Shanta Nurullah Trio

SHANTA NURULLAH has distinguished herself as a sitarist and bassist exploring African-American improvisational music. A member of the legendary Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Nurullah co-founded the all-women's bands Sojourner and Samana, and her current projects include the bands Sitarsys and Classic Black; the duo ShaZah; and Freedom Song Leaders, a vocal ensemble. She has played with Nicole Mitchell, Dee Alexander, Junius Paul, David Boykin, Tomeka Reid, Saalik Ziyad, and the AACM Great Black Music Ensemble, and she teaches at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. 

Nurullah’s career, spanning over four decades, also includes her extensive work as a storyteller and teaching artist, with a specialty in promoting African and African-American folklore, spoken-word performance, and improvisational music. She has told stories in schools, arts and community centers, libraries, museums, parks, colleges, churches, and prisons—not to mention the National Storytelling Festival, the National Festival of Black Storytelling, National Geographic, and the Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Las Vegas, and Yukon Storytelling Festivals. She has been honored with the Zora Neale Hurston Award—the highest honor given by the National Association of Black Storytellers. 

ALEX WING is a guitarist, bassist, oudist, and creative musician living on the south side of Chicago. He has a B.A. in music from The University of Chicago. He has played with artists including David Boykin, Nicole Mitchell, Hanah Jon Taylor, Avreeayl Ra, Saalik Ziyad, and Douglas Ewart, and collaborated with saxophonist David Boykin on a number of recordings. He is featured on Nicole Mitchell's Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds, and tours with Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble. 

After studying with Brian Standridge, Charles Scott, and, at Southern University in Baton Rouge, the world-renowned jazz clarinetist Alvin Batiste, FRED JACKSON, JR. moved to Chicago, where he quickly adapted to the jazz scene. He met and performed with many musicians at the Velvet Lounge and the Apartment Lounge, joined the AACM, and became a student of tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson. Since then, he has traveled, performed, and recorded extensively, while also earning his Master’s in Jazz at DePaul University. Jackson currently works as an educator, and composes and performs both avant-garde and traditional jazz. 

The musicians: 

Fred Jackson, Jr. (saxophones); Shanta Nurullah (sitar, mbira, spoken word); Alex Wing (guitar, oud, bass)