Avant-garde jazz artists present multi-genre concert

PUTNEY — Next Stage Arts presents avant-garde jazz legends William Parker and Hamid Drake in “Sutras for a Suffering World,” setting the poetry of David Budbill to music. The concert is Sunday, June 19, at 5 p.m., at Next Stage Arts, 15 Kimball Hill.

“Vermont's artistic treasures know no bounds. David Budbill was an enigmatic artist and poet who had strong connections to the national and international arts stage,” Keith Marks, executive director of Next Stage Arts, said in a news release. “His long history with jazz legends William Parker and Hamid Drake speak volumes as to the power and presence of the man. We are excited to host Parker and Drake in celebration of Budbill's life and work.”

The words of celebrated poet Budbill take center stage in this one-of-a-kind concert, Marks continues. Budbill's long-time collaborator and avant-garde jazz legend William Parker (composer/double bass/multi-instrumentalist) “leads a group of multi-genre musicians in an incantation of poetry and improvised music.”

Parker will be joined by percussionist Hamid Drake and vocalists Lisa Sokolov, Kyoko Kitamura, Morley Shanti Kamen, Andrea Wolper, and Amirtha Kidambi, on their way back to New York from concerts produced by Scrag Mountain Music in Montpelier and Burlington.

This program “honors and highlights the rich, vibrant, and quintessentially Vermont words of the late poet David Budbill, posthumously named 'The People's Poet of Vermont' by the citizens of Montpelier and honored by the Vermont State House. David Budbill was born in Cleveland in 1940 and moved to Northern Vermont in 1969 where he lived until his death in 2016.

Budbill has authored eight books of poems, seven plays, two novels, a collection of short stories, two picture books for children, dozens of essays, and the libretto for the opera A Fleeting Animal (composed by Erik Nielsen and performed in 2015 with Mary Bonhag in a lead role).

His love of music and performing took him from schools and prisons in Vermont to avant-garde performance spaces in New York City, where he appeared often with William Parker and other collaborators.

“Sutras for a Suffering World” features two new works by Parker: “While We've Still Got Feet: The Poetry of David Budbill” and “Need, Necessity, Delight, or a Washing Machine for a Flower Pot.”

A New York City–based free jazz double bassist, composer, improvisor, writer, and educator, Parker has recorded more than 150 albums, written six books, and mentored hundreds of young musicians and artists throughout his career.

Chicago-based percussionist Hamid Drake has collaborated extensively throughout his career with top free-jazz improvisers Peter Brotzmann, Fred Anderson, and Ken Vandermark, among others. Drake has also worked with trumpeter Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, Mahmoud Gania, bassist William Parker (in a large number of lineups), and has performed a winter solstice celebration with fellow Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang semiannually since 1991.

Tickets for the concert are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Visit for further information.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates