Anthony Elms is chief curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.
Artists at Work: Wadada Leo Smith by Anthony Elms
Trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith describes what he makes as creative music, an expansive description of the process, rather than jazz, a limiting and genre-specific term; the at-times chamber feel of his music alongside the broad range of tonal coloration in his compositions, and the instrumental complexity of his ensembles, clearly evidence why. Ankhrasmation is Smith’s solution for merging improvisation and composing. The word is a combination of “Ankh,” the Egyptian symbol for life, “Ras,” the Ethiopian word for leader, and “Ma,” a term for mother.