (Sangha Cafe) Transparent, Washington, D.C.

  • Casey_B_2011-115-Edit.jpg

    Benjamin possessed a fluid, round sound on the alto saxophone, and he was often most recognizable by the layers of electronic effects that he put onto the instrument.

  • David_Sanborn_by_C_Andrew_Hovan.jpg

    Sanborn’s highly stylized playing and searing signature sound — frequently ornamented with thrill-inducing split-tones and bluesy bent notes — influenced generations of jazz and blues saxophonists.

  • Albert_Tootie_Heath_2014_copy.jpg

    ​Albert “Tootie” Heath (1935–2024) followed in the tradition of drummer Kenny Clarke, his idol.

  • 1_Henry_Threadgills_Zooid_by_Cora_Wagoner.jpg

    Henry Threadgill performs with Zooid at Big Ears in Knoxville, Tennessee.

  • Ambrose_Akinmusire-908Z-5301_copy.jpg

    “I’m also at a point in my life where I don’t feel like I have anything to prove, like at all,” Akinmusire says about his art.

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