Human Arts Ensemble

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Human Art Ensemble
Genres Free jazz, jazz fusion
Past members Joseph Bowie
Lester Bowie
Marty Ehrlich
Oliver Lake
John Lindberg
Luther Thomas
John Zorn
Charles "Bobo" Shaw
Abdallah Yakub
Abdul Wadud
Alan Suits
Butch Smith
Carol Marshall
Dominique Gaumont
Hamiet Bluiett
J. D. Parran
James Marshall
Julius Hemphill
Marty Ehrlich
Victor Reef
Vincent Terrell

The Human Arts Ensemble was a 1970s musical collective operating in St. Louis, Missouri. Members explored free jazz and loosely associated themselves with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and the Black Artists' Group (BAG) collective. It was formed in 1971 with the idea that performers could perform in the ensemble, without restrictions as to the performer's race. Additionally, public funding had ended for musical associations that were suspected of having connections with radical organizations. It disbanded in 1977.[1]

Human Arts Ensemble co-founder, saxophonist James Marshall, continues to pursue the vision of HAE to this day in Tucson, Arizona. Originally, after its activity in St. Louis, Jim and his then wife (and HAE co-founder) Carol, moved to Oregon to continue the project there in the context of a musician's commune. Unfortunately, neither the marriage (they're still friends) nor the commune lasted. However, when Jim moved to Tucson, Arizona, he continued to pursue his vision of free form and soulful jazz improvisation.

Jim worked closely with another partner from the St. Louis days—Ajule Eneke Rutlin, who died suddenly in 2006. Ajule had been associated with the Black Artists Group, which inspired the foundation of HAE, and was also a founding member of HAE. The Human Arts Ensemble was not only committed to the beauty that can emerge from humans interacting freely and without restriction, but it also consciously, from the beginning, saw its music as a direct, soulful contradiction to a world of hate produced by racism, consumerism, greed, and war. To this day, the new incarnation of HAE that exists in Tucson still maintains that vision. During the 90's Human Arts Ensemble played benefits to raise money for Iraqi civilians suffering under the effect of US/UN sanctions, and HAE members have regularly performed at anti-war protests.

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