Idris Ackamoor

Idris Ackamoor

Performing in the 2014 Green Show with David Molina on Thursday, July 3 and Saturday, July 5.

This is his first season in the Green Show.

Multi-Instrumentalists Ackamoor and Molina present an eclectic musical experience.

IDRIS ACKAMOOR is an alto saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, actor, tap dancer, producer, administrator, and director. He is the Founder, Executive/Co-Artistic Director of the internationally recognized multi-disciplinary San Francisco performance company Cultural Odyssey. Idris is also the Artistic Director of the legendary world music/jazz ensemble The Pyramids. Mr. Ackamoor has been honored with two Lifetime Achievement Awards for his extraordinary musical and theatrical contributions. The most recent was presented in January 2012 by the renowned BBC radio personality Gilles Peterson at the Worldwide Awards Show in London. In 2003 San Francisco‘s historic magazine, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, presented Idris with his first. During December 2013 Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids conducted their 7th tour of Europe mesmerizing audiences at various music hot spots in Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. One of the highlights of the tour was the band’s performance at the world’s leading underground music show The Boiler Room in London where the presenter remarked, “One of the most enthralling performances we’ve ever seen!”  Idris has performed and collaborated with tenor Saxophonists Chico Freeman and John Tchicai, the late alto saxophonist Charles Tyler, drummer Famoudou Don Moye of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, The Cecil Taylor Creative Orchestra, choreographer/dancer Bill T. Jones, writer Ntozake Shange and Pearl Cleage, his longtime partner actress Rhodessa Jones, and many others. Idris was a protégé of Chicago legendary master clarinetist Clifford King who had played with Jelly Roll Morton and Freddie Keppard in the 1920s. Idris received his B.A. in Music from Antioch College, in Yellow Springs, Ohio where one of his most influential teachers was the influential pianist Cecil Taylor. Idris has also studied tap dance with legendary hoofers Al Robinson, Steve Condos, and Eddie Brown. Mr. Ackamoor is one of the first musicians of his generation to have traveled, lived and studied in Africa in 1972 and 73. During his stay in Africa he performed with the King’s Prayer Drummers of Tamale, Ghana as well as lived in Kenya where he studied the music of the Kikuyu and Masai. Idris has rightfully been in the spotlight of late thanks to the renewed interest in his 1970's legendary band, The Pyramids which he reunited and since 2010 has conducted an amazing seven whirlwind European tours throughout the continent! In the last three years a stunning 12 albums have been released of Mr. Ackamoor‘s music, including the first Pyramids’ album in over 35 years entitled Otherworldly. In addition, a 3 CD box set was released entitled The Pyramids 1972 – 1976 – They Play to Make Music Fire. In 2004 Idris released his third CD, Homage to Cuba. In 1999 Idris released his second jazz CD entitled, Centurian and in 1998 he recorded and released his first CD, Portrait. Idris has received an Individual Artists Award from the San Francisco Cultural Equity Program to compose for the next Pyramids’ album.

Musical Instruments Idris will play for the performance with David Molina:

Alto sax; Invented Cymbal tree and Chinese gongs; Invented Battery of instruments played simultaneously featuring a medium calypso box and a bass calypso box from Jamaica; a Russian hand painted zither; a Mbira from Zimbabwe; various percussions featuring Jamaican conch shell, sleigh bells, semsemia Egyptian harp, South African pan flute, nose flutes, musical spoons, train whistle, didgeridoo, New Orleans “musical washboard”, and harmonica; invented “Ope” (a bamboo instrument with saxophone mouthpiece); various self–made bamboo flutes; Tap dance; various small African balaphones; and Cajon drum box.

Idris Ackamoor on Community: In 2013 Mr. Ackamoor received a James Irvine Foundation Exploring Engagement Fund Award to conduct concerts and music workshops to build the Music is the Healing Force Community Orchestra. The Orchestra is a remarkable aggregation of low-income, multi–cultural professional and non-professional musicians, female ex–inmates, HIV positive women, seniors, and disabled community members. The project is also an expansion of Cultural Odyssey's existing community work that includes The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women. Cultural Odyssey Co-Artistic Director, Rhodessa Jones, is one of America's foremost artists working with incarcerated women, ex-inmates, HIV positive women, and female community participants. Mr. Ackamoor’s responsibilities include working with The Medea Project in a variety of positions including administration, project coordination, and composer and musician to accompany shows.