With his Nu Nova Compound, saxophonist and band leader Ghasem Batamuntu creates an audio-visual performance that builds on the sense of musical freedom evoked by Sun Ra, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Miles Davis’s work of the 1970s and the final years of John Coltrane. Batamuntu hails from Oakland, California, but has been living in the Netherlands for decades.
The Nu Nova Compound features musicians from Cuba, Brazil, Suriname, Senegal, Turkey, the United States and the Netherlands. Batamuntu blends all these cultures together acoustically, complementing his spiritual jazz with West African and Brazilian rhythms on soprano sax and percussion with video projections and the spoken word. The show at the Festival Jazz International Rotterdam will feature more scope for vocal work, with a leading role for San Francisco vocalist Scheherazade Stone.
Batamuntu has previously worked with Bobby Hutcherson, Archie Shepp and Rotterdam-based The Mirror Conspiracy, who have been nominated for an Edison. He was also a popular guest during the Rotterdam CrimeJazz evenings. In the 1990s he appeared at the North Sea Jazz Festival with his group Nova Ghost Sectet. A very young Ambrose Akinmusire, aged just 14, made a guest appearance at that concert, his very first show in Europe.