Ernest Dawkins

Ernest Dawkins, the leader of New Horizons Ensemble has performed music that ranges from free bop and free form. He occasionally displays its connections to the past, while always looking forward. Dawkins recalled seeing Anthony Braxton, a neighbor, practice when he was a child. Dawkins started out playing bass, then drums, before switching to the saxophone at age 23. He was a student at the AACM school, and he studied music at Vandercook College of Music. He also worked with Chico Freeman and Joseph Jarman, AACM “elders”. After performing with various local ensembles, including the AACM Big Band and Ed Wilkerson’s Shadow Vignettes big bands, as well as Douglas Ewart’s Clarinet Choir, Dawkins founded New Horizons Ensemble in 1979. This eventually grew to a pianoless sextet. His group, which included Dawkins and trombonist Steve Berry as well as trumpeter Ameen Mohammed, guitarist Jeffery Parker and bassist Yosef Benjamin Israel, was formed in 1994. They also recorded three albums for Silkheart. from

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