Alvin Fielder

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Alvin Fielder
Born(1935-11-23)November 23, 1935
Meridian, Mississippi, U.S.
DiedJanuary 5, 2019(2019-01-05) (aged 83)
Years active1965–2007

Alvin Fielder (November 23, 1935 – January 5, 2019)[1] was an American jazz drummer. He was a founder member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Black Arts Music Society, Improvisational Arts Trio/Quartet/Quintet, and was a founding faculty member of the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp. His only sibling is William Butler Fielder, a jazz and classical trumpeter and professor at Rutgers University.


Fielder began playing drums at age twelve, heavily influenced by recordings of Max Roach. While a student at Xavier University in New Orleans, he studied under Ed Blackwell at the recommendation of jazz drummer Earl Palmer. While a student at Texas Southern University in Houston, he worked with the Pluma Davis sextet, which included Don Wilkerson, Richard "Dicky Boy" Lillie, John Browning, and Carl Lott. He was active on the Houston jazz scene with Jimmy Harrison Quintet, John Browning Quintet, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. He went to graduate school to study pharmacology.

After taking his degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago,[2] he began playing in Chicago, co-founding the AACM in 1965. Over the next several years, Fielder played with Sun Ra, Muhal Richard Abrams, Eddie Harris, Kalaparusha, Fred Anderson, Lester Lashley, and Roscoe Mitchell. Fielder is among the musicians on Mitchell's Sound, recorded in 1966.

In 1969, due to his father's ill health, he returned home to Mississippi. Fielder took responsibility for managing the family business, became active in school desegregation, and continued to pursue his passion for music. In 1971 he met John Reese and helped Reese develop the Black Arts Music Society (BAMS). Fielder was instrumental in bringing many jazz musicians to Mississippi, including Muhal Richard Abrams, Alvin Batiste, Ron Brown, Betty Carter, Teddy Edwards, Malachi Favors, Dexter Gordon, Dick Griffin, Johnny Griffin, Eddie Harris, the Heath Brothers, Billy Higgins, Joseph Jarman, Joseph Jennings, Clifford Jordan, Kidd Jordan, Oliver Lake, Mulgrew Miller, Woody Shaw, Robert Stewart, Kenneth Thomas, Henry Threadgill, Freddie Waites, and Cassandra Wilson. Cassandra Wilson, a native of Jackson, Mississippi, as a teenager was introduced to and encouraged to sing bebop by BAMS.

In 1975, Clifford Jordan and Fielder began working with Kidd Jordan in the Improvisational Arts band, which has included Jonathan Bloom, Elton Heron, Kent Jordan, Clyde Kerr, Darrell Lavigne, and Alvin Thomas. Fielder has appeared at the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival every year from 1975 to 2008. In 1995, he participated as a founding faculty member (the only non-Louisiana musician) in the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp. He taught every year until 2008.

He recorded in 1987 with Ahmed Abdullah, Charles Brackeen, and Dennis Gonzalez, and continued exploring in the free jazz vein in the 1990s with Joel Futterman, Kidd Jordan, and others. He toured with Andrew Lamb in 2002, and released the album A Measure of Vision under his own name in 2007.

In 2012, Fielder was awarded the Resounding Vision Award by Nameless Sound in Houston.[3]


  • A Measure of Vision (Clean Feed, 2007)
  • From-to-From with Damon Smith, David Dove, Jason Jackson (Balance Point, 2013)
  • Song for Chico with Damon Smith (Balance Point, 2016)
  • The Shape Finds Its Own Space with Damon Smith, Frode Gjerstad (FMR, 2016)
  • After Effects with Damon Smith, Danny Kamins, Joe Hertenstein (FMR, 2017)
  • Six Situations with Damon Smith, Joe McPhee (Not Two, 2017)

With Joel Futterman, Kidd Jordan

  • New Orleans Rising (Konnex, 1997)
  • Nickelsdorfer Konfrontationen (Silkheart, 1997)
  • Southern Extreme (Drimala, 1998)
  • Live at the Tampere Jazz Happening 2000 (Charles Lester, 2004)
  • Live at the Guelph Jazz Festival 2011 (Creative Collective, 2011)

With Joel Futterman, Ike Levin

  • Resolving Doors (Charles Lester, 2004)
  • Live at the Blue Monk (Charles Lester, 2006)
  • Traveling Through Now (Charles Lester, 2008)
  • Through the Mirror (Charles Lester, 2014)

With Dennis Gonzalez

  • Debenge-Debenge (Silkheart, 1988)
  • Namesake (Silkheart, 1987)
  • The Gift of Discernment (Not Two, 2008)
  • Resurrection and Life (Ayler, 2011)

With Kidd Jordan, Peter Kowald

  • Live in New Orleans (NoBusiness, 2013)
  • Trio and Duo in New Orleans (NoBusiness, 2013)

With Roscoe Mitchell

  • Sound (Delmark, 1966)
  • Before There Was Sound (Nessa, 2011)

With others


  1. ^ Drummer Alvin Fielder Dies at 83
  2. ^ Huey, Steve. "Alvin Fielder". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Resounding Vision Award Party". Retrieved 25 January 2012.