In 1963 radical black poet and scholar Amiri Baraka, then known as LeRoi Jones, published his landmark music study Blues People: The Negro Experience in White America and the Music That Developed From It. One of the strongest advocates of free jazz in the mainstream press, Baraka has performed his work with some of the greats of that music. His stark poem “Black Dada Nihilismus” on the New York Art Quartet’s eponymous 1965 record for ESP is a harrowing assault on dominant white ideology; his encounter in the same year with free-sax legend Albert Ayler on Sonny Murray’s Sonny’s Time Now (released on Baraka’s own Jihad label) is equally intense. And 15 years later with saxophonist David Murray and drummer Steve McCall on New Music-New Poetry (India Navagation), he’d lost none of his edge. An eloquent speaker with disarming charm, lyrical delivery, and poison-arrow pointedness, Baraka celebrated his 60th birthday in New York last October with a run of performances supported by an ensemble led by bassist Reggie Workman. For this rare Chicago recitation he’ll collaborate with Chicago’s own Malachi Thompson and Triad. Thompson calls Triad his “experimental performance art group,” and in that setting the trumpeter likes to pick up his alternative instruments–steer horn, conch shell, and sekulu (Zairean transverse flute). An evening of extremities is expected; any less would be a disappointment. Friday, 9 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photos/Vivian Selbo, Bruce Powell.