Wadada Leo Smith to Receive Vision Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Trumpeter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Smith will receive the Vision Festival’s annual award on June 21, 2022.

Mr. Smith joins a venerable pantheon of FreeJazz pioneers in receiving the Vision Festival Lifetime Achievement Award including Amina Claudine Myers, Andrew Cyrille, Peter Brotzmann, Henry Grimes, Milford Graves, and Sam Rivers.

On this special occasion, Mr. Smith will present new work for the opening night of the festival. His performance at Vision will serve to punctuate a remarkable milestone, 80 years, in a career full of enough achievements for several lifetimes.

In 2021 alone, Mr. Smith has released five new albums, and plans to release another five in 2022. Acknowledging this feat, Richard Ginell of the SF Classical Voice writes:

“For almost anyone in his 70s, it would be the culmination of a life’s work, but for Smith, it was just the opening of the valve to a flood of new compositions crossing back and forth through the porous membrane between the classical and jazz avant-garde.”

Patricia Nicholson Parker, Vision Festival Founder added:

“Wadada Leo Smith has cut his own path in Creative Music, not defined by color but nonetheless, his story has been deeply impacted by lack of equity and recognition of his achievements. AFA looks forward to doing its small part to correct this.”

Arts for Art will present the 26th VISION Festival at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY, from June 21 through June 25, and the festival finale will once again take place outdoors at The Clemente in Manhattan on June 26. Additional festival details including performances, schedules, tickets, and more to be announced soon at www.artsforart.org/vision

Mr. Smith will celebrate his 80th birthday on December 18, 2021. To mark the occasion he is live streaming a special birthday concert of duet, trio and group performances with Pheeroan akLaff, Sylvie Courvoisier, Erika Dohi, and Lamar Smith on guitar. Watch at wadadaleosmith.com